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I was looking at old posts. It happens to be the right time of year to start a garden. Sooo, basically, all that stuff I said I was going to last year, I am going to try it this year. Anything that gets the kids outside is good with me.

My daughter wants flowers, lots and lots of flowers. We will plant some but my neighbor has hundreds that I think we will just go visit. 🙂 My son wants to try corn again. I heard corn loves fertilizer, and lots of it. From what know, farm run-off from corn fields is what causes a dead zone in the ocean by the mouth of the Mississippi River. I won’t use that much.  I think it is better to fertilize more often with less.

I am trying to grow winesap apples from seeds that we got from the local apple orchard last year. They tasted great and are an heirloom variety. I need at least two for pollination but I will see how many of the five seeds germinate.

I would like to get the remaining strawberries in the sun. When I checked on them a few days ago I only saw three. But they can spread fast. If I can save them, in a few years I will have plenty.

I still want blueberries and raspberries. I need to find a good place for them. The original spot now has a black locus tree in their spot. Maybe I can plant them underneath? But both like a nice sunny spot. I am sure my hill will have a nice area.

I wonder how much I will really do this year. If I can just get the perennial stuff in then that would be a great start. Same time next year?

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I have gone thru my first box. It only took a YEAR! We have done some traveling and my wife will not use the country save detergent. I does get the clothes just as clean 95% of the time. That is fine with me. We still have Tide handy for the tough stains and dirt.

You can’t beat the price. This stuff is cheap compared to everything else. Each load uses about $0.10 of detergent. Tide is at least double that. I also like using powdered detergent. I feel that I am not buying any fillers. (water) Since I have three more boxes left, I am glad I like it.

This years garden will be totally organic of course. Since Last years garden was a bust I plan on using some organic fertilizer. (Composted chicken manure) That should help get things growing. I am going to start with Lettuce. It is a fast spring crop and I want the kids to get into gardening quickly this year. Tomatoes are a must. My neighbor said he paid $5 for three tomatoes about a week ago. I need to start them from seed today and use my LED grow light. My son really wants to plant pumpkins this year. So why not. The wife wants yellow zucchini. I think they are going somewhere all by themselves. They can get out of hand. If they do, this way they don’t over crowd something else.

This is the year I plan on planting blueberries, raspberries, apple and peaches. May be some more things if I feel like it. Lastly, I have to move my strawberries. They tree grow out and now they are in the shade. When I am all done I will have to take a picture. I still need to figure out where I am going to put my solar power pond?

This has to be one of the best ideas yet. Compostable chip bags. I hope Frito Lay does this across all of there brands. I am not going to rehash all the technical stuff. You can read about it on there website. But I just think, won’t it will be great to be able to compost more house hold stuff. My goal is to reduce, reuse, or recycle more then I  throw away.

I can’t remember how I came across this brand of milk. I think it was one of those coupon mailers. The kind I hate because it is such a waste of paper.  The thing that caught my eye was the fact they ship the milk in reusable glass containers. If we all remember the three R’s.

Reduce – Yes, I have reduced my milk consumption. But I like milk! So not that much.

Reuse – This is why I like the glass bottles. They have a $1.50 deposit per half gallon jug.

Recycle – That was what I did when I purchased the plastic gallons.

So as we can see Reuse is better than Recycle. But what makes it a win-win is the fact that the milk taste gooood!

This is an added bonus. rBGH free milk!

Why their milk tastes so good!

No the milk is not organic but after reading the page linked above, maybe I don’t want organic milk either. For now, hormone free milk is just fine. Sure Oberweis milk costs a little more. But I think it is worth the small increase for what you get.

Two years ago I gave up Caffeine. Many of you may find that hard to do but it was easy for me. I only drank one coke a day. Still I had Caffeine withdraw for 4 days. All four days I had a headache and on the third day I had somewhat shaky hands.

I still would have a coke but I just drank the caffeine free kind. This past new years resolution was to not drink any sugary sodas. No coke or sprite. Interesting enough I think I had sugar withdraw. Reminds me of the headaches one gets when they have not had time to eat breakfast or lunch and now it is dinner time. That lasted on and off for about two weeks while my body adjusted to not having the quick rush of sugar into the blood stream.

I don’t fell like I have more or less energy. But I don’t have the ups and downs in energy like before. This is a good thing for me. I like a nice even energy level. I find I can get more done that way.

So If the government wants to tax sugary sodas, go ahead I won’t care at all.

SO I was reading the news report about Wal-mart pulling children’s jewelry from the shelves because of high Cadmium levels. I then recalled that China had a problem with high Lead levels a few years back. But the thing that I find most disturbing is that  every bit I hear about Chinese product problems are an involuntary action. That is to say, someone caught them red-handed. When is China going to police themselves? Are they incapable of regulations? Maybe they are? Corruption, I hear is very high in China. This is not Drywall. This is children’s Jewelry! What about jewelry for adults? Does that have heavy metals in it too.

One would think that with capital punishment more prevalent in China that people would use their heads. I am all for buying and shopping local. I always have my wife buy eggs from the local hatchery. Even if they cost $0.50 more a dozen. Have you tried to buy only domestic products. (I can’t imagine what others do outside the USA. It is bad enough here.) But we will never get away from China. Labor is just to cheap and plentiful. I just hope they get on the quality/safety bandwagon. And soon.

P.S. in that article, A cadmium specialist from China told the AP that cadmium is normally directed to the Chinese domestic market. Who cares where it is going. Don’t use it!

Where to start? Let’s start with my average water usage. Lasts months water bill came in at 2400 Gallons. This was from the month of November. (No watering outside!) This would be equal to about 80 gallons a day. For a family of four, that is really good! The average water usage in the US per person is about 70 gallons. We are well below that average during the cooler months when I am not water outside. I would like to keep it that way.

Rain water collection, my next spring project. During my Internet research I found a great product. RainXchange. I looks perfect, but has some flaws. #1 cost. for a 3000 gallon system it costs close to $5000. And that is if I install it myself. I don’t think I need a 3000 gallon system but the 1000 gallon system costs about half as much. #2 From what I can tell, the pump must run 24/7. So the money I save from capturing rain water will be chewed up in extra electricity costs. (Note: I am not wanting to do this to save money, but it would be nice!)

Option two, big tank of water. I don’t want one standing next to the house. Just too ugly. I could bury one but that cost money too. (Less then the rainXchange) One idea I had was to half bury a tank in the side of my small hill. But then I have to run a water line over 50 feet to it and add a transfer pump. The last option I have is to purchase a low profile tank and make a raised deck over the top of it. While this sound nice I don’t know about the added costs of the deck.

Moving on to sizing the tank. (I will have to think about location over the next few months.) After looking at my water bills, I figure I need about 3000 gallons “extra” in the summer months. Rarely do we go more than two weeks with out some significant rain fall. he system do not need to be available all the time. I can always use city water.  As an example, I want to water only the front yard. Let’s say it is 2000 square feet. If I need to water it with an inch of water every week then I need about 1200 gallons of water in the middle of a two week dry spell.

No mater which way you slice it. This will cost over $1000. Maybe I should just go back to driving a well? I did do some experimenting with water jetting but that was it. This past summer was a good one for rain so I lost my motivation. But I have plenty of time now to think of new crazy ways to save water.

Think recycling plastics is enough. Well, think again. I guess a glass jar with a metal lid is the next best thing. Maybe someone will invent something that eats plastic. That could spawn another problem. Reducing consumption is the best solution.

Amazon.com has quite a few review on this product. Most are very good. Only a few are 1 star. So I thought I would give it a try. Since I have a front load washer. One box should last for 160 loads. At the rate I do laundry, one box will last half a year.

How does it measure up? Well, I notice no difference at all. So in my book, that is a good thing. I took a risk buying it because I got four boxes. That would last almost 2 years. I figured if I did not like it I could sell it on eBay. For me, I just add it to the dispenser. The machine adds water and the mixture does not go on the clothes. It goes into the tub. This is good because the powerful mixture can ruin clothes. I’m safe!

Seventh Generation Claim

I can’t find any info about Country Save not using petroleum, but it is a powder!