summer

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: This time of year in our part of the country means beautiful sunny weather, relaxed summer Summer 2014 Fargooutings and mosquitoes. Read on for some natural ways to fight these and other pests.

Eliminate entry points. Any place air can get in; tiny bugs can enter, too. Repair or replace torn window screens and doors. Make sure thresholds are airtight and use door sweeps or seals when needed.

Plant rosemary. Try planting containers of rosemary around your outdoor entertaining spaces to deter mosquitoes. People also throw rosemary on the grill while barbecuing to keep mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes often strike while people are barbecuing, but this simple trick is said to turn your barbecue into a natural mosquito repellent, while also adding delicious flavor to your food.

Mow your yard. Keep grass mowed regularly and trim shrubs. Too much grass and shrubbery can create breeding and hiding grounds for mosquitoes.

Dump out any stagnant water in your yard. Mosquitoes are often attracted to standing water. Examples of mosquito breeding grounds include old tires, driveway puddles, unfiltered fish ponds, empty flowerpots and any item that can hold water for more than a few days at a time.

A few drops of lavender. I’ve also read in numerous article about how mosquitoes dislike lavender. To keepPesticide Free Zone mosquitoes out of your home, add a drop of lavender to ribbon and place around open windows. Put lavender on your skin. Add 30 drops of lavender essential oil to two tablespoons of vegetable oil – such as olive oil – and rub onto exposed skin. Not only will you smell beautiful, but it will stop mosquitoes from landing on you. Or find a company, like The Honey B Soap Company that uses real essential oils in their products (not synthetic fragrances) and apply liberally.

Attract bats. Bats can reportedly eat 1,000 mosquitoes per night. Attracting bats to your garden can help to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes and reduce your chances of being bitten.

The Huffington Post tested some natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes. Here’s what they discovered:

  • Dish Soap – A few squirts of dish soap, left in a saucer, did a nice job of keeping mosquitoes occupied…and away from the testers. The results were comparable to citronella candle. Bottom line: According to the testers, this works.
  • Beer Traps – Turns out that mosquitoes are attracted to those who drink beer. So, the testers placed cups filled with beer around their patio. They discovered that the mosquitoes were, indeed, getting trapped inside the cups of beer. But there was a catch. Mosquitoes will still seek you out if you’re drinking beer also. Bottom line: According to the testers, this somewhat works, but if you’re also imbibing, expect to be bitten.
  • Eat Garlic – Garlic is used in many mosquito repellants used in landscaping. So, why wouldn’t it work for us? After eating a garlicky meal, we waited. The mosquitoes didn’t bother us. But really, is this practical? Bottom line: According to the testers, this works, if you’d like to down garlic cloves on a daily basis.

For the full list of How To Get Rid Of Mosquitoes, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Silent Spring Institute at http://www.silentspring.org/ 

Silent Spring is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to identifying the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer.

Silent Spring Institute began in 1994, after members of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition called for a scientifically sound investigation into elevated breast cancer rates on Cape Cod. They founded “a laboratory of their own” and named it Silent Spring Institute in tribute to Rachel Carson, whose landmark book, Silent Spring, launched the modern environmental movement. Carson died of breast cancer just two years after the book was published.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.Bird Watching

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
    • LOCALLY: Join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op to ensure that we always have a place to purchase local, organic produce. For more information, visit http://prairie-roots.coop/.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2,000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:Sunshine
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Report at http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/top-sun-safety-tips/.

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.The goddesses and cousins

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2,000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2013 Sunscreen Report

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2011 Sunscreen Report

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country


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by Wendy Gabriel

WOW! It’s been a busy summer so far. We’ve fit a lot of fun into a month and a bit. Here’s a recap:

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

We’ve been to the Mall of America, had a lovely visit (in Fargo) with my sister and her family, attended my nieces graduation at the Target Center in Minneapolis (added bonus, got to see Target Field up close on our way to and from the graduation), spent time at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s farm in Wisconsin, spent a few days with our whole extended family relaxing at a hotel with a waterpark, Caleigh attended her first basketball camp (and loved it) and then more time at the farm. Add to all that: fun playdates, gardening and a lot of playing outdoors!

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Now that summer is officially here, there are many ways to stay cool while saving money and the planet at the same time.

Energy is expensive. It takes a toll on our bank accounts and on our environment. Here are some fabulous tips from Chris Baskin at Lighter Footstep to help get you started:

Small Steps

This set of ideas costs nothing to implement. Most are just a matter of thoughtful energy habits. Since none of these involve capital improvements, they’re renter-friendly.

 • Set your thermostat to 78. Go higher, if the humidity is low enough and you feel comfortable. Turning a thermostat down to cool a room quicker doesn’t work, by the way — it makes the A/C run longer, not colder.

• Wear short-sleeved, loose clothing.You dress lightly to go out on a summer day. Do the same indoors. Absorbent, wickable cotton (organic, of course) is the hot weather classic.

• Drink lots of water. This is good practice, anyway. Cold drinks drop your body’s core temperature and cool you down quickly.

• Draw your drapes. Keeping your blinds, shades and curtains closed helps keeps heat from getting inside in the first place.

• Turn off unnecessary heat-producing devices. Incandescent light bulbs are a big heat generator. Shut down electronic gear when you’re not using it.

• Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool. Do laundry early in the day and late at night. Don’t forget clotheslines: they generate no heat in the house.

• Skip your dishwasher’s dry cycle. Rack your dishes and let them air dry instead.

• Run your air conditioner fan on low. This is particularly helpful in areas with high summer humidity. The low air volume helps your A/C dehumidify.

• Keep heat-producers away from your thermostat. Don’t allow a closely located TV or water heater to convince your thermostat that it’s hotter than it really is.

• Check your refrigerator settings. The fridge takes heat out of your food and transfers it to your kitchen, so be sure you’re running efficiently. The refrigerator is best set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the freezer around five degrees. 

Small Projects

These are all relatively inexpensive things you can do to keep your cooling costs and summertime energy use down. Most will pay off in savings from season to season. 

• Install ceiling fans.Fans move heat away from your body and provide evaporative cooling as you sweat. It’s also a good idea to have a few portable fans you can move around the house.

• Replace your air conditioning filters. Clean filters in window units. You should do this every month, so keep a stock of filters on hand.

• Buy a dehumidifier. ENERGY STAR says a 40-pint unit will save up to $20 USD a year and last up to a decade. Moderating your home’s humidity — in addition to making you feel cooler — will reduce musty smells and the growth of harmful molds.

• Shade your air conditioner. If your A/C is in full sun, it’s working harder than it needs to. Don’t obstruct the air flow.

• Have your air conditioner serviced.Coolant levels should be checked every year. A professional also will clean and lubricate the system. Without annual service, your air conditioner will lose about five percent efficiency each year — more if the coolant is low. Use Puron or some other non-CFC coolant, rather than environmentally harmful freon.

• Check your weather stripping. Caulk leaky window frames, while you’re at it. This also will suppress drafts in the winter. If you have a window-mounted air conditioner, be sure the accordion seal is tight. Add rubber gaskets to wall and light switches to make sure the wall is sealed.

• Insulate interior hot water pipes. No point heating your room air and the water. If it’s indoors, wrap your electric hot water heater with an approved insulator. Gas heaters should be insulated by professionals.

Big Steps

Here are some big-ticket items appropriate for homeowners committed to long-term energy savings. The more you do, the more you save!

• Upgrade your attic insulation. Most experts recommend 10-17 inches of R38. You have a lot of options in this area, so it pays to consult with a professional.

• Improve attic ventilation. It can get up to 140 degrees in your attic during the summer. Adding an electric fan or wind turbines will move some of this unwanted heat away from your living space.

• Replace older windows with new, energy-efficient units. The U.S. Department of Energy says this is the best bet for improving year-round home energy efficiency. Modern units feature advanced coatings to keep cooling and heat where you want it. If you’re on a tight budget, consider interior or exterior storm windows to beef-up your current installation.

• Upgrade older air conditioners. Another expensive item, but cooling can account for half of your summer energy bill. You’re looking for a unit with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration (SEER) of 13 or more. The best deals are obviously found off-season, but this is one investment which will immediately return savings.

Source: Chris Baskind, Lighter Footstep

Do you have any other energy saving tips? Leave your sage advice in the comment section!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Saving Naturally
At Saving Naturally they believe that living in a healthy and natural way is really, truly possible – for every family, on every budget. You’ll find daily posts with deals on bulk groceries, coupons relevant to a whole foods diet, frugal living tips, and all other manner of bargains that fit with your natural and organic lifestyle.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: When grilling during the summer (or any time) WDAY Green Tipsensure that you are doing everything you can to green your BBQ!

According to Greenzer.com, on the Fourth of July alone, an estimated 60 million barbecues light up nationwide, consuming enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year. And this number doesn’t even take into account the waste of paper, plastic, and food that goes into barbecuing.

Here are Greenzer.com’s Top 5 Green Tips for Green Grilling

1. Green your grill
Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.

2. Avoid toxic materials
Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release VOCs into the air.

3. Stay size appropriate
Be sure your grill fits your needs—the larger the grill, the longer it takes to heat and the more energy it expends. When stocking up on supplies, be sure to know how much you need. Confirm how many people you are catering for in advance so you avoid wasting food.

4. Set an eco-friendly table
If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware. Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a vegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers.

5. Keep it green when you clean
Keep your grill in top condition by scrubbing it down after use with an all-natural grill cleaner. If you serve bottled or canned refreshments, be sure to have recycling bins on hand. Have leftovers? Box them up in glass or stainless steel food storage containers.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

My Zero Waste
A wonderful site which encourages you to participate, share, learn and help the environment stay beautiful.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am every Wednesday at WDAY.com. UPDATE: Starting fall 2010, the segment will be moved to 1220pm (central).

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