Looking for Sustainability ideas

I thought I find a way to keep costs down while still trying to stay eco-friendly. Trying to keep striving for sustainability. This a record of that journey.

Sometimes blunt and straight forward then sometimes sarcastic

This frugal crunchy hipster single momma is doing what she can to save Mother Earth while not breaking the bank!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Every towel in the house and a bottle of Calamine Lotion

So my daughter decided today to give the poor kitties a bath. The fleas have bitten them up and they have so much flea dodo on them. We find so much of it on them when we comb them. She started to bathe them today. We put down a towel for something for the cats to hold on too. Feel safer.... We had a little water in the tub and soaped up a washcloth with oatmeal and aloe shampoo for animals. We placed the washcloth over them and rinsed first with the cloth on them the plan was to keep it on as to keep them clam but nope each and only one didn't wiggle until it came off.
First was little man, he was so good. He cried but just keep his head in my hand. When he was rapped in the towel he hid his little face under my arm as to hide..... awww too sweet. We took him to the couch for cuddle time both of us rubbing with a towel to dry him off. He was purring yea this is the life 2 women to rub you after a bath and comb you....
Next was the Princess, Dang old girl is very flexible! She got her back legs up to scratch both of us. Poor daughter got the worst. She was not a happy kitty because she of course spent all day on her hair to look that way. We combed her also; she loves to be combed. She is standing with her butt up in the air so high. Only if she could have done that in the bathtub. But she did purr for the combing
Next we went a took the little lovey in. Oh yea she is our ambassador kitty who is loving to everyone, welcomes you into the house. She went ballistic!! She tried to climb up the shower curtain, poke the toilet seat and was hanging there paws stuck on the seat and her legs sliding all over the place... When we took her out to the couch for cuddle time... she took off as to say sorry this is all I can take....She jumped on the end table and dumped the bottle of calamine lotion all over the place. I have it on my shoes, pants, carpet and the couch........ Oh great just found it all over the trash can.
We saved the best (sarcasm dipping from lips) I picked her up with the washcloth and she began to freak. Oh yea we nicknamed her psycho for a reason.... she hates people, noises and the dog. The dog decided to bite her butt at the time, so she freaked. We put into the tub on the towel. I didn't want to let go cause I might loose a arm. Some how maybe it was the wet floor maybe the fact I was watching her not to get sliced open like a Sicilian necktie and of course not to drop her, I went sliding across the floor ending up with my knee hitting the tub with a loud bang. It doesn't hurt (I might feel it tomorrow however) just keep rinsing her was my reply..... So she wasn't happy trying to get out so of course it wasn't going to be easy. she began to scream oooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. The water turned cold then my daughter turned up the hot a little then Yep the water was too warm, poor thing. But she began to yell very loudly to tell us that she was in not happy and that she wanted out. We went as quick as we could. Got another towel wrap her up and both of us rubbed her to dry her off, she began to purr. Oh little crazy one hated the bath but she liked the fact that we both was making sure she would get dried off..... Plus she had to feel better because the flea bit her up and she had flea bites all over her... She always gets Hot spots...

So the young cats are walking around shaking the water off their paws... which is very funny looking. Psycho is hiding behind the fan in the kitchen her favorite room other than my room. And Princess is still cleaning her fur......

So I have to wash every towel we have and my sandals now........

ivy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adventures in flea control



First I found some info about Diatomaceous earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is the environmentally friendly way to get rid of fleas, ticks, termites and Japanese beetles, however sometimes will kill the helper bugs like bees in your garden as well. It consists of the broken up shells of diatoms, fossilized silica shell remains of unicellular or colonial algae. What DE does is that it eats through the coat of the fleas causing dehydration and eventually causes death of the fleas. Larvae and eggs are not affected however just as any other flea treatment you should reapply when needed.
Diatomaceous earth can be found local feed stores, some health food stores, garden and hardware stores. Diatomaceous earth is approved by the USDA as an animal feed additive and will work as a de-wormer. Be careful however the Diatomaceous Earth used in swimming pool filters has close to a 60% crystalline silica content and food grade (that is the type you want to get) is close to 1% or less. Use ONLY FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth.


DE is a very powdery kind of dust, so you need to take steps to keep it out of your lungs and eyes. That's how it kills the fleas, it may not kill a human or pet but can cause pain and irritation. A paint or hardware store filter mask and a pair of goggles will help you keep it out of your eyes and lungs. When using D.E. on your pets, just avoid the face and eyes. One post on-line the woman used a old sock to help dust her felines. Any feline keeper will tell you that felines can be the worst to try use a combs on; let a lone a sprinkling of powder!!

For carpets sprinkle lightly. Make sure to get here your animals sleep or hang out the most. Leave in for 2-3+ days, make sure it get worked in when the fleas and bugs can hide. Then vacuum. *Do not use to much or you may have problems with your vacuum. * Many people used sprinkling can they made by punching holes in coffee cans or using a old spice jar. It is very fine so a little to much can cause a dust storm.



Daily recommended food grade diatomaceous earth feeding rates:
Kittens - 1/2 teaspoon
Cats - 1 teaspoon
Puppies - 1/2 to 1 tsp.
Dogs under 35 lbs. - 1 teaspoon
Dogs over 35 lbs. - 1 tablespoon


So my lazy behind didn't get to any garden stores so I went looking again on line for the answer to this problem. It's getting to the point the humans are getting bit. The flea shampoo my daughter got is running out and my sinus are going crazy from the smell of all this over the counter stuff.. My daughter and I fight about natural remedy's she doesn't like to have to keep applying them and rather get it over with using chemicals..

We are using garlic and brewer yeast on their food. They like to lick it off the food. Funny thing is they also like to lick the vitamin E oil I use on my hair and hands. I have let them lick some off their bowls, vitamin E is ok in small amounts for the animals...

I just ran across this recipe.

Oranges peels
and/or Grapefruit peels
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary OR 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 pint water


Put the peels in a large saucepan with about one quart of water and boil until the peels are soft. Let the peels cool in the water add rosemary, then blend the peels with some of the cooled water in the blender. Return the blended peels to the rest of the cooled water, then strain the mixture and funnel the strained liquid into a spray bottle. This mixture can also be sprayed on pets, furniture, bedding, carpets, etc. but unlike vinegar, this will kill actually kill the fleas as orange peels contain an ingredient that dissolves their exoskeletons.

But sadly this is not good for cats due to the citrus oils......

Natural Flea Treatment for Cats Recipe

3 teaspoons fresh rosemary OR 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 cup bottled or tap water

Note: You can often find fresh rosemary in the grocery store, even in the off season.

Add rosemary to one cup boiling water, cover and let stand 20 minutes to half hour. When cool, strain the rosemary from the water.

You can apply this with a cloth, but if your cat is not too squirmy, it works best when sprayed onto the cat from a squirt bottle. Can be refrigerated for a few days after making.

Hint: Rosemary also works for repelling mosquitoes!

But I have found that lemon was good for mange in cats and dogs. I had lemons and made a batch. They are dying but not soon enough... and the nice handled flea comb is MIA. So armed with a tiny flea comb and more than one cat than HATES to be combed we are combing them daily. Of course Whiskers our senior female loves to be combed. She is the beauty queen of the cats. She grooms herself so to have the softest fur. Don't take it personally she grooms herself after any human dares to pet her!! She doesn't mind the petting just that she has to make sure her hair is just perfect!! The little kitten freaks and runs like his tail is on fire when we start to comb, but lately well let us comb where the fleas are biting. We see him bite we get the comb and tell him this will make the inch feel better. So he is getting better. Angel just gives you a dirty look and leaves if you hesitate for a second. She has adventures of her own to go to. Mystical to fight with or tease.... The joys of felines.

Fleas are a pain.

ivy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stan Hywets Farmers Market

My daughter and I went to the Stan Hywets Famers Market yesterday. They take debit cards; but there is a $1.50 surcharge. They give you tokens to use like cash. Plus they take the direction card also...... they are having a Special Promotion in August where if you use your directions card to get tokens you will get a extra $3.

It might have been a smaller market but there was some great finds. There was plenty of raspberries they were yummy. Organic meat, coffee, cheeses, honey (yea I needed some), baked goods, and ribs that smelled wonderful. We had to get baklava first thing when we walked in. Tried the cheese and coffee. And met and talked with the woman at the agriculture booth about plants and our crazy pepper that is turning purple......... She was also handing out free seeds. We got Moonflowers and of course some cat nip seeds. We also talked to a woman that sells dog treats. We had to get the dog one of her cupcakes.... (all organic beef) the dog thought the "frosting" was the best part! There are just like kids!


I did good on my budget. I almost lost it at the grass feed beef booth.... but I got the honey, some cheese, the baklava, a dog treat cupcake and some bread.

I think I will be going back next week (ok maybe the week after that being that will be payday..)

ivy

Cleveland Ohio Tech College

A Ohio Technical College’s Alternative Fuel program in Cleveland has build a electric van. Named “Electro-Van.” The Van, a 1997 Ford E350,can run for 2 hours and up to speeds of 35mph! The group of 13 students used batteries and solar panels to design the van. Way to go Students......

ivy

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Green your cleaning products

Why?

What's wrong with the cleaners at the store?

I wanted to find cleaners that were good for the environment. The fact that I get contact dermatitis from many cleaning products is the strong driving force for me to find new ways to clean my home.

Just an Idea for why it is dangerous to use these cleaners here is some of the things that are in your cleaners right now:
Acetone you know the stuff we use to remove finger nail polish. Formaldehyde the stuff they use on dead people. Parabens it some times has the prefixes methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, or propyl. They are know to mess with hormones causing miscarriages, trouble getting pregnant, babies development or other hormonal problems. Turpentine the strong smelling stuff that removes paint. Paradichlorobenzene is in our cleaners and it is a strong pesticide and we use it in our bathrooms! Phosphoric acid that is used in fertilizers. Fragrance Yea that's not good cause 1 product can have up too 400 fragrance additives. Fragrance is what most people get contact dermatitis from. And nasal allergies.

Then the things that we really have no idea what the heck they are but can cause cancer, liver damage, kidney, brain, nerve damage, depression, or hormone problems are: Diethanolamine (DEA), D-limonene, Methylene chloride. Ethoxylated nonyl phenol, Monoethanolamine, Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (wow say that three time fast..), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Toluene and Xylene. That is just from our homes and the cleaners we use there. Many chemicals these cleaning products are the same as what they use in industrial settings.

The effects on the environment is whole other web page! But this is human contact threw the home that scientists are concern about prolong exposure can have on us all.

The basics

Must haves for every home

Baking Soda- deodorizes, mild abrasive
Vinegar- deodorizes, removes soap film,
Kills mold and mildew
Lemon juice- bleaches and lightens
Borax- kills germs
Salt- antibacterial and cuts grease
Liquid soap- veggie based or castile based
Fels-Napa soap- stain remover (even blood)

Store bought cleaners are expensive and green products are even more! I have used the basics most of the time for cleaning. When I was out of work due to a medical leave and had government assistance for food, I found more ideas. I had little money to send on cleaning products.

Some of my recipes are from the women in my family or my friends. But most are tried and used in my home. If they are being tried out for the first time I will let you know.

General cleaning recipes

Scrubbing powder

Baking soda with a little soap works great on scrubbing anywhere. Just be careful with the baking soda it will leave a white film if using to much. Can be used to freshen cutting boards

Salt is good if the surface is greasy (meat grease, oil products) Help break down the grease to be easily cleaned with soap

Household cleaner 16 oz. bottle

2 tbsp vinegar
3 tsp borax

Fill bottle almost to top with hot water add the borax and vinegar.

OR
1 cup of water
1 cup of vinegar

Pour into spray bottle. Good for lightly soiled counters and surfaces

Window cleaner
2 tsp of lemon
16 oz water

add a teaspoon of soap and you have a kitchen cleaner...

Spot cleaner
Hydrogen Peroxide
Apply to spot let dry repeat if needed. Great for blood stains on clothes.
Club Soda with a little soap let sit for a while then rinse threw.

Cleaning the Toilet
Vinegar or

Borax
Add to water and scrub with toilet brush

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