I was taken to task by a long time reader yesterday for my stance on the canning practices of other countries. She was absolutely right! Most of us suffer from a kind of cultural imperialism when it comes to food and best practices and I’m no exception. While I will continue to do things the way I feel most comfortable, knowing other options is a good idea. If I had plenty of fire wood but water was scarce, oven canning would be the way to go. So I stand corrected. Might I also add that the gentleness and civility with which I was address gives me hope for the future of the species.

We have another family of woodchucks. I am not happy. They are devastating to a garden. I either have to get rid of them or spend major dollars on fencing. We have a lot of gardens spread around our property and it would be a nightmare to fence properly. The other problem is that are a bit aggressive. One went right after me yesterday. This brings up the subject of pest control in a prepared family. Do you have mouse traps and rat traps in your supplies? If there was disruption in trash pick up, even for a few days, you will need to ways to combat flies and rodents.We have been inundated with ants this week. The best offence is to keep your counters scrupulously clean and to pick up anything sweet. I can’t keep honey or jam in the cupboards from June until September. I have had some success with a plate of confectioner’s sugar mixed with borax. The ants take the sugar back to the nest and the borax kills the hill.

Now I have confess something. Speaking of pests puts me in a tough place. We got a kitten about a year ago. He’s a nice kitty and has taken care of our mouse problem which is a good thing. Unfortunately, he is also a bird killer. We are bird watchers and can see the evidence of a decline in song bird population over the past decade. I think the kitty has to go the big kitty litter box in the sky. This is a hard decision. My youngest loves her kitty but if I’m going to take the moral high road here I know I have to be honest with myself and with Phoebe. Cats have become predator pests. It will not be easy but it is a decision that is like so many others. We have to be able to put what we want and is comfortable for us on the back burner and look at the greater good. We are all a bit selfish by nature, me more than most, and it kills me to hurt Phoebe. The only other solution I can come up with is to have the cat declawed. A lot of vets consider it a cruel operation and won’t do it. Cruel to the cat, hurt my little girl, participate in the death of the songbirds. I hate being responsible.

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