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How to plant a tree

Trees reduce CO2 fact. You should know this….

How to plant a tree

  1. Choose at least a 5-to-6-foot tree grown to nursery standards.
  2. Select a site with enough room for roots and branches to reach full size. Avoid overhead and underground utilities.
  3. Dig a planting area as deep as the root ball and 3 to 5 times its diameter. Add fertilizer or other soil amendments.
  4. Set the root ball in the middle, even with ground level, but do not pack down the soil.
  5. Water generously.
  6. Stake the tree to flex with the wind. Mulch to within 6 inches of the tree trunk.
  7. Water regularly to keep the soil from drying out.

Did you know that…

  • Planting three trees around your house can block incoming sunlight by as much as 70 percent and reduce air-conditioning cost by 10 to 50 percent.
  • Awnings, overhangs, and shutters mounted on the south, east and west sides of your house will save you $100 to $150 each year thereafter in cooling costs.
  • Tree-filled neighborhoods can be up to 9 degrees cooler than unshaded streets.

Trees, Please

Have you ever noticed how much cooler it is in a grove of trees, or even how much more comfortable you feel just hearing the sound of the wind rustling in the leaves? Besides the aesthetic pleasure they give, trees can improve our quality of life in other ways as well.

Because they use carbon dioxide as they grow, trees can offset and even reduce CO2 emissions. If you plant three trees on the southeast and southwest sides of your home, you can cut your air conditioning bills as well as clean up the air and cool the globe. According to American Forests, the nation’s oldest citizens’ conservation organization, there are at least 100 million spots around our homes and in our towns and cities suitable for trees. When trees shade houses, buildings and pavement from the sun, they help cool down the “heat islands” that build up around pavement and other dark surfaces. “Nature’s air conditioners” also help clean up he air, by filtering airborne particles with their leaves and branches.

Trees and the forests they create play a critical role in maintaining the health of our environment. Their root systems prevent erosion and thereby protect water quality. Their leaves filter the air and, through the shade, they cast, reduce global warming. The natural community that develops around forests also helps protect the planet by providing a safe and nurturing environment for all kinds of fish and wildlife.

Unfortunately, forests in this country and around the world are being squeezed by increasing demands for wood and paper. For example, between 50 and 100 acres of tropical rainforest — an area the size of ten city blocks — are destroyed every minute. At that rate, there will be no intact tropical forest left within one hundred years. Forests in North America, particularly the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest, are also under stress.

Many offices and individuals have already begun to address deforestation issues at home and abroad by recycling paper and by buying recycled paper products. Here are a few other actions you might consider to minimize your need for wood:

  • Hire eco-conscious carpenters or contractors.
    A growing number of construction suppliers are using wood salvaged from other construction projects, particularly in applications that will be hidden from view when the construction is complete. Other contractors are opting for lumber that is “sustainably” harvested from forests, so that the trees are removed from the forest selectively, without destroying the entire forest ecosystem.
  • Consider alternative building materials.
    Agricultural by-products such as wheat straw, coconut palm and bamboo have become viable materials for home and office construction.
  • Try paper alternatives.
    Some consumers and companies are turning to kenaf, a paper-like product derived from the fast-growing hibiscus cannabis plant. The plant produces 3-5 tons more fiber per acre than comparable trees that are harvested for paper production, and require 15-25% less energy during the production process.
  • Use computer technology for correspondence.
    Instead of printing out memos or letters on stationary, use electronic mail to get your messages across.

12 Easy Steps to a Healthier Home

You’re eating organic foods, exercising more and generally improving how you care for yourself. Well done! Now it’s time to focus on the health of your home. Research shows detoxing your home of harsh chemicals and synthetics can improve the health of you and your family. And, it’s a lot easier than you think. Look at the list below and choose what’s right for you and venture forward – one step at a time.

  1. Replace Toxic Cleaning Products
    The quickest way to reduce toxins in your home is to replace toxic cleaning products with effective, earth friendly ones. There are a variety of natural cleaning products on the market but some of the best germ/dirt fighting cleaners are in your kitchen pantry. White vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), lemon juice, baking soda, club soda, and borax are just a few. Get yourself a copy of Clean House, Clean Planet as it is a wealth of information and recipes on how to clean your home with ingredients you probably already have.
  2. Reduce the amount of plastic in your home.
    Plastic releases toxic fumes long after you’ve purchased the item. Consider choosing glass or ceramic containers to reheat leftovers, solid wood or natural baskets in place of plastic bins (check out www.diynet.com for simple construction ideas), wood instead of plastic toys and choose natural fibers instead of vinyl for upholstery and tablecloths.
  3. Use Low VOC Paints
    When painting, use low VOC paints found at www.bioshieldpaint.com or try old fashioned milk paints (http://www.milkpaint.com) for a beautiful, healthy alternative. These choices are both good for your health and for the ozone!
  4. Choose solid wood instead of pressed wood furniture � especially for children’s rooms.
    Pressed wood, aka particle board, releases formaldehyde for years polluting the air around you. Check your yellow pages for a bare wood furniture store. The prices are typically very affordable and you can finish yourself (use low VOC paints ^ see above) saving you money and exposure to toxic chemicals. Take it a step further and ensure that the wood is sustainably grown.
  5. It reduces dehydration and saves energy.
    Drink lots of water and turn your heating thermostat down 5 degrees and your air-conditioning thermostat up 5 degrees. Believe it or not, they go hand in hand. On the go, use a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic, which has been shown to leach.
  6. Create a microclimate in your home by adding plenty of green plants.
    It adds to the humidity of your home and green plants absorb many of the chemicals released by furniture, carpets, paint, etc. They also add plenty of beauty too. Mind you – we’re referring to live plants…not the green plastic ones!
  7. Natural Fiber Mattress
    When it’s time for a new mattress purchase a replacement made with natural fibers. Wool is a great fiber year ’round and allows for moisture to be wicked away providing a better nights sleep. Wool is also a natural fire retardant eliminating the need for toxic chemicals (here’s an interesting note: Synthetic foam found in most mattresses  burns like jet fuel once ignited). Natural cotton and latex are also great choices as they don’t have the toxic chemicals of foam filled beds and are just as supportive. Click here for more information on the benefits of a natural mattress. Of course, don’t forget organic cotton linens. Most sheets use formaldehyde in the sizing and it’s released even after it’s been washed many times so organic cotton is the healthy and environmental choice
  8. Prevent colds and allergies by purifying the air.
    This can be done several ways. Purchase an essential oil diffuser such as a geode aromatherapy diffuser. Use a blend such as Amrita’s Invincibility Aromatherapy Blend to fight viruses and illness causing bacteria. If you don’t want to go to the expense of purchasing a diffuser, you can simmer (not boil) a pot of hot water on the stove and add about 10-12 drops of essential oil. For allergy sufferers, purchase a HEPA filter or an IonizAir. Use a vacuum cleaner that is bagless and utilizes a HEPA filter to trap dust and hair. We recommend the Dyson DC07 All Floors bagless vacuum. For mold, be sure to check the surrounding area for leaks as mold thrives in damp areas. To get rid of mold, simply spray a solution of borax and water to the area and let sit. Scrub.
  9. Practice organic gardening methods.
    Check out this fabulous website http://www.greenfire.net for organic fertilizers. They offer a product called Earth Juice that is an organic liquid fertilizer good for both lawn/trees/houseplants. It’s concentrated and affordable too (a quart is about $11). They also carry beneficial insects, predatory nematodes and other goodies to help your garden grow. Build a compost bin or purchase an easy to use Envirocycle that comes assembled and all you have to do is occasionally spin to produce beneficial compost and compost tea. For organic herbs and medicinal plants check out Lingle’s Herbs at http://www.linglesherbs.com. They offer excellent quality plants and have an informative website and newsletter. You can subscribe by emailing subscribe@linglesherbs.com. Tell them that greenfeet.com sent ya.
  10. Eat organically.
    Recent research has shown that not only does organically grown food taste better – it’s better for you. Many organic products are similarly priced to their conventional counterparts, but mostly you can expect to pay roughly 30% more for organic. The price is higher due to increased growing costs (they don’t use cheap pesticides and many times hand weed and hand harvest) and higher freight cost (vine or tree ripened fruit doesn’t keep as long). Explore your local farmers markets and natural foods stores for good values.If you don’t have access to a natural foods market explore local CSA members. CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a growing movement of local farmers who have banded together to spread the word of eating locally grown food. By visiting this website http://www.csacenter.org/statesfr.htm you can enter in your state and find a local CSA near you. Here’s how it works. You pay a weekly fee for a box of locally grown fruits and veggies during the harvest. If it’s a hard year, there’s not much in your box, but if it’s a bountiful year, your box overflows with produce! It’s a wonderful way to support local agriculture, support organic farming and benefit from a variety of goods.
  11. Choose pure, natural skin care.
    Many small companies make wonderful skin and hair care products without the use of chemicals and extenders. Nature provides an abundance of alternatives and when you find a gem, well, odds are you’ll be hooked. Just be sure to read labels, ask questions and most importantly, use your products when you get them. Natural products usually have a decent shelf life, however, they won’t last indefinitely as chemically preserved ones do. They’re typically hand made and created with your health in mind.
  12. Try alternative and complementary therapies
    Explore and be open minded about alternative and complementary therapies in regards to everyday aches and pains. Homeopathy, aromatherapy and herbal medicine have been practiced for hundreds and in some cases, thousands of years and have a track record. Not all practices are for everyone, and do consult with your doctor if you are taking prescription medications. Knowing and understanding how the body works and responds does a lot to facilitate healing. Knowledge is power and this is one area where you, and your family, can benefit greatly. Once you find what works, stock your medicine cabinet accordingly.

These are just a few ideas to create a healthy and less toxic home. Don’t feel as though this is a daunting task. Just take one idea and try it. Then move one to another. If you would like to learn in more detail about the above ideas, purchase the book Living Organic It’s a beautiful and informative book loaded with practical ideas to detoxify your home. If you are looking for more detailed recipes for natural cleaning products definitely purchase Clean House, Clean Planet as it is a wealth of information on how to clean your home with everyday items. You’ll save enough money in a month to pay for the book. Your wallet and your body will love you for it.

10 Tips for a Healthier Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to throw open the windows and let the fresh air pour in. So while you’re at it, make sure that the air stays fresh!

Think about what you typically use to “clean” your house. The list probably includes things like Windex, toilet bowl cleaners, Endust, Lysol disinfectant, and more – all of which are certainly effective when it comes to cleaning, but are also packed chock full of toxins that can pollute your household environment.

Although spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, it’s also one that tends to be fraught with such chemical-laden cleaners. To help you change that particular tradition, we’ve come up with a 10 simple and effective ideas to help you keep your household’s environment healthy while you clean, dust, and scrub.

 

  1. Baking soda is arguably the most economical cleaning product on the market. Sprinkle it in tubs, sinks, and toilets to scrub away dirt, grime, and soap scum. You can add five drops of essential oil to make the cleaning experience more effective – and the environment more pleasant. Just sprinkle some baking soda onto the surface you’re cleaning, and mix the oil in with a very wet sponge to create a paste. If you have white sinks and tubs, adding lemon essential oil to the baking soda will give you a bit of extra whitening power.
  2. Drop a Chemfree into your toilet tank and forget about scrubbing your toilet bowl again for more than 5,000 flushes – guaranteed!
  3. Make your windows and mirrors sparkle with club soda. Just pop open a can, pour the soda into a sprayer, and you’re ready to roll. The fizz helps cut through everything from toothpaste splatter to the dog nose prints and kid’s hand prints that cover sliding glass doors, car windows, and bathroom mirrors. For improved olfactory pleasure, just add 20 drops of lavender or orange essential oil. For a streak free shine, use a squeegee – or if you don’t have a squeegee, newspaper works great, too. If for any reason you still have streaks when you’re finished, use a clean chalkboard eraser to remove them.
  4. Put 25 drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball, and drop it into your vacuum bag the next time you vacuum the house. The cotton ball will help eliminate bad odors while simultaneously freshening the room. We recommend trying lemon, sweet orange, or rose geranium essential oil.
  5. When dusting, create a natural furniture polish using ˝ teaspoon of olive oil, Ľ cup of Heinz white vinegar (the Heinz brand is made from grain – not from petroleum), and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (we like cedar). Apply the polish to a soft, clean dusting cloth and polish away. You can reuse the cloth as many times as you like, until it’s ready to be washed.
  6. You can make a great all-natural odor remover by filling an 8-ounce spray bottle with Heinz white vinegar, and adding 25 drops of your favorite essential oil. To make an effective disinfectant for bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, light switches, etc., try adding 25 drops of tea tree essential oil to the vinegar. To remove urine stains, add 25 drops of lemon essential oil (test it in an inconspicuous place first).
  7. Fight indoor pollution by using nature’s own air cleaners — plants. Indoor plants like English ivy and spider plants help absorb chemicals found in your home, such as benzene from the stove and formaldehyde from the furniture. Place one plant every 100 feet for maximum effectiveness.
  8. Make an effective, natural floor cleaner by placing 1/8 cup of Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in a bucket (we recommend peppermint scent), adding ľ cup of Heinz white vinegar, and then filling the bucket ľ-full with warm water. Swish the ingredients well, then wash and dry your floors as usual.
  9. To fight mildew, mix 2/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of borax. Add enough water to form a paste (just a few drops), mix well, and scrub the mixture onto mildewed areas. Let it sit for a few hours, and then rinse the area well with warm water. For extra cleaning power, add 10 drops of lemon essential oil.
  10. Place bedroom comforters, pillows, toppers, blankets, etc. outside in the sun for a few hours to freshen your bedding. We recommend airing bedding out twice a year – once during spring cleaning, and again before winter arrives.

Essential Oil Recipes for Body and Soul

Recipes to treat stress, anxiety, bronchitis, athlete’s foot, sinus problem’s and more.

The following recipes are adapted from Practical Art of Aromatherapy by Deborah Nixon.

Anxiety:
Anxiety creates tension in the body and can trigger other stress-related symptoms. Ease your anxiety by using these calming and uplifting oils.

to calm the nerves: lavender 10 drops, geranium 5 drops, sandalwood 10 drops. Blend into 2 oz of base/carrier oil such as jojoba. Massage into chest, back, and neck.

for anxiety and fear: lavender 6 drops, frankincense 8 drops, sandalwood 6 drops. Blend into 2 oz of base/carrier oil such as jojoba. Massage into chest, back, and neck.

Insomnia:
To help battle insomnia try 6 drops of lavender and 4 drops of cedarwood in a vaporizer. Or place a bowl of dried rosebuds in your room and sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil to help promote sleep. Remember, if you are having trouble sleeping, create a haven in your room with relaxing colors, fabrics and no TV to promote a relaxing environment.

Stress:
If you are stressed and exhausted, try this recipe in 2 oz of base/carrier oil.
Bergamot 10 drops, frankincense 8 drops, and rose, jasmine or neroli 2 drops. Massage into chest, back and neck.

Athlete’s Foot:
There are a variety of methods to combat athlete’s foot. Here are just a few.
footbath: lavender 3 drops, tea tree or eucalyptus 3 drops.
compress: A compress is placing the following ratios of essential oils into a bowl of very warm water, soaking a washcloth, squeezing and applying to affected area. Once the cloth has cooled down, repeat the process several more times.
lavender 1 drop, tea tree 1 drop, eucalyptus 1 drop.
massage: mix the following oils into 2 oz of base/carrier oil and massage into feet both morning and night.
tea tree 5 drops, thyme 5 drops, pine 5 drops.

Bronchitis:
In two ounces of base/carrier oil mix eucalyptus 7 drops, tea tree 5 drops, lavender 3 drops. Massage into chest and back. For direct inhalation, use half measures and place onto hankie.

Eczema:
Here are two recipes for creating massage oils to be applied to affected areas. Use in 2 oz of base/carrier oil.
massage: lavender 10 drops, sandalwood 5 drops.
massage: bergamot 3 drops, geranium 3 drops, juniper 6 drops, lavender 3 drops.

Influenza:
vaporizer or inhalation: tea tree 2 drops, lavender 2 drops, eucalyptus 2 drops.
bath: Add 3-4 drops of one oil to the bath: lavender, eucalyptus, sandalwood, tea tree or lemon. Soak a minimum of 20 minutes.

Sunburn:
Lavender and tea tree oils soothe and heal sunburn. Dilute 2 drops in 3 oz of water (not oil) and spray on, or soak a cold cotton compress or handkerchief in the mix and apply to cool the burn. Lavender added to aloe vera gel is also soothing.
bath: peppermint 6 drops, lavender 4 drops.

Varicose Veins:
massage: in 2 oz of base/carrier oil mix rosemary 5 drops, juniper 5 drops, lemon 2 drops.
bath or massage: cypress 5 drops, geranium 5 drops.

Plant Trees for a Cooler, Cleaner World

Have you ever noticed how much cooler it is in a grove of trees, or even how much more comfortable you feel just hearing the sound of the wind rustling in the leaves? Besides the aesthetic pleasure they give, trees can improve our quality of life in other ways as well.

Because they use carbon dioxide as they grow, trees can offset and even reduce CO2 emissions. If you plant three trees on the southeast and southwest sides of your home, you can cut your air conditioning bills as well as clean up the air and cool the globe. According to American Forests, the nation’s oldest citizens’ conservation organization, there are at least 100 million spots around our homes and in our towns and cities suitable for trees. When trees shade houses, buildings and pavement from the sun, they help cool down the “heat islands” that build up around pavement and other dark surfaces. “Nature’s air conditioners” also help clean up he air, by filtering airborne particles with their leaves and branches.

How to plant a tree

  1. Choose at least a 5-to-6-foot tree grown to nursery standards.
  2. Select a site with enough room for roots and branches to reach full size. Avoid overhead and underground utilities.
  3. Dig a planting area as deep as the root ball and 3 to 5 times its diameter. Add fertilizer or other soil amendments.
  4. Set the root ball in the middle, even with ground level, but do not pack down the soil.
  5. Water generously.
  6. Stake the tree to flex with the wind. Mulch to within 6 inches of the tree trunk.
  7. Water regularly to keep the soil from drying out.

Did you know that…

  • Planting three trees around your house can block incoming sunlight by as much as 70 percent and reduce air-conditioning cost by 10 to 50 percent.
  • Awnings, overhangs and shutters mounted on the south, east and west sides of your house will save you $100 to $150 each year thereafter in cooling costs.
  • Tree-filled neighborhoods can be up to 9 degrees cooler than unshaded streets.

Trees, Please

Trees and the forests they create play a critical role in main-taining the health of our environment. Their root systems prevent erosion and thereby protect water quality. Their leaves filter the air and, through the shade they cast, reduce global warming. The natural community that develops around forests also helps protect the planet by providing a safe and nurturing environment for all kinds of fish and wildlife.

Unfortunately, forests in this country and around the world are being squeezed by increasing demands for wood and paper. For example, between 50 and 100 acres of tropical rain forest — an area the size of ten city blocks — are destroyed every minute. At that rate, there will be no intact tropical forest left within one hundred years. Forests in North America, particularly the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest, are also under stress.

Many offices and individuals have already begun to address deforestation issues at home and abroad by recycling paper and by buying recycled paper products. Here are a few other actions you might consider to minimize your need for wood:

  • Hire eco-conscious carpenters or contractors.
    A growing number of construction suppliers are using wood salvaged from other construction projects, particularly in applications that will be hidden from view when the construction is complete. Other contractors are opting for lumber that is “sustainably” harvested from forests, so that the trees are removed from the forest selectively, without destroying the entire forest ecosystem.
  • Consider alternative building materials.
    Agricultural by-products such as wheat straw, coconut palm and bamboo have become viable materials for home and office construction.
  • Try paper alternatives.
    Some consumers and companies are turning to kenaf, a paper-like product derived from the fast-growing hibiscus cannabinus plant. The plant produces 3-5 tons more fiber per acre than comparable trees that are harvested for paper production, and require 15-25% less energy during the production process.
  • Use computer technology for correspondence.
    Instead of printing out memos or letters on stationary, use electronic mail to get your messages across.
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