Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fathers Day Green Tip

Father’s Day is around the corner, and since we know some super eco-friendly dads out there, it seems like a great time to find a few more ways to celebrate the men in our lives while showing some love for our environment. Here are our ideas to show dad you care about him and the world he helped bring you into!
  • Hit a local trail or park. What better way to fit in some dad bonding time than in the great outdoors? Check out a nearby rail trail with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s trail finder, visit a National Park, or make it a tradition to plant a Father’s Day tree!
  • Get green on the green. Recycled tees and eco balls make perfect gifts for golf-enthusiast dads. Plus we’ve rounded up our top 15 tips for keeping dad’s next game green, clean, and sustainable.
  • Is dad more into angling? Encourage your dad, uncles, and grandfathers alike to use a vintage fishing pole rather than a brand new model. Better yet, do the legwork for him and scout out some great finds on Craigslist or Ebay. For some deep Dad’s Day discussion while you’re reeling in a big catch, impress your father and friends with your knowledge of sustainable fishing and fair access to fish.
  • Give the gift of solar. For gadget loving dads, hand-cranked or solar powered chargers are perfect for loading up smartphones, mp3 players and laptops on the go and on the next family camping trip.
  • Green dad’s gym routine. If physical fitness is on your dad’s to-do list, outfit him with some fresh eco-friendly workout threads or a reusable water bottle to keep him moving and hydrated. And get him pumped up for more workouts with our latest green fitness guide.
  • Help dad ditch the disposables. Despite the juice needed to power them, electric razors are a greener choice than disposable ones - and a solar charged razor is even better! Look for a trusted brand when shopping for a new razor, since lasting power is key.
  • Share a ‘green’ brew. Nothing beats sharing a cold one with dad on his special day. Shop around to find some great local and organic beers and find out how you can green your brew (or brew your own) year round.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Weeks Green Tip-Better Cleaning

From EarthShare

Cleaning can be hazardous to your health - and to the environment. Many common household cleaners contain ingredients have been linked with neurological, liver, and kidney damage, and asthma and cancer. Some haven't been tested at all! When buying and using cleaning products, here are some things to keep in mind:

General Tips

  • Don't accept vague claims. Words like "biodegradable" or "nontoxic" have no legal definitions. Verify green claims with Environmental Working Group's Healthy Cleaning Guide.

  • Avoid cleaners containing phosphates. When they get into rivers and lakes, they cause algae blooms, robbing the water of oxygen, blocking sunlight, and ultimately killing aquatic life.

  • Use reusable cloths. Instead of throwing away one-use items like paper towels and mop pads, use old t-shirts and other rags that you can wash and use again.

  • Minimize use of bleaches. The most common bleach is chlorine, which in wastewater can create toxic compounds. Non-chlorine bleaches are gentler to clothes and the environment, though they are less effective in colder-water temperatures, requiring more energy-intensive hot water.

  • Buy concentrates. Ask manufacturers to produce refillable versions that allow you to refill a spray bottle by adding water to a packaged concentrate.

  • Follow instructions. When cleaning, remember to use no more than the recommended amount.

  • Make sure containers are kept dry to prevent corrosion. If a container begins to corrode, place it in a plastic bucket with a lid and clearly label it.

Do-It-Yourself Green Cleaners

  • Drain Cleaner: Pour a half-cup of baking soda down the sink and add at least a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and wait a few minutes, then rinse with a mixture of boiling water and salt.

  • Window Cleaner: Mix two ounces of vinegar with a quart of water in a spray bottle.

  • Silver Polish: Put a sheet of aluminum foil into a plastic or glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda and fill the bowl with warm water. Soak your silver in the bowl and tarnish migrates to the foil. Dry and buff.

  • Brass Cleaner: Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt and rub the lemon on the metal. Buff with a cloth.

  • Rust Remover: Use vinegar to remove rust on nuts and bolts and other mineral deposits such as calcium deposits.

Commercial Alternatives*

  • Baking Soda is a mild abrasive that provides economical and ecological alternatives to many cleaning chores, from removing scuff marks on linoleum floors to rinsing hairspray and shampoo buildup from hair and brushes.

  • Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser, sold since 1887, contains no chlorine, phosphates, dyes, or perfumes. Because of its mild abrasive quality, it can be used on porcelain, stainless steel, cookware, glass-top ranges, cultured marble, and fiberglass. It also can be used to clean butcher-block tops, woks, food processors, white shoes, luggage, boats, and swimming pools.

  • Fels Naptha is a rugged bar soap invented in 1894. A staple of some laundry rooms, it also can be used to help deter the effects of poison ivy, especially if you wash with it directly after exposure to the weed. Some gardeners use it as an insect repellent, shredding it and sprinkling it around plants.

  • Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap is biodegradable and extremely versatile. The label lists 18 uses, from shaving and shampooing to treating athletes food and purifying water. Invented in 1935 by Bronner to kill the odor of diapers, it has been on the market since 1941.

  • 20 Mule Team Borax, sold since 1890, is a good disinfectant and mold killer and a very cheap household cleaner. It can be used as a polish for stainless steel, as a toilet bowl cleaner, as a fabric whitener and softener, and as a stain remover for blood, chocolate, and grease. Some people use borax to kill fleas by sprinkling it on their carpet, then vacuuming it up.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Museum Free Week-white Memorial

May 25 – 31, 2016

In honor of Helen Ryan Donnelly. Free admission to children ages twelve and under when accompanied by an adult.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

This weeks green tip

From EarthShare.org

They may look green, but a lot of lawns are anything but. American homeowners use a lot of toxic chemicals on their lawns - up to 10 pounds of pesticides per acre. When it rains, pesticides are flushed into local streams, rivers, and lakes, harming fish and plants along the way. Here are some tips to make sure your grass looks great - and is safe for pets, children, and other living things.

Choosing the Right Mower

Using a gas-powered mower for just one hour produces the same amount of air pollution that a car emits from driving 100 miles! Luckily, there are many low-energy, high-quality alternatives to convential gas mowers:
  • Rotary mowers. Those "old fashioned" hand-powered mowers your grandparents used are making a comeback! Homeowners with smaller lawns find rotary mowers particularly appealing for their maneuverability, low maintenance costs, and minimal environmental impact.
  • Electric mowers. Electric mowers emit far fewer pollutants than gasoline-powered machines, are much quieter, and are often easier to push than their gas-guzzling counterparts.
  • Battery-powered mowers. Some mowers and other garden equipment operate with battery packs that can be electrically recharged. Though these mowers offer many of the same benefits as electric mowers, they do contain batteries that generally last only about five years. Because the batteries contain heavy metals, they must be disposed of in a hazardous waste facility.

Mowing and Fertilizing

Many local utilities offer discounts on new, electric powered lawn care equipment to businesses and homeowners who trade in their gasoline-powered appliances. Contact your power company to find out if they offer such a program.
  • Mow only as often as you need to keep your lawn in good shape. For most lawns, that means cutting your grass no lower than 2.5 inches; keeping many grasses as long as 3.5 inches is ideal for crowding out crab grass and other weeds. Longer grass retains water better.
  • Use natural fertilizers or compost. They release nutrients slowly throughout the year, won’t leach away, and support the variety of soil organisms that combat diseases.
  • If you're in the market for a lawn care company, seek out one that uses "natural" management practices as opposed to heavy chemical treatments.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn after you mow to provide your lawn with a natural (and free) source of nutrients, or compost the clippings for use in your garden.
  • Create healthy soil. Earthworms and other soil organisms keep the soil healthy. By moving through the soil, they allow water and air to penetrate, and they recycle thatch back into nutrients that the grass can use.

Using Less Water

The City of Boulder calculated that more than 50% of the city's drinking water is used for landscaping. The best way to conserve water is to reduce the amount of landscaping required to maintain your yard.
  • Xeriscape. Given how labor and water intensive maintaining a lawn can be, why not opt for a yard that's grass free? Some alternative ground covers that require little mowing or watering include Yarrow, Alyssum, Thyme, and Sweet Woodruff. Before planting, check with a local nursery to make sure the option you choose can tolerate your local climate conditions.
  • Water deeply but infrequently. Grasses do best when the whole root zone is wetted, and then dries out between waterings. Avoid frequent shallow watering that causes poor root development. Overwatering also promotes lawn disease. Water in the early morning, when temperatures are cooler, to minimize evaporation.
  • Check your sprinkler system regularly and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Collect and use rainwater for watering your garden with a rain barrel or direct downspouts or gutters toward shrubs or trees.
  • Install a drip irrigation system around your trees and shrubs to water more efficiently.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Upcoming Area Events

Yoga in the Garden-8-9am-White Memorial CC
Day Trip: Goodspeed Opera House-11am-6pm-Litchfield CC
Quilts that Care-12:30-2pm-Litchfield CC
Free Mental Health First Aid Training-5:50-9:30pm-Warren Town Hall
La Fiesta with Enzo Boscarino-6-8pm-Litchfield CC
Earth Film Series: "Can You Dig This"-6:30pm-Goshen Church of Christ
Litchfield Republican Caucus-7pm-35 South Street, Litchfield
Balance Assessment-1-2pm-Litchfield CC
Creation Celebration-5:30-8pm-Wamogo High School
Conversation About Dyslexia-6:30pm-Morris Public Library
French Chic Living-7-8pm-Oliver Wolcott Library
Coffee with the Curators-10am-Litchfield Historical Society
Preschool Construction Crew Party-10:30-11:30am-OWL
Friday Feast & Dancing Feet-12-2:pm-Litchfield CC
Embracing Recovery-5pm-Wisdom House
Litchfield Democrats Wine Tasting Fundraiser-7pm-Cafe 202, Bantam
Early Morning Hike-7am-White Memorial CC
Goshen Garden Club Plant Sale-9am-1pm-Gochen Church of Christ
Art of Crazy Quilting-9:30am-3pm-Wisdom House
Fungus Among Us-10am-White Memorial CC
LH Farm Fresh Market-10am-1pm-Litchfield CC
Vintage Base Ball Game-1-4pm-Litch. Community Field