1. What’s the Deal with Castile?

    Posted on September 30, 2010 by Stefanie

    Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

    Before my local Target stores started carrying the now-famous bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (complete with their dizzying labels jam-packed with scripture, philosophies, and instructions for both life and soap), I am pretty sure I’d never actually heard of castile soap. Since I started making efforts to green my cleaning routine, however, I see it mentioned all the time. I have to admit, though, that even after I bought my first bottle of the stuff, I couldn’t have told you just what castile soap is. It occurs to me that perhaps some of the rest of you couldn’t either. Let’s remedy that, shall we?

    Read more…

  2. Frugal Fall Family Fun

    Posted on September 28, 2010 by Melissa

    This past weekend, my husband and I took our sons apple picking for the first time! I will never forget the expression on my two year old’s face as we walked into the orchard, wagon in tow, as he viewed endless rows of beautiful trees, just dripping with brightly colored fruit. “Yes, apples grow on trees Colin,” I said, answering the question on his face. We picked together and filled our bags quickly. Colin raced around, searching for apples dangling like ornaments from low branches to yank with paired hands. “Gently,” reminded my husband, as Colin excitedly dropped an apple into the bag sitting in the wagon. Read more…

  3. Supporting Our School Lifestyles

    Posted on September 27, 2010 by NPW

    School’s back in and this year’s Green Team is already on the prowl for activities they can do where they can share their Earth-friendly convictions with the rest of the school! They’ve come up with a few ideas on their own that I think are worth mentioning.

    There are so many opportunities for students to learn more about the planet we live on. When I hear sixth graders talking about how cool it would be to colonize Mars in the future I don’t think their subtext is that they’d like to colonize Mars because we’ve so thoroughly messed up our own planet we can no longer sustain life here on Earth, it’s more like they want a sweet space shuttle ride through the galaxy. And who can blame them, really?

    But lessons on the solar system are just another example of how we can help integrate the message of being responsible citizens to our students. A few weeks ago I had our school’s Green Team try out the Earth Day Network’s Footprint Calculator. These students are conscientious and try to do the right thing to help out the environment, and they were still shocked at how many planets it would take to sustain their lifestyles. It seems simple awareness is all it took for them to want to ramp up their efforts, and they are now lobbying for everyone to take the quiz in the seventh and eighth grades.

    Their next efforts will be an after-school activity where the cafeteria and all the custodians are going to help them round up the trash the school has generated in one day. The girls are already a little squeamish about digging through piles of the cafeteria’s old food but they are willing to don the rubber gloves in the name of science. The Green Team is going to try to determine which of the materials in the garbage are actually recyclable or compostable, and whether we could cut back on any of the materials the school is currently using.

    I’m pretty proud of the efforts of our school’s Green Team but of course we’re always open to new ideas. What are your school districts doing to help raise awareness?

  4. A/V Fridays – Solar Highways

    Posted on September 24, 2010 by Allie

    via Buzzfeed

  5. And the winners are . . .

    Posted on September 23, 2010 by Allie

    The winners of the Mother Earth News Fair are:

    Natalie and Christine!

    Have fun at the fair!!!

  6. Seed Saving

    Posted on by Howling Hill

    One bonuses of participating in any CSA is the availability and access to seeds that are not genetically modified or altered. Thus, I have been seeding some of the bounty from my CSA. So far I have two types of tomato (above), yellow watermelon, honeydew melon, and a couple different types of squash and peppers. All were locally and organically grown here in New Hampshire. I also have all the seeds I ordered earlier this year but didn’t plant because of The Move to Boston.

    Seeding the vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to preserve harvests, genetic diversity, and to save some money.

    To seed a vegetable isn’t particularly difficult. Most times all one has to do is put seeds aside — making sure each seed is devoid of any vegetable matter — when cutting one open. Tomatoes, however, can pose a particular challenge for first time seeders. It took me a while to learn the process. I share it with you my fellow Greenists because I’m awesome (and contrite =)

    First, cut open the tomato(es) and scoop out the seeds. Pull as much of the goo away from the seeds as possible. Then take the seeds and put them in a glass jar (plastic would work but then you get the plastic chemicals leeching problem…) with some water. Let the seeds sit in the sun for a week or two until the goo pulls away from the seeds and the seeds sink to the bottom. Go ahead and agitate the jar on occasion. Once the seeds have separated from the goo, carefully pour out the water and place the seeds on a towel to dry out. Once dry, put them in a bag for the next year after labeling the seeds. If you have more than one variety you are seeding this is very important unless you like surprises.

    Knowing Wolf and I are moving from our beloved Howling Hill to the urban jungle makes my soul cringe. I am not a city person but I will adapt as I have to other changes. I am, after all, human. And humans adapt. And so do plants. We all adapt quite well, actually. I assume that’s why we (plants, animals, and everything else) are alive today: because we adapted to the changes and made the best of present conditions. To bring part of my CSA with me is a comfort. To know I can grow some of the lushness of the food I ate this summer is a fantastic way to bring Howling Hill to Boston. It connects me to the land, connects me to Mother Earth, and connects me to the CSA.

    On a completely unrelated note, our well went dry. Follow our waterless journey at Howling Hill.

  7. Plastic Bag Surcharge: Does It Work?

    Posted on September 22, 2010 by Courtney

    Remember when we talked about the possibility of a plastic bag surcharge in grocery stores? A few cities have floated the possibility and a few have enacted a complete ban on these flimsy, disposable bags that seem ubiquitous in stores. Others have imposed an extra charge for the bags in an effort to make people consider using reusable bags for their groceries.

    You may wonder how these environmental initiatives have turned out for those cities. I’m pleased to tell you that in Washington, D.C., where there’s a five-cent tax on plastic shopping bags, their use has declined by more than half. Read more…

  8. Slather Me With Honey from Yellowstone Bees

    Posted on September 21, 2010 by Deborah

    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons - Carly Art

    Three years ago this month I reduced my consumption of poison. It isn’t like I was pouring bug killer on my pancakes; rather, I was absorbing poison directly through my skin, via an efficient and deadly application of ‘beauty’ products.

    My wake-up call came from a friend who told me she’d switched to all-natural deodorant because she’d heard there’s a connection between the active ingredient in antiperspirants (an aluminum-based compound) and breast cancer. Of course I was concerned – who wouldn’t be?—but I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having smelly pits, either. Hoping my friend was one of those conspiracy-minded alarmists, I went looking for details. Read more…

  9. Method Laundry Detergent

    Posted on September 20, 2010 by Courtney

    I’m a big fan of Method cleaning products. They get the job done and they come in cool packaging, which I’m a complete sucker for, and I really like the company and its whole “people against dirty” mission. I like Method hand soap and its teardrop-shaped pump bottle so much, I kept the bottles as permanent fixtures in my kitchen and bathroom and now buy the refill packages whenever I run out of soap.

    So when I saw that Method now makes laundry detergent, I knew I wanted to check it out. (Plus, look at that cute bottle! I am a marketer’s dream.) But to be honest, I had my doubts that this one bottle would provide me with 50 loads of laundry, as it promises. It just doesn’t look like enough to cover 50 loads.

    Well, I’m pleased to tell you that I was wrong. I’ve now gotten 46 loads out of this bottle, and there’s easily enough for at least four more. That adds up to more than 50 loads, and it’s already lasted me for months! Read more…

  10. Raising Money For Ladybug Hugs

    Posted on September 17, 2010 by Allie

    The following is a guest post from my friend, Andi, the owner of Good Things Green Things.  I am so inspired by her efforts to help Audri, and asked her to share a little about her fundraising project.

    September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 18 in the United States. One in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer, and the average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients. We all know, or have know someone with cancer. Both my parents are cancer survivors, and I’ve lost two friends to the disease. Cancer is hard for everyone no matter the age, but it breaks my heart to see so many young children being diagnosed with it.

    I came across Audri’s story on Facebook through a link on a friends page. The first thing I noticed about Audri were her big, beautiful blue eyes, and her sweet little smile. She reminds me a lot of my little girl Taylor, and they are just a few months apart in age. I was so sad to read Audri’s story and learn about her diagnosis of Embryonic Rhabdomyosarcoma. It is a very aggressive form of soft tissue cancer, and it requires very aggressive treatment as well. Audri was diagnosed on April 15, 2010 at the age of 2, and started her treatment the next day. She will continue her treatment throughout the next year, and sometimes has to stay in the hospital for 5 days at a time. Audri’s mom, quit her job to be with Audri during her treatments. Audri is an amazingly strong, little girl and  is fighting like made to beat this disease. It’s always great to read her updates on her Facebook page, and hear how well she is doing.

    So this month at Good Things Green Things, it’s all about Audri. September 1st through the 30th, we are donating 50% of candles sales and 25% of all other sales to Audri’s charity www.ladybughugs.org.  We have four new soy candle blends for you to try, and a few gift baskets that provide a 50% donation to Audri’s charity. I hope that you’ll stop in a do some shopping on Audri’s behalf. If you don’t need anything from the store but you still want to help, you can go to www.ladybughugs.org to make a donation. If you can’t help right now, but would like to keep up with Audri’s progress, you can stop by  Audri’s Facebook Page to offer words of encouragement and prayers. Thank you so much for your support. It is greatly appreciated!

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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