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Life hacks pulled from the Farmers' Almanac

Peter Geiger, editor for the Farmers' Almanac, shares a few 'life hacks' using items we'd typically eat.

LEWISTON, Maine — Keep squirrels away from your carved pumpkins

This time of year, squirrels enjoy making meals out of your carved Jack-O-Lanterns and decorative pumpkins. Try this natural method to keep them away without harming them: Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 teaspoon dish soap, and a small bottle of hot sauce. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture, and spray your pumpkins, inside and out. The solution will make the pumpkin unpalatable to the squirrels when they try to snack on them.

Slice of bread to pick up broken glass

Use a slice of bread to get up the tiny shards of broken glass that a broom misses. Great if there’s no vacuum handy. I would mention this: Dispose of safely so no animals get to it.

Oranges to keep your fridge smelling fresh

Cut a half an orange, scoop out the flesh (and eat it) and use the shell to hold baking soda for a sweet smelling fridge.

You can also dry orange peels – they make great fire starters (in the 2021 edition).

RELATED: Can a potato really keep your windshield clear in the winter?

Eggshells for your garden and your skin

“Statistics say the average American consumes 250 eggs per year. Remember, we’re not just eating two at a time, sunny-side-up, we’re using them in our homemade baked goods, batters, main dishes, and more. And if you think the only two solutions for all those eggshells are the trash or composting pile, you may want to think again.

·  Use eggshells as a calcium and mineral-rich additive to wild bird feed and chicken feed.

·  Add them to ground coffee before brewing. The shells help reduce any bitterness.

·  As a soil additive for houseplants, they add minerals and help keep soil loose and aerated.

·  Love camping? Use those shells with soapy water as a natural abrasive for pots and pans, especially when cleaning products and really hot water are at a premium.

·  Bake clean eggshells at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool and grind to a fine powder. Add as a calcium supplement (a teaspoonful does it) to juice, smoothies, etc.

·  Add to your garden to keep cats away that may be using it as a litter box. Cats will not like the sharpness under their tender paws. Their smell can also reportedly deter deer and repel slugs, snails, and cutworms without resorting to toxic chemicals. Maybe tantamount to that, mineral-charged eggshells can be crushed and scattered into each hole before planting. Sprinkle additional crushed shells around your plants every couple of weeks. Use them to start your seedlings! Here’s how.

·  Skin irritations? Folklore tells us to drop an eggshell into some apple cider vinegar for a couple of days. Apply to skin irritations or itches.

·  Unclog drains: Placed in your sink strainer, they can trap errant solids. When they ultimately break down, they will serve to clean pipes on their way out.

·  Doggie defense: Dry eggshells in a 250-degree F oven for 30 minutes. Place in plastic bag and roll/crush with a rolling pin to a fine powder. Add to dog food as a supreme calcium supplement (be sure to check with your vet for the proper amount).

·  Looking for a fun art project? Crush and add to paint for decorative textured walls or furniture!

RELATED: Don't skimp on the butter when preparing Butter Cashew Chicken

For more life hacks, click here.