Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recycle a Pet, Get Free Stuff This Weekend

A little late posting this morning, but the reason goes with the subject of my blog post. Due to Lyme Disease and other nasty stuff here, we have to treat the big dogs, Emma and Sade, who roam our property with a topical treatment for ticks each month. This means that they cannot roam for 2 full days - as they always run down to the lake and take a swim and they can't get wet. I don't know if having them home for 48 hours straight is harder on me or them, but they don't like it and because they haven't ran off their energy, they also don't sleep well. This means we don't sleep well either.
Having said all of that, I still wouldn't have done anything different if I could go back to the day we rescued them. They are truly wonderful, sweet and loving. I literally could not live without them, given Emma once saved me from being trampled by a horse.

So, if you've been thinking of adopting a new 4-legged family member - feline or canine, this would be a great weekend to do it.

PetSmart is giving free stuff for every adoption through an approved rescue this weekend May 1-3 at their Spring National Adoption Event.

Here's the giveaway:

* A "Welcome to Pet Parenthood Guide" your guide to raising a healthy, happy pet. It includes information on caring for your pet and savings on products & services totaling more than $224 (in dog) & $147 (in cat), and in Canada $146 (in dog) & $82 (in cat).
* A Free bag of Pro Plan® dog or cat food (up to $13.99 value) U.S. stores only.
* A Free 20lb jug of Tidy Cats® Scoop Litter (up to $8.99 value) U.S. stores only.
* As proud sponsor of the PetSmart Charities® Adoption Weekend, Purina® Pro Plan® will donate $200,000 to save homeless pets.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More Freebies, More Tips

Using cloth grocery bags at the store was the first thing my family did over two decades ago to help reduce waste and live a more sustainable life. I think it's one of the easiest steps and has a direct impact immediately on the environment.
Now you have the opportunity to make it even easier - by winning a free tote.
Copy and paste this into your browser, go to the website and take the pledge to help save the planet, and if you're one of the first 10,000 people to take the pledge this week, you'll win a free tote! This is the last week for the promotion, so hurry!

The tip from The Green Year today has to do with creating a worm compost bin for your house. I actually saw this being done in an office the other day and made a mental note to check into it. This brings back stories of my mom and dad's failed worm farm back in the 1970s, but that's a story for a different blog. :)
It's not as gross as it sounds, and is an easy way to create compost for your garden. If you have a copy of The Green Year, go to April 26 to find the instructions. If you don't have a copy, buy one! Or, google "creating a worm compost bin." There are kits, but it can easily be done without purchasing those.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Free Stuff and More Green Tips

I found this after the Earth Day post, but you can enter to win a free yoga mat from Yoga Journal:

Now, for the green tips from The Green Year. The first one is a good environmental practice, but also helps homeless animals. Give your old newspapers to shelters. They're always in need of them! While we're on the subject, they also always need blankets, old towels, toys, food and monetary donations.

The second tip is to take your own coffee mug to the coffee shop in the morning, reducing the waste produced by your morning cup of joe!

I wish warm spring weather for all of you this weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Giveaways

After my little post on Monday telling you all you have to do on Earth Day is reflect and find one little thing to do to help the environment, I'll give you some money saving deals being offered today - because isn't everyday better when we're saving money or getting something for free? If these links aren't live, copy and paste them into your browser.

Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil is offering rebates for free rolls of their new 100% recycled foil:
I just registered for mine and the process was quick and easy. However, this is only offered today and there are limited coupons, so hurry!

Water-Pik is giving away 22 low flow shower heads in a contest. Register before midnight tonight:

This isn't exactly saving money, but it is helping the planet. If you go to the movie "Earth" within the next week, Disney will plant a tree:

Here's a list of more money saving tips:

Finally, kudos to Sony brand, who is "recycling" their old ads to promote their electronics recycling program. If you like retro, you'll love this You Tube video:

Now, besides saving some bucks today, what small step will you take today to help the environment?
Here's three easy ones:

*Buy re-usable bags and put them in the car. Start the habit today.

*Start recycling cans, newspapers and anything else. It's as easy as separating as you throw away.

*Look into one environmentally friendly product the next time you shop. These days, it could be paper towels, toilet paper or foil made from recycled products, or chemical free cleaners. I personally like the Green Works toilet cleaner.
Don't forget your cloth bags to take your new product home!

Happy Earth Day. Let's make sure every day is earth day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tiny House Living

Follow my tweets as I attempt in 140 characters to document living in a 480-square ft. cabin with a husband and 4 dogs:

Plans for Earth Day

What are your plans for Earth Day? It's always on April 22.
Luckily for us here in the Ozark Mountains, everyday is like Earth Day for us. Life is slower here and we have the time, even if we're on our way to work, to "stop and smell the roses." Each time we walk out of our little cabin, we're treated to the wonders all around us. The melody of the tree frogs, the song of the whipporwill and yesterday, I had a hummingbird buzz my head - I guess he was saying, "I"m back! Where's my feeder!?" Even this morning, when it was still dark walking to my office, I looked up and marveled at all of those stars! Believe me, city people, they're still there, you just can't see them as well because of all of the light pollution.
Celebrating Earth Day doesn't take going to hear speakers, or going anywhere, really. No matter where you are, you can celebrate it by taking a look around and appreciating the natural beauty of what we have here. Then, try to think of one small step to help save it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

UN-Plug IT!

Your drain, that is. An eco-friendly way to unplug your drain without using all of the harsh chemicals is to use a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Jodi Helmer says in "The Green Year" that the fuzzy mixture will do away with most of what is clogging your drain. It might smell afterwards, but some lemon juice will take care of that.
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Opportunity Missed for Disposable Pets

Those who know me know I'm into recycling whatever we can, which includes giving pets a second chance at providing the thing they're best at - the opportunity to show their unconditional love and to be someones best friend. For me, the decision to rescue a dog instead of buying one came in the form of a lovable, playful Miniature Dachshund named Hershey. Nearly 13 years ago, we met Hershey while looking to buy a truck. I had just lost the last of my purebred Maltese and was waiting to get another dog when we returned from a vacation. I had planned to buy another Maltese from a responsible breeder. Hershey's owners told us they no longer wanted her and that she would end up at the animal shelter if we didn't take her home. Hershey had been previously abused by children, and she didn't trust or like them. We knew what that would mean for Hershey. She wouldn't have even been put on the possible adoption list by overworked civil servants at the local animal shelter. She simply would have been labeled as "unadoptable" and killed. Shelters cannot take the chance knowing a dog doesn't do well with children. We didn't have any small ones, so we gave her that chance.
For the next 9 years, Hershey provided us with everything she had to give - laughs, play, exercise and especially unconditional love. She was even known at our local lake by regulars and the water patrol as "the fishing dog in a pink life jacket" as I think she looked more forward to boating on Sundays than we even did.
When Hershey did something to make us laugh, or looked at me with those big brown eyes, or gently put a paw on my face while I held her so I would give her a "Hershey Hug," I often thought of what would have become of her had fate not brought us literally to her rescue that day.
My journey to never turn back to buying a dog came one hot summer afternoon while writing an article on municipal animal shelters for The Kansas City Star. I had the misfortune of visiting my local shelter on "kill day." This is the day when the decision is made by shelter workers about which dogs and cats will live, and which have been at the shelter too long, and must die to make room the following week for more.
The image of those dozens of paws, tails and heads protruding from those 55 gallon drums as they awaited the incinerator will be forever burned in my brain. The smell of death will never leave me.
There surely were more Hersheys in those heaps of carcasses, good pets wanting only to provide love to someone. To be man's best friend.
That's why it was such a major disappointment to me this week when President Obama and his family decided to take a Portuguese Water Dog from a breeder rather than fulfilling a promise he made months ago and adopt a homeless dog from a shelter.
The blogosphere has been abuzz for days (I haven't heard a word about the controversy in the mainstream media) about the Obama's choice of a dog. Some, I'm sure have no real idea about the plight of unwanted animals in this country, and are using Obama's back stepping as an example of promises broken. The people who advocate for buying dogs from breeders (responsible or not) are passionately (and sometimes viciously, from what I've read) defending Obama's choice.
The rest of us are just sad. Sad because it isn't about politics or the appearances of elitism for acquiring a dog worth at least $2,000 on the dog market. It's not about the "animal rights movement" inflicting our desires on the Obama's, nor is it even about the images that haunt us if we've been to a shelter on Kill Day.
It is about the thousands of shelter dogs that were killed just in the past few days since this story broke, and about the millions of pets - the millions of Hersheys - that will be killed by the end of this year in those same shelters. And, these days, especially in this economy, shelters are at capacity every single day.
The argument's been made over allergies, behavior, etc., but those of us who have been around rescues or shelters for any period of time know that a hypo-allergenic breed - even a PWD - could have been found (google the breed, and rescue, or go to and it will turn up PWD's right now), and could have been trained to behave as a First Dog should. The argument's also been made that re-homing a dog from a breeder is the same as getting a rescue - sort of. Fortunately, Bo was in no danger at all because although he was up for "re-homing," part of a responsible breeders business is to make a commitment to offer their offspring their own home if a buyer cannot be found. That's part of them being responsible. So, no, Bo was not a rescue. Not even sort of.
President Obama had an opportunity to be yet another first. The first President of the United States who adopted a homeless dog from a shelter or breed rescue. The benefits of the attention given to shelters and rescues would have been enormous.
Adopting a pet would have become The Thing to Do.
The second factor this is really about, for those of us who have also witnessed first hand the terrible conditions in puppy mills, is the new plight that will eventually strike the PWD breed, which will most likely become the next "101 Dalmatians" victims. This is the scenario by which a breed becomes popular and then becomes exploited by unscrupulous puppy mill breeders, who don't care where the dogs end up, as long as green is lining their pockets. It's happened to Dalmatians, Collies, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels and most every other breed that's been popularized in pop culture.
It won't be long before PWD's are popping up in pet stores around the country, and soon to follow, dozens and then hundreds, of shelters will be offering them for adoption. Sadly, there will be more killed.
Bo the PWD is one lucky dog, that's for sure. But the Obama's would have benefited shelter animals and the Portuguese Water Dog breed more as a whole, I'm afraid, if they would have just limited their pet choice to a box of Sea Monkeys.

Monday, April 13, 2009

At Least it Only Comes Once a Year...

Tax season, that is. In honor of the last two days before people in the U.S. have to file their annual returns, "The Green Year" has two suggestions to help save trees:

File your taxes electronically

Ask for an electronic refund to be put right into your bank account. (If only we were getting a refund this year!)

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Go Take a Hike!

No, I'm not trying to lose readers, I'm trying to get you out and moving! "The Green Year" suggests a spring hike this weekend. Since we've moved here, my usual routine is to walk 1 mile in the morning and 1 mile in the afternoon. Sometimes me and the dogs skip one or the other, but usually not both. It makes us feel better, move easier and sleep more sound. If we leave the mountain, I will take my camera and will usually always find something interesting to "shoot."
So, work off some of those Easter chocolates Sunday afternoon. If you're in the Ozarks, Saturday looks to be the better day and you can pre-walk off that chocolate Easter bunny the kids won't eat!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Keeping the Garden Theme

As the weather turns more spring like again, we'll continue to stick with the garden theme. Jodi Helmer recommends in "The Green Year" to learn about Xeriscaping, the latest gardening trend that involves choosing plants for your garden that will thrive on very little water.
While most of us in the Midwest and South don't have to worry about water shortages right now, it still is not in unlimited supply. Besides, you'll save on your water bill this summer!
Take a look at for more ideas on Xeriscaping.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Solar Lighting

My husband calls them our landing lights. They are the solar garden lighting we put in last spring to help us see our way up the stairs in the dark. They're great, and it saves us from turning on the big flood lights when we come home after dark. We also bought a cool solar lantern that casts just enough light on the deck. We'll have to replace some of the batteries this spring - they're life span is about 12 months - and we'll have to ask them at Home Depot where we might take the old batteries for disposal. Jodi Helmer's tip in "The Green Year" today advises to install outdoor solar lighting to help save energy, money and the environment. However, if you're in our region, you might have to wait for it to warm up a bit again!

For those of you here in the Ozarks, Doug Rye, host of the radio show "Home Remedies" will be presenting a seminar on energy conservation at the Baster County Library on Saturday, April 11. The presentation begins at 10:15 a.m. For more info, call 870-425-3598 ext. 29 or go to

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Social Networking

I haven't quite figured this stuff out yet, but thought I would post my twitter address in case you would like to follow:



Before I get to today's topic, I'll share that we lost power again last night with our trusty utility company. It's really fun rushing my husband out the door -he's not a morning person anyway. We have a clock radio with a battery back-up but it needs fixed. I pointed out the last time we saw the new ones at the store that we should just buy one. He insists, though, when he finds his soddering iron, he can fix this one. Yep, that helped us out this morning! I think our utility company is the only one in America that loses power when there's no storm or wind. They do pretty well during those, it's the nice quiet weather we have to be afraid of!

Now, for today's tip from "The Green Year," which is to use a basic principle our mothers all taught us - sharing. Take your read magazines to a hospital or nursing home. I take some of mine to the nursing home in Marion County and they always seem to appreciate me dropping them off. On some of the magazines, I swap with my neighbor. I like the country decorating magazines and she gets cooking magazines. Once we swap them back (which saves me money on subscriptions), they go to the nursing home.

Have a Happy, Green Weekend!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Reading the Meter

Here's an update on how we're trying to save money on our electric bill - and help the environment - by keeping track of the kwh on our electric meter. In January, before the ice storm hit, we were using an electric heater to warm our small house. Since then, we've been using our wood burning stove. During the month of the ice storm, the electric company said we used 810 kwh of electricity. Our bill was pretty high. I doubted that number, thinking something about losing power must have thrown it off. Last month, we used just over 400. This month, I'm monitoring it daily to see how many kwh we use for certain tasks. On Monday, I used 42 doing 5 loads of laundry. Yesterday, I only used 9 taking a hot bat, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner and watching some television. No one is home during the day now, but it's amazing to see how much electricity something takes - and we've already cut our electric bill in half. My goal is to cut it more this month before we have to turn the air on!