A couple of tips

First tip: a few months ago, I learned that when seasoning cast iron cookware, use shortening instead of vegetable oil.  I used veggie oil on a couple of cast iron frying pans for years, which formed a thick coating that eventually started chipping off.  When that happened, the pans became unusable because chips of the old and hardened oil would come off the pan into the food being cooked.  I spent a lot of time chipping the residue off the pans, and then seasoned them with organic all-vegetable shortening, and now they’re my two best frying pans.  They’re very non-stick and I don’t ever have to worry about the non-stick surface coming off like I would with a teflon coated non-stick pan.

Second tip: we have a lot (I really mean a lot) of fire ants living in our yard.  I don’t ever do anything to try to get rid of them.  Instead, I just try to avoid standing where they are likely to climb onto me and bite me.  Unfortunately it’s not possible to avoid them entirely, especially when mowing the lawn.  I usually get a few bites during the mowing season.   Fire ant bites are particularly persistent and cause a lot of discomfort for several days after the bite.  I use a product called, Ssssting Stop, which is a homeopathic ointment made by Beoricke & Tafel.  I probably got it at one of the local natural foods stores.  I find that I need to put it on two or three times a day, but when I use it like that, I hardly notice where I’ve been bitten at all.  There is almost no itching or pain at all until it’s time to put more on.

Update: 8/10/10

Yesterday one of the fire ant bites developed a head that was quite irritated.  I punctured it using a sterilized needle, evacuated it, and re-applied the Ssssting Stop, and the irritation went away.

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