How to save water and your garden at the same time

So, to wrap up events in July: Fire has proven once again to not be our friend. Thanks to the Delta variant, masks are back on; and finally, the high heat and low water supplies are about to kill your garden. Well, I might be able to help you out with at least one of those things.

Here are a couple of tips on how to conserve water and still have a garden survive.

  1. Prioritize: Yeah this is going to suck, but it’s time to choose. If some plants aren’t doing well, or if they just aren’t needed, then pull them. That means by the roots, because if you don’t, the remaining plant pieces might still take up some water.
  2. Shade helps: If your plants already provide some shade to their neighbors, then great. However, you could also add a shade element to help out. This prevents both water loss and leaf burning in more sensitive plants. Use a small tarp, sheet, or beach shade tent; either will work as long as they can be moved, but still be braced to not blow away.
  3. Gray-water safely: You can reuse bath water, or water collected from your shower while you’re waiting for it to reach the optimal temperature. If it’s bath water, just make sure it doesn’t have any bath oils or salts in it, as those will hurt your plants and soil. Also, gray-water should be reserved for non-food bearing plants, like flowers, shrubs, and trees not producing fruit.
  4. Finally, water wisely: Water in the early morning, or at night when evaporation is less of a problem. Water deeply, so it will do a thorough job (do you want just a sip in 100 degree weather?). Using mulch can also help with water retention, just choose the type carefully if you have pets. A local nursery, or garden center can help get you set up the right way. Good luck fellow Green Thumbs.

Reusable bags are now welcomed again

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Reusable bags, once banished thanks to Covid, are now once again welcomed in most retail locations. You’ll want to double check with your local store to be sure, but most seem to be embracing their use once again.

Now, more than ever though, it is so very important that you take steps to make sure your bags stay clean. Inspect them every so often, and clean them when needed. Also, swap out old, and fraying bags for more sturdy new ones, so you don’t wind up hating life when an older bag tears on you.

Are we ready to be fully back yet?

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Despite everything we’ve faced over the last year and a half, it looks like we might finally be rounding the corner on this whole thing? (and yes that is a questions mark you see there….)

What does that mean to you personally, well only you can answer that one. Despite what the econ people say, and the health people, and don’t get me started on the political rhetoric people taking up positions surrounding this thing; in the end what this means to you personally is whatever you need it to mean. The buck isn’t being passed here by having said that. Keep in mind that there has been a lot of talk amongst the experts, not to mention media, about what people can expect, and how they should handle the recovery process, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow that advise like it came out of a post-Covid instruction book.

For example, if you still feel safer wearing a mask when you go to the grocery story this summer, then wear one. No one should be judging you for feeling like this is still necessary (now if you’re doing it three years from now too, then we’ll need to talk, but for right now, who cares!?!).

This has been a crazy time for us all. We went from one high anxiety incident, to another, and then back again. As much as we’d all like to get back to “normal” as soon as possible, it really isn’t going to be that easy. The question needs to be asked: “Are we ready to be fully back yet?” The fact that some people say yes, simply because that’s what is going to work best for them doesn’t matter. All of our answers need to count.

The reality is that Covid still isn’t gone. When you hear a reporter talking, in a chipper voice, about how we only had 2500 new cases reported today, that doesn’t mean those 2500 people aren’t sick. Most experts agree that we will be living with this disease for a while yet, and that requires some adaptation on our parts. So, here’s the hard part that no one wants to hear. Life as we knew it pre-2020 isn’t coming back. However, even without Covid, it wasn’t going to be the same life for us in 2025 anyway. True, the changes might not have been as radical, and would have happened without the psychological trauma we’ve all shared, but changes would have occurred anyway. Ironically, without Covid spurring all this hate along, no one would have cussed you out for not wanting to wear the latest earbuds in 2025, yet somehow they feel perfectly justified ridiculing people for sending their kids to schools with masks, or for wearing them in the local Target today.

The bottom line is that people just need to get over themselves. If you’re vaccinated and want to go maskless once it’s legal, then fine. If you don’t, well then simply don’t. What else can we do. The thing that is making this situation worse ultimately, is us. No one can deny that this whole thing has been a giant pain in the you-know-what. That said, there’s no reason for us to continue going at each other in the way we’ve been doing, and making the situation worse. As long as people are taking responsible steps, and moving forward at a pace they can handle, then let them. Just don’t be the that guy, holding the whole healing process up by still pretending that none of this mattered, or wasn’t real to begin with. Playtime is over, and it’s time to get serious about the road ahead. Join us if you can, an any pace you feel appropriate. The important thing is that we all get there in the end.

Drug Take Back Day 2021 is on the calendar

Earth week might be coming to an end, but before it does, there is one more thing to add to you calendar this week – Drug Take Back Day 2021. Earth Week will officially wrap up this Saturday with Drug Take Back Day locations to be found around the country. Each should roughly start around 10am, but you’ll want to double check the specifics of the location nearest you by looking on the Drug Take Back website.

Before heading out make sure to first remove all labels from the prescription bottles. No personal identification should be left for safety’s sake. Then just put it all in a bag, and drop if off in the waiting bins when you get there.

Happy Earth Week Everyone!

Five ways to do Earth Day 2021 in a Covid lockdown

Earth Day 2021 is just a few weeks away, but since we’re still living in a Covid world you might be thinking you’ll have to skip it again. Fear not though, as this year there are more than a few virtual events planned already, with more to be posted soon.

First though I would like to acknowledge that the past year has actually seen movement on the environmental front. President Biden stopped the dreaded oil pipeline. People seeking ways to stave off lockdown boredom came out in droves last year to hike, camp, and volunteer for a ton of events. The USPS also put out an official Earth Day stamp, which is still available for purchase (and use) on their website. Plus, this year’s EUEC Virtual conference showed that multiple groups are actively working on not only fixing the existing electrical grid, but making it more eco friendly and efficient to boot.

If you would like to get involved this year too, here’s some suggestions.

  1. Start out by asking your local churches, parks, and your kid’s school, as they might be planning something already.
  2. Also check out your local library to see what they have planned, as most do something to honor the day.
  3. If you’re looking for ways to green up your home, then make sure to see what your local nursery is doing, since it is the start of planting season.
  4. You can also check out Ian Somerhalder’s new documentary, ‘Kiss the Ground‘, which is now playing on Netflix. This is getting some really great reviews, especially for the way it offers up hope by not only listing problems, but offering up suggestions for solving them.
  5. Finally, the San Diego Natural History Museum (aka The Nat) will be hosting it’s “The State of Biodiversity” virtual summit over the 4 Thursdays in April. Sign up for free on the summit’s website.

If you know of any other Earth Day events that are planned, please feel free to list them in the comments section,so others might join in too.

Happy Earth Month Everyone!!!

Being Green doesn’t have to be Taxing

Form 1040 - Wikipedia
image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_1040

I know that life is a bit busy right now, but hopefully it will come as a shock to no one that taxes are due soon. Although this can be stressful for some, it can actually turn out to also be one of the easiest times to flex your green muscles. When thinking about taxes and being green, most people will probably think about donations that they might have already made to any number of charities that help with animals and/or the environment. Although that is definitely on way to link the two activities, it isn’t the only one. You can also chose to donate after your taxes are done, but right before you submit them, at least if you live in California.

Before you finalize your federal tax return, pretty much everyone gets asked if they want to donate to the presidential campaign fund, but on the California tax return you also get asked if you would like to donate part of your state tax refund to any of about 20 or so different charities. Some of the charities deal with things like cancer research, Fire related issues, and autism research. However, several of them also have to do with endangered animals and the environment. If I recall correctly there was one last year that dealt with the otters, and there was a wetlands charity as well that was on the list. Al you have to do is click (or fill in the box) on the ones your want to help out with.

So, if your state tax return has something like this, then this year please don’t just skip over it. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a contribution, and you get to choose how much you want to give (anywhere from a dollar up is accepted). Then next year that contribution can even become a deduction. Really it’s a win win for everyone.

No more blursdays

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Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

NO MORE BLURSDAYS!  That needs to start being a national (or perhaps worldwide) mantra. 

If you’re not sure what that means, well then you’re even worse off than I thought.  Blursday is defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

When you’ve been sheltering in place for so long because of a global pandemic you have no idea what day it is as they all blur together. Blursday!

Why does this matter?

It matters because this has become such a common phenomenon that Blursday has actually been picked as one of the new words that will soon be added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s one of those sneaky problems that the pandemic brought with it. Together, with all the other changes that we’ve had to make recently, this issue creates drag in our lives, and can further complicate any attempts to create a more balanced meaningful existence.

I know! I know! That may sound dramatic, but it truly is a problem. In the beginning of the pandemic, with all the shutdowns, and closures, this was just seen as a funny little quirk of quarantine life. It was thought to be something that would soon go away, and we would look back, and tell stories about how we suddenly realized it was Saturday instead of Friday, and that’s why the bank was closed early. Only, that isn’t what’s happened. As our yearly lives have been disrupted, the cumulative affect of Blursdays are being felt more and more. All those typical ways that we used to mark our lives, they’re mostly gone. Without those mile-markers, everything just blurs together. Even if you’re working from home, or remote learning, it’s still easy to fall into this trap.

Zoom just isn’t enough of a draw to break up the monotony anymore. I can’t count the number of times I’ve signed up for a chat or webinar, and then completely forgotten about it.

I miss the events that I would normally go to, but am also just as worried that I might never truly feel safe attending them again. Convention for 150,000 people anyone? Yeah, me neither.

However, without those markers on my calendar, the days still blur. So what can anyone do about it?

Perhaps the answer to that really does need to be answered individually. My solution might not work for you, and vice-versa. In the end, whatever you choose, it just needs to make the days stand apart from each other, and in many ways that means there has to be at least a few things on the calendar that you’re truly looking forward to.

Live talks online tend to hold my focus better than pre-recorded ones. Letting everyone know that Wednesday and Friday afternoons are when you’ll be going for your walks might help prevent others from dragging you back into the blur. The return of a favorite TV show (finally) can set up the basis for a date night, or family night viewing party. Or, perhaps schedule a call (phone or video) with a friend of family member, so you both have something to look forward to.

However you go about it, the important thing is that you at least try. Your blurry mind will thank you for it.

2020 I just don’t know what to say

#RIP 2020
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The year that will live in infamy for years to come is finally nearing its end.  2020 might only have au couple days left, but the lingering impacts it’s leaving us with will hang around for a while I’m afraid.  Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I’ve been listening to others do their year-in-reviews, and I held off on doing my own until now, because quite frankly, I just really didn’t know what to say.

It isn’t really true that this has been a year unlike any other, a truth that anyone who had to live through the combined effects of WWI, and the 1918 Flu outbreak can attest to. In fact, that era had always been a fascination of mine, as I would marvel at all those people had to endure. Well, I guess I don’t have to wonder about how they managed it anymore, now do I?

In retrospect, we have to admit we’ve been exceptionally lucky up till now. Time and time again we dodged one bullet after another (SARS, MERS, EBOLA).  Our luck was bound to run out eventually, and when I think back on What happened once it did, I must admit that….

I JUST DON’T KNOW…

Why did we manage it all so badly? Why did we ALL have to freak out in the middle of it, and insist on taking care of so many other social issues right then and there, instead of focusing everything we had on stopping this thing? Why the hell haven’t we grown up enough as a species yet, to be able to recognize that there are some things you just need to get done, and as an adult you just shut your whiney little ass up, and do it because you have to? Keep in mind that I’m not saying you have to like it, nor that you can’t complain, or even try and make changes later on.  I am saying we had our priorities screwed up right now though.  Why can’t we collectively be better than what we’ve been over the last year?

I JUST DON’T KNOW.

As it stands now, the damage has been done.  For example, I used to love going to the movies when I was young, and despite not being able to go as often when I got older, I love it still.  I never imagined that I would see the demise of the movie theater industry in my lifetime, and yet here we are.

I freely admit that such losses haven’t helped anyone cope with this situation any better.  It feels like every time I turn around, all I see is that the things/places/events/experiences that used to be a major part of my aren’t there anymore.  To be fair, they’re not really all gone. Physically, most are still where they’ve always been, but they have become inaccessible.  So, almost everything that I used to do to relax and enjoy life, I can’t do.  The bigger concern that hides in the back of my mind is will I ever be able to do these things again in the future?  With the way life is changing, and the suggestion that many of these changes might become permanent…

I JUST DON’T KNOW…

There in lies the concern. That nagging fear of “will life ever be the same,” especially after of all the chaos that 2020 brought with it? Sadly, I do know the answer to that one….

IT WON’T.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that things do change after events such as these.   Some changes we will undoubtedly hate, some we’ll learn to live with, and others we might even love.  Here’s hoping that 2021 brings us more of that last one. After the year we’ve had, I think we could all use a break, don’t you?

Happy New Year Everyone.

 

Remembering #GivingTuesday

It may sound strange to be sending out a reminder about a thing that everyone will be talking about over the next couple of days, but oddly enough, that’s why it needs to be done. We can get so used to hearing about it that it just begins to blend in with all the other background noise. However, unlike all the other stuff, this really does matter. It always has of course, but especially so this year, with the economy in the state it’s in, everyone and everything seems to need help.

The complication this year is that more and more people can’t afford to contribute like they once did. Just like in the Great Recession, nonprofits are watching their donations disappear, only this time people often can’t safely volunteer their time either.

So, what’s there to do? Simply put, you do what you can. Even if it’s a single dollar, well that’s one dollar more than they had before you gave it. If enough of us do the same, then it can become enough in the end. We all just have to care enough to try. So, reflect on your situation, see what you can do, and participate in this year’s #GivingTuesday …. even if you have to wait till Friday when you get paid to do it, no one will stop you from giving if you’re just a little late. Pitch in folks.

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Not all voting booths are made equal

i voted sticker lot
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There are now only a few more days left in this election (thank God). That means anyone who hasn’t submitted their ballot yet really needs to hop to it. However, as if this year wasn’t complicated enough, now you have to also deal with fake ballot boxes too. That’s right folks, this year not all ballot boxes are legit.

This has come about for a variety of reasons, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Some were set up possibly out of malice, while others were done out of what might have been a real attempt to help (like a “Ballot party” I was recently invited to). Whatever the reason, legally their existence is dubious at best.

In this final weekend of voting, legitimate pop-up locations are being opened around the country. Although they are meant to make voting easier, for some they might just make it more confusing. The one sure way to know if the site/box you’re about to go to is for real, is to ask. Look up the Registrar of Voters for your county, and see if it’s listed on their website. Still not sure? Wait until Monday, and call them to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.  Then sign up to get updates on the status of your ballot, the registrar’s office should be able to tell you how to do that as well. Now that you have your game plan, go find that ballot of yours, and finally fill it out! 🤗