Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still chasing parakeet

We put a cage out with food, to try to get the parakeet and caught several other birds is a rose breasted grossbeak.

I am still trying to catch this darn bird lol. I was sitting right next to it, it was on the ground with me, talking to it, but darn it, when I put my hand near it goes...ugh.

Clean does not have a smell

If it smells clean, it probably isn't. You cannot smell clean!

Right now, across America, inside cupboards or sitting out on a shelf, are products that contain ingredients like chlorine, phenol, ammonia, and formaldehyde. These ingredients – and more – may be toxic. Toxic means dangerous, hurtful, and not very clean at all. A home is no place for dangerous and hurtful. Common household cleaners and appliances give off fumes that have been linked to increasing the risk of children developing asthma, the most common serious chronic childhood disease. Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160%. An average of one out of every 13 school-aged children has asthma. These are alarming statistics. Children are highly vulnerable to chemical toxicants. They drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air, pound for pound, than adults. The concern here is that children will have a much heavier exposure than adults to any toxins that are present in our water, our food or our air. There are other disturbing statistics as well. Over 90% of poison exposures happen at home. Common bleach is the #1 household chemical involved in poisoning. Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and even air fresheners, are 2 to 5 times higher inside the home than out. A person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the “acute one-hour exposure limit” for glycol ether-containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. People should be aware that if their home is like the average home in this country, it generates more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year. Examples of hazardous waste that are designated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are: toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach. There is a place one can go to find out the toxins contained in products, brand by brand. The National Institutes of Health and Library of Medicine Household Products Database is a source that will provide information on almost any brand of cleaning products. It will list exactly what is in a specific product, and state the health effects. There is also the opportunity to search for information by chemical ingredient, and discover what brand products contain the harmful chemicals and toxins. The website to explore this information is: There are certain chemical ingredients that should be investigated if they reside in your home. It is recommended to read the labels on the products in your home and look for ingredients such as: sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, butyl cellosolve (2-butoxyethanol), formaldehyde, bleach (sodium hypochlorite), ammonia, sulfamic acid, petroleum distillates, sulfuric acid, lye (potassium hydroxide), and morpholine. Back to the alternative choices. Clean homes do not have to be associated with dangerous or hazardous products. There are completely safe, products that are available as alternative choices. Green is equivalent to nontoxic, natural, concentrated, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, phosphate-free and chlorine-free. People have been encouraged to believe that clean has a smell attached to it. Whether it be lemon or pine or any number of scents, many times these smells can be absolutely unhealthy. Clean does not have a smell. Clean is simply clean. As in all consumer product choices, there are differences brand to brand. This would apply to the green market as well. There is consumer information available, and some brands do independent testing in order to see the results of how brands compare.
For safe cleaning products, visit my website:


This is a great idea. A lady at the grocery store told me in Australia they charge you if you don't have your own bag. I always take my bags to the store.

The PlasTax - About Ireland's Plastic Bag Tax

"It works." - The Australian (Australia's national daily newspaper)
"...surprisingly popular" - Plastic News
"I think it's a cracking good idea." - UK Environment Minister, Michael Meacher
"the wave of what's going to happen next" - Vincent Cobb, Founder, listen to interview
"Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable" - New York Times In March of 2002, Republic of Ireland became the first country to introduce a plastic bag tax, or PlasTax. Designed to rein in their rampant consumption of 1.2 billion plastic shopping bags per year, the tax resulted in a 90% drop in consumption, and approximately 1 billion fewer bags consumed annually. To complete the win-win scenario, approximately $9.6 million was raised from the tax in the first year, which is earmarked for a green fund established to benefit the environment. Several other countries and cities around the world are now considering implementing a similar tax, including UK, Australia and New York City.How does it work? First of all, the purpose is to change consumer behavior, not to generate revenue, moving habits from mindless consumption, to reducing and reusing. In a nutshell, it's a simple market-based solution in the form of a consumption tax. Individuals pay a tax of $.15 per plastic bag consumed at check out. Retailers save money since they only have to stock a smaller quantity of bags (in Ireland, on average they were spending $50 million a year on single-use plastic bags before the tax). Many retailers are also now benefiting from selling reusable bags. Administration is straightforward and retailers keep simple records on purchasing and receipts, while the government monitors retailer compliance and collects revenue. What is exempt? In Ireland, exemptions from the tax include heavier weight reusable plastic bags; bags used for meat, fish, or poultry; bags for unpackaged produce, ice, or other foods without packaging. What are the results? Consumption has dropped approximately 90%, from 1.2 billion to 230 million per year. Litter has been dramatically reduced. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to reduced production of bags. Reusable shopping bags, rather than paper, are taking the place of plastic disposables. Weaker plastic bag companies went out of business, while others have benefited by seizing the opportunity to make reusable shopping bags. Summary The PlasTax is a major success. Consumers have widely adopted using reusable shopping bags and retailers no longer incur the costs associated with giving away free bags. hehe, you would think I work for them or something, I don't! I just like their stuff and they have a lot of useful info on their site.

Chasing Parakeets

Hehe. Yesterday around 6:00 pm my husband found a parakeet at one of our feeders. We have about 11 feeders in my yard and are avid bird watchers, this is not a normal thing to see at our bird feeders here in Berks County.
Now here in PA, its unseasonably cold....went down to 34 last night. We figured we have to catch the bird to save it. So, there is my husband, my sister-in-law, my three kids and I chasing a bird around for 2-3 hours...saying, pretty bird, pretty pretty bird, pretty baby....having it within inches of us and it flying to another tree. Flying up the street to the neighbors, coming back, almost as if it was teasing us lol. I want to catch it and see if we can't find the owner. After two hours, I said, heck, now I want this bird to keep (and really, if I found the owner, I would give it back)...but I started to really like this little fellow. He was truly having fun with is.
Once nightfall hit, he stopped coming around. My sister in law, having had 50 parakeets (well okay I exaggerate, but she had many) said they won't fly at night. I was worried that some other big bird might try to kill it. This morning, there it was on a branch in our yard. Not only survived the cold bitter night, but also the wild animals of the night.
So now picture this. My husband and his work crew are out there this morning, trying to catch the bird lol. What a cute site to see three brawly construction workers out trying to con a tiny bird to come to their finger lol. I really should keep my video camera charged!
I will keep you posted if we ever catch the thing. I told my boys to open their window and maybe it will just fly in? (hopefully not every other bird does too)

Living Plastic Free

I just signed up for a Living Plastic Free blog subscription. My kitchen is plastic free, but my food isn't yet. I don't use plastic storage containers and I use glasses now, not plastic cups. I do have a few plastic cups for our patio, as we don't want broken glass out there, and friends come over to hang out. I might have them start bringing their own reusable cups or just go with glass and pray no one breaks any. I bring out my wine glasses and seem to do okay with them. But the plastics on food....I mean, you get meat, what does it come in, you get pretzels, produce (carrots, etc)....everything is plastic! Yikes. I didn't even think about that. I have to start going to a butcher who wraps in paper, like in the "old" days. Too bad we don't live like that anymore. returnable cocacola bottles, milk bottles etc.

I have stopped using plastic bags at stores, except maybe once in a while, where I reuse them in my bathroom trash (and I know, I should not even do that). I have to look into those biodegradable trash bags.....

My green bags are my favorite. I have ones from Australia with the leaf on them, I have Shaklee ones and even Target. I even have two that hold wine for when we go to wineries. They each hold six and it works for juices at the store also. They hold a ton of weight. I got comments on them when I started to carry them last year, and funny, since then, the stores sell them now....I was the only one last year in my store with them. (not that I started it, Oprah did a big thing about it and got everyone interested).

We recycle everything we possibly can. I don't buy plastic milk containers anymore either, plastic bottles of water, in fact, we got SIGGs for our water and they are in the frige ready to go at the drop of a hat. We recycle every bit of paper in this house, and well, it can get out of hand. Our recyclers only come twice a month and that really gets to be a mess here with all the cardboard packaging, pizza boxes etc that we have waiting for them to pick up.

I could go on and on, as I am living and learning to be more ecologically friendly, but I must stop for now.

Shannon a great site to get all kinds of earth friendly things.....

Facts and figures regarding the true cost of plastic bags

Want to know more about Ireland's wildly successful PlasTax? How about numbers on consumption? Think paper bags are better than plastic bags?...Think again, and be in the know.
Top Facts - Consumption
Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.
According to Australia’s Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.
Top Facts - Environmental Impact
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.
Top Facts - Solutions
In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.
July 2003, goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.
Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My new wash line

I could not talk my husband into a washline...isn't that just nuts. He got mad because we have white lights on our porch and I hang my blankets on it when I wash them, to dry outside....he won't give me a washline, says they look tacky...personally, I think they look cute and country!

Well he bought me a retractable one yesterday. We did not put it up yet, and I can't wait to use it! We already have the set up for it to hook to, as the lady we bought our house from had one so he just has to hang the device itself.

I will let ya know how that goes.

How to make a Non-toxic cleaning kit

I got this article from a yahoo group and thought I would share it. It's been ages since I blogged....I use Shaklee cleaning products and love them, but in case I ever need something in a pinch, this is good to know. if you are interested in shaklee cleaning products!

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
By Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green (Ceres Press, 1990).Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don’t pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family’s health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning.As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.SUPPLIESBaking sodaWashing sodaWhite distilled vinegarA good liquid soap or detergentTea tree oil6 clean spray bottles2 glass jarsRead more about these 5 basic cleaning ingredients, and a vinegar update.CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBERSimply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.WINDOW CLEANER1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent3 tablespoons vinegar2 cups waterSpray bottlePut all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.OVEN CLEANER1 cup or more baking sodaWaterA squirt or two of liquid detergentSprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY CLEANER1/2 teaspoon washing sodaA dab of liquid soap2 cups hot tap waterCombine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.FURNITURE POLISH1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juiceMix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.VINEGAR DEODORIZERKeep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.MOLD KILLERSTea Tree TreasureNothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.2 teaspoons tea tree oil2 cups waterCombine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.Vinegar SprayStraight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.