Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Perky Pet Bird Feeder
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

A squirrel proof bird feeder is an absolute necessity if you want to enjoy watching birds in your back yard.  In this review I will compare the Pesky Pet bird feeder with a bird feeder cage.  This is the first time ever that I’ve really attempted any bird watching and I was surprised at how difficult and messy squirrels could make of this seemingly enjoyable and simple hobby. One of my main concerns with squirrels is not just that they will eat the bird feed and make a mess, but I am also afraid that my cat, Noche, will get a hold of one of these pesky, large rodents. These squirrels are almost half her size and could carry rabies and any other number of diseases so I am unsure who might get the worst of the battle if she succeeds in catching one.  She keeps trying and the squirrels don’t seem to see her as much of a deterrent to their quest for the bird seed. They are not afraid to challenge her to a game of chase, so I would just as soon limit their reasons for tempting their fate. Unlike the Wasp Traps, a squirrel proof bird feeder should not only keep squirrels out, but prevent them from even trying. I will go ahead and tell you about my experience with two different bird feeders and which one has been the most successful at keeping out the squirrels.

A Bird Feeder Cage

More Expensive Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Option

Bird Feeder CageThe first and most expensive option of the two squirrel proof bird feeders that I tried is the bird feeder cage, pictured left. One of the advantages of a bird cage is that little birds can go inside and feel protected from predators. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to keep the squirrels out. One day I walked outside just in time to see a big fat squirrel had turned himself into Houdini, contorted his pudgy body into the shape of a pancake and slithered inside of the cage. I scared him out of there in nothing flat, but he made one heckuva mess. He also managed to get quite a few bird seeds to fall on the ground which incited a feast for all of his friends and family and put Noche on high-alert. I have tried installing the bird feeder cage into other areas of the yard where squirrels are less likely to be able to reach it. I tried attaching the bird feeder up high in the yard on a metal pole, thinking there was no way for them to be able to climb its slippery surface. This ended up making the biggest mess of them all. Though I never saw the squirrels actually get to the bird feeder, evidently these little geniuses figured out they could get to the seed by shaking on the pole and making it fall to the ground. What’s worse is that the next day the bottom of the cage completely fell out. It is fastened together two spring loaded, circular tabs which give way if you put enough force on them. This could just be a poorly designed model, but if you do want a bird cage feeder, I highly recommend testing the robustness of the mechanism which holds it together. By all means, try and position the bird feeder cage where squirrels are not able to jimmy their way inside.

 

Perky Pet Bird Feeder

Less Expensive Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Option

squirrel proof bird feederThe Perky Pet Bird Feeder is a clever, little feat of engineering ingenuity. Realizing that squirrels need something to hang-on to, the inventor has designed it so the feed ports on the bird feeder have little doors that close down over the seed with the weight of the squirrel.  In other words, even if the squirrel gets to the bird feeder, he cannot get to the seeds.  The squirrel will eventually become discouraged and give up. Unfortunately, just as was the case with the more expensive option, the squirrel might be able to shake some seed out of the feeder by hanging and swinging on it. In my case, the Perky Pet bird feeder was the most successful of the two options. It’s smaller, lighter size gives the squirrels less surface to hang-on to. As you can see from the photo, the squirrel proof bird feeder is positioned in the same place as the bird cage feeder above. Squirrels could reach it, but they would have to hang on which would close the doors and keep them from getting to the seed. Even though they can reach the feeder from my deck stairs, they seem to have given up altogether trying to get a hold of it and shake off the seeds. They do, however, continue to  find seeds that have fallen to the ground, keeping Noche occupied and determined to play chase with them.

Conclusion: Which Bird Feeder is the most Squirrel-Proof?

I think the position of the bird feeder is probably the most important thing for keeping squirrels from making a mess of your bird watching hobby. In my case, placing the Perky Pet bird feeder by the deck stair way was just enough to keep them out. The bird feeder cage when placed in the same location allowed a squirrel to Houdini his way inside and probably the stress of his weight is  what resulted in the damage to the cage fasteners. I give the Perky Pet bird feeder a slight edge for its small, convenient size and clever design. The squirrel proof bird feeder that works best for you might vary according to your needs.

 

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Solar Powered Water Fountain

Solar Powered Water Fountain Pros and Cons

Solar Powered Water Fountain
Anself Solar-power Fountain

A solar powered water fountain can be a great addition to your pond, swimming pool, bird bath, or anywhere in your backyard where there is standing water. Moving water adds life and fun to your outdoor environment. The key to getting water to move is that you need a water pump. The problem with traditional water pumps is that you need to either place them where you have a powered outlet or you need to cleverly install them where the cables cannot be seen in your yard. Also, traditional powered water pumps require electricity, consume energy and therefore cost money to run.  Wouldn’t it be great if they made solar-powered water pumps that you could place anywhere and didn’t need any cabling or electricity to run. The good news is that they do make them, they are pretty inexpensive, and they work pretty well. Below are my advantages and disadvantages on these inexpensive solar powered water fountains.  There may be more expensive models which trade-off cost for some of the disadvantages I’ve outlined below. This review is on inexpensive solar water fountains ranging from $15.00 to $40.00.

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Healthiest Potato Chips Brands

Healthiest Potato Chips Brands
– A Review on the Top-5 Healthiest Chips

What Makes a Healthy Potato Chip?

Healthiest Potato Chips BrandsThere are as many if not more opinions on what makes snacks healthy or unhealthy as there are number of potato chips brands. Some on a paleo diet might even argue whether potatoes are healthy at all. Let’s assume that potatoes are okay for most of us who are not following a strict paleo or FodMap diet. With that said, no other snack is as crunchy, tasty, and as satisfying as a potato chip. Sweet potato chips are a great, paleo-friendly snack, but they simply don’t satisfy the craving of a chip lover like myself. The sweetness cuts into the enjoyment of the salt. I gotta have that potato, salty crunch with my lunch or I’m left feeling hungry and betrayed. So what is a healthy potato chip? If we’re not on a paleo diet and we’re okay with potatoes, the only thing that can possibly make the chip unhealthy are things like MSG, preservatives, and commercial, seed oils. The one thing I will avoid at all costs is canola oil. Canola does not come from food, it comes from the rapeseed plant which is not a food.  The next couple of oils I would avoid are safflower and sunflower oils. Unfortunately, these seed oils are exactly what you will find in 90% of our potato chips brands. If you can agree with me that potatoes and salt are okay, but commercial oils are bad, then we can agree that potato chips really only need 3 ingredients: Potatoes, healthy oil, and Salt (Preferably Sea Salt). The age-old theory on unhealthy Fats and Oils has been crumbling faster than a house of cards these past 10 years.  Saturated fats from avocados and coconut are considered good. If you’re among those who still think saturated fat and cholesterol are health villains, then you can freely ignore this article and continue eating your canola-laced Lays chips. Otherwise, if you’re not among this group,  you will be glad to know that there are five potato chips brands that are actually made with healthy oils, salt and nothing else. Here are my ratings on the Top-5 Healthiest Potato Chip Brands, based on healthiness, crunch, taste, and price.

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Almond Flour Tortillas by Siete are Paleo Friendly

Almond Flour tortillas by Siete are a 100% paleo-friendly alternative to wheat and grain-based tortillas and sandwich wraps. I will begin by stating that Siete almond flour tortillas are absolutely delicious when you prepare them properly. When I first tried these out of the bag I was disappointed in how flimsy and small they were until I learned how to make them. The secret to making a delicious sandwich, wrap, or tortilla with Siete almond flour tortillas is that you need to lightly toast them first. I usually put a little 100% pure coconut oil or butter on them and saute them in a frying pan until they turn slightly golden brown. After they are sufficiently browned, the texture turns slightly crispy and you can fold them in half like a taco shell or almond flour wrap. They have a delicious crunch and very subtle flavor that will not overpower the contents of your sandwich, taco, or burrito.

Almond Flour Tortillas

Siete almond flour tortillas Ingredients

Siete Almond Flour Tortillas Ingredients

 

Siete Almond Flour tortillas are made only from Almond Flour, tapioca flour, water, sea salt, and xanthan gum. There are no grains at all. All of these things are paleo friendly and meet the safety standards of a 100% gluten free diet for Celiacs and others who might have sensitivities to gluten and grains.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s because I have yet to bring up the price. Er, well, Paelo fans, sorry I have to go and spoil it all for you.

 

 

Siete Almond Flour Tortillas are Way too Expensive!

My local health food store, Natural Grocers, sells an 8-pack of Siete almont flour tortillas for $8.79. That is over $1.00 per very small, tortilla. This is way too expensive. In fact, I have noticed most recently that my store lowered the price clearance at $7.15. I took the last couple of packs they had and so far they have not re-stocked their shelves. I don’t think many of us can afford to eat this healthy. If grain-free, healthy, almond flour tortillas are ever to replace wheat-based products like bread and flour tortillas, then the price is going to have to at least become somewhat reasonable.  Here is the part that aggravates me. I think Siete is hurting their own sales by having their product priced this high. When I looked into the costs of almond flour, tapioca flour, water, sea salt, and xantham gum, I determined that I could make these at a mere fraction of the cost. How many more tortillas could the Siete family sell if they cut their price in half or by 3-times? I wonder if anyone in their company has ever done a profit vs demand analysis to see if they are not shooting themselves in their own feet by selling their goods for such an exorbitant price. What irks me about this is that people who have dietary disadvantages of are being taken advantage of.  Unfortunately, Siete is not the only one selling their grain-free wraps at an outrageous price. A couple of other equally or more expensive alternatives are: NUCO and Pure Wraps.  You have to wonder if someone is going to wise up and realize they can sell more and increase their profits by reducing their price. The demand for grain-free foods is more than enough to make up for the difference in lost profit margin.

Until that day comes, I recommend getting your own tortilla or wrap maker:

Almond Flour Tortillas Siete

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Amazon Prime Streaming

Amazon Prime Streaming

Amazon Prime StreamingHow I finally got around the Insufficient Bandwidth Messages on my Samsung Smart TV

 

I am a big fan of Amazon Prime – enough that I cancelled my Netflix subscription a while back and started using Amazon Prime Streaming instead. I have been using Amazon Prime for the last two years just for its many other benefits, particularly the free, two-day shipping on just about everything I order. The video and movie selection appeared to me to be just as good as Netflix so I am now saving a few bucks a month by cancelling my Netflix subscription.

Amazon Prime Streaming with Apple TV

The way I began using Amazon Prime streaming is with my AppleTV which is connected to my home theater system . It is a simple four-step process:

  • Downloaded the Amazon Video App to iPhone or iPad.
  • Load the app on said mobile device and choose a movie.
  • Swipe-up to the control panel and select the AirPlay feature on iPad or iPhone
  • Choose the correct HDMI input on the television.

I was so delighted with having access to thousands of Amazon Prime movies that I decided it would be worth upgrading to a larger, 55″ flat-screen Samsung Smart TV. I chose the Samsung because it supports Amazon Prime Instant Video, meaning I would be able to completely by-pass the AppleTV and play movies right from the TV. Sounds great, right? Not so fast.

Insufficient Bandwidth Errors while Streaming Amazon Prime and YouTube

Beginning a move on Amazon Prime or a video on YouTube with the new television was easy to do. The only problem was that after a few minutes of playing, my television viewing would randomly be interrupted with, an insufficient bandwidth message. This was very puzzling to me since my WiFi connection icon showed that I had a very good signal. Also, why was I not having the same problem when viewing Amazon video over my AppleTV connection? After much googling and research I finally came to the inevitable conclusion that WiFi is a very unreliable way to stream video. For whatever reason, the AppleTV’s wifi device was more reliable than the new television. As I thought of it, I remembered that the AppleTV has never been perfect either when streaming digital music. I often get errors, time-outs and other random problems. I was convinced that if both my AppleTV and SmartTV had wired Ethernet connections then all of these streaming problems would be solved.I thought of how expensive it might be to get a cable installer to come to the home and put a couple of line drops in my house when I suddenly remembered something. I solved the very same problem with my son’s computer by adding a couple of POE (Power over Ethernet) adapters.

Solution for SmartTV and Apple TV WiFi Reliability and Bandwidth Problems

Ethernet over Power Line -Problem Solved

Ethernet over the power lines in my home proved to be the perfect, 100%-reliable solution for my son’s WiFi issues with his PC up in his room. A couple of years ago I bought the Netgear Powerline 500 product: I attached one to my router and the other one to his wall jack near his PC. An RJ45 Ethernet cable plugs from his PC to the power adapter in the wall. I checked with Amazon and saw that I could buy an additional two adapters for just $28.00. Two days later, I received them with my Amazon Prime membership and was attaching them to my equipment. I attached one of them to my television’s Ethernet connection and the other one to the AppleTV. Problem solved. I have been enjoying Amazon Prime streaming without a hitch. After a dozen or more movies, I have not had that rude Insufficient Bandwidth message one single time.  I will also add that my AppleTV has been working flawlessly streaming music and other video programs.

For $28.00, Ethernet over the power lines in your home completely eliminates the need to pay for expensive network cabling installation drops. According to the performance reports, this method is still not as fast as a wired connection, but it has been a 100% reliable alternative for me. I have never had such a trouble-free experience with the annoying AppleTV WiFI issues and I have been enjoying Amazon Prime Streaming far more than I ever thought I would.

Rate how well this solution worked for you

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Primal Kitchen Mayo

primal kitchen mayoPrimal Kitchen Mayo is fantastic! Not only is it 100% natural, but it simply tastes great. I am so disheartened by condiments, chips, snacks, and other foods these days that advertise themselves as being all-natural only to read on the label that the first ingredient contains canola oil or some other, unnatural, industrialized seed oil. When my wife brought home for the first time a jar of Primal Kitchen Mayo from our local Kroger Grocery store I was very skeptical to say the least. Primal Kitchen Mayo IngredientsBut, when I looked at the label, my skeptical at once turned into a very hopeful grin. Everything in this amazing condiment is 100% natural and healthy: Avocado Oil, Organic Cage-Free Eggs, Organic Egg Yolks, Organic Vinegar, Sea Salt, and Rosemary Extract. That’s it! Nothing less, nothing more.

I opened the jar, dipped a spoon into it and tasted it. To my delight, it was very tasty, tangy, and satisfying. Primal Kitchen Mayo simply tastes great. This all-natural, paleo mayonnaise has a very satisfying, rich and tangy taste that goes well on absolutely anything you can imagine.

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Pentair Pool Pump

Pentair Pool Pump

A Review

Pentair Pool Pump

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From what I had read and heard about pool pumps prior to making the investment, the Pentair Pool Pump is the Cadillac of all pumps. It took me a while to get my brain wrapped around the features and timer for making the very best use of this product, but after having used it for a summer, I am beginning to agree. In fact, this is one of the best purchases I have made for my pool, right next to the Saltwater Pool System nearly 2 summers prior. Unfortunately, it also took me some time to get my mind wrapped around paying so much for a pool pump. Because my pool is very far and uphill from my pump-room, I tend to be very hard on pumps. My last pool pump cost around $465.00 installed and lasted about 5 years.  The Pentair Pool Pump is in a whole new price league. I paid just under $900.00 for it on Amazon.  I got some quotes from pool installers and the installation cost was double that, so you can be sure that Amazon is giving you a great deal. However, if you are looking into this pump please look at the model and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples to what I am reviewing here. Here is my model and link for the actual product: Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase – Energy Star Certified

Now that I have established the model number of the pump I am reviewing here, let me give you a basic overview of what makes this pump different than the rest. The Pentair Pool Pump is a variable speed pump. By variable speed, I don’t just mean that it has just 2 or 3 settings of speeds from low to high, or even 5, 6, or 10 settings. What variable speed means is that will run literally at any speed between its lowest and highest possible RPM of power. So, let’s talk about the power and range of the Pentair 011018 Intelliflo Pump:

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Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer

Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer Reviewed

panasonic nose hair trimmerThis is one of those products that you must have once you find out how cheap and useful it is. The Panasonic Nose Hair trimmer can be purchased for just slightly under $10.00.  When I purchased the Old Spice Shaver, the one thing I immediately realized I was missing from my Wahl Groom Kit was the nose-hair and ear-grooming attachment. This handy little device made it easy to keep the nose and ears groomed. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to replace what I was missing.

 

Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer

Model ER-GN30

The ER-GN30 nose and ear groomer costs just $10.00 and operates via 1-AA battery. I purposely looked for a product that was both cheap and portable. With a cordless toothbrush and shaver taking up bathroom counter space and wall outlets, I didn’t want to add another one to the fray. The Panasonic nose trimmer fits on the inset of my back-splash and hardly takes up any space. Being that this is a device that is only going to be used once or twice a week, the single battery is both adequate and affordable to replace. I have yet to run-out the battery, but I would imagine that it will give me months of use before it has to be replaced.  Convenience and affordability are two important things, but how well does the Panasonic nose and ear trimmer work?

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Old Spice Shaver

Old Spice Shaver

Old Spice ShaverThe Old Spice Shaver for men is an electric, cordless shaver made by Braun. In the last few years, I’ve feverishly searched for a cordless, electric razor that is versatile enough to trim both a short beard and also maintain a close shave. I’ve tried two other Wahl Razors and both of them conked out after a few months of use. Also, I didn’t care for the flimsy attachments that were a nuisance to take on and off.  What sold me on trying the Old Spice Shaver was the fact that it is advertised as both an electric razor for a close shave and also a beard trimmer. Surprisingly, it is not so easy to find a mens electric razor that does both and does them well. The problem with the numerous electric razors that I’ve looked at is that they require numerous attachments for trimming the beard which keeps a fairly good sized mess on your bathroom counter. When I looked at the Old Spice Shaver reviews on Amazon, I quickly saw that it comes with only two attachments.

 

 

How does the Old Spice Shaver Work Work as a Trimmer?

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Essential Oil Diffuser by Innogear

Essential Oil DiffuserThe Essential Oil Diffuser by Innogear is an inexpensive way to get the benefits of aromatherapy in your home. Basically, In fact, over the long hall, you will pay more money for the essential oils than you will the actual diffuser, but we’ll get to that later. Let’s take a look at this inexpensive oil diffuser by Innogear.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a way of extracting the aroma of essential aromas into the air to improve your mood or health. The health benefits of breathing in the aromas of these oils is debatable, but what matters most is how it makes you feel. You can read more about the controversial health benefits of essential oils by clicking the link: What is aromatherapy? For now, let’s focus on how the Innogear product focuses on improving your mood and how well it accomplishes this task.

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Dell Inspiron 15

Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15 Model 7579

The Dell Inspiron 15, model 7579 is a is a well-made, 15.6″ laptop. I purchased this to replace the old, Core-2 Duo, 15″ Laptop that I use for business in my classroom at school. Microsoft, in their infamous ways really knows how to bring old hardware down to its knees, make it outdated, and force you to buy something new whether you once believed you ever needed to or not. My old laptop ran just fine until the nagging Windows-10 update finally got the best of it and upgraded it without me ever agreeing to it. Over time, the massive number of Windows-10 upgrades slowed the machine down to the point I could barely use it anyore. This new, 15.6″ Dell Laptop is not only much faster, but makes the laptop more useful in a number of different ways. Before I get to the pros and cons, let me just give you a brief run-down of the hardware specifics on the Dell Inspiron 15-7579, Laptop and a very non-technical explanation of what they do for you: 

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Hamilton Beach Electric Knife

Hamilton Beach Electric Knife

I might call this Hamilton Beach Electric knife the best thing since sliced bread even if bread is not its intended purpose. This handy, inexpensive electric kitchen knife will make quick, clean and neat work out of roast beef, turkey breast, and other solid cuts of meat. But, believe it or not, one of the best uses I’ve found for an electric carving knife goes beyond this.

Electric Carving Knife Tackles Delicate Slicing Jobs

Imagine trying to slice through bacon-wrapped meatloaf by hand. The bacon would undoubtedly slide right off the meat and the servings would likely not be very equally divided. Also, the downward pressure applied by your hand would squeeze some of the juices right out of the beef. The beauty of the electric carving knife is that the serrated edges of the knife make a very precision-made cut right through the bacon and meat. Very little pressure is needed, meaning that the the bacon and the juice stays on and inside the meat where it belongs.

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