Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

Kitchen Hint: Homemade laundry soap for HE (high-efficiency) washers

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Kirk’s Castile bar soap

By Catherine Haug, February 12, 2017 (image, right from Amazon (1))

Back in 2013 we had a gathering with Sheree Tompkins on Homemade Laundry Soap. Her recipe can be used in standard or HE (high-efficiency) washers because it is a low-suds recipe. This posting offers another HE option, from Wellness Mamma (2).

Like Sheree’s recipe, this one also requires grating a bar of real soap, such as Kirk’s Castile pictured above, Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile bar soap, homemade soap (see also Gathering Summary: Making Soap at Home, by Kathy Mansfield, January 26, 2011). Fels Naphtha is an old-fashioned option but has some questionable ingredients if you care about the environment.

Also included is Wellness Mamma’s borax-free laundry cleaner (two ingredients added separately to the washer). (more…)

A healthy – and healthful – garden/landscape

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

By Catherine Haug, Jan 21, 2017 (photo, right, from Mercola (2))

I am viewing the online docu-series: The Truth About Cancer, by Ty Bollinger, and I’m picking up on a few of garden/landscape tips that yield healthy plants and a healthier you when you eat them.

One of the things I’ve learned from this series is that cancer cells have more insulin receptors (that initiate take-up of sugar from the blood) than normal cells, and that cancer cells get their energy (life) from only two sources: sugar and glutamine (amino acid). So if you want to protect yourself from cancer or slow tumor growth, avoid sugar.

However, that doesn’t mean to avoid whole-food sources of sugar such as fruits and vegetables, because in whole-food form, the sugar is part of a larger matrix of fiber, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that protect you. (Caveat #1: fruit juices don’t provide this protection because the matrix is broken, so eat your fruits whole; caveat #2: those fruits and veggies should be organically grown for maximum benefit).

But I digress. The purpose of this posting is to collect gardening and landscaping tips. I will update this posting as I learn more. (more…)

LED lighting: why you need orange sunglasses

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

By Catherine Haug, Nov. 14, 2016; updated 1/4/17 regarding f.lux app  (photo, right from Recycle Nation (1))

About a year ago, a health newsletter newsletter had an article on problems with LED lighting. They explained the issue of LED blue light at night and how it can impact our internal clocks, sleep patterns, and immune systems. Not long after that, Edd mentioned that when he drives the school bus in the dark early morning hours, oncomming cars with LED headlamps blind his vision until the car is well behind him. I seldom drive at night so had not noticed that problem, but I believe he is right.

Nowadays, most of us have smartphone, tablet and computer screens lit by LEDs, and many of us have LED TV screens. We’ve also begun to replace our homes’ incandescent and CFL lighting with LED lights. Do we face risks from these?

The answer is YES. But there are things you can do to minimize that risk.

For printable pdf version, see LED lighting: Why you Need OrangeGlasses; it includes the 1/4/17 update. (link essentialstuff.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/LED-lighting-OrangeGlasses.pdf ) (more…)

14 Uses for Castor Oil at Home

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Scott & Bowne's 'Palatable Castor Oil' advertisement

Scott & Bowne’s ‘Palatable Castor Oil’ advertisement

By Catherine Haug, October 8, 2016 (image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

In the 19th century, castor oil was a common remedy in American homes (see old advertisement, right), but its use has fallen out of favor, perhaps in part because people have become aware of the notorious killer, ricin (which comes from castor seeds but is not present in the pressed oil). The FDA has categorized the oil as  “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE) for over-the-counter use as a laxative (4).

Mercola (1) suggests we all should keep a bottle of castor oil at home (1). Most uses of this oil are topical (on skin and hair), but it is also used internally to treat constipation. It is advisable to keep it out of reach of small children.

GMO news: It only gets worse

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Frankenfood

Frankenfood

By Catherine Haug, Oct 5, 2016 (image, right, from Organic Consumers Association, used with permission)

With GMOs, it only gets worse by the day.

  • First, Congress passes a sham GMO labeling law that becomes law; see my article from July 30: Pres. Obama signed the Dark Act (faulty GMO-labeling law). It allows QR codes or 800 numbers to substitute for words on the label that would indicate the product contains GMOs. See my December 2015 post, QR code’ to label GMO foods? for more.
  • Then there’s a new version of GMOs (1) that will likely not be covered by the new law (i.e., they won’t require labeling) because the don’t insert genes from another species but rather manipulate the native gene, such as by turning the gene off. Examples of this new GMO: GMO apples and potatoes that won’t turn brown when you cut them. Because the genetic modification suppresses the gene for a key immune-system enzyme, it increases the chance the apple can be infected with bacterial or fungal disease, which in turn can result in toxicity issues when the apple is consumed.See my post GMO Apples for more.
  • And now, new evidence that GMOs have spread around the world and can even cross-pollinate with non-GMO plants to produce 100% GMO seeds – even with Organic crops, so that we can no longer trust the Organic label. That is, Organic seeds are GMO-contaminated and will produce GMO plants even if they are grown Organically. Franken-Broccoli is a perfect example (2, 4).

Say what?

Yes, you read that right. It’s downright scary. What can you do? For starters, you can take action on the last issue by signing a petition telling the USDA to stop ignoring GM cross-contamination (3). And you can hope/pray that a test is developed to determine if a seed contains GMO genes. Read on for more about Franken-broccoli. (more…)

Fighting pests without hurting the environment

Sunday, August 7th, 2016
From Wikimedia commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aedes_aegypti_E-A-Goeldi_1905.jpg

Mosquito

by Catherine Haug, August 8, 2016

(Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Keeping pests under control can be frustrating, especially in the garden. Doing so without harming our environment can be even more so, as many recommendations just don’t work well and we may resort to toxic herbicides/pesticides.

The Summer 2016 issues of Environment Defense Fund newsletter has an interesting article by Jim Motavali on this topic, which I paraphrase and enhance here. (more…)