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Natural ways to reduce mosquitoes in your yard

August 23rd, 2012

With the U.S. in the grip of possibly the worst outbreak of West Nile Virus ever, people need to do all they can to avoid getting bitten by the Culex mosquito that carries the disease and reduce the mosquito population in their yard…residents may be able to repel or reduce the mosquitoes living and reproducing in their yards by applying botanical oils that mosquitoes find disagreeable. A caveat: These products are no substitute for protecting your person (please refer back to the advice above). But they could reduce the mosquitoes breeding in and visiting your yard.

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Green DIY: Reclaiming old chairs

August 6th, 2012

Our kitchen chairs were a sturdy forest green, solid and enduring after 17 years.


Check out the chair at the right. Perhaps you have one that’s similar, a solid serviceable chair that you bought some years ago.

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Steamed by summer heat? Here’s a checklist to help cool your home

July 6th, 2012

Nothing quite says “soaring electricity bill” like the sound of the AC kicking on as you wake-up, heralding another broiling summer day.

Whether you’re suffering in the usual seasonal heat of the Southwest, or simmering in the extraordinary heat wave cooking the mid-section of the nation, it’s likely the AC is running 24/7 now as record daytime heat overwhelms night time cool temperatures no longer worthy of that adjective.

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Green weddings — following the aisle less traveled

June 29th, 2012

Molly Earley Callahan didn’t set out to have a green wedding. She just wanted a casual but memorable affair, a special day filled with light and color, and happy relaxed guests.
Like all brides, she wanted good memories for herself and her groom, Dan Callahan, the wedding party and guests. She also didn’t want anyone to “break the bank” trying to dress for the day.

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DIY drip line irrigation – an efficient way to water your home vegetable or herb garden

May 24th, 2012

Drip line irrigation is a great idea for gardeners who want to save water and grow plants successfully.

By soaking the ground with water, the drip line approach mimics the effect of a gentle soaking rain, instead of battering leaves with a harsh jet of water like so many sprinkler systems do. More importantly, by slowly delivering the water to the soil and plants and not spraying it overhead the air, a drip line system can better target, and thereby reduce, the water needed for landscape or edible plants.

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Cleaning up just got more efficient with stricter washer and dishwasher standards

May 16th, 2012

Saving energy is becoming a priority in America, foisted upon us by the ugly realities of finite fossil fuels and $4 gasoline.
But even as awareness about the oil, gas and coal that power our cars and homes has grown, energy conservation efforts in other areas of modern life have been touch and go. For decades, household appliances mainly grew larger and more complex, increasing their energy consumption. Washers and dryers performed

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Healthy Stuff.org (and your mom) says don’t drink from the garden hose

May 3rd, 2012

We usually watch out for snakes in the garden. You don’t want to be caught unaware.

It turns out that the same could be said for your garden hose, which could be a snake in the grass when it comes to chemical pollution. Like most real snakes, it’s probably not mortally dangerous. But you need to know more about it, especially if you’re using your hose as a drinking spigot or to water an edible garden.

Healthy Stuff.org, known for testing common kids’ toys for lead, cadmium and other pollution, recently tested 179 garden products, including two types of garden hoses and four types of garden work gloves, for chemical contaminants and toxic metals.

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Catalog Spree iPad app partners with Arbor Day to plant trees

April 17th, 2012

Here’s a concept: Instead of letting piles of catalogs swamp your countertops and tables, switch to electronic versions.

Catalog Spree is one option. This well-rated app for iPad now boasts a catalog of 200 catalogs, which you can browse in full color (if you have an iPad).

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Plastic: When forever isn’t a good thing

April 13th, 2012

On a visit to the orthodontist a few months ago with my daughter, I was reminded of the thousands of tiny “disposable” toothbrushes that fly into the trash every day in dental offices across the globe.
OK, so this isn’t an oil spill. Stay with me for a minute. It’s a tip of the iceberg thing.

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5 reasons to quit using weed-and-feed chemicals

March 9th, 2012

Ah, spring. You can smell it on the air — that bracing ammonia smell wafting off your neighbor’s lawn; the acrid odors at the local home store, where the first six aisles have been packed with heaping bags of the season’s poisons.
Hydramethylnon, glyphosate, dicambra, atrazine and 2,4-D.
There’s a little something to wipe out every potential lawn and garden interloper, but the most popular consumer weapons in the annual war on nature are the “weed and feeds.” These fertilizers-herbicide combos were conceived of more than 50 years ago in the US to enrich turf grass, while simultaneously stamping out invading weeds.

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NRDC attempts to head off ‘weed and feed’ pollution

February 23rd, 2012

Just in time for weed-and-feed season, the Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to stop the use of the weed killed known as 2,4-D.
This neurotoxic chemical, infamous as a key ingredient in Agent Orange, is still allowed in products used to treat lawns, golf courses and in commercial operations.

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The reuse files: You used what for a flower pot?

February 20th, 2012

As we get ready for the spring garden, there’s plenty to do. We need to weed, compost and ready the beds. Inside, we’ve got seedlings we’re nursing along.
Yesterday, we began casting about for containers both for the larger seedlings and for herbs we may grow outside, which reminded me that we’ve seen a lot of cool re-purposing of containers for plants.
Here an old wash basin has been appropriated. We saw this outside an antique shop in the Midwest while on vacation last summer.

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