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Green Living

It’s Earth Day!

Mother Earth

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Pucker Up

VinegarWeeds_Post

Weeds. My nemesis. No matter how many I pluck, a million more pop up somewhere else just to taunt me. Kind of like the gopher in Caddyshack.

Pucker up, weeds.

Well, it turns out, vinegar has become my new best friend. Not only does it unclog drains and take the sting out of bug bites – it helps win the battle of the weeds.

Just put vinegar into a spray bottle and spritz the offending plants* in driveways, sidewalks, mulch and gravel. SHAZAM! All withered up the next day.

Vinegar. For your yard and for your salad, naturally.

*Don’t overspray onto foliage you want to keep.

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It’s a hot one!

In this weather remember to help those who can’t help themselves. Please try to keep your pets cool and watered.

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Pay It Forward.

It doesn’t need to be much. Just hold open a door for another. Smile at or acknowledge a stranger. It’s easy to push along someone else’s shopping cart with yours back to the corral. Or, take a moment to give call just to say hello. It’s not hard at all, these random acts of kindness, eh?

And, the next time someone picks up the pen that rolled off your desk, or pays a you a compliment, go ahead – happily accept it and pay it forward. Small gestures really do make a big difference.

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Most Eggscellent!

Spring. I don’t know about you, unless it’s weeds, don’t you just love seeing those fragile little green sprouts popping up out of the earth?

The incredible, versatile egg.

Speaking of fragile, did you know that you can use eggshells as seed pots? Here’s how.

  1. Crack the shells open, remove the egg,  then rinse the shells.
  2. Pick the bottom of the shell with a thumbtack and make a hole for drainage.
  3. Fill the half shell with potting soil.
  4. Plant and tend your seeds as recommended on the back of seed package.
  5. Place them back in the egg-carton for support until ready to plant in the garden.

When it’s time to transplant them, gently crush the sides and bottom of the shell to let the root of your seedling grow into the earth. It’s biodegradable so you just plant the whole thing and the shell will easily compost. The eggshell contains soil-happy minerals and works as a fertilizer, too.

Egg salad to green salad – all from one egg. That’s most eggscellent!

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See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon

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Green Up Your Gown.

When I dropped my wedding gown for donation at The Brides Project, it was bittersweet. That, and thinking – wow, I really fit into that dress? But that’s another story.

I DO(nate)

Walking into the cozy shop, you’ll be taken in by beautiful wedding gowns that hang on hand painted hangars with mission statements with like:

I will help children cope with cancer

I will build community

I will promote healthy lifestyles

I will improve quality of life

I will strengthen families

Knowing that 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these dresses donated from around the country goes to Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor (and surrounding communities) which helps people with cancer or families that are touched by it, you’ll be taken in even more. And BTW, who hasn’t been touched with someone with cancer?

If that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings and you’re all about the bargain, where else can you find a Vera Wang couture gown for 1/2 off?

At any given time the shop is host to around 400 dresses. You can even find brand new ones tucked into the rows and rows of silk and taffeta which have been donated by bridal salons clearing out last season’s inventory. Again, all of which are available at 1/2 off.

Already have a dress? Some gowns become flower bouquets, headbands, ring-bearer pillows or flower girl dresses. See what can be created at BeautifulAgainBridal

The Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor is all about living with cancer. It offers support groups, education, workshops, nutrition, and a special place for kids, too. Barb Hiltz, Executive Director “wants to make it a good experience for friends & family.” Hiltz goes on to say “It offers hope. It’s a home away from home.” A place where people can meet in the living room or belly up to the kitchen counter and bond over meals.

The Brides Project is completely run by volunteers, even the storefront is donated. When you donate your tax deductible dress, be sure to include a special note written for the new bride.

Don’t have a dress to donate? There are other ways to help. Your time and talents are welcomed. Things you may have around the house, like hangers, rugs, shelves and storage are items for the showroom are needed, too.

Who knew that one dress could do so much. For an appointment or to donate, get in touch with the Center and see your gown dance another day.

Info on donating:  http://www.thebridesproject.org/donate

Info on purchasing a gown: http://www.thebridesproject.org/buy/make-an-appointment/

Volunteer info: http://www.thebridesproject.org/support/volunteer.

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at www.facebook.com JustBeaCartoon

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Yellow Pages Gardening

The Yellow Pages. A very useful tool. Not only for locating a local pizza joint, but quite possibly use as a booster seat. Some make raised beds for herb gardens. And, on occasion Zoos actually give primates old books to interact with for enrichment – many even find them tasty.

No monkeying around.

Even though the Yellow Pages are made from recycled paper and lumber sawdust, you may not get as excited as the apes. If you’d prefer to let your fingers do the walking on the keyboard rather than on paper, you can easily choose not to receive the book at YellowPagesOptOut.com.

Rather than sending the Yellow Pages straight from the doorstep into the recycle bin, now you can be even more environmentally conscious. Just opt out.

Opt In To Learning With Green Living Science.

Rachel Klegon and Mary Claire Lamm of Green Living Science are up-cycling Yellow Pages in a very cool way. Find out about it in their guest blog below!

“Green Living Science is partnering with YP to provide a phone book recycling competition, Project ReDirectory, with fifteen Detroit Public Schools. This competition challenges students to collect phone books to win the first place prize of five hundred dollars. Schools will decide how to spend the prize money but some have already established that they will have a field day event while other schools will give pizza parties!

Green Living Science will be using some of the phone books collected to make a raised bed for herbs in the Lincoln Street Art Park. Those classes participating in Green Living Science’s in-class lessons will be given a free field trip to visit the Recycle Here facility and Lincoln Street Art Park. When students come to visit they will see how phone books can be reused to make neat new projects!”

Back To More Monkeyshines.

Interested in seeing apes interacting with the Yellow Pages? Click on these links:

http://bit.ly/WQLEAR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RacMM6bROPs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJO6c9rWdws

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at

www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon

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Green Resolutions.

Resolutions. Who can get their hands on last year’s list? It’s probably wadded up back in a drawer somewhere with forgotten aspirations. I guess the problem is sometimes the goals just seem daunting and unachievable.

Little Means Big.

If you’re looking for some green and cause minded resolutions other than putting your recyclables to the curb each week, here are some pretty easy ones to stick to. Even past the first week of January.

Smile every day. It makes a difference. Really.

Give someone an unexpected hug once a week.

Pay it forward. Go “no trace camping”, start a garden, donate a little time to a local cause or shelter, or lend a helping hand to a neighbor.

Cut back on paper towels and use dish cloths or fabric napkins instead. You’ll help to eliminate the 3,000 tons of paper towels that end up in landfills EVERY DAY.

• Try re-usable bags at the grocery. Over 1 million plastic bags end up in the trash EVERY MINUTE, so pop some in your vehicle to always have one on hand.

You’re probably already doing some of these, but think of this list as a thought starters for your own “resolutions” list.

So Happy New Year, everyone  – make it happen!

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon and www.justbeacartoon.com

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The Fortitude of Fruitcake

Fruitcake. It’s one of those things. Either you love it or hate it. No in-between as far as I can tell. Me? I’d rather up-cycle that brick of fruit.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

Don’t have a fruitcake on hand to re-gift and are in a pinch for a last minute present? No worries, there’s still time to get that special someone something without without having to battle shoppers at the mall. Perhaps a membership to a favorite Museum or a Zoo for year long enjoyment?

Maybe a membership to a local harvest in which fresh food and goodies are enjoyed throughout the year http://www.localharvest.org.

Or, how about help wash down that fruitcake with a Monthly Wine Club Subscription http://www.theorganicwinecompany.com/owc/pages/shop_wineclub.shtml. Then just pop a note in a card telling the giftee what awesome gift they can look forward to. Done and done.

So, cheers everyone, and have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon and www.justbeacartoon.com

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Clean Green Pipes

The Holidays can be draining – or not. With all the festivities, holiday meals, and primping, have you noticed the water in your kitchen or bathroom sink may not be moving quite as quickly as it should?

Wash your troubles down the drain, naturally.

I’m sure you’ve used drain cleaner products found on grocery shelves or at the hardware store, but here’s something I’ve recently tried that I find works really well – if not better. Baking soda and vinegar.

• Pour in 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain.

• Then follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar.

• Let it sit for 2 hours and then run the warm water for a few minutes

It fizzes up kind of like a science experiment, who knew keeping your pipes running clean could be this much fun?

So, rather than using expensive drain cleaners try this and save your money for some extra holiday merrymaking. And oh, there’s a little something in it for Mother Nature, too ;)

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have got going on at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon

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Gotta Love A Parade!

Detroit has been coming together for 86 years to celebrate Thanksgiving and kick off the holiday season with a Parade. Did you know America’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of the oldest and second largest in the country?

It’s OK to get a Big Head

This Parade has a big head. Well, actually over 300 big papier-mâche’ heads. The heads are one of the oldest Parade traditions and “it is probably the best collection in the United States today,” says Tony Michaels, The Parade Company president and corporate executive officer. Hudson’s originally purchased them from artists in Viareggio, Italy in the 1940′s, and rather than destroying the heads as they did in the “old country”, the heads were re-used and cherished here in Detroit.

Detroiter Carly Strachan will be wearing one for the first time this year. “Some date back to the 30′s” she says “and the money that we pay to be part of the Big Head Corps is used towards maintaining and restoring those historic “big heads.” $200 gets you in the Corps and from the sounds of it, it’s first come first served. But, Strachan says sometimes it’s not that simple. You have to try on the head and see if it fits, if it’s too heavy or too tall, and make sure you are able to see out the spy hole to see where you’re going. Basically, she says “you need to feel comfortable walking in it for over a mile”. But the money goes towards more than just being able to wear the costume on Thanksgiving Day, it goes towards restoration and maintenance and also attending fun activities and events with the Big Head Corps throughout the year.

All 150 Big Heads will be marching together as a group in the parade this year. Sparky Anderson is a new addition to the cast which includes Henry Ford, Joe Louis, Diana Ross, Tom Selleck, Bob Seger, Rosa Parks, Gerald Ford, Walter Reuther, Aretha Franklin, Charles Lindbergh, Father Cunningham, Elijah McCoy, Father Casey and Hank Aguirre.

Gotta love a parade!

Not only are the heads reused from year to year, but so are the floats. Floats have about a 3 year life-cycle, and according to Tony Michaels, floats are taken apart and try reuse everything that can possibly be reused. That includes the infrastructure, plywood and steel, too. The characters and other artistic items are also used for inventory and props and are rented for usage throughout the year.

This year the Charter One float, Michaels goes on to say, is mostly made up of recycled products. Not what you’d imagine – it includes recycled pop bottles!

So, this Thursday morning bring along a thermos of hot cocoa and continue on with the smiles and tradition along with hundreds of thousands of your closest friends and neighbors

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Doodie

Heh, heh…he said doodie.

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Oktoberfest in September

Buster’s featured caption entry by: Emily Dimmell via Pure Michigan

Did you know that Oktoberfest kicks off in September?

For the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig in October 1820, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the 16 day royal event. For years to come the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into mid September to take advantage of better weather.

Another theory is that back in the day without refrigeration, the purpose of the festival was to drink up the old stocks of beer to make room for the new brew that would be made with the fall harvest. Either way, Prince Ludwig had the right idea.

Here’s another fun fact. In 1996 Frankenmuth, Michigan became the only city other than Munich to be an officially sanctioned Oktoberfest celebration.

Moooosic to your ears.

The celebration goes on not only at the Pavillion but throughout the entire town this September 20-23. Even cattle get to celebrate! Brett Bassett, restaurant manager of Sullivan’s Black Forest Brew Haus says that after brewing each batch of beer, the spent grain is given to a local cattle farmer. Maybe that’s Sullivan’s wink to “green” beer.

So whether you enjoy the wiener dog races, riding on the electric riverboat, enormous pretzels, bier drinking or dancing to oompah bands –  everyone can get into the spirit of things, even the local cattle.

See more of what “Just Bea” and gang have going on at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon

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It’s Alive!

Green Living Science is truly an experience. For big and small kids alike. Yes, it’s a recycling center, but it’s more than that. It’s a visual feast for anyone that appreciates art and learning. Rachel Kelgon, the Executive Director for Green Living Science, is guest blogging to share more with you.

“Raise your hand if you like art,
now raise your hand if you like dinosaurs.”

This is how I get even the most distracted third grader to get excited about the school field trip to the city of Detroit’s Recycling Center. That’s right, in Detroit, we use dinosaurs and art to teach about the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Students regularly visit Recycle Here! to learn about an alternative way to dispose waste rather than throwing it in the trash. However, no trip to Recycle Here! is complete without taking a walk down the street to the Lincoln Street Art Park, otherwise known as Frank The Dinosaur’s home. Frank is an art installation made out of plastic trash that was recovered and reused to create a life size dinosaur. Frank found a natural home in the Art Park, which  was designed to transform a vacant lot into a creative use for reclaimed material and gathering spot for the community.

As Frank’s head bobs in the wind, the students look at the towering sculpture in amazement and begin identifying the different items they recognize and use. We are able to begin a discussion about other ways we can use things that we thought were just trash. Frank is a reminder to everyone who visits the Art Park about the amount of waste we produce and the non-renewable resources we are using up. Frank is made from plastic, which is made from oil, which was created by fossil fuels (non-renewable resource), which was created by the fossils of dinoaurs. Frank has come full circle.

Want to plan a field trip/recycling program for your group or school?  Contact Rachel at 313.744.2294

www.greenlivingscience.org

rachel@greenlivingscience.org

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Pure Fun.

Caption by Pure Michigan contest winner Sue Bartlett

Who doesn’t remember going to the fair during the hottest month of summer vacation? Did that stop the anticipation of carnival rides, elephant ears and the lure of winning the big banana at the ring toss the on the midway?

This year the big kids even had a chance to win a pretty cool prize at the Upper Peninsula State Fair. A souped up Pure Michigan Roush 2012 Mustang.

Big Bananas. Pure Local Fun.

But the local fair is more than prizes and rides. It’s learning about livestock and witnessing the miracle of life. It’s learning about the environment. The UP State Fair even has a Green Forester Exhibit that teaches the significance of trees in our ecosystem. You can also interact with an exhibit on how important farming and agriculture is to Michigan.

The Fair. It’s about community. Where neighbors meet each other and cheer on their favorite pie in the baking contest. Or, marvel at the butter sculpting exhibit. Where family and friends can remember a summer day of chainsaw carving, lumberjack shows and tummy-aches from too much cotton candy and deep fried pickles.

Be sure to savor your summer. Look back fondly with time spent with your family and friends. Be a part of Michigan’s heritage.

As I’ve outgrown my childhood years, the lure and excitement still lives in my spirit – except for maybe the “guess your weight and age” game. Especially after a day of corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Pure Michigan Caption Contest

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