September 2013 - Our Daily Green

Monday, September 30, 2013

Allergies have you miserable?

Weeds Causing Woes for Allergy Sufferers (via Repost Video News)
Experts say the pollen count is especially high compared to previous years.

Getting your garden plot ready for winter

park slope designs
flowering broccoli photo courtesy of:
Wikimedia commons
As autumn begins and the weather turns colder, many gardeners are winterizing their garden. Here are several how-to tips, landscape designer approved.

Cleaning up the beds is not necessarily about pulling everything up. In fact, leaving some plants standing may actually be beneficial. However, if your potatoes and tomatoes had blight in the late summer, it is critical to remove not just the plants, but the roots as well and dispose of properly. If you had blight, do not use in compost in order to break the cycle of blight.

Meanwhile, any brassicas, including kale, broccoli, radishes and brussel sprouts should be left intact to decompose naturally. They release a natural cyanide compound that kills spring pests such as wireworms.

After the plants are either removed or kept intact, a good layer of mulch or compost will feed the soil and keep it insulated over the winter. Rake leaves and dead groundcover over the plot to give beneficial insects a winter shelter.

Though gardening slows in the winter, it is not the end of the growing season. Instead, consider it a time of renewal and health. Getting your soil properly prepared for next year is the best gift you can give your garden. It's not over, it's just beginning.

Today's post has been sponsored. Thank you for your support of Our Daily Green. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Working to protect the environment as a career

Environmental law concerns a multitude of issues that affect humanity as well as topics that influence the natural environment. This intricate area of law addresses issues concerning unclean natural waters, air pollution and other man made causes of unhealthy environments. Science also plays an important role regarding environmental law issues, and it helps to develop the reasoning behind many statutes and administrative rules. Environmental law is one of the fastest growing areas of law, whereby many graduate students are beginning to seek a more in-depth understanding of the developing legal issues with specific environmental law studies.

Environmental laws originate from a variety of different legal sources, including federal court decisions, federal administrative agencies, state court decisions and state legislatures. Graduate students in environmental masters programs assess the overall structure of how environmental laws affect humanity as a whole, and the study of how environmental law involves an understanding of federal and state states, administrative regulations and case law.

photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Environmental laws began to expand rapidly during the 1970s, although one of the first cases regarding environmental law issues took place in the early 1960s. By the 1980s, more cases that affected environmental issues began to develop and establish legal precedent. Activist organizations were created, and more people developed a concern regarding the affects unnatural pollutants in the environment.

Overtime, law schools began to create separate environmental law courses, and a growing number of law students and master’s degree students began to choose environmental law as their majors or concentrations. Today environmental laws impact nearly every area of law, such as torts, constitutional law and criminal law. A widespread of job opportunities in environmental law is also expected to increase over the next decade. Many organizations are searching for innovative ways to help reduce the contaminants in the environment in addition to using “green” strategies to remain competitive in today’s industries.

Prospective master’s degree students in environmental law can enroll in the online master’s degree program in environmental law and policy. Juris Doctor (JD) holders can apply and enroll in the LLM program for environmental law. Being an advocate for environmental law, and helping to promote a healthier environment are hot topics in the current marketplace.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor. Our Daily Green shares information that we believe will be useful and interesting to our readers. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Daregal Gourmet fresh frozen herbs review

This week, Our Daily Green received our sampler of Daregal Gourmet fresh frozen herbs to review as a part of a Blog Friendly PR campaign. All opinions are our own and no compensation was received.


We were asked to create a recipe using the fresh frozen herbs. Timing was perfect as it seemed like all my tomatoes were ripe at the same time. I also had several peppers to use as well. The onion and garlic are from a local market, and of course the parsley is from Daregal Gourmet. We have a busy family so I do a lot of pre-cooking on the weekends for the week ahead. Yesterday, I made the sauce for chicken cacciatore. 

Garden Cacciatore Sauce


Here is the adapted recipe: 

Olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan
1 large onion, thickly sliced
1 bell pepper, thickly sliced
random sweet Italian peppers (because I had them)
salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
3 cups diced, fresh tomatoes
1 tbl. oregano
Daregal parsley as finishing ingredient



Heat the oil in the pan until a drop of water sizzles, add the onion, fresh peppers, and salt & pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until the onion collapses and starts to brown.
 While the onion & pepper is cooking, dice the tomato. Although many recipes also call for mushrooms, my family doesn't care for them, so I add mine separately when I serve the meal.
 Add the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano and stir until the tomatoes start to break down.
After about 10 minutes, the recipe will start to resemble a sauce. Cover the top with the frozen Donegal parsley. Look how green and vibrant it is!
As I stated, I actually plan to use this sauce later in the week with boneless chicken pieces. I will dredge the chicken in flour, salt and pepper, and brown each piece, then I will put the chicken in a crock pot with the sauce to simmer all day.

But for the purposes of this recipe and review, I wanted to show how beautiful the finished sauce looks and served a tiny portion over pasta.



I received an assortment of herbs to review from Daregal Gourmet, as well as an herbal tea infusion. I will be reviewing the tea at a later date. The herbs are going to be really nice over the winter when I don't have a garden at my doorstep. I also appreciate that the frozen herbs will stay fresh longer than fresh ones. One caveat is that the herbs tended to clump together and you will need to shake the boxes really well before you use them in a recipe. I was very pleased with the color of the herbs, so much more appetizing than dried herbs in a jar, even the ones I dry myself still wind up a drab green. The fresh frozen method really makes the herbs the next best thing to fresh, with a much longer shelf life, up to 3 years. The price is comparable to the dried jarred herbs. I highly recommend this product for anyone who appreciates fresh herbs but cannot always find them in season.

Daregal Gourmet herbs are available on Amazon.com and in the Northeast region at Stop n Shop, Giant Landover, and Shaws.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The latest in food regulation and issues (repost from Gimby)

GIMBY | Issues | Food (via www.gimby.org)
There are plenty of different diets out there, and new ones appearing every day — pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Atkins, paleolithic, Mediterranean, South Beach, and even cabbage soup. There are nutrition experts in abundance, too — eat…

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recycle your phones and tablets for cash

In 2009, Our Daily Green wrote about a then innovative answer to electronic waste, the new company Gazelle. It was one of our very first posts. In the subsequent four years, their company has become one of the go-to solutions for the constant pressure to upgrade by buying and then reusing or recycling appropriately all trade-ins. Their success rate has been so tremendous they launched a sweepstakes. If you are looking to upgrade an iPhone, they are offering a price lock on trade-ins.

Since Apple doesn't appear to be offering pre-orders for the new iPhone 5s, Gazelle announced earlier today its second price lock extension. To ensure consumers who are planning to upgrade to a new iPhone get the most value out of their old device, Gazelle is offering consumers the opportunity to lock in today's price for their previous model iPhones or other devices until September 30th. Consumers who lock in their price today will have until October 31st to send it in. Current pricing for the iPhone 5 ranges between $125 for a broken phone and $340 for a phone in flawless condition. With the sale price of the new iPhone 5c set at $99 with a 2 year contract, you can trade in your broken iPhone, get the new release, and still have some money left over for groceries! Additionally, Gazelle launched its Become a Gazellionaire™ Sweepstakes where one lucky person will win $1 million. 
win $1 million!Visit Gazelle.com/sweeps for more info.

Go to Gazelle today, see what your iPhone or other device is worth, and trade it in for a chance to win $1 million!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Become a Gazellionaire Sweepstakes starts on 9/9/13 at 12 a.m. (midnight) ET and ends on 12/31/13 at 11:59:59 PM ET. Visit Gazelle.com/sweeps for Official Rules and complete details on how to register, entry instructions, including how to enter without a transaction, odds of winning, etc. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S./D.C., 18 years or older. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Gazelle, Inc.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Choosing a hot water heater

photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating water for the home can account for anywhere from 15-25% of a home's annual energy consumption. This presents a tremendous opportunity for saving energy with a few simple steps.

Perhaps the most obvious is to use less hot water, such as these simple hints:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Wash laundry in cold water (which preserves the clothing longer, as well)
  • Install low flow shower heads and faucets throughout the home
  • Trust your dishwasher manufacturer and skip pre-rinsing the dishes before you load the dishwasher. 

Conventional hot water heaters will store up to 80 gallons of hot water, ready for the homeowner's needs. Turn the thermostat lower on the water heater. Many water heaters have an automatic shut off at 190 degrees, but water does not need to be anywhere close to that hot. It can scald and cause burns. A more ideal temperature is warm enough to kill bacteria, such as the one that causes Legionnaire's disease. That temperature is 123 degrees F, which is what is recommended for both safety and comfort.

Legionnaire's bacteria is not a concern with tankless water heaters, or on-demand heaters, as there is no standing water. Instead, these innovative units quickly heat water only when it is needed. While they are growing in popularity, due to the many attractive features, it is important to know some of the potential drawbacks as well. The initial cost of the tankless water heater is quite a bit higher than a conventional water heater and can take 16-20 years to recoup the cost. Additionally, special considerations for the equipment must be made. If you have hard water, a separate water softener must also be installed or in many cases the warranty is voided on the tankless water heater. Many new tankless water heaters, if they use gasoline or propane, are eligible for federal tax credits for 2013. Electric tankless water heaters are not eligible, as the energy savings is negligible. Other water heating solutions include solar water heaters which are also eligible for a federal tax credit, but under a separate program. To find the different sort of rebates and tax credits available, the Energy Star site has a complete listing.

In a few years, new types of water heaters, such as the gas-condensing water heater and the electric heat pump water heater will also be more widely available. The gas-condensing water heater does not vent the combustion gases used to heat the water directly outside, but instead captures and utilizes those gases to heat the water even more. By designing the vent for the gases with a greater surface area, as the gases exit the tank, they transfer more heat to the water in the tank.

The electric heat pump water heater works similar to a refrigerator, but in reverse. Whereas a refrigerator pushes the heat outward as it cools the interior of the unit, the water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water in an enclosed tank.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from today's post is to plan ahead. Most water heaters have a warranty of 6-7 years, depending on the manufacturer. A wise consumer will take time to research and understand their options before they have to contact a professional to replace their water heater, giving them the most cost-effective and energy efficient options for their home.

Today's post has been brought to you by Reeves Family Plumbing in the Coppell-Carrollton area. All research and opinions are our own. 






Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pioneer in organic beauty: Nourish review

Lavender Mint
USDA Organic
Earlier this year, Our Daily Green had the opportunity to review some of the products from Nourish Organic. We fell in love with their raw shea butter which has become part of our daily regiment. When they contacted us again to do a more extensive review as well as a giveaway of their incredible body washes, we were thrilled, especially knowing their body washes contain shea, which is also called the "tree of life".

Nourish Organic only uses USDA certified organic ingredients in their products. They were the first beauty company to work in conjunction with the USDA, creating a collection of products that meets the same certification standards as our food. In theory, this collection is even safe to eat. But more importantly, it is safe to use on your skin. The skin is often overlooked as part of an organic regiment, but it's important to realize that what you put on your body is as crucial as what you put into it. The skin is the body's largest organ and absorbs anything it touches through the pores. The skin normally serves as a protective barrier that helps keep foreign chemicals out of the body. However, some chemicals can easily pass through the skin and enter the bloodstream. Beauty products with chemicals get absorbed into the body and can do as much damage as anything ingested.

We received an array of their different body washes to review as well as share with one lucky reader. To qualify to win 2 full sized bottles of body wash (retail value $19.98), please share this post on either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comment with the link you posted. One entry per person. Entries close on September 30, 2013 at midnight EST and we will choose one winner from the comments. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Lorax: Blu-ray giveaway

Our Daily Green is thrilled to offer our readers a chance to win Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Blu-ray. The Lorax is a hero to environmentalists everywhere, with his quest to protect the truffula tree, and the poignant reminder that:
environmentalist for truffula trees
photo courtesy of my personal gallery
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
NBC News is sponsoring the giveaway to remind us that often our children need someone to also speak for them and that is the responsibility of the parents. They have put together today's blog app for both children and parents. Included in the app:

  •  Is Your Child Internet-Ready? QUIZ - Have you talked with your kids about online safety? Take the quiz to find out if your child is Internet-ready! 
  •  Comic Book Videos - Watch all four comic book stories as a family to discuss real situations that may occur when your kids go online. 
  •  DOWNLOAD the FREE eBook - Our kids have never known a world without the Internet. But that doesn't mean they know how to behave online. Download the free eBook and start a conversation with your kids.
If you'd like to win, please share this post on your Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter page and leave a comment where you shared it. One entry per person, entries close on September 22nd, midnight EST. We will choose and verify the winner from all entries. 

Thank you to Growing Up Online for today's giveaway. Good luck! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Getting Mother Nature's drift (reprint from Otherwords.org)

Getting Mother Nature’s Drift: The lush lawn is dead in the parched Southwest


Jim Hightower
My father was an early member of a group now known disparagingly as “ultra-lawn people.”
“High,” as everyone called him, was dedicated, body and soul, to the Sisyphean task of trying to maintain a lawn full of lush St. Augustine grass in hot, dry Texas. He planted, watered, fertilized, watered, mowed, watered, fought bugs and brown patch, watered, re-planted, watered…ad nauseum.
Some years, he won. Other years, nature rolled him.
dotpolka/Flickr
dotpolka/Flickr
High departed his lawn and this Earth well before climate change turned Texas from merely hot and dry into scorched and parched.
I know he would've denied it at first, but I think even he would've finally given in to today’s new reality: In our drought-ravaged Southwest, the lush lawn is dead. Literally and ethically.
From Texas to Southern California, city after city is adapting to nature. They’re policing neighborhoods to impose big fines on excessive lawn watering, paying homeowners and businesses to rip out grass and replace it with desert scapes, and even outlawing grass yards in new developments.
And, it’s working. A pioneering 2003 turf-removal rebate program in Las Vegas, for example, has now pulled 165 million feet of thirsty lawn grass out of the area, saved more than 9 billion gallons of water, and cut water use by a third, even as the population has mushroomed.
Such an effort would've been treated as heresy only a decade ago, but now it’s simply considered the right thing to do. This isn't merely an environmental adjustment, but a fundamental ethical shift, especially among younger people.
The idea that green lawns are exercises in ecological narcissism has taken root in this arid and politically conservative region — demonstrating that conservatism really can be about conserving. Mother Nature and future generations will be grateful.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Controlling bugs in the home

In the world of homeowning, there are good bugs and bad bugs, but it's a safe bet that one cockroach, termite, or bedbug is one too many. In fact, where there is one of these, there are probably dozens.

Today, we are sharing a quiz to help you understand where bugs fit into our world and when it is best to keep them away. While there are often natural solutions to bug control, sometimes it calls for a bit more aggressive approach to keep your home and family safe from invasive bugs. Education is the key. 

Today, Our Daily Green is offering the Orkin Home Education Kit to award one lucky reader.

The kit includes:
Orkin Home Education Kit

• 2 Orkin Factoids 11x17 Posters
     - Poster #1 - The Pollinators
     - Poster #2 - The Recyclers
• 1 Orkin bug-finding flashlight
• 20 Rubber Toy Creepy Crawly Bugs

To qualify to win, please share one natural solution you have to bug control in the comments below. Entry must be received by September 12, 2013 at midnight EST in order to be eligible. The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please.

One of our favorite solutions is to eliminate fruit flies with a bowl of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dishsoap. As the fall harvest comes in, it often brings fruit flies, so keep that hint in mind. 

We would like to thank today's sponsor, Orkin, for the prize giveaway. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Brief history of US agencies for the environment

Environment (via www.gimby.org)
Although some colonists came to the future U.S. in search of religious freedom, many more came to exploit North America’s resources. The relatively unspoiled environment offered a bounty of riches: from lumber, fish, and furs to vast stretches of…