Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rehydrate!

There is a very simple thing each and every one of us can do to feel better – drink more water!
That’s right, such a simple thing, yet most of us do not get adequate amounts of pure water to replenish what we lose every day. Unfortunately, not getting enough water every day can lead to many types of disease over time.

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Add to that the amount of toxins and pollutants our poor liver and kidneys have to deal with on a daily basis and we are not doing ourselves any benefit by not drinking enough water.
If we rely on our feelings of thirst, we likely are not getting enough water, because the feeling of physical thirst is actually fairly late to develop during our process of dehydration.

Each day we are supposed to drink half our weight in ounces of pure water, either spring water or filtered water. That means a 160lb. person would need to drink 80 ounces of water each and every day which means about 2.25litres. Wow, that’s a lot of water!!

There is a simple trick I have learned recently to easily take in the correct amount of water I need every day: I try to get as much of my allotment in before noon, being careful of Water Intoxication by sipping, not chugging my water. I put my 750ml bottle at the corner of my desk, where’s it’s easily to hand, and before 8am, one bottle down, two more to go.

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Then, at 9am, when I’m out and about on my appointments and site inspections, I make sure to have another couple of bottles with me, and lo and behold, by noon they’re all gone. Hey, it works for me. Why don’t you try it too?
The other thing I have started doing is adding 10 drops of Physica Rehydrate to my bottle. This is a homeopathic preparation to help your body hydrate, especially if you’re like me, and water doesn’t normally quench my thirst. It makes the water more thirst quenching somehow.

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Feed the Earth! – One Tomato at a time!

Plant A Garden – for yourself, for the Food Bank, for the Earth

It’s the Victoria Day long weekend and for so many Canadians that means planting time because all danger of a late-Spring frost is past.This year I have been extremely lucky that my hubby took the time to make me these beautiful raised two-tier planting beds of cedar reclaimed from old hydro poles (the non-creosote part, of course).
I added some rich black soil, then planted a large variety of heirloom tomatoes as well as other veggies I purchased at the Burlington Farmers’ Market from a local grower. I also planted seeds of onions in a row in front of the tomatoes, to help repel furry pests, radish, carrots, and beets.On a “hill” of soil off to the side I planted zucchini and small sugar pumpkins.
As with all other transplanting, tamp the soil down around each plant very firmly – use either your fist or your boot and make sure you press out any air bubbles.
Also water very well initially as this helps remove air bubbles as well. Air bubbles are the enemy of growing roots!
I consider myself extremely fortunate that I have the luxury of having a back yard to plant my vegetables in, but if you have a balcony, roof-top garden, sunny front porch or any space outside you can also grow your own vegetables. It just takes a bit more planning. Check out this do-it-yourself Alaska Grow Bucket which is a brilliant idea, especially if you have access to a rain-barrel, as it is also self-watering.
For an extremely limited space, try growing your vegetables upside-down – check out this do-it-yourself idea: Make Your Own Upside Down Tomato Planter
Two-tiered cedar planting beds
Water the young plants very well after transplanting

In a few weeks I will be planting some companion plants around the tomatoes: sweet basil to make the tomatoes taste better and sweeter, chives and marigolds to keep away aphids and other unwanted insects. If I see signs of fungus of any kind I will try to use this simple method to treat it: Sweeter Disease Free Tomato Tip. I will also screen the entire planting bed up to the height of the fence around it with bird net, a really tough netting which will keep out rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, etc.
You may want to check out a book written by Jennifer Cockrall-King: Food and the City for more inspiration on why it’s a good idea to have urban agriculture.
Wherever you are – plant at least a tomato plant. You will enjoy really fresh tomatoes that are so sweet and delicious you just might get hooked on urban gardening!!
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FarmPlate.com

A Better Way to Go?

Choose A More Natural Way to Return to the Earth

On April 2nd of this year, my sister Violetta passed away in England.
Requiescat in Pace, Violetta
I was amazed and delighted that her family opted for a natural burial at Higher Ground Meadow in Dorset.
This is such a beautiful place, where your loved ones can return to the earth from which they came in a dignified and environmentally responsible manner. The owners of Higher Ground Meadow sell burial plots at extremely reasonable prices and biodegradable coffins made from wicker (as shown in the photo of my Sister’s casket), felt or cardboard. The prices for these are also very reasonable.
In comparison to the cost of a full-out funeral in Canada it’s a fraction.
Natural Burial is gaining some momentum in Canada and there are two cemeteries in Ontario – one in Kitchener and one in Cobourg that offer a natural burial. Check out The Centre for Natural Burial
As an alternative there is also the Funeral Advisory Society which you join for $35 (lifetime) and then you can choose a dignified burial in Canada at most of the Funeral Homes which is far less expensive.
I believe that this method of being interred is far more environmentally sound as well as sustainable than the old-fashioned method of embalming and being entombed in a fancy, expensive wood coffin protected by a concrete lead-lined sarcophagus.
It is certainly the choice I’m making for myself!
My Sister’s Funeral Bier and Willow Casket
Her Final Resting Place

A New Way to Save Electricity!

The Power of A Visual Hydro Cost Monitor

Believe it or not, most of us don’t particularly care whether we do our bit to save electricity.
It is, however, a very important aspect of being kind to the planet. Every kilowatt hour of electricity that you don’t use is one less kilowatt hour that the public utility needs to produce.

If everyone did their bit then the hope would be that new nuclear reactors would not have to be built and that, in turn, would be the hope of all who are concerned with the health of the planet.

Our family has very recently installed a “Power Cost Monitor” supplied by Burlington Hydro as we are already peak saver thermostat users.
It is a simple device which looks like a large remote control and sits on our kitchen counter top. It shows our live electricity usage expressed as cents per hour and also keeps a running total of our consumption for the month.
The amazing thing is that, despite ourselves, we have been watching the monitor and changing our behaviour accordingly. For instance, when I see that monitor go to .63 from .07 when I start the dryer at 3pm, I’ll leave it until 7pm when I know our costs will go down.
It seems insignificant, until you watch every member of the household (6 in my case), do the same thing. 
If it helps even just a little to avoid the need for new nuclear reactors, then my family and I will be happy to comply.
For an interesting article on how the McGuinty Government is maneuvering itself to build new reactors without sufficient public input, you may want to read this blog article from Greenpeace
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Wooden Cutting Boards are Safer!

Do Yourself a Favour and choose Wood!!

I’m enjoying myself at the Show!!
This past weekend, at the Royal Botanical GardensHome & Garden Show I had a table promoting my business. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet many people.
I also offered a draw for a gorgeous cutting board from Hedge Road Woodworks in Jackson’s Point, ON. The lucky winner was Margaret Kenny of Sutton Group Results Realty in Burlington.
These boards are made primarily from sourced dead-fall lumber, with the addition of very small amounts of exotic woods from Exotic Woods in Burlington ;
Many people I spoke with at the show were wary of using a wooden cutting board for food preparation, however, in reality, a wooden cutting board is far safer and less toxic to use than a plastic cutting board, as well as being sustainable and planet friendly. A study done by UC-Davis concluded that wooden cutting boards kill the bacteria on the surface even when severely knife-scarred. The bacteria remaining in the knife marks were unable to reproduce and eventually died. In contrast, plastic boards were impossible to sanitize when knife-scarred.
Do the planet and yourself a favour and choose wood!!
Margaret Kenny with her new cutting board
I LOVE my cutting board