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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

It's not H1N1, but...

You can tell I've been ill. Not H1N1, despite having almost half my class of fourth graders ill with flu-like symptoms, but I'm definitely not my usual Daisy-like self. A few giveaways:
A beautiful October day, and I didn't even open a window.

  • I didn't know that the bunny's litter box was due for a change until after my late shower cleared my sinuses enough to smell its, er, condition.
  • I haven't been online in three days.
  • I napped on and off all day, ignoring the lovely autumn weather.
  • I found Mythbusters hilarious, but hoped they composted the banana peels from their experiment involving slipperiness.
The biggest clue that I've been under the weather? I didn't take out the kitchen compost until after supper. It was near overflowing with three coffee filters, a stale PBJ, and more. A lovely day, the kind of day I'd like to be setting up the garden for winter by covering it with a blanket of leaves, pulling the mint or cutting back the mums, and all I did was rest on the couch.

Maybe the saying is all wrong - it would have been better if it were raining!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

About the National Green Pages

I just found this wonderful resource! Very exciting:

The National Green Pages™ is a directory listing nearly 3,000 businesses that have made firm commitments to sustainable, socially just principles, including the support of sweatshop-free labor, organic farms, fair trade, and cruelty-free products.

For every category of conventional consumer goods and services, there are green businesses that can meet your needs. The National Green Pages™ lists baby care products, organic, fair trade, flavored teas, and fuel-efficient cars for rent among the thousands of products. With each purchase you make through the National Green Pages™, you know you’re supporting truly green businesses.

So, What's a Green Business?

Green businesses operate in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems. These businesses adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, their employees, communities, and the environment. Green businesses listed in Green America’s National Green Pages™ have passed a screening process that qualifies them for membership in our Green Business Network.

Ok, so this is all I have to offer this week. I'm growing EXTREMELY busy with my coursework and other responsiblities. Here's a quote that will serve to foreshadow next week's entry (which everyone, kids and adults alike, will be happy to read I'm sure):

I’m enthusiastic about the idea of adding to the Halloween traditional sense of sustainability and responsibility to our children."

-Mark Cross, Mayor of the City of Sammamish, WA

Happy Wednesday! -BA

Monday, October 12, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Enjoy a Backyard Kitchen Garden

As I'm putting my garden to bed for the winter, I always reminisce a little. It's a bittersweet time, watching the plants turn brown and brittle after the first killing frost but realizing the freezer is full of delicious produce that will carry the nutrition and taste into winter. Here are my top ten ways to enjoy a backyard kitchen garden.

10. Watch the bean vines grow higher and higher.
9. Sneak a fresh raspberry before the rest of the family sees them.
8. Harvest lettuce and tomato for your BLT while the bacon is cooking.
7. Clip fresh herbs for a sauce or salad, making the kitchen smell great.
6. Freeze spinach and add it to everything.
5. Admire the cute little cauliflower head alongside the blooming broccoli.
4. Have a zucchini give-away contest: the most creative idea wins (Just don't announce that the winner gets all the zucchini).
3. Make a garden vegetable soup in the crockpot; take the leftovers to work and gloat that you grew your own soup.
2. Bake rhubarb muffins - in January, from your frozen stash of rhubarb.
1. Serve fresh food to the family, nutritious and delicious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Green Fall Activities

It's always sad to say goodbye to the relaxing warmth of summer. I love being able to head to the beach for the weekend, going canoeing with friends, the joy of spending the evening on the patio, and the freedom to grill out or go camping. Luckily, here in the MidWest summer flows rather smoothly into Fall... lots of produce to harvest, the autumn leaves, warm clothes, turning off the A/C, and of course, all of my favorite Fall activities.

Here are some ideas of how to welcome the gorgeous autumn weather by heading outside and enjoying the season the "green" way:

Build a greener tailgate. Enjoy football season (or the end of baseball season) by celebrating with organic beers, recycling all the waste, composting, and eating locally. In 2007 the College of Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University took the initiative to host/advocate for green tailgating featuring locally grown food, limiting packaging waste, and reducing energy consumption:

Go apple picking. Take kids and friends to a local orchard and enjoy the best apples the area has to offer. Enjoy local cider, caramel apples, and the fresh local pies that support your local farmers. In Michigan my favorite is Uncle John's Cider Mill on US-127 North of St. John's. Everything is SO yummy and organic:

Go hiking at the peak of autumn color. Find out when the autumn leaves will be at their peak of color and head out on an awesome hike to enjoy it firsthand. Here in Ohio the leaves are just beginning to change, so I hope that I'll get a chance to scope out a few places like the Cuyahoga River Valley (pictured below) and the National Park. The Ohio DNR also offers a navigational site that highlights Ohio's Fall foliage and peak color season.

Visit a pumpkin patch. Instead of getting your pumpkin at the grocery store, head straight to the source. Take the kids to a local pumpkin patch so they can learn where pumpkins come from and how they grow. Uncle John's (that I mentioned above) is also a great place to go:

I hope these ideas will pique your interests in seeking out an environmental-friendly autumn!

Happy Wednesday! -BA

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rain has its own beauty.

Rain. The flowers are gone, the vegetables are (mostly) canned and frozen, but the rain still comes. It'll soak into the garden soil, help decompose the brush pile and compost bin, and still do the ground some good.

I'm mourning the summer farm markets already. I'll pick up as much as I can in these last few weeks. After that, all garden vegetables will come from the freezer. In the meantime, I'll start browsing the seed catalogs and setting up the new area for tomatoes. I love autumn, but the end of the garden season makes me a little sad.
Photos by La Petite, who loves flowers after a storm.