A Garden for the Bees

I use to be so afraid of getting a bee sting since I have a pretty adverse reaction. My Mom carries an epi-pen since she has an even worse reaction, so I learned to fear these little bugs early on. Needless to say I would swing and bat at the bees when I would garden.

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Three bees are in this flower!

Flash forward to now many years later and in the middle of our bee crisis (thank you Monsanto) I have developed a much different relationship with these creatures. It began with sitting at my pond and watching my turtles and fish. I guess because I was in observer mode I wasn’t fearful of being stung and I watched just how many bees came to drink from our pond. Hundreds of them come at the end of the day and if can be scary if you let yourself go there. We made our pond for turtles from the pound and its very natural, murky, full of plants and logs and things turtles like. The plants make it safe for the bees to land and drink. They actually drink the water from the roots of the plants that are above the water level. They are not interested in people, they are bees and have a mission and usually it does not involve you!

At about 6:00 if you are lucky enough to be sitting at the pond you can watch the bees one and two at a time fly off in the same direction home. Within 30 minutes hundreds of bees fly home and they are all from the same hive. I totally understand the meaning of bee line, until I witnessed this I never really knew what that expression meant! These bees have become dependent on my pond and since I know that without bees we would starve to death I have changed how I garden and plant many extra bee-liscious things to keep them near by.

This year purely from my compost I have begun to grow pumpkins I think. I composted so many different kinds of squash, pumpkins and gourds that I’m now sure yet just what is growing but I tell you what the bees love these! I am fascinated and more in awe each day and have pretty much lost my fear of getting stung.

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Down under the leaves its cool and there are so many bees flying from flower to flower

 

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What’s in your cleaning closet?

Having a clean house is something that I try to accomplish, or at least most of the time strive for. Over the years I have become more and more sensitive to common household cleaners and chemicals and have noticed as I walked through the cleaning isle of the grocery store my throat becomes scratchy and my nose runs. What I didn’t realize is that I was developing a reaction from being overly exposed to toxic household cleaners and could no longer filter these toxins because my body filters have been on overload.

From cleaning ingredients powerful enough not just to cut through grease and grime, but also human bone and tissue to products labeled “nontoxic” and “green” that are in fact laced with hazardous ingredients, more than a few of the products on the market made Environmental Working Group’s recent “EWG Database Cleaners Hall of Shame” list.

Here are some of the most toxic cleaning products on the market, according to EWG.

All-Purpose Cleaners
Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner—This product is anything but green. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells; even more dangerous is that some people miss the fine print and don’t dilute it.

Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser—Orange may seem natural, but these sprays contain d-limonene, which can react with ozone in the air to form tiny harmful lung-penetrating particles and the known carcinogen formaldehyde.

Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Mr. Clean, and Spic and Span— EWG says many sprays sold under these brand names contain quaternary ammonium compounds or ethanolamine, compounds that can cause or trigger asthma.

Safer Solution: Create your own potent germ-killing cleaner for pennies by combining nine parts water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. For extra-tough jobs, such as those involving raw meat, you can spray hydrogen peroxide (spot-test first) followed by the vinegar solution and kill virtually all germs.

Stain Removers
Whink Rust Stain Remover—A product used to brighten porcelain toilets and sinks, the fine print says, “May be fatal or cause permanent damage.” The product can also penetrate the skin and attack underlying tissues and bone. Is a bright-white commode worth it?

Safer Solution: For natural cleaning, dump half a bottle of white vinegar into the toilet, shut the lid, let sit overnight, and then scrub and flush in the morning.

Floor Cleaners
Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner—California is more strict when it comes to toxic compounds, and it’s put a ban on nonylphenol ethoxylate, an ingredient in this floor cleaner that is toxic to the environment and disrupts the hormonal system.

Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner—Contains high concentrations of a substance that the United Nations says is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.”

Safer Solution: Spot-test and use the nine-parts-water, one-part white vinegar solution to kill germs on your floor.

Bathroom Cleaners
Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer—These lung-inflaming products contain 10 percent DEGBE, a solvent banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent.

DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker— Contains a hazardous solvent and another ingredient banned in European Union cleaners.

Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover—Sure, this will kill germs in your toilet bowl…but it could also kill you or your pet if it’s swallowed. The acid in the cleaner can also cause irreversible eye damage.

2000 flushes and X-14 Toilet Bowl Cleaners—These chlorine-based products are “fatal if swallowed.”

So if you have any of these items in your cabinet possibly its time to do a little greening in your cleaning products. I have found that a little borax, vinegar and olive oil are some pretty strong cleaning agents and will not kill you in the process.

Check out my recipe for an all natural wood cleaner and polish in the healthy homes section , you will love, love, love how it cleans, feeds and brightens your wood and your mood!

As with all days Eat…..Heal…..Live!