Medicine and Cleaning Product Pollutions Found In Minnesota Lakes

In the past most of the research conducted was to evaluate pollution/contamination in rivers.  This researcher decided to have a look at lakes.  Shockingly even remote lakes were discovered to have man made pollutants…

Unlike rivers, lakes typically aren’t a dumping ground for large industries and city wastewater treatment plants. Schoenfuss wondered if they are being affected by the same chemicals.

More here:  http://www.sctimes.com/article/20101222/NEWS01/112220015/1009/SCSU-scientist-eyes-chemicals–impact-on-state-lakes

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Organic Huevos Rancheros

I like that she is using olive oil in this organic huevo ranchero recipe.  Delicious!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat tortillas

Olive oil

Organic eggs

Shredded Monterey jack or Colby cheese

Fresh salsa, hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream, and whatever else you might want as a topping

Get the whole recipe here:  http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/huevos-rancheros-my-favorite-hefty-breakfast/     

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Breastfed Children Jump Farther Than Non Breastfed Children

Turns out the benefits of breastfeeding could carry into benefits as your child ages.  Children that were breastfed had better muscle development than those that were not according to this study.

Until now, no studies have examined the association between breastfeeding and future muscular aptitude,”

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How To Make a Vegetable Garden

Building your own vegetable garden is a quite rewarding process.  It adds an amount of ‘green’ to your life that few other activities can.  The time that you spend with your veggie garden will provide time to reflect on a totally different set of problems than your average day.  When I say problems, I don’t mean catastrophic ones more like issues that you get to resolve by thinking and trial/error.

A vegetable garden needs to be in a full sun location.  There are very few veggies that need shade.  My summer veggie garden usually consists of my staple easy-to-grow plants and then a few experimental ones that I have either not tried before or had mixed success with in the past.  My easy plants are tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beans, broccoli, and peppers.  Some of my most recent experiments were with kohlrabi, onions, and lettuce.

In order to make a vegetable garden you need space, water, time, and sunlight.  With this cocktail of ingredients there should be some crop that you can have success with.  Depending on your location in the world, there are different plants that thrive.  The space where you choose to grow your garden is up to you but should not be too big.  It is easy to overestimate your ambition early in the year.  If this is your first attempt, I would suggest something the size of two queen sized mattresses.  A further suggestion is to not make it a square.  Rows of crops are great but having to walk through the garden to access a part of it is hard on the plants.  Water will need to come to your garden approximately one inch per week.  If you aren’t getting regularly scheduled rains, you may need to run a hose.

your plants can come from a garden center already six to ten inches tall.  This is the easy way to get going with a veggie garden.  I choose to start from seed for nearly all of my summer garden.  This is because some of my favorite plants are not available from the garden store.  I order seeds from a catalog in the late winter.

In April I begin the season by filling trays with seed starting soil and plant the seeds.  This gives them a warm (indoor) environment to sprout within.  By time the last frost is past I can gradually introduce them to outside factors like wind, the lack of normal temperature, and full sun.  Transplanting these plants outside provides me with the knowledge that I had a hand in their development from seed to tasty vegetable.

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Green Tea To Battle Cancer and Dementia

This article goes into recent research that shows green tea is even better at fighting cancer and dementia than previously thought.  Now if they would only discover that coffee did the same thing!

Actually, a new study has revealed that green tea is an even more incredible natural health enhancer than anyone knew previously.  

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Are Bumblebee Populations Really Dying Off?

This article interviews some scientists to expose how the media has latched on to certain statistics and presented them in a misleading manner.

The loss of honey bees and bumble bees is important to consider for life on earth but the news agencies have to tell the truth even when it doesn’t make for a dramatic headline.

The second issue concerns a careless use of numbers reported. We state that the the declining species have declined in RELATIVE ABUNDANCE BY AS MUCH AS 96%. But we do not say that all bumble bees have declined by 96%! The statement concerned relative abundance and the decrease in relative abundance ranged from 88%-96%, depending on the species.

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Monsanto Painting Itself As Benevolent And Sustainable

The organic food industry continues to thrive despite the recent economic hard times.  Folks that care about their health and the environment still put priority on buying natural and organic even when money gets tight.

That is why some of the giants of the food industry are trying to hide under a fabricated veil of earth friendly and sustainable.

Even McDonalds is handing out awards to its own suppliers!

McDonald’s now has its own U.S. Sustainability Award, established three years ago “to recognize the importance of sustainability as an area of growing importance to the business.” In 2010, McD’s selected Cargill as the award recipient.

More here:  http://www.rodale.com/buying-organic-food     

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Make Your Own Maple Almond Butter

This is a simple and delicious recipe for almond butter.  “Raw” almonds found in stores in the US have actually been pasteurized so if you want the extra benefit of sprouted almonds be sure and search online for raw almonds and order directly from a farmer.  They can only be truly raw if ordered directly from the farm…

Check out this recipe:

Maple Almond Butter

1 1/2 cups of raw almonds
3 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1-2 teaspoons walnut oil (or any other complimentary/neutral oil)

…and learn how to put it all together here:  http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/01/homemade-maple-almond-butter/    

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How To Start a Home Garden

Home gardening is such an enjoyable past time.  It can provide you with beauty, food, cover for pets, and much more.  I have started many home gardens near different homes and have helped many friends too.  There are only a few special considerations to keep in mind when starting a garden.

Do you want a permanent, low maintenance shrubbery type garden or an annual “begin from scratch each year” garden?  If you war just thinking of building a windbreak or visual barrier between you and the neighbors house, I would suggest going to the local garden supply center and looking at their plants.  My area of expertise is in vegetable and flower gardening.  My joy every spring is to cruise the seed catalogues looking for what will be my next years garden.

To start a home garden from scratch first you must decide on a location.  Something out of the traveled path is good so that no one will ‘shortcut’ through your garden.  Proximity to the house is important too.  If you are moving water to your garden without a hose it is very important to be close to the sink.  Once you have decided on a location and approximate size you need to till the ground and add fertilizer.  Tilling can be tedious if using a shovel.  Ideally, the soil should be able to sift through your fingers like sand (but hopefully not be all sand).  You may want to buy some soil (which you may have guessed: is cheap as dirt) to supplement any clayey or sandy soil.

Next step is to pick out seeds or plants from the nursery.  Plants can be something that you buy already hearty and just plop them in the ground.  As much as I enjoy starting tomatoes from seeds that I save, it usually tempts me enough to buy a hearty plant in the store.  They usually produce fruit first.

My seed order is usually around twenty dollars plus S&H.  I always get more than I need so that I can try some the next year if it works out especially well.  One year I found purple carrot seeds.  I couldn’t resist and planted most of the packet.  They were a bumper crop and I was giving the weird things away.  They had purple outsides and very orange insides.  They garnished beautifully.  Short story long, I had just a few seeds left over and have not been able to find them since, so it is a darn good thing that I kept some for the next year.

After planting, the only thing to do is to make sure that there is at least one inch of water per week provided either by rain or you.  Keep the weeds pulled and enjoy your home garden.

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How To Keep Deer From Your Vegetable Garden

Keeping deer out of your garden can be so much of a chore, some growers resort to awkward repellents like bear urine, or planting only un-tasty plants that no animal wishes to nibble.  If your plan is to garden for fruit or vegetables, you are going to have to deal with the stupid critters.

Bambi is a ruminant herbivore with definite favorite and least favorite things to eat.  If you live in a climate that gets a hard winter then in the spring time she has spent all winter without anything super nutritious or green.

Nibbling dry bark or dead grass is enough to make deer roam into neighborhoods and backyards to try what might be a tasty treat that they haven’t tried.

Some folks go to store and buy a fix but that is not my style.  I have the problem nipped in the bud early in the spring when the deer are getting their feeding trails established after the snow melt.  I look for tracks in the mud or dirt and create an obstruction.  See, my garden is mostly walled by either the garage, hedge, or raised beds creating a parameter.  If I see them entering my soon to be thriving back yard, I park a wheel barrow or bale of straw where they are entering.  Just don’t let them in.

Not everyone has this option so I will write a bit about the more sane alternatives that I have read.

Have the boys pee out there!  If you have a boy or man who can discretely leak around the garden, you will not have deer pressure.

Unlike humans, deer are ‘prey’ critters and have their senses tuned for avoiding conflict with anything with canine teeth.  Fox, Wolf, coyote, or human urine is a sign for them to turn around and slowly leave the garden.  Keeping an outside dog should help but that is a lifestyle choice not to be made just to make gardening easier.

There are some strategic plantings that will not be harmed by deer, and maybe keep grazers away from neighboring tasty plants.  However, I have seen some of these plants living right next to deer damaged plants.  You can search for this list online, I won’t list it because it is only mildly effective, and controls what you have planted in your yard (wait, that’s your job).

Leaving worn laundry in the yard will suit the same purpose as predator urine by ‘marking’ the space as a scary omni/carnivore’s land.  Strong soap can be tied in an old nylon and tacked to a tree.  Not any one of these suggestions is the ultimate answer.  If the deer are starved, they might walk up on the porch and eat the wreath off the front door, so in order to really ward them off you must understand their motivation which is fairly complicated without watching them all day.  But then again, that could be fun.

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