Her Guide to Green

Her Guide To Green is dedicated to incorporating eco-friendly products, people, and initiatives into the lives of women across the world.

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Final Harvest

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Yes, the lovely summer season has come to an end. For me, this is a sad fact but one that allows me to get some long awaited tasks done indoors.

The weather report was threatening a freeze and it indeed came. Killing all my beloved plants in my garden. This year, I planted a second round of crops to extend my harvest season. I did this to boost my roadside stand stock and it was a fruitful (no pun intended) decision! This was my second year for my stand and sales increased by more than 200%!

I pulled most of my plants before the freeze and picked all the remaining veggies. There are tomatoes (Roma and Big Boys), bell peppers, egg plant, zucchini, habaneros, Lima beans and green beans. I also pulled a peck of green tomatoes with a couple of recipes in mind. With the plan to jar and freeze most of my final harvest, I brought it all inside and it sits here ready for my use. A little overwhelming but I will start with the freezing first to get that out of the way and because this step is the least daunting!

I have one of those vacuum sealers so freezing goes pretty quickly. My plan is to freeze the Lima beans after shelling them and next would be the green beans. I will then move on to eggplant by slicing and freezing on a cookie sheet. I then put the frozen slices in a air-free sealed bag. This method prevents them from sticking together and you can remove just what you need.

Canning is my favorite method for preserving tomatoes. I am going to make green tomato relish and salsa. I used Pinterest to find my recipes, the ones that looked like they fit our family’s tastes. Cold water canning is my method of choice. Using up all of my red Roma tomatoes, I will be canning some whole and will also stew some. We use a lot of stewed tomatoes over the winter so I make a lot of these!

Processing and preserving my harvest makes me feel good, knowing that I am saving money and giving my family healthy vegetables that came from my garden. I pulled many seed pods to start in my greenhouse next spring. Selecting seeds from the most prolific plants will ensure a great harvest for next year and I can save money too!

Did I mention that my garden is all organic and all natural? Well it is. I use no un-natural chemicals as pesticides nor do I use herbicides.image image image image image image

This blog is about doing and sharing my little part to enrich our lives through being Eco-friendly. With a focused effort not to waste. Growing my veggies is something I can do to contribute to our bee population, leaving a smaller footprint on society and to use our bountiful earth to supply my family with the treasures that come from it. Canning is good because I reuse the same jars every year, only to use new seals. Maybe you should give it a try. It isn’t hard to do, takes a little bit of time but rewards you with your own, home grown vegetables all through the cold season. There is nothing that feels warmer than that!


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Tea Tree and Lemongrass soap

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I have been making homemade organic soap for almost a year. We refuse to use regular bar soap now when bathing. It smells so good. I just made a batch and ordered supplies to make more. I make it for friends and they just have to have it! I wrote about this before and added different details: https://herguidetogreen.com/2014/07/24/soap-making-and-what-i-learned/

Making soap is fun and you can get as creative as you want. You can make it with several different processes and can use any ingredients that you like. I use coconut oil, pumice oil, palm oil, sweet almond oil, essential oils, shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter. Yes! All of these ingredients go into my soap. I prefer mine to be all organic and natural and believe this is the best way for my family.

It is so moisturizing and leIMG_3559aves your skin feeling soft. It is hard to use anything else!

I did a lot of research before getting into making soap and there are so many ways you can make it. You can add oats to make it slough your skin and you can add different oils to make it smell like anything you prefer. You can add natural coloring agents to make the bars as pretty as you want and to match your bathroom, or make custome soap for a baby shower, wedding or just about anything you can think of.

Give it a try, you just might switch once you bathe with it. It is fun too!


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Bisphenol A

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We produce more than 15oo lbs. of trash a year. Much of our trash is plastic. A chemical called Bisphenol A which is found in plastic is leaching into water sources and is getting into animals. Bizarre developmental problems in animals sparked a national effort to find the cause. Bisphenol A breaks out of plastic and leaches into water, it can act as a dose of female sex hormone, estrogen. Too much estrogen can disrupt the endocrine system in animals and can be linked to many health impacts. This chemical is in baby bottles, but the plastics industry disputes the effects on humans. In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA. FDA is seeking the public’s input and input from other expert agencies.

 

To protect your baby, use BPA free bottles. Using glass bottles also avoids your baby’s exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals. Born Free specializes in developing and manufacturing baby feeding products that combine the safest materials with the smartest innovations.


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Save the Honeybees

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I was away last week on vacation. While away, I had some down time and decided to start a new book. I read “The Secret Life of Bees,” written by Sue Monk Kidd. I have been saving this book in my kindle reader for over a year. Since it was listed on the New York Time’s Best Sellers list and Oprah’s 2013 Book Club, I gave it a try. I am not writing here to review the book although I thought it was very good.

It was about a young girl, Lily, who ran away from home to get away from her abusive father. She ran to a place called Tiburon, SC, with her side-kick and surrogate mother (her real mother died when she was 4 years old), Rosaleen, a black woman who gets into trouble after standing up for herself to three racist white men. The setting of the book is 1964 and is the year of the Civil Rights Act. Lily has a memento that belonged to her mother and the name of Triburon was on the back. Without spoiling the story, they end up in that town, and meet three eccentric black sisters who let Lily and Rosaleen into their lives. Their hosts are beekeepers and produce honey and candles to sell to local markets. This is where the story fits into this blog …..

Bee-Indiividual-In the story, the sister beekeepers, trained Lily the process of raising bees and making honey, it reminded me that I should write about the importance of honey bees in our every day lives. Making honey is a small portion of what bees really do and the beehive is an intricate, complicated balance of social behavior and silent communication. Although this book does include the mechanisms of the beehive and the families of bees that live in them, in 1964, there was no such thing as CCD, Bee-Indiividual- Colony Collapse Disorder. Our bees are in trouble. They are dying at an alarming rate and there is no explanation for it. Some believe it is because of pesticides, mites or lack of nutrition and some believe it is the combination of all three. Overall, there are things we can do to help in the decline of the precious honey bee and they are to avoid the application of pesticides during the day. That is when honey bees are out foraging. Also, we can plant pollinator-friendly plants which are a good source of nectar and pollen. Keeping beehives is also good for growing the bee population. For more information go to www.nappc.org.

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Of all living pollinators, bees are the most important. Without pollination, new seeds would not be created therefore, no new plants. When a bee is pollinating a plant it is accidental, it is seeking pollen for food at the base of the petal of a flower. Rubbing against the stamen, a bee gets pollen stuck to itself and then it forages around, rubs against the stigma and the pollen is transferred, and this is how pollination occurs. When a bee moves from one flower to the next flower and touches the stigma, the pollen from the last flower gets left behind. This is called cross pollination. Some fruit trees and plants need the work of bees to survive. An almond is totally dependent on the honey bee.  A hard-working honey bee will visit up to a thousand flowers in one day, spending an entire day foraging. The bee then brings the pollen back to the hive where bee milk and royal jelly, to feed the queen and colony, is produced. If this does not happen, the queen will not lay eggs.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, honey bees pollinate a third of everything we eat. This is how important it is that we save the bees.

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Do You Know a Litterbug?

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It seems fundamental to say, “DO NOT LITTER”, but I see litter everywhere and I just can’t imagine where it comes from. My husband and I often take walks out through our property with our granddaughter. On every walk we find several pieces of trash that blows in from the nearby road. I recently mowed my front lawn and when I finished I returned 10 minutes later to find an empty drink bottle laying at the side of the road right where I had just mowed! This disturbs me greatly.

Who is throwing their trash on the street or out their car windows? Do you know someone who does this? I personally do not and I cannot even imagine throwing something down on the ground. No matter where I am or what I am doing. If I have a piece of trash and nowhere to put it, I will throw it in my car or purse until I get home. If I see a piece of trash, I will always pick it up and throw it away when near a receptacle.

Telling the public not to litter seems like a ridiculous thing to have to do but it needs to be done. Not to mention the stiff fines for littering, it is ugly and terrible for our environment. I notice signs on our highways and byways to warn citizens of the repercussions of littering yet still continue to see trash on sidewalks, parks, streams and elsewhere. Our highway systems pay millions of dollars to clean up after a few who don’t care about the environment or who don’t care about receiving a big fine. There are adopt-a-highway programs that exist for this very purpose to alleviate the stress put on taxpayers, but why do we have these programs? If littering didn’t happen, we wouldn’t need to clean up, right?

We need to teach our children not to litter and tell them why, if your kids are like mine, they will grow up with the same habits of disposing trash where it belongs and then teach their children the same.


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Soap Making and What I Learned

Since I have started selling vegetables at my roadside stand, The domestic gods have inspired me into making my own organic soap. If you told me a year ago that I would be a vegetable gardener, a vegetable peddler and a soap maker, I would have laughed out loud! I have to admit that I love my new life here in South Jersey and am willing to try out almost anything related to making my own things, selling them and recycling them. I was born and raised in a rural area and I guess I am returning to my roots.

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One of my new adventures that intrigued me was making my own organic soap to sell at my stand. I wanted it to be wholesome, pure and safe. I started with researching different processes and found that there are three ways to make homemade soap. There is the cold process method, basically combining your ingredients and then letting time do your curing. Then there is the hot process method where you cook it in a crock pot, speeding up the curing time allowing you to use it almost instantly. The melt and pour method seems to be the easiest method and involves buying the ingredients which is called the “base” (it has everything in it you need to make soap), then melt it down, add your scents, color and you have soap! Melt and pour soap is also ready to use right away. Well, since I am not a patient person, I decided on the hot process method so I can start using my soap and selling it right away. After making my soap, I realized that this was not difficult, is ready to use and this particular process suits me well. Oh, did I mention that I love this soap too? It is so rich, lathery and creamy with such a lovey smell, my friends have complimented it, my husband absolutely loves it!  Also, I have a friend that loves it so much that she ordered 4 bars! I better get busy!

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Researching the processes and ingredients was an interesting task of discovery. I just love learning new things.  I found that you use carrier oils, lye and butters to make a base and then you add essential oils to give it that lovely smell.  You can also use colorants, but I want my soap to look homemade so I am sticking to the natural color of the soap when I make it.  All products that I bought were all-natural and organic. I want my soap to be the real deal. I had to buy a crock pot, spatula, soap mold, soap cutter, measuring cup and a stick blender.  I discovered that the tools you use to make soap all have to be dedicated to soap making only. Lye is a very dangerous product and tools for making it cannot be  used to make food or anything that will be consumed. You also must wear goggles and gloves while making soap because of the caustic nature of the lye. You do not want to get it in your eyes or on your skin.

There are wonderful soap making sites all over the internet but if you want to keep it organic, you have to buy from the right places. That involves research too. I watched many YouTube videos, read blogs and looked for recommendations from the soap makers that I thought were respectable and knowledgeable. I sought out the producers that seemed to have a large following and were professional. Three of my favorite sites and the ones I made my purchases from were Essential Depot, Bramble Berry and Soap Goods.

The soap I decided to make has many ingredients in it; 

Coconut Oil, Olive Pomace Oil, Palm Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, I then ordered box packaging for my soap so that I could sell it.  I made labels for my boxes, below.

Tea Tree and Lemongrass Organic Soap

When making hot process soap, I noted that the stages are interesting. When first starting out, measure out all ingredients, it is the best way to do it so you are organized and all is ready to go.  Using a scale to measure all ingredients to ensure accuracy is very important. Everything in soap making is measured by weight, not volume.

  1. Mix your lye in water, not the other way around, it may cause an explosion!
  2. Then, add your lye/water to the carrier oils in the crock pot.
  3. Mix with the stick blender until you reach a stage called “trace” where the liquid leaves a trace when you run your mixer through it.
  4. The next stage is the thick trace stage where the soap thickens up like pudding.
  5. When the soap starts to boil, it will rise up in the middle, stir it up and complete the gel stage. It looks like mashed potatoes.
  6. When it gets to this stage, add your butters and stir until they all melt.
  7. At this stage, the soap has saponified:  it must go through this process. After saponification there is no lye left. It means to convert (a fat) into soap by treating with an alkali.
  8. When soap is at 200 degrees, let it cool slightly to prevent flashing and then add the essential oil. Stir gently
  9. Pour into soap mold.
  10. Let cool for an hour or so and cut into bars.

That’s it, you may want to try it sometime. I made my first batch and I am on to another. Changing up the ingredients and oils for smell is something that I would like to experiment with. I will also try other methods and colors. For now, I like this soap and this process! Wish me luck!


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Aloe Vera, Natural Healing

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Aloe Vera has been empirically known as a plant with healing properties. When I was a girl, my mom always had an Aloe Vera plant around the house. If we would get sunburned, she would break off a stalk of the plant and rub the gel on our burned spots to cool, soothe and heal our over-exposed skin.

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Aloe is a succulent plant growing in tropical and temperate climates, it is grayish green with leaves that are spongy and can grow up to a foot high. It has little spines that run up the leaves that are not sharp to the touch. One of the easiest plants to grow in a pot, the Aloe Vera plant is low maintenance. You do not have to water it too often (only twice a month) and it is hardy in stature as well as in sustenance. Many confuse it for a cactus but it is really from the lily family. Aloe Vera has been known for centuries as the natural healer. The gel found in the leaves of this plant can be used to treat burns, skin rashes, poison ivy, eczema, fever blisters and beauty applications to the face.

 

You can order your very own Aloe plant online at Amazon.com. It comes in a 4” pot,is about 8” tall and it needs full sun.


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Roadside Farm Stand and Recycling

 

Roadside Produce Sign

Roadside Produce Sign

Beginning next week, I am going to be selling my garden vegetables at a roadside table, outside my house. Although I plan on putting up as much as I can by canning and freezing, I do not want to see anything go to waste that we have worked so hard to grow. I decided on doing this because I thought it would be fun and I am trying all kinds of new things lately. Even vegetable gardening is new  to me. Making a few extra dollars doesn’t hurt either. I am not looking to get rich, but I am looking to share in the bounty of my beautiful garden with passersby.

My first step in beginning my roadside stand was to research what others do. Pinterest and YouTube were great places to start. I drove around to check out prices at other roadside stands and will make mine cheaper. I wrote a plan with good advice and things not to do. When researching what is out there, I discovered that the beauty of display means a lot, good signage is important, healthy looking produce and abundance are a priority. I am going to sell homemade soap and pepper jelly, that I have made, offering something different and extra.

Homemade Pepper Jelly

Homemade Pepper Jelly

I am starting with just a picnic table and benches that I have covered, so I can easily wipe it down daily. I have a canopy that I will put up and anchor down to keep there permanently, the vegetables need shade. I love to recycle and reuse, that is what this blog is all about, so my husband, Bob and I built a road sign this past weekend using two old pallets that were sitting on our garage floor. We tore it apart and he built it, with my help and I painted the lettering on it and I have to say that we are very pleased with the way it turned out. It was hard work but worth it. It will last a long time and will hopefully draw people in to shop. It has pegs so that I can change out the signs for vegetables that will be available and remove the ones that are not. We made the bottom two boards out of chalk paint so I can write in something that will be specials of the day, such as my homemade pepper jelly and soap.

Roadside stand


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Earn Rewards for Being Green

Recyclebank

One of the coolest things about going green is all of the new initiatives that are being put into action and the web for making it easy to search for and access. RecycleBank is so innovative and such a great idea, it makes recycling easy to do and motivating at the same time. If only I would have thought of it! RecycleBank works as partners with consumers and businesses to offer reward points for recycling. Imagine! Now you can join and the more you recycle, the more you can earn. The concept is just incredible, it is a great idea. If you once threw those cat food cans in the trashcan, you may reconsider… RecycleBank recycles; will try to reuse, if possible, your disposed electronic equipment. If they cannot recycle them, they will dispose of properly, not in a landfill. They offer co-mingled recycling where you throw all of your recyclables in one container (they provide the container) and they do the sorting making it easier and more convenient for you.  RecycleBank offers great tips on being green; they give you extra reward points for watching informative videos green tips and best of all shopping where you can redeem your points. RecycleBank records the amount you recycle, you redeem the points you have earned at over 2,400 retailers.


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Harvest Your Garden, Put Food up for Winter Bounty

BALL® CANNING BEGINNER'S KIT If you were one of the industrious and planted a garden (or just a few tomato plants) you may want to entertain the idea of preserving your summer vegetables for a winter bounty. Putting up fresh produce for the winter is age-old, but becoming more and more popular. The economy plays a part in this, needing to save money, but green awareness and wholesome food preparation is top-of-mind with many.

There are different ways to preserve your fruits and vegetables. Canning, freezing and drying are the most popular. When canning you must use clean jars with good seals, the BALL® CANNING BEGINNER’S KIT is an excellent place to start. The kinds of produce that can be preserved in this manner are tomatoes, green beans, peas, beets, carrots, sweet or white potatoes, etc… Freezing is an easier process for putting up food. Using gallon freezer zip lock bags work very well as well as plastic containers with snap lids. Almost all vegetables are suitable for freezing but there are some that do not do well like cabbage, celery, cucumbers or potatoes. Drying is popular with certain kinds of foods. Food dehydrators are easy, it is a small appliance with an electric element for heat, a fan and vents for circulation. Foods that can be processed in this way include herbs, beans, seeds, fruits, meats and nuts.

I am going to try out canning this year.I will start with tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and green beans. I am new at this so I will expect some mistakes but you have to start somewhere, right? My sister has done it all before and she will be helping me. There are things to remember like sterilizing your jars and lids, using big tongs to retrieve your jars from a pressure cooker or hot bath and remember to make sure your jars are sealed. I am sure I am missing some highlights but with a little help from my sis and I am sure it will turn out fine!


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Unclutter Your Life

Streamlining your life can benefit you in many ways. Minimalists swear by this saying that clutter can burden your life and add stress needlessly. De-cluttering your life can help you be more efficient, organized and happier. When I talk about clutter, I am not just talking about the junk you have laying around. I am talking about all of it, the emotional baggage you carry around with you, in your relationships, in your past, your guilt, anger, the files on your computers and the junk laying around your house, all of it. From a practical standpoint, you can begin by starting small, working on one room at a time in your living space. If that seems insurmountable, you can start even smaller, a corner of a room, a closet, a shelf. Cleaning out even a small space can give you gratification and the motivation to go to the next small space. Keep going and soon you have your house organized and then you can move to your computer, if you haven’t used it in over a year, back it up and pack it away on a disc or in the cloud, consolidated with all old files. This takes very little space and holds a lot of information. Then you can start with the emotional stuff. See a therapist, face your greatest fears and de-clutter. It’s wasted energy to carry all that around. You can live a more efficient life by doing this and feel more productive by focusing on the things you can change.

In your living space, remember that you can reuse items instead of buying new. When de-cluttering, keep only the essentials, I don’t recommend keeping the old manual for that boom box that you used in the 80’s. If you haven’t used it in a year, is it necessary? Analyze this for yourself. Some things have sentimental ties for absolutely no reason. I have these things myself and I have learned to rethink what is meaningful and what is not. You can do this too. Did you ever clean your purse out? What is the first thing you do? Dump it all out on the kitchen table and going through it bit by bit, throwing out the trash first then separating items in order of significance. You can’t keep too much because it is a small space so most of it goes in the trash or reused somewhere else in your space. Clothing can be one of the biggest space hogs of all, donate the stuff that you don’t wear, why keep it hoping you will fit back into those size 5’s? Not worth it. Give it some realistic thought and don’t be afraid to go with it. You will feel incredibly empowered and unburdened when you are finally done. Good luck, you deserve it!

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You Get Further with Vinegar than Sugar – “mother” says

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There are many natural alternatives to cleaning with chemical solutions which are harmful to our environment. Good old vinegar is one of them and it isn’t just for salads any more. It is also known to be very versatile when it comes to domestic engineering. Acetic acid is the ingredient that gives vinegar that potent pop to the taste buds. But this multi-tasker also has many uses for household cleaning. It is very affordable; vinegar is about 80% less in cost than a chemical all-purpose cleaner, ounce for ounce.

Some of the few uses are as follows: Clean hard water stains from around your drain, soak a cloth and lay it on the stain for a while, it will disappear! — It is great for cleaning your automatic drip coffee machine and is actually recommended in most instruction booklets. – Copper and pewter will shine with a solution of 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup of vinegar – Clean your dishwasher by running a cup of vinegar though the whole cycle — It is great as a deodorizer for your drains. – Disinfect cutting boards by wiping down with full strength vinegar. – Clean your refrigerator with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar — Boil a stained pot with a solution of 3 tbsp. of vinegar and a pint of water, the stains will loosen up and will wash away.  So if you’re ever in a “pickle” and need to polish the tea service, grab the vinegar out of the food cabinet and clean away!

I wrote this little poem so that you can remember the process, I hope it helps.

Vinegar 

Don’t hold back, don’t refrain

From pouring vinegar down your drain

The smell will be gone

The house will be clean

Spic and span, you know what I mean

 

Boil your pots to get them stain free

Along with your kettle that makes your tea

The fridge will be fresh

The floors will be neat

After all that your work is complete!

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My Garden Research

My husband and I have recently moved to South New Jersey from Pennsylvania. We bought a house on six acres of farmland that we lease to a local farmer for planting soybeans. We basically live on 1 acre of land and the rest goes to the farmer. We decided that we would embrace the farm life, after moving from a suburban development, by subsequently planting a garden. We have many tomato plants, basil,  chives,  marjoram, cilantro, sun flowers (for our granddaughter, Callista) and thanks to my sister, Tracy, we have 1 zucchini, 1 cucumber, 2 bell peppers and some spearmint.  Although, I have been an avid gardener, I have never grown a vegetable garden before so this is all new to me. I want an all organic garden and would even like to set up an “on your honor”  roadside stand for our neighbors and those who drive by. We have 36 tomato plants, so I believe that we will have plenty to share with friends and family. My sister and I are planning on canning whole tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and making some homemade ketchup too, which is also all new to me. She has done it for years. I will learn from her and really appreciate the help.

With this new adventure comes the job of maintaining a garden! I had no idea the work that goes into it. I am constantly searching on YouTube to find tips on how to beautify my garden and to grow it in a healthy organic way. Keeping the weeds at bay is the most daunting task and I have researched several different sites that recommend various ways help to minimize the amount of weeds that you have to pull, spray and stomp out!

Natural Weed Killers

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  • 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, 1 tablespoon dawn original blue . Mix it all together and voila! You have a great spot weed killer. You will never buy Roundup again! Be careful though, this mixture is an equal opportunity killer, it will kill your good plants too, so only use  on the weeds and try not to use it on a windy day. Tips: It works best on a sunny morning as the sun activates the acid in the vinegar and sets it to work. This mixture will work on your garden, walkways, driveways and flowerbeds too. I have also seen variations to this recipe with Epsom salt added instead of the table salt, not sure what is different in the effects of that are.
Best-Vodka-Brands

Almost any vodka will work.

  • 1 1/2 cup of vodka, 5 cups of water and a couple of drops of dish soap. Shake together in a spray bottle and apply to weeds. The vodka dries out the weeds and deadens them almost instantly.
  • Newspaper and mulch. Add newspaper almost everywhere around your  plants and then top them off with about 3 inches of mulch. This is very effective in keeping weed seeds from the sunlight. I used straw as my mulch but may experiment next year with black mulch or grass clippings from my front yard.

Insect Repellents

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  • A good and natural way to repel insects if you have them eating away at your plants is to use a solution of smelly kitchen ingredients that will make those nasty pests go away. On a stove, cook together 6 cups of water, 1 whole onion, 3 cloves of garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and add 1/4 cup of dish soap (I prefer Meyers natural soap or Dr Bronner’s because they are Eco-friendly). Turn heat to simmer and let cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and let the solution cool. Pour into a spray bottle, I use an old window cleaner bottle and tape a label to it so that no one confuses it for something else.  Spray this mixture on your plants once a week and you will see that it works! Aside: This must be stored in the refrigerator.

White Powdery Mildew

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White powdery mildew shown on my Zucchini plant

I found that I had a white powdery mildew on my only zucchini plant and I was saddened to find out that not only will this kill the plant itself, but it can wipe out an entire garden! Hey, wait, no one told me that these things can happen!  Anyway, I researched it on the web and found that it is a pretty common occurrence and can be eliminated with a simple household ingredient, baking soda, something to do with the alkalinity. All I had to do was get a garden sprayer and put a gallon of water in it, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, shake it up and spray evenly on affected plants every three days, make sure to get the undersides of the leaves too. I also sprayed the nearby plants too, in case they were affected.

I truly hope this post helps you grow a better, healthier and more organic garden. I know it will help me!

 

It has been awhile since I have posted on my blog page and I regret that. It was a busy year and many things have affected my lack of time but I want to say that there are no excuses and I have re-committed myself to posting regularly. Thank you for reading.


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Go Green With Your Beer, Drink Draught.

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I don’t know if you are like me, every once in a while, I enjoy a cold glass of beer. It is a pet peeve of mine that the cans and bottles are disposable and not refundable. I seem to remember when I was a kid, you could turn your soda and beer bottles in for real money. Society was green before they were thinking about saving the earth. I know there are some states that you can get cash for your recyclable cans and bottles, I saw a few coin operated machines in Massachusetts. If you do not live in a state that gives you money for your returnables, at least there are alternatives to all the waste.

Drinking draught beer is far better for the environment than drinking bottled or canned beer. When you buy beer by the keg or order it at the bar, you save the environment significantly; no cardboard cases, no bottles, packaging, labels, no caps, no cans and no recycling processes.

A beer maker called New Belgium Brewing is taking the green initiative several steps further. New Belgium is an employee owned company that is using alternative fuels to power their beer making process. By minimizing their impact on the earth they are a socially responsible contributor to their community. Utilizing methane from a waste water treatment process, they fuel a co-gen (combined heat and power engine), creating on-site electricity and heat for brewing. They are also the largest private consumer of wind-power electricity and the first wind-powered brewery. This is not all they do to reduce their carbon footprint and they have a plan to do more. So the next time you are ready to drink a tall cold one, remember the environment and do your little part!


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Calculate Your Recycling

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The National Recycling Coalition has a very informative graphic on their website that will calculate your recycling and relays it into energy savings. Also on the site are 10 reasons to recycle and the top ten things to recycle.

Did you know?
Americans throw enough paper in offices away each year to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from New York to Seattle. Making paper from recycled paper reduces contributions to air pollution by 95%. If you recycle a Sunday newspaper every week of the year, you save 4 trees.
Every 3 months Americans put enough aluminum into landfills to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet. The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime. Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours. If you recycle 24 cans per week, you save enough energy for 72 hours of viewing TV.
Glass can be recycled an indefinite number of times and never wears out. Making glass from recycled materials cuts related water pollution by 50%. Recycling one glass jar saves enough electricity to light a conventional 60 watt bulb for 4 hours.
U.S. recycled 3.3 billion pounds of post-consumer plastics in 2005, keeping it out landfills. The plastic recycling industry provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.

Calculate your recycling efforts to see how much energy you save. It is the mission of The National Recycling Coalition To eliminate waste and promote sustainable economies through advancing sound management practices for raw materials in North America


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Green Moving Alternative

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Rent a green box is an award winning company that is taking eco-friendly solutions to moving your home goods to an all new level. Servicing areas in California, this company is expanding nationwide in the next few years.

No more cardboard and toxic packaging tape, rent a green box offers rentable, reusable green boxes for moving without the waste. Simply put, rent a green box helps you determine how many Recopacks (recycled ecological packing solution) you will need to make your move. Recopacks are lime green boxes made of 100% recycled, post consumer plastic.

Their mission is to provide relocating business and residences with an authentic and genuine earth friendly packing and moving alternative that will save time, money and Earth.


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Water Saving Shower Heads by EcoFlow

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The EcoFlow shower head is a creation by Water Pik that is designed to save water without compromising quality. According to the EPA, showering is one of the leading use of water in the household and that the public demand for water has more than tripled between 1950 and 2000.
Using a water-saving shower head will help conserve water, reduce energy usage and help you save money on your water and energy bills. Water Pik has expanded their EcoFlow product line to offer more options for an enhanced shower experience. With various spray modes and several key features, EcoFlow products are available at many popular retailers. EcoFlow offers fixed mount showers, hand held showers and rain showers.

On their website you can calculate your water savings buy entering the average number of showers taken in your household daily, the average length of time each shower takes, your flow rate and the flow rate of the new shower head you would consider purchasing. It will then calculate how many gallons of water you will save, how much gas savings and the amount of money you will save by using that particular shower head.


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Choose an Eco-Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep

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When choosing an eco friendly, non allergenic pillow opt for a non synthetic, non chemical, 100% certified organic cotton. As always, buy only made in the USA. A wool pillow is also a good option when making the organic pillow choice. Wool regulates temperature and wicks away moisture. Another excellent option is pure silk. You can shop for silk filled and covered pillows that are luxuriant and very comfortable. Silk does not shift or bunch up like some other fillers may. When researching this blog post I also found another great option for eco friendly pillows: Corn Fiber. Interestingly, these pillows are made from the same ingredient that is in corn syrup, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, resistant to insects, soft and resilient.


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Bake Your Own Holiday Cookies

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There is nothing more traditional than baking your own holiday’s cookies. There is certain nostalgia to mixing the dough, decorating, baking and sliding them onto a cooling rack. Oh and the house smells so good! Baking your own cookies also is an eco-thing to do. You are eliminating the expensive, wasteful packaging that come with the store bought kind. The ingredients are all fresh and you can use all the natural ingredients you want. You can give them as gifts which is an affordable and always useful gift. Everyone loves homemade cookies and you can bake different kinds to make a nice looking array of treats. Along with baking cookies, you can make your own peanut brittle or toffee and put it on a decorative tray for a popular addition to your holiday yummies. It is a fun activity that the whole family can get involved in.


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Fresh Cut or Fake? Real Trees Are Ok

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According to the National Christmas Tree Association, nearly all cut holiday trees are grown on tree farms — meaning their stock is replenished yearly and forests aren’t hurt by choosing a cut tree. And spent trees can be ground into woodchips and used to mulch your garden or prevent erosion at a local watershed. Check with your city government or go to earth911.org and enter your ZIP code to find out where to have your tree recycled.
Fake trees are a different story, requiring a significant amount of energy and petroleum-based materials to manufacture. Plus, artificial trees are often manufactured overseas and shipped thousands of miles before they reach our living rooms.
“Living trees are another option,” Terrace points out. “They can be kept in a pot during the holidays and planted in the garden afterward.” Local nurseries stock numerous varieties of evergreens. In the Northwest, the Original Living Christmas Tree Company rents live Christmas trees that are returned and replanted after the holidays.


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Bake Your Own Bread for the Holidays

1004breadThe holidays are approaching and you must prepare early if you are hosting friends and family. You wonder how you can put a green spin on how you put it all together. Well, nothing is more eco-friendly than preparing your own foods with no preservatives and taking pride in the good flavors that come from your hard work. This year, I would like to attempt baking my own bread. I may even get brave and bake several loaves to give as gifts. Now, I am not talking about using all those fancy machines, I am talking about doing it the way my grandmother did, with the yeast, hand kneading, big bowls, baking pans and all the natural ingredients that make the best tasting bread you will ever eat! Think you can’t do it? Well, you can, and so can I, let’s try it together. I found a good recipe that reminds me of the kind I had from my childhood.  Simple ingredients, but not a simple loaf of bread. There is nothing like homemade bread sliced, toasted with a pat of butter melted and topped with some homemade jam. Hmmmmm. No preservatives, all natural, no chemical additives. It tastes much better than store bought bread and is better for you.


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Simple Things to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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Don’t use drinking straws
Carry your own chopsticks
Stop delivery of retail catalogs
Organize your trash
Eat leftovers
Use your bicycle
When its yellow, let it mellow, when it’s brown, flush it down
Use local produce
Fix air leaks
Shorten your Shower
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
Put your lights on a timer
Reuse your bath towel an extra day
Inflate your tires, under-inflated tires wastes gas
Send an e-card


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Send E-Holiday Cards Instead

mailboxI wrote about this not too long ago. The benefits to sending an e-card over sending paper greeting cards are very significant. First of all, it is FREE! There are many sites that you can use to send your e-cards, with many designs and you can be as personal as you want. You can customize for friends, business acquaintances and make a totally unique card for your family.

With traditional greeting cards going through the mail, you cannot always afford to send to everyone that you would like to, but with e-cards, you can send to everyone you know! You also have the benefit of time, no more rushing to get them in the busy holiday snail mail in time. E-cards are immediate and easy. No more paper so no more killing trees, no more wasteful shipping, no more ink, no more costly stamps. A truly eco-friendly way of sending your holiday greeting.

 


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WE GIVE YOU THE GREEN LIGHT!

The Energizer® Compact Rechargeable LED Light is the handiest item in my house. I have had other flashlights but this one is the best! I carry a flashlight when we go to our marina and I carry one when visiting my sister and her family at her cottage in the woods. Running out of batteries is the worst when you are in a pinch and need lighting. Nothing is greener than recharging your flashlight without the waste of throwing batteries away and replenishing them, especially when you use one frequently. Another benefit to this flashlight is that it is always ready, in an emergency, anytime, anywhere in your house! It is always easy to find because you plug it in and forget it until the need arises. It is bright white LED providing 2 hours and 45 minutes of run time, it turns on when the power goes out. With the two mode slide switch, you can conserve the life of your flashlight. You can actually get 15 hours of life out of it if you run it on low! This is such a great flashlight for your green lifestyle, it recharges hundreds of times, it makes you wonder how many batteries you would have gone through in a standard battery operated flashlight?

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“App”ropriate Carbon Calculator

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MyEarth is a great interactive app that can help you calculate the carbon offset of every suggested green activity. Through the app, you can look at the many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and MyEarth will calculate your savings in carbon units. You can calculate your savings for activities like carpooling, doing your laundry with cold water only, insulating your water heater and much more. This app makes it so easy to show you how much simple activities can make an impact.

You may even discover that your current actions are saving our earth!

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Hurricane Sandy and Learning Conservation

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We lost our power during hurricane Sandy. Not for long, only for 48 hours, thirty minutes and 12 seconds (but who’s counting?). We approached it as an adventure, having good conversation, building a fire, lighting candles, loading batteries into our flashlights, we were ready, bring it on! We were determined to put a positive spin on this new-found situation. We used our outdoor grill to make burgers, heated cider in a pot on the wood stove, we felt like we were camping,

That was the first day….

The next morning, it was dark. Very dark. The shower was cold, I couldn’t use my hair dryer, I got ready for work by flashlight, the temperature inside felt like it was 30 degrees, there was no way to make coffee and, the best part was that we discovered 3 inches of water in our basement! Our sump pump didn’t work because…drumroll….the electric runs it and we had none! By that time, I couldn’t wait to get to the office to enjoy the creature comforts that I was already beginning to miss and to escape the dismal atmosphere at home. It was a glorious day at the office, I never appreciated heat, warm water or coffee so much in my life. The time came at the end of the day. I had to go home. On any other day I loved to go home, start dinner, kick off my shoes and finally relax. Not this day, I sort of dreaded going there. We couldn’t cook, we didn’t want to open our refrigerator for fear of letting the room temperature in, we couldn’t order out because everyone else was in the same situation, hunkering down during the storm. It got to be frustrating, tiresome, dark and frankly, boring. Believe me, in retrospect we had it much, much easier than some. This storm was a force like none other.

This experience has made me realize that we are all so spoiled by these things that make our lives so comfortable and convenient. We also tend to take them for granted. We are dependent on electricity, television, technology. By taking measures into our own hands we can do many things to conserve the resources that we have before it is too late. Sound dramatic? Not really, you do read the news. There is global warming. Industry has taken its toll on our environment. Our reef systems are suffering, our rain forests are waning. Our wildlife is endangered. Start by recycling, start by reusing, start by reducing, but most of all, start!


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New Look to Her Guide to Green

Today there is a new look for Her Guide to Green. On this blog, you will see ideas on how you can live a more eco-friendly life style, catch up on new green products, decor, our environment and more…

Doing your part for the environment is a personal choice and this blog is to offer information. What you do with it is up to you. Do as much or as little as you like. Enjoy!

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Buy Conflict Free Jewelry

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When you purchase jewelry, consider shopping for conflict-free and fairly traded stones.

A jeweler who markets this type of product is not that hard to find in an eco-conscience industry. Recycled gold is also a way to go when doing your part. The pressures to buy conflict-free precious metal and gemstones are all too urgent. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, militia groups torture and rape innocents and force them into labor in plundering the vast mineral rich lands. Unfortunately the mineral rich land of the Congo holds metals that are highly used throughout the world and tragically, these resources are used to support and fund the violations against the people of the eastern Congo. Boycotting the resources in the region and more media exposure to the injustices will help to ensure the safety and security of the future of the people in the eastern Congo. The goal is to offer hope to the country and its resources and to develop the potential to benefit citizens.

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