Archive for the ‘Ecology’ Category

Help protect wildlife and their habitat – in your yard and community

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Soapberry Shrub

By Catherine Haug, June 14, 1017 (Photo, right, of a native shrub in my yard, is by Catherine)

We all love our wildlife, and there are lots of things you can do to help protect them, right in your yard. The following recommendations come from the Wildlife Land Trust (1) [with comments by me or other members of our team in square brackets]. Note that some of the recommendations also help you, like bat houses.

In your home and yard:

  • Seek humane solutions when a conflict arises with wildlife in your home or yard.
  • Support migratory birds and other wildlife by replacing unused areas of lawn with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses that provide food and cover. [This is especially important if your ‘yard’ covers more than a couple acres. For more about Montana Native trees and other plants, the Montana Native Plant Society (2), Montana NativePlants for Pollinator-Friendly Plantings (3), Native Yards (4)].
  • [Don’t feed deer, but plant some native shrubs that deer like to graze].
  • Maintain a birdbath with clean, fresh water to help your backyard birds and migrating birds needing a rest stop.
  • Install bat houses — happy bats, fewer bugs! [See National Wildlife Federation for how to build your own bat house (5)].

Read on for more recommendations.

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Picking wild berries

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Huckleberries

By Catherine Haug, May 9, 2017 (Photo, right, by D. Morgan, used with permission)

Hey, all you huckleberry pickers out there (or those who pick other native berries such as serviceberries/June berries/saskatoons, choke cherries, etc.), this is for you. Of course, all those who have picked for their own use for years probably already know this, but those who pick for profit or are new to our area:

Don’t be greedy! Leave some berries on the bush for the bears and birds, so they can spread the seeds throughout the area to ensure the berries are there for future generations. You might think everyone knows this, but think again. (more…)

Regeneration: How to Feed the World and Cool the Planet

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Dryland Farming – Palouse Hills

By Catherine Haug, May 3, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve written several articles in the last year about Regeneration – an Organic method of healing our soils for better quality food production, and to reduce the damage caused by severe erosion. (see also list at bottom of this posting). But did you know that it can also help to resolve the climate crisis?

Regeneration International (RI) brought this important message to the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 3, 2017:

The climate crisis won’t be solved through emissions reduction alone. If we want to reverse climate change, we must also regenerate the world’s soils and better manage local water cycles. … These experts explain how our ability to feed the world and cool the planet depends on how we care for the soil.

Read on to see the short videos from the January 11, 2017 summit, “How to Feed the World and Cool the Planet: Soil Is the Solution” I also include an hour-long video from Fair World Project, “Grow Ahead,” and a list of other articles on this site about regeneration of our soils. (more…)

Event: 3 Flathead Showings of documentary “Tapped”, Mar 23, 24 & 26, 2017

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, March 19, 2o1y (Photo, right, from Water For Flathead’s Future website (2))

The following is from the Daily Inter Lake, Sunday, March 19, 2017 and Flathead Events (4):

The grassroots group Water for Flathead’s Future (who oppose the proposed bottling plant in Creston) is sponsoring three benefit screenings of the award-winning documentary “Tapped” this week in locations across the valley:

  • Bigfork showing is Sunday, March 26, 2017, 2 PM at Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts; Tickets are $10 at the door;
  • Whitefish: Thursday March 23, 2017, 7 PM at The O’Shaughnessy Center, 1 Central Ave, Whitefish, MT 59937;  tickets are $10 at the door;
  • Kalispell: Friday, March 24, 2017, 7 PM at FVCC, Arts & Technologies Building, 777 Grandview Drive Kalispel; admission is free.
  • Donations to Water for Flathead’s Future are gratefully accepted.

Read on for more about the events, the film, and to view a trailer for the film. (more…)

Good candles, bad candles

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Melted Beeswax

By Catherine Haug, March 18, 2017 (Photo, right, by Cat and Shelli R., for our posting on Cheesemaking: Waxing the Round)

The other day on a MTPR program (don’t recall which one), I caught the message that ‘not all candles are created equal, and most are loaded with toxins.’ Today’s Daily Inter Lake has a short article about this in the ‘At Home” section, by Kimi Harris, from Mother Nature Network: 5 reasons to switch to beeswax candles (1). Not only are they non-toxic, but they may also help purify indoor air.

While beeswax candles may cost a bit more than toxic candles, they burn longer, have a fragrance with a hint of honey, and are available in most communities. Many beekeepers make beeswax candles and sell them in local stores/farmers markets. Here in the Flathead, Trailhead Supply (3) sells candles harvested and handcrafted by Glacier County Honey Co. (Babb, MT). The Good Food Store in Missoula also sells beeswax candles.

Or make your own; see Mother Earth News (2) for details. See Candle Supplies for Home  for beeswax sources in the Flathead.

References

  1. Mother Nature Network: mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/5-reasons-you-should-switch-to-beeswax-candles
  2. Mother Earth News, Making Beeswax Candles by Jennifer Ford: motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/making-beeswax-candles-zbcz1403
  3. Trailhead Supply: trailheadsupply.com; 860 N. Meridian Road #A11, Kalispell MT
  4. Candle Supplies for Home (4) candlesuppliesforhome.com/supplies/montana/kalispell.html

2017: Clean vs Dirty Dozen Food (whether to buy Organic)

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Free-range chicken farm

By Catherine Haug, March 13, 2017 (Photo, right, from Cornucopia (5)

Cat’s food-shopping tips:

  • Produce: If you can afford Organic, it is highly recommended you choose Certified Organic or Organically-grown. If your budget is limited, see the Clean Dozen and Dirty Dozen food lists, below.
  • Red meats: Pasture/grass raised and finished, locally-raised livestock provide the most healthful meats; see also my posting Why ‘Pasture-Raised’ trumps ‘Organic’.
  • Poultry meats: Your best choice locally raised poultry, provided they have access to the outdoors; and not just a small door to the outdoors, but a door you can use, too. Chickens eat not only seeds but also insects, grubs and worms, and they need the sun for the sunshine vitamin, just like we do.
  • Eggs: Your best choice is eggs from poultry raised in similar way as for ‘poultry meats’ above.
  • Dairy: Buying from a local farmer (who keeps his/her dairy livestock in pasture) is highly recommended. Organic commercial milk is ultra-pasteurized and, in my opinion, ultra-damaged. See my article on Cat’s Kitchen: Raw Milk: A Real, Natural & Perfect Food, which has a discussion about the problems with ultra-pasteurized milk. If drinking raw milk is not for you, choose simply ‘pasteurized’ milk (HTST) from a local dairy, such as Kalispell Kreamery here in the Flathead Valley. See Food Safety & Pasteurization on The EssentiaList for a description of the various pasteurization types.
  • Cheese: This is a dairy food but I give it its own bullet because we have a great source of raw-milk cheeses in Montana: Lifeline brand, from Victor MT. There are also local brands that use simply-pasteurized milk to make their cheeses, such as Flathead Lake Cheese (2) in Polson, and Amaltheia Dairy (3) in Belgrade.
  • Avoid processed foods, even if they say ‘organic’ on the label, because unless they are Certified Organic, they will contain up to 15% non-organic ingredients most of which are GMO. See my posting: Natural vs Organic Labeling for more.

Buying Organic can be expensive, so if your food budget is limited, read on. (more…)