Discover Prompts Day 24: Elixir, the Magic Potion

It really is a wonder we survived our childhood. There were all kinds of home remedies we were subjected to. From “Lucy’s Juice” to sweet nitre, I don’t know how we made it.

When we were kids, there was a bottle of “Sweet Nitre” in the back of the fridge. It was always there, like a skeleton in the closet or a ghost in the attic. If we ever said we were ill, or if anyone had a fever, it was time to take sweet nitre. My dad was the one who came up with it, I am certain he was forced to drink it when he was a kid. Why else would he make us drink it?

Sweet nitre was not sweet. It tasted like a mixture of cow urine and cat poop. I’ve never tasted either one, but I’m convinced both were in the bottle of sweet nitre. It was never my mom who served it to us. Always my dad. It was the magic vomit potion. Moments after drinking it we were in the bathroom (if we made it) throwing up everything we ate since the week before. I am certain the reason we were vomiting was that the potion was toxic. Even our little bodies knew better than to keep it inside. I looked up sweet nitre several years ago, and it had a warning in big letters saying it should never be taken internally as it was POISON. How are we still here?

Another great thing we did was eat Vicks VapoRub. Yes. I said eat Vicks VapoRub. If we had a sore throat, my dad, yes, him again, put a big gob of Vicks on his finger and made us eat it. “Just hold it in your mouth and let it go down your throat slowly” he said. Ughhhh!!

My dad’s mother was the queen of all remedies. Her term for anything medicinal (whether it was homemade or not) was “lickdob.” “Put some lickdob on it” she said. Whatever it was. Sliver? Lickdob. Flu? Lickdob. Hungry? Lickdob. Tired? Lickdob. We had to be careful because some of her lickdob was nasty.

While I was in college I worked with a professor building houses during a summer. I fell and cut my leg and it became infected. I spent a few days in the hospital with blood poisoning. When I spoke to my grandmother she told me I should have put a beet poultice on it. I thought, “You can eat the beet poultice. If this happens again I’m going back to the hospital!” No, I didn’t say it out loud.

One time when our triplet sons were sick, my aunt and grandma were going to apply some “Lucy’s Juice.” Lucy was my grandmother’s sister. She made an elixir with turpentine, kerosine, Vicks, and couple other things I can’t remember. Luckily, we found out about it and said, “No way!!”

I know home remedies have been around for generations. Elixirs of all kinds people swear by. I just swear at them instead of by them. No thanks.

The lake is a wonderful elixir that doesn’t require me to swallow anything. Listening to the water lap the shore on a calm day is magical.

A favorite of ours is finding sea glass, or beach glass. We have found some amazing treasures. Some pieces have clearly been in the water for decades. My wife recently found an intact pop bottle from 1963.

Coffee is my go-to elixir every day of every week. All day. Coffee smells wonderful, tastes amazing, and brightens my mood, without fail. A mocha, on the other hand is like heaven with a cherry on top. Love it!

The best, surest, always available, never ending elixir is family.

Family with coffee? Oh, man. Now it’s getting dangerous.

7 Tips For Cozy Landscaping

I know, you don’t often think of your outdoor space as being “cozy,” but if being cozy means it makes you feel good, that’s exactly what your landscaping should create. A cozy space.

Here is Tip #1. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Think of your landscaping as an ongoing, long-term, evolving project.

If you’re anything like me, you like to get things done. Start it, do it, finish it. Wrap it up in a tidy box and leave it. Landscaping isn’t like that at all. Since you are most likely going to be using live plants (hopefully), and since they do not grow overnight, get used to the idea of growing your landscaping as your plants grow.

Tip #2. Do it right the first time. There is nothing more aggravating, and expensive, than having to do a project twice because you didn’t take the time to plan. If drawing works for you, make a sketch of your landscaping project. Draw circles where your plants or shrubs are going to be and label them. Now you have something you can easily change before you start digging.

Tip #3. Don’t be afraid to tackle BIG projects. If you can dream it, you can do it. The beautiful rock garden in this photo took the place of an ugly, weed-covered, nasty-looking area under two big pine trees. The only thing we paid for was the weed block fabric, paving stones, and the plants. Most of the rocks came from a friend’s cottage. They were originally picked from the Lake Huron.

Tip #4. Simple things you already have can help make your space beautiful and cozy. The swing has been repainted several times. It originally hung from the wooden frame in the distance which is now a bird and squirrel feeder.

Tip #5. A simple coat of paint can be a tremendous improvement. Our deck was a dark red-brown color. We were thinking of replacing it with composite which is expensive. We decided to paint it instead. It’s beautiful! Our miniature golden-doodle, Maggie, loves it! Every morning she insists we drink our coffee on the deck. It’s a lovely, cozy space.

Tip #6. Simple groupings draw attention and help create that cozy feeling. Pick some favorite items that add a sense of calm and comfort to the space.

Tip #7. The space is yours. Make it pleasing to you. Try not to compare your space to anything else you’ve seen. Everything in your outdoor space should bring pleasure and comfort to you. Love it.

Oh, and one more thing. Make sure you have lots of help. Maggie watches carefully and she approves.

We are very happy with our cozy outdoor space. It constantly reminds us to slow down, sit, rest, breathe, and enjoy.

It also tells me I need more coffee.