Green Cleaning

The family is headed to Bancroft on Tuesday March 31st where I am doing a talk on Green Cleaning at Bancroft Pentecostal Church at 7pm... grab a friend and come check it out.

When I get back the following week I will post some of the recipe's I shared!

The picture shown is Lemon cleaning cloths from "A Guide to Green Housekeeping" by Christina Strutt. I'm pretty sure I got it at Chapters. The jar on the right is rags from an old flannel nightgown and the jar on the left is old scraps of jeans. Both worked well!

Here are some different ideas to eliminate chemicals from your cleaning routine


To deodorize a smelly drain: pour 2 tbsp. of Baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Leave 20 min. and flush with cold water.

To clean the chemical residue off non-organic produce: soak in cold water with 2 tbsp. of vinegar in it. Remove fruit and rinse under cold water. Works well with fruit like apples and grapes!

Microwave: to clean a microwave, boil a bowl of vinegar in your machine and then wipe down with a rag. Not only does it help clean, it deodorizes any of those lingering meals!

Fruit-flies: to get rid of fruit-flies put a dish of apple cider vinegar and dish soap near your fruit bowl. The vinegar attracts the flies and the soap traps them. Change up the dish as the body count rises!

Coffee and Tea stains on mugs: Fill the item with a solution of baking soda and water. Leave until the staining disappears then rinse. ( I usually just leave them in the sink overnight and wash them in the morning) For really stubborn stains, soak with a solution of baking soda and vinegar.

Stinky Fridge Solution: a bowl of baking soda will absorb bad odours in the fridge, BUT when you’re done, dump it down the sink and follow it with a kettle of boiling water… this will clean out your drains and keep them running well. For a nicer smelling fridge hide a cotton ball with vanilla extract on it in the fridge to further deodorize.

Stale smelling lunch boxes or tins: Dip a piece of fresh bread (I use the end piece because nobody in my family likes it but the dogs) in vinegar and leave in the tin overnight.

Wooden Chopping Boards: clean, deodorize and disinfect with either lemon juice or vinegar.

Painted Walls and Woodwork:
Make a solution of two parts vinegar, one part baking soda, and three parts warm water. Using a soft rag, wipe down surfaces to remove dirt and rinse with clean water

Ring marks on wood funature: Make a solution of one part vinegar and one part olive oil. Use a soft cloth and rub the ring with the solution, then polish with natural beeswax.

I have tips for laundy and pets if anyone is interested as well!!

Planting for the whole brood!

I came accross this website that tells you what to plant for a family of four so I'm passing it along...

Check here to see what you should be doing to your garden for the month of April.

(they have a list for every month).

Happy planting!

SWAT Welcoming Wagon

Well, Holly has requested the re-telling of the SWAT story.. so here it goes as I remember it! We purchased our acrage this past Fall and took possesion on a Friday. We signed our papers and went home to pack up some supplies. Dave went up to our new place on Saturday to get some wood cut for our firepit and to set up the tents.

Our friend Steve came over on the Monday to help Dave. The plan was that I would be there by dinner time with our kids, and Steve's family would come down at dinner time too for a little cookout.

Here's where Dave takes over the story because he was there:

With the fire going for the cookout, Steve and Cheryl said they had a surprise for their kids and they walked around the corner and down the driveway to their van...a couple seconds later they came back looking a little freaked out. At their heals was a team of OPP and RCMP Swat cops...and I mean swat cops with machine guns and everything. All the kids took one look at them and went "COOL!!" thinking that was the treat.

The head guy walked up to me and handed me a "search warrent" to check the property for drugs and weapons that were supposed to be hiden around on the land somewhere - this explained very quickly the good deal we got on the land purchase.

They explained that they knew we were the new owners and not responsible for anything they would find - here's where all the adults finally "exhale" and start to breath again. They had just found out that we bought the property which explained the automatic weapons....I think they might of been expecting some sort of gun fight - thank God they could recognize a family firepit when they saw one and quickly relaxed.

In a way it was both disturbing and comforting...disturbing that all the kids thought we would surprise them with a potential gun fight and comforting to know that Canada's best is hard at work.

As we made small talk, and I quickly reassured them that my tie-dye shirt had nothing to do with the drug sub-culture of Canada and more to do with environmentalism. They checked the property for any "stashes" of drugs or guns...did I mention that we had unknowingly bought a property that might contain guns and drugs - holy crap!!

(How can you not trust a face like this........ )

Anyway, they explained how they already had numerous officers hiding in the perimeter of the property ready to pounce had we given them the reason. After a short discussion, and our complete cooperation they left as orderly and efficiently as they arrived...and here's where Steph comes into the picture.

Ok (steph talking now), so I arrive at the turnoff to our property and notice a large collection of police vehicles, from unmarked sedans to a very large Paddy Wagon parked on the side of the road. Here is where I think to myself, wow, something big is going on around here! Glad I don't have to worry about such things!

I arrive at our driveway and drive in. I am greeted by 3 dogs, 1 husband, 2 good friends, 4 kids, and a whale of a tale! That's when it occurs to me that the BIG event had happened right here! I always miss ALL the good stuff!!

So there it is, the story of our fist days at our new digs. As a side note I will mention what occured a few days later....

Cheryl works in the public school system in Bancroft and as she arrived for work there were some officers at the school to do an anti-drug talk with the students. As she walks up to the front door one of the male officers says "How's the weather in Coe Hill?" She stops and in a bit confused... until it dawns on her... he looks a bit different in street clothes and not carrying a weapon. So our humble apologies to Steve and Cheryl for any rumors that might be swirling around Bancroft about our upstanding, non-drug taking friends.

It's planting time again!

Well here is some of our finds from the seed sale!
We have already started planting them and can't wait to see some green!

All the seeds we picked up are registered organic (except the White Sage, believe it or not!) and legal... did you hear that SWAT team from Bancroft?? No more unexpected visits please!!

Amish Paste Tomato

Spaghetti Winter Squash

Mandan Bride Corn (Mendan Indians of South Dakota)

Edible Pod Peas


Queensland Blue Winter Squash

Hale's Best Melon
White Sage

Some of the people we bought from have website and catalogues and all are in Ontario/Quebec... so no shipping your seeds thousands of miles!!

Eternal Seed they are based in Quebec

The Cottage Gardener ~ he is based in Newtonville, ON and specialized in Heirloom seeds.

The Worm Factory was also there, and I plan on getting into vermicomposting once we are up north.
The byproduct of this kind of composting is an amazing liquid the is great for starting seeds!!
They are based in Westport Ontario... check them out...


Well, SEED SATURDAY is upon us and we are headed down to the library to stock up on seeds for our garden... here is the info for all the Ontario sales ... check out the Seeds of Diversity website for sales accross Canada:

Kingston, ON
Seedy SaturdayKingston's Central Branch Library, 130 Johnson St.Saturday March 14, 2009 10-3
Admission $1.00, children under 12 free Lunch and refreshments will be available Calling all new and experienced gardeners, seed savers, farmers, and folks interested in seed and seed issues, to join us. Share, swap and purchase open-pollinated and heritage seed varieties. Meet fellow enthusiasts and community groups and get excited about this years growing season. Presentations by Sarah Mohan from the Unitarian Service Committee, on "Food, Farmers, and Climate Chaos: The Seed Map" (12 pm), Robert and Carol Mouck on Seed Saving (1 pm), and Jennifer Hutson on "How to Read a Seed Catalogue" (2 pm). This event is being hosted by the Kingston Heirloom Seed Savers and sponsored by the Sisters of Providence of St Vincent de Paul and OPIRG
Contact: Katherine Rothermel at 613-385-8569

Lindsay, ON
Seedy SaturdayQueen St. United ChurchSaturday March 28, 2009 9:00-1:00
Admission by donation; seed exchange table; vendors; refreshments; master gardeners to answer all your questions; workshop/speakers to be announced.
Contact: Roberta Sommerville, Kawartha Lakes Food Source at 705-324-0707 or
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Madoc, ON
Seedy SaturdayO'Hara Mill HomesteadSaturday May 2, 2009 9-2
Admission Free - Donations welcome. Come celebrate Seedy Saturday at O'Hara Mill Homestead - a restored four-generation pioneer homestead on the outskirts of Madoc. Take a walk into the past, back to a time and place where growing everything from seed was the natural way of life, and discover our farming and gardening "roots". Come early for the seed-swap and the plant sale. Stay for a seed-starting demonstration, tips about heirloom tomatoes, and displays of the Heritage Gardens. Visit the Herb Garden and see how to decorate a grapevine wreath with fresh herbs and flower. In the Parlour Garden, learn how to divide clumps of perennials and prune shrub roses. In the Heirloom Kitchen Garden, see how to build rustic supports for beans, peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and get advice on how to grow a productive vegetable garden, using very little water and lots of mulch, that can feed your family all summer long. Bring your favourite garden tools to the Blacksmith Shop, where the carpenter and blacksmith will show you how to clean, repair, and sharpen them. Walk up to the Log House to chat with an expert on native plantings, why they matter today, and how to use them in your own garden. Step inside to admire the fieldstone cooking fireplace and stay for a demonstration on hemp and hemp farming. Bring your children to the one-room Schoolhouse for an "old versus new" lesson on the traditional Three-Sisters Garden and how to plant a Pizza Garden. Afterward, the Schoolmarm will lead them outside to act out what they've learned in a Three-Sisters Garden play, and Mr. Compost can teach them hands-on about Red Wriggler worms. Let them "get down and dirty" with the Heritage Gardeners as they help to plant early lettuce, carrots, and legendary Capuchinjers Blue Pod Soup peas. Bring a picnic. Enjoy the mill pond. Stroll the grounds and woodland trails, discover spring wildflowers, birds, and frogs - and reflect on how this natural and manmade landscape has grown in over a hundred years. For directions and further information, see

No Waste shopping at Bulk Barn

I recently viewed a video on Facebook of a supermarket that creates no waste.  All of the containers are reusable and you simply fill, use, ...