Tips for Growing a Lawn the Green Way

Despite the bit of May snow falling, lawns are greening and needing care. Lawns are the most resource-intensive form of landscaping. However, there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of lawn maintenance.

If a lawn is a must for you, here are some green tips for a green lawn:

Watering

Watering lawns and gardens accounts for up to 50% of domestic water consumption during the summer. It’s no wonder, during peak summer months, watering restrictions have become almost commonplace. Cutting down on water use isn’t about obeying a municipal ruling. Saving water also decreases the amount of energy used to treat and pump clean water to your home. You’ll also save money on your water bill. It’s simple to keep your lawn green.

  • Water once a week. One long (an hour) watering is better than several short ones. Perhaps a bit more frequently if your grass gets hours of full sun. If it’s been raining, cut back. Consider getting a rain gauge to measure rainfall and act as a guide.
  • Measure the amount of water your sprinkler leaves on the lawn. It’s easy, put out a container such as a measuring cup the next time you water and see how much water accumulates. As a rule, lawns need about one inch of water for each watering.
  • Get a timer. Once you know how long to leave the sprinkler on to give your lawn enough water, use a timer. Most of them fit between the outdoor tap and the garden hose and have a dial with both an on/off setting and a shut-off feature.
  • Install a rain barrel. Your eaves trough downspout must be able to drain directly into the barrel. Rain barrels are inexpensive to purchase and can provide you with free water. The runoff from an average roof will completely fill a 60-gallon rain barrel after only 0.2 inches of rain fall.
  • Keep grass at around 2-3 inches high to promote deeper roots, which reach down further into the earth to find moisture. Cutting the grass shorter will promote shallow roots and dry out the lawn more quickly.

Fertilizers

For a healthy lawn and your own health, don’t use pesticides. Use natural fertilizers instead. Many environmentally friendly products are easy to use and highly effective. They often contain minerals, the natural by-products of partly decayed organic matter. All these ingredients encourage your grass to grow healthy and strong.

Insecticides

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, safe insecticide made from fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. Crushed to a fine powder, it is deadly to any insect but won’t harm humans, animals, fish, fowl or plants. For plants, you can use it in spray form, mixing 1/4 pound per 5 gallons of water, making sure to keep the mixture well agitated. Or you can dust your plants—after you’ve watered or it’s rained (so the earth will stick to the leaves).

Weed Control

Instead of using chemicals, try regular white vinegar. Vinegar can help get rid of such weeds as Canada thistle, broad-leaf plantain and English plantain, but you have to spray them while they’re seedlings. Once they’ve matured, the vinegar will kill the exposed plant, but won’t kill the root. The best natural way of getting rid of dandelions, crab grass and other weeds that show up in lawns is to remove them manually. Soap-based products, in liquid spray form, can also be effective in spot-treating some weeds such as bindweed.

4 Ideas for Writing a Grief Journal

I read the C.S. Lewis book, A Grief Observed (aff) many years ago. I remember wondering how one could write through their grief. It seemed such a foreign concept to me.

I have been fortunate to have suffered little loss thus far in my life. However, I have come to understand how verbalizing grief can help the healing process.

Here is a short list of prompts to help you write when you experience loss:

Keep writing. Writing may uncover emotions surrounding the event that you didn’t think you were feeling. You may find yourself getting angry or crying as you write. This is natural… allow yourself to feel the emotion. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. While it may not make sense, letting go all of those bottled up emotions helps you through the grieving process.

Examine your emotions. Give yourself time and space. Make a list of everything you feel regarding what happened and then write out, at length, how and why you feel each feeling. Don’t be afraid to go in-depth.

Be creative. Draw or collage your grief. When it’s too hard to write or you feel that words don’t convey the exact thoughts you feel, turn to art. Draw out your emotions… scribble out the anger or tears. Cry on the page. Collage images that show how you feel or the best times you had with the one you lost. I found a few images I had of mo and me and I turned them into a digital remembrance collage of him.

Write unsent letters. Write letters that no one else will see, except for you, the page, and the spirit of who you lost. I know many people who have dealt with their grief this way. They say it’s therapeutic and helps them feel connected to who they lost.

Remember the memories. Write down happy events. Keep a record of who you lost and what they looked like. Keep a list of the things they loved (music, books, movies, chew toys, etc.) and allow yourself to remember the love you had for them.

10 Tips for Effective Listening

Whether it’s our spouse, our children, or with a sales prospect or our boss, one of life’s great challenges is to listen well. Often, we are tempted to think about our response rather than listen. Or, we believe we already know what the other person is going to say, so we simply interrupt or wait impatiently for our turn. Listening, really listening, with our whole being, is a skill and one of the most important compliments we can give another human being. The following 10 “rules” can help.

1. Stop Talking! It is difficult to listen and speak at the same time.

2. Put the other person at ease. Give them space and time and “permission” to speak their peace. How we look at them, how we stand or sit, makes a big difference. Relax, and let them relax as well.

3. Show the other person that you want to hear them. Look at them. Nod when you can agree, ask them to explain further if you don’t understand. Listen to understand them and their words, rather than just for your turn.

4. Remove distractions. Good listening means being willing to turn off the TV, close a door, or stop reading your mail. Give the speaker your full attention and let them know they are getting your full attention.

5. Empathize with the other person. Especially if they are telling you something personal or painful, or something you intensely disagree with, take a moment to stand in their shoes, to look at the situation from their point of view.

6. Be patient. Some people take longer to find the right word, to make a point or clarify an issue. Give the speaker time to get it all out before you jump in with your reply.

7. Watch your own emotions. If what they are saying creates an emotional response in you, be extra careful to listen carefully, with attention to the intent and full meaning of their words. When we are angry, frightened, or upset, we often miss critical parts of what is being said to us.

8. Be very slow to disagree, criticize or argue. Even if you disagree, let them have their point of view. If you respond in a way that makes the other person defensive, even if you “win” the argument, you may lose something far more valuable!

9. Ask lots of questions. Ask the speaker to clarify, to say more, give an example, or explain further. It will help them speak more precisely and it will help you hear and understand them more accurately.

10. STOP TALKING! This is both the first and the last point, because all other tools depend on it. Nature gave us two ears and only one tongue, which is a gentle hint that we should listen twice as much as we talk.

Give Away Your Positive Attitude

Gurdeep Pandher is an exemplar of positivity. He says, “Joy is more than having fun. Joy means your nerves are calm, your anxieties are elsewhere. Your heart (not just lips) is smiling; your breathing is soothing like a breeze; your world is perfect in the mess of imperfections around you. Joy could be an ideal meditation. If all emotions are valuable, then even tears of joy can make us get up and dance. One thing more about joy; we need it, just like we need food to survive. Go find your joy! Start by searching within yourself or going out in nature.”

We create what we think about. A positive attitude helps us focus on achieving our goals, rather than wallowing in disappointment about things that have not gone exactly to plan. Focusing on the positive provides more energy, motivation, and commitment.

One of the best ways to build a positive attitude is to share it with someone else. Here are some uncomplicated ways to give your positive attitude away.

  1. Share my knowledge with others.
  2. Help others in their growth.
  3. Visit friends who are having trouble with their attitudes.
  4. Notice the good in others.
  5. Be more positive around those with whom I have daily contact.
  6. Transmit my positive attitude to others whenever I use the telephone.
  7. Send token items such as cards or flowers to those I care about.
  8. Say thank you to someone who did something nice for me.
  9. Share my sense of humor.
  10. Be more sensitive as a listener so others can regain their positive focus.
  11. Laugh more so my attitude will be infectious.
  12. Communicate my positive attitude through upbeat conversations, paying compliments to others, etc.
  13. Giving my attitude to others by setting a better example as a positive person.

As you implement your choices, remind yourself, the more you give your attitude away, the more positive it will remain.

How about it readers, what are some other ways to share your positive attitude with others?

10 Easy Ways to Go Green

Today is Earth Day.

Sometimes we look at environmental issues as being too big for just one person to solve; on the global scale, they are. That doesn’t mean that each of us can’t do our part to improve the environment.

Here is a quick list of 10 easy ways for anyone to start going green.

  1. Change your driving habits
    • Walk
    • Ride a bike
    • Use Public Transport
    • Move closer to work
    • Carpool
  2. Check out used before buying new
    • Garage sales
    • Flea markets
    • Classified ads
    • craigslist
    • Kijiji
  3. Buy or use local
    • Farmer’s Markets
    • Market farms
    • Greenhouses
    • Crafters and artisans
  4. Set back your thermostats
    • Furnace
    • Hot water tank
    • Air conditioner
  5. Recycle
    • Household
    • Compost
    • Office
    • Thift Stores
    • Consignment shops
  6. Conserve water
    • Low-flow shower head
    • Shorter showers
    • Low-flush toilets
    • Give up bottled water
  7. Change your light bulbs
    • Use compact fluorescent
    • Use LED holiday lights
    • Turn off lights as your leave rooms
    • Use lower wattage bulbs, where possible
  8. Use energy efficient appliances
    • Energy star rated
    • Mid or high-efficiency furnace
    • Clothesline
  9. Reduce chemical use
    • Natural pesticides
    • Natural fertilizers
    • Biodegradable household cleaners
    • Phosphate free products
  10. Extend the life of your electronics
    • Don’t upgrade to every new gadget
    • Extend the life of entertainment equipment by one year
    • Buy used instead of new

Quotes and Questions – Decisiveness

Quotes:

  • “Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days… What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • “People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.” —Harvey Mackay
  • “Choice determines direction… Decision determines destiny…” —Doug Firebaugh
  • “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by traffic from both sides.” —Margaret Thatcher

Questions:

  1. What decisions will you make, even when you’re uncertain about them, to help you take control of your own life?
  2. What goals are you working towards? Do your decisions align with these goals?
  3. Have you ever missed an opportunity because you waited too long before making a decision?