Spring was unbelievably rainy here in Cleveland. It certainly provided us with some beautifully lush green lawns… but now it’s summer and, oh, how the tides do change…
There hasn’t been much rain lately and now I’m cringing as our neighbors run their sprinklers for hours on end in the middle of the day! Sheesh… what are they thinking?
There are some very simple and very green ways to keep your yard looking green too. Here are five of the simplest of simple tips to help you:
- Watering – ummm, yea. Middle of the day… not so wise! Much of the water evaporates before it ever reaches the roots. Lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week without the help of Mother Nature’s rain. If Mother Nature is helping, don’t turn on that sprinkler! Plus, too many shallow waterings will bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn even faster. If you must water, early morning or evening is best. Don’t forget that you can put your greywater to work too!
- Mowing – don’t mow in the heat of the day either. Cut grass loses moisture rapidly and (again!) can cause the lawn to burn out even faster, so yes… early morning or evening again!
- No “low mow” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short. Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
- Mulch it – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act as mulch to hold moisture (but if you don’t have a mulching mower, consider composting the clippings).
- Water wisely – it won’t make your lawn greener but again, if you must water, actually water the lawn, NOT sidewalks and drives! Just pay close attention not to water wildly and prevent waste.
See… simple! The mercury may rise, the rain may stay away, but the grass can be greener on your side of the fence too!
This weekend is the mother of all “picnic times!” The 4th of July picnics, parties, cookouts and celebrations will go on all weekend! (I know they will for us!)
But it can also be a time of excess, waste and lots and lots of traditions that aren’t green at all and it can leave you feeling a little blue!
So here is my list of things to keep in mind as you celebrate:
- Cookouts – skip the charcoal & lighter fluid and go for propane grilling. Even if you’re headed to a picnic area, you can prepare the grill items at home and bring them along. Did you know that newspaper is a great insulator for any containers and will keep your hot foods incredibly hot! (But remember to bring the newspaper home for recycling afterward!)
- Food – choose fresh, locally-grown, organic produce and meats. Whatever you can buy local, choose it!
- Coolers – no cheapo Styrofoam coolers… they may be convenient but they don’t last long, and after buying a few Styrofoam versions you could have actually owned a “real one” that you can use again and again and again!
- Dinnerware, flatware and serveware – if you’re at home (or even away), choose the reusables… just avoid throwaway plastics and paper at all costs. And if you are away from home scrape off the food scraps, bring home the reusables and wash ‘em! You can even go crazy and choose some compostables!
- Table covering – three words: CLOTH, not plastic!
- Containers – three more words: REUSABLES, not throwaways!
- Beverages – whenever possible, mix up big batches of beverages (lemonade, iced tea) and have a large container of water, and use (or bring) the reusable glasses or tumblers (again, no Stryrofoam or plastic, pleeeeze!). For those refreshing “adult beverages”, choose an organic and/or local brew and remember to…
- RECYCLE! – it goes without saying… bottles, cans, cardboard & paperboard… have a recycling can or container ready to receive it all!
Happy 4th of July! Celebrate your freedom and exercise your right to choose “green”… and add it to the red, white and blue!
Have you heard about this weekend’s greatest camping spot on the planet? Well, it just so happens that you won’t need to go far… it’s your own backyard!
This Saturday, June 25, is the Great American Backyard Campout!
The National Wildlife Federation created this day to encourage families to reconnect with nature and the outdoors, and remind us that we can manage life “with a little less”. You can set up tents, cookout over a fire pit, explore your surroundings, play flashlight tag, star gaze and our kids’ ever-favorite… gorge on S’mores! Shut down all the lights, computers and TVs in your house and even save a little electricity while you’re at it. (Indoor latrine, via flashlight, permitted of course!)
If you want to find out who’s camping nearby, or register your own outing, check out NWFs site for more information.
I think this is a great opportunity to join families all over the country in embracing everything the great outdoors has to offer… it’s free, it’s fun… it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our families and nature. Now grab your sleeping bag and let’s campout!…
Truly, I’m thinking the answer has to be “yes”. And I’m not tooting my own horn… I’m literally talking about REAL wild animals…
I’ve written before about how we seem to have an unusually large population of animals in our yard and (I’m not kidding), it has gotten even more outrageous. While I can sit on my back patio and gaze at downtown Cleveland, I also seem to be harboring a suburban animal sanctuary.
Want to know what’s been hanging out in our yard lately? Lemme give you the list … deer (including babies!), squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossum, snakes, rabbits, hawks, a wild turkey, birds in general (galore!) and a red fox, for pete’s sake.
No one else seems to find these animals lingering in their yard… except me. Want to know my theory?… a natural, organic yard. No chemicals, no toxins, no poison polluting up our little sanctuary.
Do you think these animals know that? They have a keen sense of… oh… just about everything. Hmmm, do you think they’re telling us something…?
Well, it isn’t often that I have to make an update so soon… I just sent everyone to Environmental Working Group’s list and rating of sunscreen products… and it’s JUST been updated again for 2011!
We know the concern with sunscreen is the presence of some nasty chemicals (that part certainly doesn’t change) but, like our ever changing lives, products get changed too and I would be remiss if I didn’t share the latest findings with you…
So here… without further ado is THE latest listing: EWG’s 2011 List of Suncreens! Maybe you want to head right over to their Best Suncreens list… and hope that what you’ve been using didn’t make their Hall of Shame!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program… get your BEST suncreen and GO PLAY!