do no harm…

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photo of hawksbill sea turtle

Photo by Richard Segal on Pexels.com

The take away from much research on barnacle infested sea turtles is:

  •  everyday boaters should NEVER remove barnacles from infested sea turtles. This action can cause irreparable damage to the sea turtle…even death. There are specific protocols below.
  • What we as ordinary folk can do is to lessen overall pollution to our oceans. Usually infested sea turtles already have compromised immune systems. Two blogs back, I reported on ocean health…have you read that?
  • Take the time to read the following articles/monographs and share this information with anyone who lives in tropical areas where sea turtles inhabit.

http://www.seaturtleguardian.org/parasites

https://www.blue-world.org/bw/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/NETCET_Standard-protocols-physical-examination-of-stranded-sea-turtles.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2xItTxqGuNRUZ12Z4_ndRL-qI4Pt-aTE9FZO3jy2rpjPQ5iuK3vXIXxJc

WE can all make a difference one household at a time. Have you made a commitment to make positive changes to the way you consume/dispose?

Do no harm…do not squander magnificence. 

photo of sea turtle

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

For those of you who want to expand your knowledge read this:

https://www.state.gov/key-topics-office-of-marine-conservation/sea-turtles-shrimp-imports-and-section-609/

The power of the word can make a difference. WRITE to your local officials.

Plastics…a soapbox tale

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When I see videos like this:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbbcworldservice%2Fvideos%2F1344796915682846%2F&show_text=1&width=476

And this:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheOceanCleanup%2Fvideos%2F403560316919043%2F&show_text=1&width=560

And this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ij0CKuwei4

I cannot rest. Plastics continue to pollute our oceans. Human ambivalence is choking ocean life.  Without healthy oceans and the creatures that live within, WE are toast — well done on both sides toast.

I began recycling in the early 1990’s when I lived in a condo in Arlington, Virginia. Just six of us residents at the condo designed the first curbside recycling program in Arlington. Working with our local/traditional waste hauler we succeeded to educate the area participants and this hauler soon became a millionaire as this recycling program gained traction.

Back then most people mindlessly tossed human-generated waste into the weekly bin and never gave it another thought. In 2008, I watched a PBS documentary entitled Carrier and was horrified to see what just one aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz (CVN68), was dumping into the ocean. These floating warships carry 6,000 + crew, sixty jets, and are deployed for months at a time. (This multi-series film is available online.)

In response to my 2008 concerns/letter, a Rear Admiral US Navy Director of Environmental Readiness replied with a two page document assuring me that many recyclables are merely shredded, placed into burlap bags, and discharged into the sea. This statement alone is one version, yet recorded in the documentary, aluminum cans (one example) and food waste were just dumped directly into the sea.  The Rear Admiral concluded…”These bags sink to the bottom of the sea and are slowly assimilated into the environment without harm.” Right.
Today, over a decade later, there are few fingers pointing at the environmental damage being done to our oceans by seagoing vessels of any kind. Just think how many ships are on our oceans at any one time. Can you guess?
Additionally, laws to restrict fishing gear are slow to protect our large mammals who suffer a slow death at sea from entanglements. Just search online to view these horror stories.
Landlubbers and third world countries are casting waste into waterways without conscience. Are you with me on this?

OK, so in 2020 how can we, as individuals, do better with our consumption and waste?

This is what I do already:

  • I do not hire a single stream waste hauler.  Since 1/3 of household waste is kitchen based (and compostable), I place all my organic kitchen waste into compostable bags (supplied by the recycling center), and drop off weekly to our local recycling center. Later, along with ground up Christmas trees, this compost is offered back to the community.
    If you think about your garbage, wet kitchen waste contaminates dry recyclables (cardboard and pasteboard) and both wind up in the landfill. If you have room to compost your kitchen waste at home (for your gardens), there is plenty of info online. If your waste hauler offers a separate bin for kitchen waste/compostables, sign up.
  • My community (150K population) has one designated location with large bins for source separation/recycling: Two for different plastics, and the others are for cardboard, pasteboard (cereal boxes) and mail slicks, office paper, glass, oyster shells (for repopulating the Chesapeake), mixed metals, newsprint, and aluminum cans. Christmas trees are also collected and shredded into mulch for residents. See my blog post on that topic here…https://dianelasauce.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/the-little-recycling-center-that-could/
  • Recently our plastics collection changed, excluding ALL plastics above #2. Therefore all those yogurt/butter/spread/single serve/you-name-it containers now ALL GO TO A LANDFILL AND TAKE  THIS LONG TO BIODEGRADE: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033
  • Even black tinted #2 plastics are rejected. So all those pretty meat packages at grocery stores, yup, head to the dump around here. I wrote to Jeff Bezos to let him know, hoping WFM will discontinue the use of black #2 packaging. Amazon’s reply was that “regional” was informed. I will follow up.
  • AMZN does have a link (Amazon Second Chance) on their site as to where we can recycle packaging. This is a good thing, but it takes commitment to source separate your waste. Single Stream curbside “recycling” is totally inefficient as most goes to a landfill. Really!

In larger metropolitan areas around the world, there are waste-to-energy facilities where most/all waste is incinerated. Here is a link…https://www.prescouter.com/2017/10/waste-to-energy-technologies-available/

So if you do have a way to dispose of your waste by source separation in lieu of single stream, please make an effort. Source separation is highly more efficient and this effort can be a teaching moment for your children. Our trash does not simply “vanish” at curbside.

How we shop and handle our waste has consequences. 

AS of 2020 I decided NOT to buy any food/dairy in single use plastic containers or any container that cannot be recycled. (I now cringe when I see walls of dairy in stores…all in non-recyclable plastic!) This also includes single-use, plates, utensils, produce bags…the list goes on infinitum.

Why not make your own yogurt/cottage/cream cheeses and give up those products packaged in plastic? Glass makes a great storage container and they are all the rage now with secure, reusable BPA free lids.

Please be aware that plastic straws and balloons are both toxic to the environment and wildlife. Many marine mammals and shore birds suffer horribly from straws and entanglement from both the actual balloon and cords. When balloons are ingested, the sea life can no longer dive.

Take action: Please insist that your coffee shops discontinue use of PLASTIC straws…and forego those balloon releases…this act simply releases garbage into the air, rivers, and oceans causing havoc worldwide. Carry your own reusable coffee mugs to your barista.

This year I will continue to use both cloth/reusable produce bags and cloth totes every time I shop.

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This company thoughtfully included the TARE on each bag label. A very good thing.  I found this product at TJMaxx… decided not to go the nylon route, and opted for organic, washable cotton AND the company is right here in Virginia. Check them out at www.organiccottonmart.com  

If you do nothing else this year, discontinue using plastic grocery bags of any kind. Ask your local grocer to stop offering them. OR boycott all stores who use plastic bags. I will continue dialogue with markets like WFM, Trader Joe’s, and monster retailers like Kroger and Walmart. You too can make a difference…

Wow, have I lost you yet?

Creek bed in late August

Since we are on the topic of water…water is a nonrenewable resource. If you read the links above, you can see first hand what is going on in our oceans and rivers.

When it comes to home keeping, we can make a huge difference by not wasting/polluting potable water. Try these:

  • Do not leave faucets/hoses running.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and while soaping up in the shower.
  • Collect cold water in the shower (as it turns to hot) in a bucket and use this to water your garden or houseplants.
  • Fix any leaky faucets/toilets.
  • Collect gray water from the kitchen and use it in the lawn/garden.
  • Do not put any medications down the toilet or drain. Many local pharmacies take back unused RX or OTC medications for free.
  • Do only large batches of laundry. Hand washing small items can be fast and water efficient if done rarely.
  • Use EWG.org approved soaps, detergents and cosmetics.

IF we all commit make small changes to our busy lives, both we, our families, and our planet will benefit.

A bit of good news: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/mushroom-fungi-packaging-ikea-decompose-ecovative/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share&_branch_match_id=747486552494622072

Your thoughts are appreciated in the comments section. As mentioned previously, I do not profit from mentioning sites or links.

Has this post inspired you to make changes? IF so, please share this post and inspire your friends to make changes too.

This blog is intended solely for education and inspirational purposes.

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Let’s clean up our act

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During the winter, when most of the garden is quiet, I keep my brain stimulated by turning my attention to my household and the products I use within. Many products are carryovers from habit. Since I make every attempt to live lightly on this earth, I decided in 2018 to look more closely. Yes, I use vinegar, baking soda, and other benign items, yet scrutiny was necessary for other areas. Fortunately, I discovered early on www.ewg.org. Do you know it? Hands down, it helped me rule out many products from kitchen, bath, body, dental, cosmetics, laundry, dishwasher, and window categories. Below are some winners that I tested personally and highly recommend. Many were recommended by my dermatologist, and although they are not all rated A, they are rated higher than most. And as a mature gardener, I must pay more attention to my skin, as you will discover below.

Go ahead, have a look at the products and see if they make sense to you. Do you use them already? Of course, every decision is yours. I just make every effort to respect the earth and reduce my carbon footprint. Furthermore, I will make clear that I do not profit by mentioning any products. This blog is solely intended for education and inspirational purposes.

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Finally, a laundry detergent that delivers. My clothes have never been cleaner. Even my garden togs appear like new. I was happy to discover this jug at Walmart after finding a smaller size at Whole Foods Market at a much higher price.

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Another fantastic find thanks to EWG. I found this at Whole Foods Market, fell in love with the cleaning power, then found this 45 tablet pack on AMZN for waaay less money. Go figure. Please note, I run my dishwasher at least twice per week, and NEVER rinse anything before loading…rinsing wastes incredible amounts of water folks. Not necessary with this product. No rinsing aids needed either. Glassware, flatware, pots, pans, you name it, all come out sparkling.

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OK, now for the bath & body part of this report…

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Normally I take five minute showers, but once a year I will splurge and fill the tub with bubbles, hot water, all my body brushes…dim the lighting, play a favorite CD, and off I go to blissville. Once I made an effort to carry the gray water to the yard, but my back later said “nah.” At least my septic drain field will be happy.

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This bath pillow is a must. It came from the Body Shop years ago and is always ready when I take the plunge. Nearby is a bar of locally made soap. Ahhh.

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I never used Herbal Essences (bio-renew) products until now. Thanks to EWG, I now know about Procter & Gamble’s efforts step up and clean up their products. When reading the fine print, not only are the ingredients 87-90% natural origin, P&G partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for their endorsement (www.kew.org) and a portion of proceeds support the efforts of this grand historic English garden. Win, win! These products hit US shelves in 2018 but I bought from AMZN. FYI, the fragrance is mild/pleasant too.

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Now to the nitty-gritty. As I age, I am always on the hunt for skin moisturizing products that deliver. I have returned buckets to BBB that failed my tests. The products seen here made the cut. The brands were both recommended by my dermatologist, and the specific types match my needs. So far so good. Just remember your coupons if you shop at BBB. I love that store!

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First I began with the SA Cream in 2017, then when I faced skin cancer on my right hand this spring, I learned about the Healing Ointment. Now I mix the two…ointment into the SA Cream...great for dry legs, feet, hands. The EO bubbles came from WFM years ago and it is pleasant… with long lasting bubbles.

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BEFORE PHOTO: Do you see the weird node between my two knuckles? It came up in early April 2019 and I just thought it was a thorn from the garden. When it failed to heal, I checked with my dermatologist and yes, indeed. The first biopsy revealed skin cancer! GULP! HOW??? I wear garden gloves and attempt slathers of sunscreen, but nope, the doc said, ” this is squamous cell carcinoma from cumulative sun exposure” … from driving the car to whatever else I did from childhood on. Growing up, I never wore sunscreen while horseback riding, swimming, mowing, or the like. And oh, that time I was badly burned when collecting clams during low tide while in Puerto Vallarta in the early ’70’s. Yes. My. Dears. UV rays are cumulative.

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DAY AFTER MOHS SURGERY: This is the result of my brilliant surgeon who does nothing but MOHS cancer surgery. I was nearly bonkers by early November when the surgery day finally arrived. How much skin? How much loss of use? How much down time during my wreath/holiday season? I nearly needed anxiety medication. These questions could not be answered until biopsies were examined after each excision at the appointment. Thank angels, the doc removed all affected tissue the first round. After an hour, I was sent home with a bandage. And this is how I learned about the Healing Cream, as the wound was not stitched, just a daily bandage change with Healing Cream for six weeks while the area slowly healed from the edges. Today, I have no loss of use, no pain, just a small scar that will improve over the next year. In closing, let me be an example for readers…see your dermatologist annually for a full body check, and research/WEAR sunscreen. I was lucky this time. Melanoma (the worst skin cancer) will kill us if not discovered early.

The jars of ointment, salves, serums, and lotions will not only improve my overall skin appearance; I already see a difference. My hands appear years younger/smoother than these earlier photos. 😉

So dear followers, when you have time, please visit EWG and see if your current products/cosmetics/home products stand up to environmental scrutiny. Let’s all pay attention and do our part to ease the pressure on our beloved planet.

Since publication I learned about juice BEAUTY (www.juicebeauty.com), an organic fruit stem cell skincare technology that received high ratings. I am trying their mascara, foundation, and dust. Jury’s still out.

Go lightly into our tomorrows.

Are you inspired by this post? Comments are always welcomed. Cheers!

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

2020…are we ready?

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Will we run like a rabbit, distracted by technology and devices?

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Or will we keep our heads down…I am very familiar with this position…weeding, weeding, weeding.

Foothills at Free Union

Or will we pause, breathe, and gather strength for another year of creativity. This summer view is one road over from my home and keeps me grounded.

My 2020 goals will be patience, compassion, and more patience. Have you set goals for the New Year?

Please share your thoughts on 2020 in the comments section.

In closing I share these thoughts:

What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
~Crowfoot

Copyright © 2019 By Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

All I want for Christmas

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During the month of August in the USA, “Christmas” begins creeping onto retailers’ shelves…yes in August. There are even bits of Halloween and Thanksgiving decor making an appearance, yet the crushing push to consume before year’s end begins. This mentality is also visible in the waistlines of obese Americans…a loss of mindfulness and willingness to run out the clock. Loss and run are both keywords.

This observation causes me to shrink and place invisible blinders on until January… while the current state saddens me to the core. This state of loss, running, consuming, and unrest fuels the growing poverty, drug addiction, and homelessness in America. A condition that oozes across borders, as America, a once highly revered nation, settles into stagnation and violence. Where did humanity hit the rocks? Is it possible to pick up the pieces? Can hopelessness be reversed?

Last week, a neighbor commented on the price of Christmas trees, due to climate change/drought and shortage of trees. I encouraged her to follow her instincts and downsize Christmas. Her children are older, and this could be a teaching moment that could last a lifetime.

Let’s peel back the layers and reach the true meaning of this holiday.

Iron Ornament tree--everlasting

An iron tree…everlasting, small, and holding only my favorite ornaments. I am grateful for the sweet memories each one evokes. 

Every December I look to my gardens for celebration. The Buxus need their annual pruning, and give plenty of material for fresh wreaths. Below are a few photos of this year’s bounty…

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Simple and elegant. I so enjoy turning French wire ribbon into lush bows.

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A small ‘Provence’ lavender swag made for a friend after creating the wreath seen below. This holiday is a great time to show appreciation.

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Isn’t this lovely? Fresh lavender, fragrant, and appreciated by one woman at last market. She plans to hang it in her kitchen.

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Back in my kitchen, steaming hot cocoa with a pinch of cinnamon warms me after a cool morning of wreath making outdoors.

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An entire head of organic cauliflower was the base for this delicious soup.  Perfect and simple, the recipe may be found in my memoir.

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A wee Cornish Game hen roasted beautifully with organic Brussels sprouts.

The only way I cope with this season and the state of our nation is to step away from the crowds and noise, eat simply and mindfully, and give thanks every day for small blessings.

All I really want for Christmas is an open heart, compassion for myself and others, and the ability to remain connected with the present without judgement.

May you put down your devices, take time for breath, and embrace the happy times.

Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving…remembering love

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This week nearing Thanksgiving, thoughts of passed people, pets, and unexplainable occurrences tiptoe into my consciousness.  Quiet trickles of images, sweetness, perfect scenarios, and moments of happiness drop in… people who showed appreciation for my talents, pets who loved unconditionally, and divine experiences that gave me a glimpse of spirit. They all circle around me now. I embrace them all.

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Formosa lily blooming in early November

During what turned out to be the last weeks of my mother’s life, one afternoon I rested at the end of her bed and in silence, she simply reached down and stroked my head. No words necessary. What had often been a tumultuous relationship with years of distance and silence, we had finally reached a place silent acceptance, forgiveness, and love. Tomorrow would be her 102nd birthday.

Mother photo

Mother as a model in NYC.

calm sky

Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

Ragtime Rags, a doberman/lab filled my life with constant companionship for thirteen years. While young, she preferred to run ahead while I reigned a spirited horse behind her — over fields, ravines, and open space. During later life, she enjoyed our condo/air conditioned lifestyle and daily walks to the local park. In the city, strangers would cross the street when we approached. They did not notice her alert face, shiny coat, and wagging tail. Never did she pull on the leash, yet always alert kept one step ahead by my side. When she left this life, I buried her in the country, a place where I returned in 2000. Her resting place is only two miles away from Swallowtail Cottage. Her headstone resides with me.

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When we were young…Ragtime Rags and I

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Resting in my garden

Cinnamon was a golden retriever who resided with clients of mine. I was asked to sit with her when the couple went out. For a few years, she and I enjoyed romps on the property, as her “parents” were too fragile to go for walks on uneven terrain. While I enjoyed their pool, Cinnamon, who had a scary encounter with water as a puppy, gazed at me from the solid edge. I walked to the steps, invited her in, and with the aid of a tennis ball, she joined me in the water. I cradled her under her belly as she paddled about, then I returned her to the steps. Soaking wet, she exited, shook, and from the look on her face, I could tell we had crossed a threshold. Later reports stated that she often confidently sat on the top step of the pool, cooling her belly.

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Cinnamon enjoying a plush life and deep thinking

I blogged about Miss Kitty when she left this life in 2011. Although I hosted numerous felines throughout my adult life, Miss Kitty was my true love. She had been a barn cat for her first four years, and when we met, she wanted out. We were like Velcro for eleven years. Her presence is still very much here, as she has a tool box, and keeps the icemaker going. As a spirit Kitty, she is an easy keeper. Her ashes reside on the printer in my office, one of her favorite napping spots. When I become ash, we will be sprinkled together somewhere in a beautiful garden.

Pleased with her investigation 2009

Miss Kitty, the feline love of my life.

The Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC is an ethereal place. I attended regular services there after my mother died in 1995. Arriving early, I sat in the front row, in order to take communion following the choir and before the masses who sat behind me. One bright, breezy Sunday, this position allowed me to notice an unusual light play. And by play I do not mean theatre. During this sermon, I noticed that the sunlight coming through one magnificent set of stained glass ebbed and flowed according to the cadence of the sermon. Yes, that is what occurred. This was no artificial manipulation by theatre crew.

stained glasses

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Another time while in deep mourning for my mother, I knelt in the Cathedral’s small chapel reserved for loss. Not in prayer, but simply present among the tiers of glowing red votives, suddenly I felt my chest open up as if fingers were painlessly revealing my heart — no other sensation felt until I flinched and returned to reality. Never has this happened again. I often wonder what would have happened if I had stayed in that moment. Would the divine have had a message for me?

white and red candles on black steel frame

Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

Whatever the meaning, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and remembrance. I welcome the trickle of happy yet somewhat bittersweet thoughts that visit now.

Are you experiencing similar thoughts this time of year? If so, please add to the comments section of this post.

Happy and safe Thanksgiving to all and may you too remember love this holiday.

Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

At last

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Summer finally loosed her grip on central Virginia. Daytime temperatures now range between 47F-78F. Ahhh.

This year, heat and humidity seemed to last forever, forcing this gardener outdoors before dawn for chores. The manic mockingbird, and the mouthy rooster from two properties away were my only sunrise companions amongst the persistent weeds. Mowing occurred only after the sun was below the cypress hedge. Waaay below.

My gardens are now nineteen years old, requiring no watering even during the driest conditions. Live and learn. In my next life, I hope that I remember all this garden taught me.

Now with pleasant daytime temperatures  I shall report on the fun (read leasure) I shared yesterday. Within a short drive from Swallowtail Cottage, one of our local vineyards (http://kingfamilyvineyards.com) hosts thrilling polo matches that are free to the public. The only caveat is purchasing your adult beverage from the wine wheels that frequently putter by in the form of a golf cart.

Below are captured images of this blissful afternoon:

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Sadly the founder David King succumbed to cancer this year. Here is a link paying homage to his legacy…https://www.cbs19news.com/content/news/King-Family-holds-first-polo-match-after-founder-passes-away-510457121.html

Thanks to David’s vision and generosity, hundreds of area residents decompress with family and friends most Sundays during summer months. October is my month to venture outdoors.

What is your favorite month for outdoor activities?

Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Keto “potatoes”

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As I continue my quest for an improved way to eat, reading Keto recipe books inspired today’s recipe.

Cauliflower is an outstanding vegetable. It is in the cruciferous family that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.

Yet the white, knobby blob can quickly become boring/bland/meh. So when I purchased a large organic head yesterday, I was determined to shake it up a bit.

While exploring the fridge this AM, I pulled out a stick of organic butter, a chunk of raw blue cheese, and the mighty cruciferous “head”. Since the oven was already hot from an earlier project, in went the soon-to-be-transformed florets.

Recipe        Serves 4

One large head of organic cauliflower – leaves and core removed, broken into large florets

4 OZ. organic butter- from pastured cows

1/2 C.  blue cheese (I use raw)

Himalayan pink salt to taste – adjust as you go along

Heavy cream 1/2 C or to taste

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Preheat the oven to 400F. Rack center position.

Cover a sheet pan with parchment and place cauliflower florets in one layer, sprinkled with a few drops of olive oil. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes.
When tender (poked with the point of a sharp knife), remove the florets from the oven and place on a rack to cool slightly.

When florets are still warm, add them to a food processor.

P1070128Add the blue cheese, butter, and salt to the floret filled bowl.

P1070129Process a few seconds until contents blend. Add in heavy cream until you like the consistency. Continue to blend a few seconds more, scraping the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula. Add the fresh lemon juice before the last spin.

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Voila! The perfect substitute for mashed potatoes. With the holidays nearing, Keto followers will be delighted with this dish. If you don’t care for blue cheese, substitute an extra sharp cheddar.

Easy peasy. Let me know in the comments section, how you like this quick dish.

And as my brain continues to work on this subject, I bet this dish could be quickly adapted into “potato” cakes by simply adding a beaten egg to a cup of mash and pan frying in butter.

Tune in to my next blog for my tiptoe into chicken liver. So difficult to get my head around this chicken part, until my stomach rebelled against ground meat and bacon two weeks ago. I must admit,  this dish created a delightfully tasty and equally easy recipe with many health benefits to boot.

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Pssst! Here’s what I ate for lunch today. Organic romaine topped with dollops of  my chicken liver pate, egg and chopped fennel salad, sauteed mushrooms, and of course Keto “potatoes” all drizzled with a bit of organic olive oil. Prepared ahead, these tasty items last a few days in the fridge ready for quick, wholesome meals. Agree?

Cheers to healthy eating!

Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

When critters call

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Good morning all!

stairs from the garden

Garden challenges can sometimes be an uphill climb. Let me share what I learned this summer.

Back to garden topics: I am having issues with not ONE but THREE adult raccoons who have been a nuisance in my Free Union gardens since May. They really appreciate my organic gardening efforts as they visit every night.

Once we figured out what was invading/defecating, I conferred with our local wildlife center and tried all of their repellent suggestions. When lights, noise, and ammonia were not not effective, I continued my quest. This morning, I want to share DOES work, so that my garden followers may add these to their battery of knowledge.

I love raccoons, yet they have been a huge nuisance this year. Since early spring, I wracked my brain to outsmart/repel the digging/climbing critters.

animal whiskers raccoon

Photo by Olia Gozha on Pexels.com

What DOES work:

Spent (used) coffee grounds! I collect spent coffee grounds from our local Whole Foods Market barista (they are happy to give to me) and then toss the grounds wherever the raccoons are digging. I enjoy the scent of coffee, yet never acquired a taste for the beverage, as I cannot make it taste like the professionals. So, spreading the often warm grounds is pleasurable. Just wear old clothes and rubber gloves, as this process is messy and grounds scent lingers on skin.

beans brew caffeine coffee

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Did you know that spent coffee grounds become a neutral PH and add a nice dose of nitrogen to plants? Additionally, if you keep an earthworm farm or want to treat worms in your raised beds, those wigglers crave coffee grounds!

Back at Swallowtail Cottage: The family of raccoons obsessed over my mature daffodil bulb/grape hyacinth beds during August and I just discovered that if I applied pine bark mulch over the area, the raccoons quit digging there! Voila! So off to Lowe’s I went with Auto for bags of the stuff. I can never apply too much mulch here…hence my nickname “Mulchqueen”. I should own a pine forest.

tall trees

Photo by Trygve Finkelsen on Pexels.com

With this newfound knowledge, yesterday I applied (very fragrant) pine mulch to an area where I just planted new echinacea plants and, yay! this AM, NO DIGGING! Hurrah!

Who knew?

Ah ha!  My plan for next April/May when my blueberries bloom/fruit, I plan to strew plenty of coffee grounds around that area to ward off predation. And hopefully the silly raccoons will not do a repeat performance and get tangled in the draped tulle! 😉

Let me know if this garden tidbit is helpful. Or perhaps this is common knowledge and I missed that memo. Either way, please share this post with other gardeners where raccoons are a problem.

A green/sustainable solution, yes? Since coffee shops are a dime a dozen around the planet, most of them will gladly give gardeners the spent grounds to work wonders in their gardens. Just bring your own bucket.

Coffee filters are also biodegradable, so add them to your raised beds for a carbon hit.

Off to more garden chores. Look forward to the first frost and fewer biting insects. Alas, I will miss hosting summer hummingbirds.

Happy fall. Happy gardening!

falll in the foothills of the Blue Ridge

Let me know in the comments section if this information helps.

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