Although farmers have crowed about the value of keeping chickens for centuries, many families with smaller yards have begun to appreciate what “backyard” chickens can contribute to their family. And many new breeds have excellent personalities as pets plus some types (Arucana and Americanas) even lay delicately colored blue, green or pink eggs.
Rules and regulations for keeping chickens vary from place to place, with the most concerns relating to the noise from an early morning (or all night) rooster. To solve that problem, some companies now sell chicks that are “sexed” as female only. And a variety of businesses also sell small “chicken tractors”, movable chicken housing that allows them to move and graze throughout a small space while they grow and lay eggs for you.
For all the latest news, ideas and products for keeping backyard chickens, check out this helpful resources. They provide a great way to consider making backyard poultry a part of your life:
I just picked up a wonderful little book at a used book sale called “My Recipes Are For The Birds”.
Not only does the book give some great tips for attracting and feeding local birds, but it also uses and reuses many items instead of trashing them. In their special recipe for finches, they combine ingredients in a cleaned cat food can and then nail the birdy delight into a board or tree with the nail becoming the perch.
You can find all their recipes in the book or get creative and make your own.
More of My Recipes Are for the Birds by Irene Cosgrove
Kwytza Chopstick Art from Eugene Oregon found a way to create really useful baskets by recycling chopsticks. Not only practical – what they create is a real work of art.
Here’s what they says about their mission:
“It is important for everybody to do what they can to help our suffering planet. Recycling and buying recycled products is a good start. Our products are made from some of the 25 billions pairs of single use chopsticks that are discarded each year.
Using discarded disposable chopsticks is just one example of making recycled products from a resource that would otherwise be waste. Please read more about us, and the impact that disposable chopsticks are having on the environment.”
Photo: Volunteers pot up plants in the nursery.
(Photo by Gordon Nieburg)
Each April, volunteers gather at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve to celebrate Earth Day by working on the Preserve grounds. This year, volunteers helped weed out invasive plants like garlic mustard, improved the trails, and worked in the nursery. All of our terrific volunteers share a love of nature and native plants and a commitment to preserving them. Many of them continue to volunteer throughout the year in order to support the Preserve and its mission to lead people to a greater appreciation of native plants, to an understanding of their importance to all life, and to a commitment to the preservation of a healthy and diverse natural world.
Have you ever wondered what to do with old cd’s? While checking out the children’s section of a local library, I found Carol Sirrine’s great book of easy crafts to turn this type of trash into things that are useful, fun and even chic.
Carol has also written similar books that tell you what you can make with old jeans, t-shirts and even wrappers, cans and bottles. Craft away, folks!
You can check out the book at your local library, or check it out here:
A mother and son started this awesome endeavor to reduce the use and waste of disposable plastic straws. You’d be amazed at how many straws are used and trashed each year.
Take the time to visit BeStrawFree.org as see what you can do to help remove one more type of plastic from the waste stream by sometime simply saying “no thanks, I don’t need one!” You can read the whole story of 4th grader, Milo Cress on the Care 2 Network and check out related articles about waste and plastic addiction. This story of a mother and son working together is both inspiring and awesome:
Have you ever wondered how you could give away that special item, or look for something you need at no extra cost. And in the process – keep more junk out of landfills. Well, the Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,951 groups with 8,520,467 members around the world.
Here’s how they describe what they do:
“It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box (on the site) or browse the groups listing. Have fun!”
Check out Freecycle at the link below and maybe you can fund that special thingamabob you’ve been looking for while you get rid of old aunt Lou’s living room chair!
Jan writes about what several teachers at her elementary school have come up with. Check out these ideas – they are easy, effective and fun! Great work, Jan!
“At our new elementary school, a small group of teachers have formed “The Green Team” to make it fun and easy to recycle everyday items. We have colorful posters and recycle bins all over the school showing what to recycle and in which bin—even batteries and CD’s—and used eyeglasses that can be given to charitable organizations. The upper elementary students make sure each of the smaller bins (eg. For all the rinsed out plastic milk containers used in our daily lunch program) are put into the large recycle bins outside the school. We are hoping to begin composting our garbage and using it to fertilize a garden we hope to begin at school with plants native to our state. We also are collecting metal juice pouches that will be sent to an organization that recycles these into goods like purses, and get a small amount of money in return that we will use to continue your recycling efforts and education.”
“Our theme for vacation bible school this year is “renew” and going green. The children will be making their own pizza gardens and we will plant a sustainable garden at our church for fall members to come and pick veggies to use at home!”
To empower youth to become the leaders of the environment, through the powerful art of film and technology. Resulting in a library of creative and effective student public service announcements that can be utilized by non profit environmental agencies for their local to global outreach campaigns.
The website Greenwala just published an article about art projects with toilet paper cardboard and they offer some really exciting ideas of how to turn these “throw-aways” into artistic miniature keepers.
Carmen; a talented artist from Glendale, California, shares how she creates beautiful “upcycled” art from cardboard and the simplest craft supplies, including magnets you may have received from local merchants. Complete directions to this amazingly easy and beautiful activity are under FREE AND FUN.
Friends of this site who enjoy feeding their backyard birds got tired of purchasing store-bought suet with the plastic containers left-over every time. They saved the square plastic containers – each one the perfect size for their own production of homemade bird suet.
They shared this simple recipe that can be altered to fit what you have handy, so it also helps in recycling food. If you don’t like this particular recipe, you can google search the internet and create your own fantastic concoction taking notice that certain foods will definitely attract different birds and that can be a great way to connect with nature as well as clear out pantry items.
HOMEMADE BIRD SUET
1 pound suet cut into 1” pieces or
about a cup of Crisco–style vegetable shortening
1 cup rolled oats (quick cooking works best)
1 cup yellow cornmeal (can substitute bread crumbs)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup mixed wild bird seed
1 cup sunflower seeds or similar amount of dried raisins, peanuts, nuts, or dried fruit.
Melt suet or shortening and peanut butter over a low flame or in a double-boiler or the microwave. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Pour into plastic containers from old suet or similarly shaped recycled containers. Chill until hardened.
This recipe makes about 4 large suet cakes. They are best kept in the refrigerator for storage.
Many eco-aware pet owners struggle with what’s best to use as kitty litter. One of our readers who lives on a farm writes about her favorite – called Cedarific. It’s lightweight, reasonably priced, biodegradable, compostable and smells like the inside of a (clean) hamster cage or cedar closet.
If you’d like to find out how to compost your kitty litter, check out this Yahoo article here:
Nicole shares her suggestion for simply consuming less – especially of the packaging when purchasing:
“I’ve stopped even considering purchasing items with bulk packaging. I look for store brands or options for less packaging. It’s less trash, less space to consume, and for the most part – I save money!”
Lisa from Johnstown, NY had a great experience with using cloth diapers instead of a mountain of disposable ones. Read about it here:
“I suggest that everyone with a young one use cloth diapers. We do! We bought our cloth diaper stash while I was pregnant. Probably spent around $600 total, but that was over 9 months, so that isn’t so bad. We bought used off of e-bay (they were in good condition) and now have 64 Bum Genius diapers with 128 cloth inserts. They are so easy to use. You just throw them in the washer with a cloth diapering safe detergent. Dry with no fabric softener and reuse. I cant image wasting money on disposables, then wasting money on the dump fees when they are in the trash. I’ve seen the prices. Some are $10 for 30 diapers. We would go through 30 diapers in 2 days! I’ve probably spent another $100 on extra fun diapering stuff in the past 5 months since the baby has been born, like special detergents, special cloth diapering safe rash cream, a wet bag, hemp pads for night time wetting, etc. But overall, we are very happy. Even my husband who was slightly scared of the idea, but loved it after trying it and loves the savings even more. I know some people say that the water wasted washing them isn’t great for the environment. But we have 64 diapers, when a lot of people only have 24. I have a full load when I wash. I’m am not wasting if I have a full load. And you can sun dry them to get rid of stains and not use electricity of running your dryer. Thank you. :)”