May 2014 - Our Daily Green

Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't neglect mosquito control in your yard

When the temperatures turn warm, that means mosquitoes will begin to multiply. Without professional help, they can easily overrun a person’s yard. Sometimes it can become so bad that you can't enjoy the outdoors even in your own back yard. Of course, it goes without saying that you can never have friends over for a barbeque. Mosquitoes can easily turn an outdoor gathering into a nightmare. The mosquito is not just a nuisance; they have been known to carry disease. One example is the West Nile virus. The solution is a professional mosquito control service.

This image courtesy of the USDA as part of the public domain

Why use a professional service?

A company that has been in business for many years will have the skill and the chemicals to kill mosquitoes. Today, all of the best companies are using an all natural mosquito treatment to keep your yard safe for use. In addition, they know all about the mosquito. How these insects live and breed is an important aspect of controlling them. A professional can look at your yard and point to areas that need to be addressed to help control mosquitoes. There are certain places where water will gather that may be breeding grounds for the mosquito. By working with a professional mosquito control company, and getting the advice that is useful to you, mosquito control becomes a partnership between you and the mosquito control company.

Other services offered

Although it is common to use a spray method to treat the surrounding vegetation where mosquitoes live, there are other techniques that a good mosquito control company will offer. One example is a misting system. This is a method that utilizes tubing to deliver a spray that can last up to 30 seconds and be programmed to deliver this spray two to three times a day. It is set up to do so automatically and can be done at the most optimum time to keep mosquitoes at bay and to kill them. This is a perfect solution for yards that have a serious and persistent problem with mosquitoes. This type of system can be installed and maintained by a mosquito treatment company, so you have to do nothing at all.

In many instances ticks can be controlled and eliminated as well as mosquitoes. This is important because like mosquitoes, ticks can carry disease. The most common is Lyme disease. One call to a professional mosquito and tick control company can solve all of your problems. The Mosquito Squad is a good example of this type of company. They can be found throughout the country.

A special thank you to today's post sponsor for reminding us that there are safe and non-toxic ways to control mosquitos! 

Repairing furnaces easily

Furnace repairs can be done by homeowners once they  purchase the correct parts for their units. People can find combustion burners and pilots here before they begin the repairs, and the parts must be the proper parts for their unit. Following all three steps below will give every homeowner a working furnace that is easy to use and maintain.

  • The Pilots

The pilot on the furnace must be in working condition at
all times. also, the pilot must be new so that it will light itself when it goes out. The oldest furnaces must be lit again every time the pilot light goes out, but there are many times when the homeowner is not home. The newest pilot lights will light themselves again to make sure that the gas does not leak into the house.

  • The Burners

The burners that are located in the furnace must burn at the right temperature at all times. The air that comes out of the furnace is heated by these combustion burners. The burners will heat the air before the fan pushes the air into the ducts. When the combustion burner is working properly, the air in the house will always match the temperature that is listed on the thermostat.

  • Repairing The Unit

The units that are in disrepair must be repaired as soon as possible. The repairs on a furnace help the furnace to remain safe to operate, and the repairs that are completed can be done without endangering the family. The cold air in the house will only last for a few hours while the repairs are being completed.

  • Accessing The Unit

Removing the casing from the unit is the most important part of the repair job. People must get to the inner workings of the furnace so they can complete the repairs. Removing the casing, replacing the pilot switch and combustion burner is the best order of service for a working furnace.

Homeowners who are able to take care of their own furnaces will be able to save money on their repairs, save money on the labor for service appointments and save the time that it takes to have the repairs done.

Our Daily Green would like to thank today's sponsor for helping us learn how to repair things around the home. It's always better to repair when possible instead of replace. 

Block Island Organics sunscreen review

As the month of May wraps up and we march towards summer, dreams of lazy, hazy days outside fill our minds. But with those summer dreams comes the summer reality of sun safety. According to the American Melanoma Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life.

With those sort of sobering statistics, sunscreen is one of the best protections against that risk. But, according the the Environmental Working Group's guide to sunscreens,  many sunscreens contain dangerous chemicals that are absorbed into the skin and affect the endocrine system, causing hormonal disruptions as well as allergic skin reactions. The safest sunscreens are mineral based sunscreens, that instead of being absorbed by the skin, serve as a physical barrier to block the UV rays from penetrating. Mineral based sunscreens use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to block the sun, without the risk of allergic reactions or endocrine disruption.

A USA-based, family-owned company, Block Island Organics recognized the problems with the chemical sunscreens as well as several of the earlier mineral based sunscreens, such as too thick a consistency, giving the product an unpleasant texture, which reduced the chance of it being used. After all, sunscreen only works when it's applied!

Block Island Organics developed a line of sunscreens that are reasonably priced, safe, and pleasant to use. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to review the sunscreen and share our opinion. We received several single use packets of sunscreen as well as a 6 oz. bottle for our testing, and took it with us to our town Memorial Day parade, where we shared the samples with friends and used the sunscreen during the 3 hours we were outside in the sunshine. We are happy to report that nobody who used the sunscreen got any sunburn that day and also, there were no telltale white streaks that are generally associated with zinc oxide based sunscreens. The consistency was smooth and easy to apply, ensuring that it will be well utilized throughout the summer.

Our Daily Green is thrilled to work with Block Island Organics. They have provided a special code just for our readers to use to save 20% on all sunscreen products through June 5, 2014. Just enter GREENKIM at the checkout for your savings.

To learn more about Block Island Organics:
Find them on FACEBOOK: Block Island Organics or TWITTER: BIOSuncare.

Disclosure: Our Daily Green received complimentary sunscreen in exchange for an honest review. We are happy to endorse this great small USA based business and commend their product. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Support animal rights with various organizations

By Dsg-photo (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
There are many ways that you can help preserve a variety of causes such as animal rights, animal welfare, animal conservation, the environment and much more. When you choose to support such causes, you most likely feel a sense of pride and joy that is hard to emulate. Thankfully, many organizations make it simple for you to participate in the support of these causes.

If you are looking for companies whose cause you want to support, click here. One example of an organization you might want to help out is IDA Africa: In Defense of Animals. Choosing such a company lets you know your money is going toward helping apes and chimpanzees in the Republic of Cameroon thrive in their natural habitat.

Finding companies that live up to their goals is important since you want to feel confident that the organization you choose definitely makes sure they commit to attracting funds and appropriately spending those funds, which will include yours, in ways that further the lives of those animals.

You will probably try to find an organization in which you can participate by finding out as much about the company's history and growth over the years, as well as their success rate with helping the animals that they have chosen to protect.

If the organization provides education for the region in which the animals are that they protect, it helps the citizens become an active part of the daily goals, so it is always good to see that they are working within the community as well as asking for outside funds and efforts.

This post is a sponsored post, but we only share information we think is relevant and informative for our audience. Posts like this is why we can keep bringing you the best green news. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

America the Possible (video)


video courtesy of: 
 © Center for a New American Dream (Creative Commons License) 
based on the book America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy: by Gus Speth



Sunday, May 18, 2014

22 amazing benefits of dandelion for skin, hair, and health (via repost.us)

22 Amazing Benefits Of Dandelion For Skin, Hair And Health (via Style Craze)
What is Dandelion? ‘Dandelion’- though the name seems rather unfamiliar, most of us have come across this herb and ignored it considering it just another weed. But the fact remains that this herb can do miracles for your health! I’m sure this…

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Food allergy awareness week 2014


Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a natural, do-it-yourself treatment plan for allergies




Will my daughter grow up to be a farmer like me? (from YES! Magazine)

I made the choice to give up a career in law and return to my family farm. Now, I wait to see if my daughter will do the same.

by 
Photo by Lenny Montana / Flickr.
The snow still lay thick on the ground outside the window on a March morning a few weeks ago as Saoirse struggled over her math lesson. Customarily quick to pick up on each progressive step in the syllabus, on that particular morning her brain had a mental block on decimals. The muscles on her face were taut with frustration, and I feared the ferocity of her pencil scratchings would pierce through to my kitchen table.
“Let’s put it away for today,” I suggested. (Usually a popular proposition).
“No.” The fingers around her pencil tightened until her knuckles were white.
I furrowed my brow. “Saoirse, sweetie, we’re both wasting our time today. Some days are like that. Let’s quit.”
“I. Want. To. Finish.” She hissed the last word with such vituperation, I was hesitant to contradict.
Her body and soul were responding to the sun, making it impossible to concentrate on books, pencils, or paper.
The March sunlight poured in through the southern window, washing her shoulders and bathing her angry blonde head in a halo of late winter light.
I tried again. “There’s no sense going through the lesson if it isn’t going to make sense to you today. You’re clearly not in the mood.”
Her face turned slightly to meet the sunlight as it reached through the window toward her, then she whipped around to meet my gaze once more, fury and desperation pouring from every muscle in her body.
“I don’t want to be sitting here doing homeschool when the snow melts!” Her blazing eyes suddenly softened and welled over with tears. But she continued. “And every day we don’t finish a math lesson is another day longer I have to stay in school. And if I’m in school, then I can’t be at the farm. And I want to be at the farm. I want to help Pop Pop with lambing. I want to plant a garden. I want to weed it. I want to work in it. I, I don’t want to be sitting here with a stupid math bo-ooo-k.”
She sobbed, allowing her shoulders to melt back into her chair, taking in the warmth from the rays.
I looked out the window. The snow was rimy and thick. The air was still cold enough for us to go skating on our neighbor’s pond, but the light had changed. There was no doubt about it. Saoirse’s body and soul were responding to the sun, making it impossible for her to concentrate on anything involving books, pencils, or paper.
I remember the first time that pull drove me to drastic measures. I had spent my last year as an undergraduate studying for the LSATs, determined to make my family proud and become a lawyer. What I didn’t anticipate was that the exams would fall on the first real spring day in late April. I entered the examination room with several hundred aspiring law students and managed to sit through less than 30 minutes of the exam before my palms were in a full sweat, my heart raced, and feverish streams of panic showered over my thoughts, breaking my concentration.I was sitting in a four-hour exam in a windowless room while the sun was shining.
In a flash, I saw my life before me if I finished that test—countless sunny days wasted indoors in windowless rooms. I walked out a few minutes later, choosing to follow the sun. Ultimately, it led me home to my family’s farm.
I smiled inwardly as I watched the sun make the same pull on Saoirse’s spirit. I like for my kids to understand math, but I like even more to see them drawn to immerse their bodies in the agrarian life that so many generations of my family have chosen. We made a deal. We would accelerate the schedule, and lessons would be finished by the time the snow melted so she would be ready in time to help Pop Pop with lambing season.
In a flash, I saw my life before me if I finished that test—countless sunny days wasted indoors in windowless rooms.
We met our deadline, and Saoirse was standing in the barn on the sunny spring day last week when the first lambs chose to make their entry into the world. Her skinny legs defied the gravitational pull of her oversized rubber boots as she ran back and forth from the house to the barn, reporting on each new birth, and the health condition of every lamb. She talked nonstop on the ride home that day, brimming with details about which ewes had delivered a set of twins, which had given birth to triplets, which needed extra feeding, how wet the lambs were when they first came out, how she had learned to scan the flock to see who would go into labor next.
For two days, she lived outdoors, drinking in the spring sun as she welcomed each new lamb. And then the weather changed. Temperatures plummeted. Rain and snow fell from the sky and gray clouds oozed over the farm, commanding that our wood fires be lit once more.
But the lambs kept coming. Bob drew the barn door closed to block the wind, but the newest members of the flock fell to the barn floor and quickly became listless and hypothermic. Two days of the soul-nourishing work of guiding new lambs and mothers to nursery pens gave way to tube feeding, converting cardboard boxes and old towels into beds beside the wood stove, and the morose drudgery of carrying away the dead.
In years past, when the girls were younger, we consciously played down the deaths. One of us would scurry the bodies out to the compost before the girls noticed, breaking the news later when we were cozy in our kitchen that “They didn’t make it.” Simple. Detached. And the girls and I would get back to our homeschool lessons. But the pull of the sun had brought Saoirse fully into the realities of spring this year.
She maintained her poise as she dutifully helped her grandfather find the hypothermic lambs and bring them indoors. She sat over them and rubbed their cold bodies with her hands, willing them to live. But death’s victory was not shrouded for her this year. She watched her Pop Pop unceremoniously carry the lifeless bodies away to be tossed on the compost. She climbed into the car that night and burst into tears.
Then, behind the safety of the rolled up windows, she screamed, “I hate this farm!”
We’ve all said it. We’ve all taken Sap Bush Hollow’s brutalities, shouldering our way through her harsh weather and her excessive demands for labor, daily confronting the effects her reckless nature has on our livestock and on our own spirits.
It’s part of the business. We get used to it. In our own journey, Bob and I have learned that in one moment, all is bliss. In another, all is hell. But given a little time, things settle out once more, and bliss returns.
Lambs die. It’s true. In this business, there are cold calculations made around that simple fact. A certain percentage will live, a certain percentage won’t. If the calculations are correct, we’ll have an adequate crop survive to harvest age, and we will pay our bills.
The premature deaths cause heartache, no matter how many lambing seasons we have seen. But we grow adept at waiting for the next moment. The one where you see a newborn’s tail wiggle furiously as it latches onto its mother for the first time; or where they nestle, their necks entwined with each other, for warmth; or frolic with each other and play king of the mountain on hay bales, or let their bodies soften into the pasture to drink in the sun.
Forty years on a family farm has taught me that Saoirse will either get over this or find a different path. If she stays on the agrarian path, she won’t grow callous to the daily tragedies. She will experience them as fully as the rest of us. But she’ll learn to watch for the next moment of bliss, and she will move toward it as naturally as she moves toward the pull of the sun.
I don’t dare say any of this as she expresses her anguish. Her emotions are real, and she must be allowed to feel them freely, in her own way. They may be old to her father and me, but they are new for her. We get home, and Saoirse and I go for a walk, our arms wrapped around each other. We skip supper and quietly climb the stairs to my bed, where we cuddle and read together.
Forty years on a family farm has taught me that she will either get over this or find a different path.
Being a lawyer would have spared me from Saoirse’s heartbreak on this night. Studying decimal numbers may have protected her body from this day’s driving rain and snow; and it would have sheltered her heart from the sadness that ensued. But the gravitational pull of the sun is fierce. And when we surrender to it by way of an agrarian life, we surrender to all the elements of nature. The day I chose not to be a lawyer was the day I knew I would ultimately submit to the sun. There will come a point on Saoirse’s path when she will have to make a similar choice. I cannot push one way or another. I can only wait.
The next morning, she comes down the stairs to find me at my desk. She wraps her arms around me in greeting, her body once more in a state of bliss just to be alive and full of love. We gaze out the window, hoping to see a change in the weather. But the sky is gray, the ground is wet.
“Would you rather stay home today?” I must give her the choice. She looks around the room, and I watch her carefully noting the warmth of the fire in my office, the smell of the coffee Bob has freshly ground. I see her weighing her choice carefully.
“I’ll go to the farm.”
I hope the sun will shine for her.

Shannon HayesShannon Hayes wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Shannon is the author of Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer CultureThe Grassfed Gourmet and The Farmer and the Grill. She is the host ofGrassfedcooking.com and RadicalHomemakers.com. Hayes works with her family on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in upstate New York.

YES! Magazine encourages readers to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps., YES! Magazine. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bacon is not a vegetable (from Otherwords.org)



You can't encourage other people to eat a diet that's better for them and the planet by getting all vegangelical on them.


Jill Richardson
As a vegetarian, I have to walk a fine line.
Really, I’m not judging you. But I often find it necessary to establish myself as “not a threat” to meat eaters. I also occasionally bump up against militant vegans.
Consider this collision I had the other day with a devout vegangelical. While at a potluck among an omnivorous group that included a woman who raises and slaughters chickens and turkeys for meat, I tried to politely excuse myself for not partaking in most of the food.
hightower-goodfood-circulating
circulating/Flickr
“I’m vegetarian,” I said. “Well, mostly vegetarian.”
Then I tried to crack a bad joke. “I’m vegetarian except for when I eat bacon.”
Big mistake. Vegangelicals have no sense of humor.
“Then you’re not a vegetarian,” the vegan said, annoyed. “Bacon is not a vegetable.” I could tell from her tone that she was eager for a good fight — a fight I did not want to have.
The truth is that an awful lot of thought goes into my diet, as it does for much of my lifestyle. I care about the world around me and I care about my health. I don’t want to buy products that were produced via human or animal suffering, and I don’t want to consume or use anything that will harm my health or the planet.
There are, of course, limits to this way of life because nobody in modern society can be absolutely perfect. I’m sure there are clothes in my closet that were made in sweatshops. I can’t afford solar panels and I drive a car. While my Prius gets good mileage, like most cars it requires occasional trips to the pump.
But I try. Hard.
And I try to be a mindful consumer in a way that is manageable and affordable, not crazy-making. I make one change at a time and gradually adjust my lifestyle.
I gave up meat in 2005, and even went vegan for a year. Then I became friends with farmers and ranchers who raise animals for food on sustainable, organic farms. Last summer, I even spent a week on a farm, caring for pigs, chickens, cows, and lambs that were all heading for someone’s plate. It tempered my view of eating animal products.
These animals lived a good life. They grazed on grass, had plenty of room to roam around, and they were cared for by humans who loved them.
To a vegan, that’s still not good enough. To me, that’s pretty damn good. I ate meat from that farm while I was there. Then I went back to abstaining after I left.
But complicated explanations can’t be communicated quickly. And emotions can run high at mealtime. Meat eaters wonder if I think they are murderers while vegans get ticked because I fall short of their standards.
Even when meat isn’t the issue, something else can become a touchstone.
Why won’t I eat processed food? Why do I prefer to eat organic? And, do my choices imply that others around me are trashing the environment, torturing animals, or poisoning themselves and their kids every time they sit down to enjoy a meal? Here are my answers: no, no, and no.
I usually diffuse tensions by laughing at myself, excusing my strange diet by saying, “I’m weird.” Becoming a Californian helps. Everyone knows all Californians are weird.
I wish strident vegetarians and vegans would chill out too. This tension erects a barrier to discussion, learning, and changing. Would you want to learn anything from a vegetarian you think is judging you for eating a hamburger? And maybe a vegan can learn something from a rancher who raises animals for meat.
Everyone should become more open to honest conversations about our food without judging one another or becoming defensive about being judged.
OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. OtherWords.org





Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fuel cell vehicles: hype or hope? (via repost.us)

Fuel Cell Vehicles: Hype or Hope? (via Renewable Energy News | Alphatech5)

By Tam Hunt The first mass-market consumer fuel-cell vehicle will soon be available in California: the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV. It’s taken decades to get to this point, so many enthusiasts are hoping that this will be a tipping point for the…