Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

Arcadia Power: is it really better than FEC?

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, Dec 30, 2017

In 2016 I published a couple posts in response to a mailing from Arcadia Power to all FEC customers: About Arcadia Power’s mailing to all FEC customers and Energy cost savings programs and income tax credits, 2016 that include insightful information from Don Newton and David Bopp at FEC. (NOTE: those 2016 income tax credits may no longer apply in 2018).

Now Arcadia is also paying politically-involved media to send email advertisements, such as the excerpt, below, from a Daily Kos email. I would be cautious about signing up for Arcadia’s offer.

I contacted FEC for any changes to the original information. Both Don and David say the only thing that has changed is on the posting about energy cost saving programs and income tax credits post: the only federal credit currently available is the solar credit; see energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits. All state credits are still valid.

For more about this Arcadia offer, read on. (more…)

Moringa: green-leafy veggie (tree) grows well during drought

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Edible leaves of a Moringa tree

By Cat, Dec 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves of this amazing tree are considered a superfood; plus the tree grows well in a warm, dry climate. Given the progression of climate change in our corner of the world here in NW Montana, this could become an important food source for us as our climate becomes more arid. Plus, its deep roots make it an amazing carbon-sequestor.

Its leaves have the texture of spinach with a radish-like taste, and are packed with nutrients. Use its leaves in salads and soups; add to smoothies or raw veggie juices. Its young seed pods are also edible, similar to green beans.

Important caution: We must be careful when introducing new, non-native species, as they can become problematic, invasive weeds.

Want to know more about this tree, and what makes it a superfood? Read on for more detail. (more…)

Canning: Problems with the new Ball canning lids

Friday, October 27th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, October 27, 2017

Have you noticed that Ball canning lids have changed? They have a new name, ” Sure Tight,”  and have a silver rather than gold color. The packaging states “BPA-Free,” and states they will hold their seal for 18 months. Ball states these new “Sure Tight” lids will replace all prior lids, but you can still buy the old-style lids while stock is still available.

The new lids feature (1):

  • Doubling of the tinplate coating;
  • Additional rust resistance;
  • A storage life for unused lids for up to five years from purchase;
  • A new guarantee of a seal that would last up to 18 months.

But there are reported problems with these new lids. (more…)

Just how clean is your laundry?

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

By Catherine Haug, July 26, 2017 (photo, right, from Sheree’s presentation on making your own laundry soap)

Washing your dirty laundry in 140°F water with real soap (not detergents) does the best job of killing bacteria and fungus germs; tumble-drying them for at least 30 minutes in a hot dryer also helps to kill those germs. But many washable fabrics will shrink in such hot water, and others may require drip-drying, so how is one supposed to keep germs in check?

This concern is especially important when there is a sick person in the house.

According to Mercola (1) there are several ways of reducing the potential of passing along bacteria or fungi from one piece of your clothing to the next without using dangerous toxins or opening yourself up to damage from microwave radiation. I’ve added one of my own as well. (more…)

Making your own mulch from recycled yard waste, etc.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, July 8, 2017

Today’s Daily Inter Lake featured an article, How do  you make your own mulch? by Paul Pogue for Angie’s list (1). He breaks it down to 5 steps:

  1. Choose your mulch source from: leaves, pine or fir needles, yard clippings, bark, and branches or other wood trimmings, straw, shredded newspaper, and compost. pay attention to the season: B yard trimmings and compost are excellent for summer mulch; bark is especially nutrient-rich, and along with pine needles and straw are best for winter. pCat’s note: I save the composted fir needles from my gutters to mulch my raspberry bed; raspberries like a slightly acidic soil and fir needles are acidic.]
  2. Collect your materials into piles; if using a compost pile, maintain it by keeping it relatively moist. He also advises turning it regularly, but that is a highly debated issue. When it’s ready, it should be humbly and dark brown with an earthy odor. [Cat’s note: See my 2009 posting: What makes your compost tick?]
  3. Convert the materials: use your lawnmower to cut up a pile of leaves; use a small wood chipper to turn bark, branches and other wood trimmings into tiny pieces.[Cat’s note: shred newspapers with your paper shredder, or tear them into shreds manually.]
  4. Prepare the ground: remove old mulch to your compost pile. Weed the area carefully (mulch will help existing weeds to grow – just what you don’t want).
  5. Spread the mulch: generally about 2″ thick works well. Even it out with a rake, leaving a small ‘well’ of shallower mulch around the base of plants.

Read on for more about mulching. (more…)

Summer Classes and more, with Kathie Lapcevic

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

by Catherine Haug, July 6, 2017 (Photo, right, from Dr. Mercola’s website (3))

Kathie is offering a home-canning class at FVCC, and something new: an e-course on ‘Savoring Summer Fun. Read on for more details from Kathie’s newsletter.

Also included in this post are the following from Kathie:

  • Useful Plants in the Flathead in July: chickweed, red clover, white clover, and yarrow;
  • Local Preserving Information: Beets, cherries, berries and zucchini

and from Mercola, on growing broccoli, and growing cilantro.
(more…)