With the weather warming up, many of us are preparing to arm ourselves against the usual mosquitoes and ticks. Many of us forget, however, that wasps, especially social wasps like yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps, can pose a special threat as well. They become aggressive when their nests are threatened, and their stings can be very painful—even fatal for those who are allergic to wasps stings. Because there are certain steps you need to take if you want to keep you and your family safe from wasps, here is a brief guide to keeping wasps away from your home.

 

Never provoke wasps.

 

This tip won’t necessarily keep wasps away from your home, but it’s the number one tip that you and your family should keep in mind as you see wasps in and around your home. Wasps tend to be harmless to humans unless provoked. Once provoked, however, they may sting, and that sting can be very painful, even causing a deadly anaphylactic reaction in some who have allergies. Be sure to teach to your children never to come in close contact with wasps or wasp nests when they see them.wasps

 

Hire a pest control specialist.

 

A pest control specialist can help you control existing populations of wasps while also preventing future wasp infestation. Be sure to look for a pest control specialist who will do a thorough sweep around the home, even targeting the eaves of your home as this article mentions. You also want to look for a pest control specialist who uses home-friendly products that will not harm your family or pets. Many specialists offer natural products as well for those who are looking to cut down on chemical usage in and around the home.

 

Remove all wasp attractions.

 

Wasps are attracted to anything sweet, including fallen fruit from fruit trees, fruit juice, and open soda cans. Be sure that and your family are doing what you can to remove these types of attractions. Keep lids over all trash, recycling, and compost tightly closed, and do not leave food out in the open outdoors for an extended period of time. Things like bird food, sweet perfumes, and lotions can attract wasps as well, so be sure to keep that in mind.

 

On a related note, because wasps are attracted to fallen fruit from fruit trees, it’s a good idea to always wear shoes when walking near a fruit tree that is bearing fruit.

 

Repair your home’s exterior.

 

Keeping the exterior of your home in good order is another great way to prevent wasp infestation, as wasps often build nests in open crevices and holes in homes. Look along the exterior of your home for any holes or crevices that could be sealed, such as broken siding panels or gaps in soffits. While you’re at it, check for any unoccupied rodent burrows as well, as wasps often build homes here as well. Fill any holes and make any necessary repairs to eliminate these potential wasp nest locations.

 

Build a wasp trap.

 

If you see an area around your home where wasps are especially active, you can always place a wasp trap to help eliminate them. You can build a basic wasp trap using an empty two-liter bottle. Simply cut off the top fourth of the bottle and then invert it on itself. Tape the two pieces together with duct tape and pour some sweet liquid such as soda or juice inside. Wasps will fly in to get to the sweet liquid and then be unable to fly back out.

 

You can always purchase a wasp trap as well if you would rather do that. If wasps seem to be an ongoing problem on your property, be sure to consult a pest control specialist who can offer a more long-term solution for the problem.

 

Use wasp deterrent spray.

 

You can also make a simple wasp deterrent spray on the exterior of your home to deter wasps from building nests there. Create a simple mixture of water and dish soap in a spray bottle, and add a few drops of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. Then spray this mixture liberally on popular wasp nest areas like under the eaves, in crevices, under porch roofs, etc. Pay extra attention to areas that have seen wasp nests before, as wasps tend to build new nests in the same locations over and over again.wasps

 

Invest in a wasp deterrent.

 

Did you know that you can invest in decorative wasp deterrents for your home? These inexpensive, bulb-shaped decor pieces mimic the look of wasp nests, thus deterring wasps which tend to be territorial. Simply install one or two wasp deterrents to keep wasps from building their nests nearby.

Spicy Turkey BowlI love a meal you can make for dinner and then have enough leftovers to enjoy for a lunch as well. It’s like making two meals in one. This spicy turkey bowl cooks up in less than ½ hour. It is delicious as a stand-alone meal or enjoyed later in a lettuce wrap. When you’re looking for a delicious healthy meal spicy turkey bowls are a perfect option! This spicy turkey bowl recipe can be easily doubled. Feeds two with leftovers. I doubled the recipe and will have enough for two more meals.Spicy Turkey Bowl

 

Spicy Turkey Bowl

 

Ingredients:

 

8 oz ground turkey

½ cup canned black beans, rinsed

¼ of a red onion, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup dry quinoa

½ cup salsa

Cumin – 1 tsp

Chili powder – 1 tsp

 

1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp pepitas

 

Directions:

 

In a skillet brown the ground turkey. When the turkey is cooked add the black beans, chopped red onion, chicken broth, dry quinoa, salsa, cumin and chili powder. Simmer the mixture until the quinoa is cooked through. I cooked the mixture for about 25 minutes covered and then turned off the heat and let it stand for about five minutes. Depending on the variety of salsa you use and what type of chili powder you use will determine how spicy this dish is.Spicy Turkey Bowl

 

When serving top with 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro and 1 Tbsp pepitas.

 

We enjoyed this spicy turkey bowl for dinner last night and I can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers in a lettuce wrap for lunch!Spicy Turkey Bowl

 

Have you cooked with quinoa before? One of my go to recipes is a sweet chili glazed chicken with quinoa pilaf. The quinoa is combined with scallions, garlic and cumin and cooked in chicken stock with added currants. It is so good. I love finding new ways to enjoy quinoa. What is your favorite way to enjoy quinoa? I’m always looking for new recipes!

Welcome to the Simple Homestead Blog Hop!

We are so glad that you have stopped by for a visit! We encourage you to look through some of the great posts shared by our readers and then take the time to read those that interest you. If you are adding to our list, thank you for sharing your homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts with us. It’s so much fun to read your hints, tips, and happenings. We hope you have fun exploring all the great ideas everyone has shared with us.

 

Meet Our Great Co-hosts

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Featured Posts

Each week we’ll feature the most-viewed post from last week’s hop. Each host also features her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. Visit each of our blogs to see if you were featured this week.

Our most-visited post from last week’s hop was:
Seeds Worth SavingSeeds Worth Saving

 

My Favorite Post:
How To Find and Use a Farm Sitter

 

 Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week.

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First Harvest – Rhubarb

 

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I am a lover of rhubarb and I have a lot of rhubarb! Here in Vermont rhubarb is the first harvest from the garden. Rhubarb seems to burst from the ground in a matter of days. At first it is just peaking through the dirt and the next minute it wants to flower! There is nothing like the first harvest to get your gardening season off to a good start.first harvest, rhubarb

 

One year I put an ad in the paper to see if anyone wanted to enjoy some of my abundance. I actually ended up bartering for bread! I may have to put an ad out this year, with the house on the market I am not doing any preserving of the harvest, so I really have an abundance of rhubarb!Rhubarb Plants, first harvest, rhubarb

 

I have already made a delicious Rhubarb Cake, which we enjoyed with company.first harvest

 

Over Memorial Day weekend we also enjoyed some Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake. I often use a special pan I have called a Mary Ann Cake Pan, which is a pan designed to bake light cake shells that hold anything from fresh fruit to rich custards. When the cake is baked it has an inverted well for spooning in lightly sweetened whipped cream or lemon curd and fresh fruit. Perfect for Rhubarb Strawberry shortcake.first harvest, Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp will also be on the menu.first harvest, Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp, enjoy!

 

Even though it is only my husband and I at home I will also be making a rhubarb pie. Nothing says spring in Vermont like a rhubarb pie!

 

If I were doing some canning this year I would definitely be making some Rhubarbeque sauce. It is perfect on grilled pork or chicken.first harvest, canning, rhubarb, prudent pantry

 

I would also be canning some Apple Rhubarb Chutney.first harvest, chutney, prudent pantry

 

Rhubarb Jam would be another item filling my pantry shelves. I love this jam, it is equally good on chicken or on a piece of toast for breakfast!Rhubarb Jam, first harvest

 

A few years ago a friend shared one wonderful Rhubarb Buckle recipe. The ginger in this recipe gives this buckle a unique taste.

 

Can’t decide how to enjoy your first harvest? Rhubarb always freezes well. Just cut the stalks into small pieces. Place in a Ziploc bag or use your FoodSaver. And freeze. Couldn’t be easier!Rhubarb for the freezer, first harvest

 

Are you are rhubarb lover? How do you enjoy the first harvest?first harvest, rhubarb, victoria sauce

Over the years many of us seem to accumulate stuff! I don’t know how it creeps in, but as we go through our house in preparation of an eventual move I wonder how did we get so much stuff, and the question is how to get rid of it!how to get rid of stuff

 

If you live in a populated area you can often have good luck with Craig’s List or perhaps a local Facebook page or even a local flyer. Here in Vermont Craig’s list covers the whole state, and as a result I have never had good luck getting rid of stuff that way.

 

We also have a local flyer called It’s Classified. If the item you’re selling is under $100 you can list for free. They also have an online presence.

 

eBay is another option but it does take some time to price your items and figure out how you’re going to ship them. I have a small pile near my computer of items I am selling on eBay. It may take some time, but I have had good luck getting rid of stuff on eBay.

 

If you’re not trying to make money, Freecycle is another way to get rid of stuff. I have had wonderful results with Freecycle. I have gotten rid of everything from unwanted perennials in the garden to old bicycles!

 

As I go through all the stuff in our home there are several ways to look at it. First decide which things are “must-keep” items. Perhaps these are items you use all the time or you just consider the item too important to throw away. I’ve been asking myself when did I last use this item, if I only use it every few years is it really worth holding on to?how to get rid of stuff

 

Make an area where you can move the items you want to get rid of. We have a spot in our garage. I have a box of books to go to the library for their ongoing book sale. I have a box of things to donate and another area for things I think I can sell.how to get rid of stuff

 

We tried holding a yard sale last year. It was a lot of work, we advertised, held the sale with another family to ensure there was plenty of stuff and at the end of the day we had only made a few hundred dollars! When you live almost three miles off the main road it is just not practical to hold a yard sale.how to get rid of stuff

 

My favorite way to get rid of stuff is to donate. Our local Christian school holds a big yard sale each Memorial Day weekend. I love filling up our car with miscellaneous items that still have good use but that we no longer need. All the money raised at the sale goes directly to the school. It’s a win-win situation. We also have a local church that holds a big sale during the summer. I have also donated to them in the past. Perhaps you know someone personally that you could bless with some of your belongings. Maybe you know a young couple that is just getting started and could really use a bookshelf or some canning jars. You may wonder how to get rid of stuff, but there are so many ways!how to get rid of stuff

 

Throwing things away is hard, but I have learned that if you just tackle a small area at a time it gets easier. Do you have any secrets for getting rid of stuff? Please share how to get rid of stuff in the comments!

There are many variations of this baked spaghetti dish. Looking a perfect dish for company especially when you are not quite sure when they will be arriving? Baked spaghetti can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven for a quick heating.  It was a big hit especially for the two twelve year old boys visiting. They even asked for it for lunch the next day!Baked Spaghetti

 

Baked Spaghetti

 

Ingredients:

 

6 slices of bacon

1 tsp minced garlic

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

3 – 14oz cans diced tomatoes

1 – 2.25 can of sliced black olives, drained

1-2 Tbsp oregano

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

12 oz thin spaghetti, cooked and drained

2 cups cheddar cheese

1 10oz can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees if you are planning to cook it right away. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with oil.

Fry the bacon, drain and cut into small pieces. Sauté the onion, garlic and green pepper. Add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, bacon and beef. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place 1/2 of the spaghetti on the bottom of your dish. Top with 1/2 of the tomatoes mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheddar cheese. Repeat. Top with the cream of mushroom soup that has been mixed with the 1/4 cup of water. Pour over the top of the casserole.Baked spaghetti Top with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.Baked Spaghetti

 

As I said this baked spaghetti was a big hit. We enjoyed it with a salad for dinner and the leftovers were consumed for lunch the next day. I love dishes that are not only easy but delicious! Plus you don’t need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making this baked spaghetti!Baked Spaghetti

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