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Friday Favorite: Green Grass

May 15th, 2015

It’s a beautiful thing to see so much green this time of year. It seems like all you need is a bit of rain and a few warm days and the grass starts growing like crazy.
I love seeing green everywhere I look. Soon enough all the deciduous trees will have their leaves and green will be once again the predominate color of the landscape. Even though I’ll tire of it later in the summer, I’m relishing the need to mow!

What seasons are most green in your climate?

Seeing Green

March 6th, 2013

Even though the snow still blankets the garden outside, I’m starting to see a little green in the house. Over the past week, I’ve been starting onions, celery, lettuce and herbs. I’m already seeing the fruits of my labor, I’m noticing more and more green every time I check on the seeds.
seeing green 2
One think you will notice is that the fresher the seed the quicker it germinates. That’s one reason to use up your seed and pay attention to the self life of the seeds you have. Here’a a handy chart if you need one.
seeing green 3
Along with the onion seeds in flats, I started lettuce in some large planters. It’s germinating nicely and should be producing a few salads for our plats in a few weeks.
seeing green 1
The cats are also enjoying some greens, every week I plant them a new container of wheat grass. Soon enough, the chickens and ducks will be enjoying the same thing. I’m in the process of starting large flats of wheat for them.

Do you have any green sprouts in your house yet?

Quote of the Day: Bernd Heinrich

August 5th, 2012

“I had not realized how varied and vibrant green, the color of life, could be.”

Bernd Heinrich A Year In The Maine Woods

The longer I garden the more I appreciate texture and what it brings to the garden. I’m starting to move away from plants with blooms in favor of those with different leaf shape, shades of green, texture or other unique features.

‘Hakone’ grass, it tops the list of my favorite green plants. With it’s bright variegated leaves, flowing shape, it almost looks like I have a waterfall flowing into my pond. When I purchased this plant it was a tiny slip with just a few green leaves. Now it’s a focal point at the edge of the pond. You can be this one is coming with me in the moving truck!

What’s your favorite all green plant?

Garden Dreams: Reel Mower

February 28th, 2009

I have a long list of things I want for gardening, new tools, new books, more pots, more manure, more plants, the list goes on and on. One that I’m really dreaming about is a new reel mower.
I used one of these when I was young, in fact it’s the one I still have and use occasionally. It’s a vintage Craftsman mower from years gone by. It still works, but the tires have no tread left and you can no longer adjust the cutting height.
I like to follow the motto “Cut it high, let it lie” and this mower does not allow me to do that. Perhaps I can find someone who will fix it for me, but until then I’m dreaming of a nice shiny new reel mower (I know not a girl’s typical dream, but designer bags or new shoes are not for me).

Here are a few mowers I have been eying.

scotts-reel-mowerThere’s a Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower Although I don’t really want to buy a plastic mower, I love that my old one is all metal. This one doesn’t have great style, there’s just something very attractive about my old beat up red one. Plus I just don’t like that green & orange color scheme.

razorcut-mowerThere’s the RazorCut premium that’s made in Germany (if it’s anything like their cars it would be a good investment). I have seen this one in person and it seems really nice, but it just looks a little too futuristic for a reel mower. I love the old-fashioned look better. I have heard a lot of good things about this mower though, if you’re going to buy a new one this may be the way to go. Lehman’s also has a bunch of other people powered lawn tools, like a leaf sweeper (although I must say I’m pretty fond of my rake).

lee-valley-tools-mowerThere is also the Lee Valley Tools one (if it’s like anything like the rest of their tools it would be a great mower). This one appeals to me the most because it looks like it’s a no-frills quality mower. I looks most like the old one that I have and I’m sure it’s built to last just as long. The green color is also fantastic, although I do wish it came in red (perhaps a can of spray paint could fix that). I also like the grass catcher, that would be handy for collecting the grass clipping occasionally for my compost pile.

AHHHHH, mowing without the sounds of an engine, only the swish of a blade? No exhaust to pollute the environment or my lungs? No longer running out of gas and having to run in to town. Better for the grass because it actually slices the grass not smashes it. If I can find someone to fix up my old mower I will do that, until them I’m using my gas powered one to mow. If I can’t find someone to fix up my old mower perhaps in a year or two I’ll have a nice reel mower to use, or maybe I’ll dig out my dad’s scythe and learn to use that.

What do you use to mow? a reel mower? (take the poll)

Free Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

January 5th, 2009

This year one of my goals is to detox our personal care routines. It all started a couple months ago when I was thinking about what was in my chapstick as I put it on for the 15th time that day. I wondered what exactly my body was absorbing from it, so I started reading up on the toxins in shampoo, soap, lotion and other personal care products and the problems they can cause. Scary stuff I must say. The next time I was at the store I picked up a tube of Burt’s Bees Honey Chapstick. Now that I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for several months I noticed that it actually works, I’m not constantly putting on chapstick. I use it in the morning and I don’t need it again until right before I go to bed, unlike the other kind that I felt like I was constantly using.
So what are the ingredients in Burt’s Bees Honey Chapstick: beeswax, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, lanolin, symphytum officinale (comfrey) root extract, flavor, honey, tocopheryl acetate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, tocopherol. I know what each and every one of those ingredients is and it’s much better than the ingredients in my previous chapstick.
So what were the ingredients in the previous Chapstick I was using: Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, White petrolatum, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, alumina, arachidyl propionate, artificial flavor, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), cetyl alcohol, colloidal silicon dioxide, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, ethylhexyl palmitate, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, medium chain triglycerides, methylparaben, mineral oil, octyldodecanol, oleyl alcohol, paraffin, phenyl trimethicone, polyhydroxystearic acid, propylparaben, saccharin, silica, titanium dioxide, vitamin E acetate, white wax.

Here are a few of the problems cause by some of the ingredients in my previous chapstick (and these are only the ingredients that I could find information on, who knows about the other ones):

Petrolatum: lung irritant upon inhalation; derived from petroleum; non-biodegradable environmental toxin.

Saccharin: suspected human carcinogen; causes liver, kidney, and bladder damage in animals, as well as reproductive damage and birth abnormalities.

BHT: endocrine disruptor, skin and lung toxicant at low doses; causes death, liver and stomach cancers, thrombosis, fibrosis and liver and brain damage in animals; strong skin and eye irritant.

Methylparaben: skin and eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast and ovarian cancer; environmental contaminant

Mineral Oil (liquid petrolatum): causes blood and skin cancer formations in animals; eye and skin irritant; derived from petroleum; non-biodegradable environmental toxin

Paraffin: petrochemical bleached with carcinogen acrolyn; releases carcinogens benzene and toluene upon heating; causes kidney or renal system tumor in animals; environmental toxin

Propylparaben: skin and eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast and ovarian cancer; environmental contaminant

Silica: linked to esophageal cancer, renal disease, pulmonary fibrosis, mesothelioma, sarcoma, rheumatoid arthritis, and bronchitis; strong nasal and lung irritant; wildlife toxicant; accumulates in the human body

So what’s wrong with putting all these chemicals on your lips or the any other parts of your body? First of all, your skin absorbs the chemicals from products you use (60-90% of them scientists say). If you don’t believe it think about those drug patches, one tiny patch and you body absorbs a weeks worth of drugs. Spend some time educating yourself on the ingredients in your personal care products and their possible side effects. Be careful because even some green, natural, and organic products contain many harmful chemicals. Where do you find information on these chemicals? The best book I have found is Julie Gabriel’s The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrancescheck it out of the library and read through it. You’ll be headed to the store to buy her non-toxic recommendations in no time!
She includes a glossary of many of the toxic chemicals often used in products along with a reference guide for non-toxic products to try. She also includes a bunch of recipes for homemade non-toxic beauty products, I’m excited to whip up a few. Head on over to her a website and a blog, for even more information and recipes.
In order to encourage you to detox your routine I’m giving away the Burt’s Bees Mixed Lip Stash Pack shown above. Just comment on this post and I’ll have a random drawing in a few days to determine the winner. Good Luck!

Here’s to a non-toxic 2009!

I’ve also heard many people love the Yes to Carrots brand of chapsticks as well. Do you have a non-toxic product you love?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.