Can you feel spring in the air? In just 11 more sleeps – on March 9 – we’re into daylight saving time again, and apart from the tedious task of resetting 45 watches and 9 clocks, we will be staring warmer weather straight in the face.

So my brain has switched to warmer-mode, and I am being proactive in trying to avoid the inherent traps therein.

Madam posted an interesting bit on Facebook the other day – “things your mother never told you”, and of course I got all a bit defensive, being the mother that I am and thinking that I armed my girl with the wherewithal for a wise future.

These “things” consist of a whole of lot interesting bits and pieces for day-to-day life – like using hair conditioner instead of shaving cream to shave your legs; like cleaning your dryer filter with a toothbrush – yeah right, I’ll get straight onto that; like keeping a chalkboard eraser in my glove box in case of a foggy windshield, like none of us has a car which will direct heat to the window.

But a couple of entries did catch my eye – some in a rather jaundiced fashion, others not.

I will confess I am very jaundiced when it comes to helpful hints telling me to wear a fabric softener sheet outdoors to repel mosquitoes. I’m not sure in which state this was written, but obviously not Missouri. I have discovered Missouri Mozzies fly up to our back deck and have a little meeting on the perimeter, muttering such phrases as “what a delightful perfume, I think I will go immediately and bite it,” and thence proceed to so do. It doesn’t work, don’t fall for it.

I am going to try the pot of catnip on the deck this year, coupled with bowls of apple cider vinegar and soap dotted around, and see if they help – I will keep you posted.

To be fair, I did spot a hint which I reckon will work. Having spent a goodly sum on “@#$% off Rabbits and Squirrels” products at the local nursery last year, in the effort to ward off said rodents from my tulips, I read that sprinkling cayenne pepper around the garden will work just as well, at a considerably lesser cost.

Coming home from the store armed with enough cayenne to keep a small Mexican restaurant in spices for some time, I liberally spread it over my two now snow-embarrassed garden beds. I must say it looks like a murder investigation, as my dark mulch is now covered in suspiciously red stuff. I certainly hope this works – I mean it should after all. I should see squirrels shaking their heads vigorously and sneezing their wee heads off.

Knowing my luck, they will be knocking at my back door in a couple of weeks, ordering salsa, chips and margaritas. Like I said, I’ll keep you posted.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at