Tag Archives: organic

Natural Hydration

While staying hydrated is something that is vitally important in daily living, sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of such when life gets busy. Every now and then we have minor issues with hydration. Normally this family rectifies it by drinking down a huge jug of electrolyte-added soft drink designed for athletes. When trying to lead a natural lifestyle, this is kind of a sore spot when you think of the added colors, corn syrup (which one family member is allergic to), and the artificial additives that abound in these drinks.

Until now. While wandering through Hannaford, this grocery shopper noticed that there is something new on the market. Something that she was surprised to find, but very happy about given that she already knows it’s something she can stomach.

O.N.E. Drinks, out of California, has started selling packaged coconut water. Potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and calcium are all important electrolyte makers. Coconut water naturally has all four of these.

O.N.E. Coconut Water

100% natural coconut water
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 11.2 Fl. Oz.(330ml.)
Servings per Container: 1
Amounts Per Serving
Calories: 60 Calories from fat: 0
Total Fat 0g 0% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 0g 0%
Sodium 60mg 2%
Potassium 670mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%*
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%*
Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Calcium 40mg 4%
Phosphorus 17mg 2%
Magnesium 25mg 6%

Not a significant source of vitamin A,
vitamin C, calcium, or iron.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a
2,000 calorie diet.

Gluten free
Gently pasteurized

While the flavor is still has that odd bitter after-taste of regular coconut, it was much more pleasing to drink than the tart soft drinks that I have had in the past. It was just dry enough of a feel that it left you thirsty and either wanting more coconut water or regular water.

Add in the concept of a container that contains no BPAs, is recycable, and can easily stack in the pantry, and I think this might become a household stable for “emergency” re-hydration purposes.

Grow-your-own and Foraging

This year has been a pretty productive one for our freezer! Between the gardens, my summer counseling job, and picking, our freezer is stocked! From the garden alone we’ve already either eaten or put up (or both)…

  • 11 cups of snow peas (6 frozen, 3 eaten, and 2 remaining in the fridge)
  • 5 cups of string beans (all eaten)

This is only the start! Yesterday we pulled the potato plants due to some illness killing the tops off, only to end up with an 8:1 ratio of picked to planted. I now have roughly 40 pounds of ‘taters to clean, blanch, and freeze.

At work the program provided kids with bagged lunches from one of the local school systems. Apparently kids these days do not like veggies. I couldn’t see throwing away carrots and apples as they were perfectly good and, had they gone bad waiting to be processed, could be placed into the compost bin. This scrounging gave us…

  • 26 cups of baby carrots (22 frozen, 4 eaten)
  • 10 pounds of apples in the fridge

Between rhubarb from the Raymond property in New Sharon, fiddleheads from the neighbor’s property near them, and pick-your-owns, our freezer is well stocked.This doesn’t even include what we’ve eaten from this list or what I’ve already made quick-jams out of!

  • 8 cups of fiddleheads
  • 16 cups of rhubarb
  • 36 cups of strawberries
  • 28 cups of blueberries

I’m hoping that next week we can scrape up the money for me to either get a large canning pot or that I can figure out a way to do it without. I know I definitely don’t want to play in that hot water without the canning tongs! Regardless of how I do it, we definitely have more than enough to do some canning with.

Aside from all of this, we had an insect start eating away at our potato plants. They were pulled out of the ground about three weeks ago. From planting five pounds, we now have 40 lbs of potatoes! We couldn’t have asked for a better ratio. As far as grubs went, only one or two potatoes had been touched.

Much Needed Garden Update

A lot has been going on since our last garden update back in April. (It’s been over a month already? Cripes!) Needless to say, here are the notes from my calendar:

* 5/29 – Pumpkins and bell peppers transplanted; corn beans, and peas sowed.

* 5/31 – Tomatoes and jalapenos transplanted. Pumpkins failing and bell peppers are meh.

* 6/5 – Corn, peas, and lettuce begin sprouting. Pumpkins are dead.

* 6/6 – Bell peppers and tomatoes in distress (peppers dying, tomatoes turning white), added Epsom salts to base of plants.

* 6/12 – Potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, 2nd peas, 2nd beans planted.

Needless to say, the tomatoes have been a bit of a battle so far. Out of 32 plants, we’ve only lost 2, so I guess we can’t complain too much. The issues with the soil did prompt us to get a Rapitest Soil Test Kit. The gardens on the front side of the house, where it’s a bit more sandy, tested fine in all areas. The gardens on the back side that are more clay-based, were riddled with phosphorus and had no nitrogen to speak of. Needless to say, I’ve been boosting my tea and coffee intake for the sake of the tomatoes. We did add some Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost to key areas to help out. (If anyone from out of state wants to know, this is stuff is wonderful!)

Without further adiu, here are the pictures of the plots for those that are interested.

The closer side to the camera has two u-shaped areas surrounding the middle hill. The middle hill is for the pumpkins. The the u-s we planted strawberry corn, a type of red popping corn, and the first set of peas followed by the second set of beans. The corn (when tall enough) will be the trellises for the vines. We then seperated the two sections of garden with a strip of rocks in hopes of helping to keep the pumpkins from creeping before we notice them. The far side has two rows that were sowed with the 1st set of beans followed by the second set of peas. The two darker rows that have had extra compost added are the green bell peppers. Along the perimeter of the two far sides is a long l-shaped hill that has lettuce in it.

On the right we have the potato bed containing roughly twenty-five seed potatoes. To the left is the tomato bed that is all ready prepped for needing twine when the tomatoes hit a taller size.

The lower of the two beds is the cucumber bed this year. The two years previous it was the tomato bed. The upper bed is the jalapeno bed. Last year we only had six plants. This year we went for twelve.

Garden Updates and Past-due Electric Information

Let me be the odd duck who flip-flops what I’m going to talk about in my title. Back in January, I posted about how we had added some drying lines to the laundry room in hopes of conserving electricity, on top of using strips and cutting out the amount of lights we use. Needless to say, it seemed to work.

Yes, indeed, you read that correctly. We were able to drop 8 KWHs off from our daily amount and cut our monthly by more than half. This was a full 30 day cycle bill, in one of our harshest winter months, mind you. We did it, though. We cut well more than the target of 2 – 4 KWHs a day. So what was the total cost of the bill for February?

I wish this number had stayed the same for March, but it seems that we loosened up a bit. Granted, March’s bill came to 10 KWHs a day, 280 a month, and only ran us $44.04. I guess there’s really nothing to complain about there! (Last year, for March, we were at 11 KWH a day, 319 a month. It’s nice not having to have lights on…ever.)

On to the gardening update! As of 3/24/2010, we had:

  • Roma tomatoes – 16/16 pots have seedlings!
  • Early girl tomatoes – Nothing yet.
  • Green peppers – 2/12 pots have seedlings!
  • Pumpkins – 9/12 pots have seedlings!
  • Sunflowers – Nothing yet.
  • Herb mixes – Bunches of littles!

We are now up to:

  • Roma tomatoes – 16/16 pots have seedlings!
  • Early girl tomatoes – 16/16 pots have seedlings!
  • Green peppers – 12/12 pots have seedlings!
  • Pumpkins – 12/12 pots have seedlings!
  • Sunflowers – 8/8 pots have seedlings!
  • Herb mixes – Bunches of littles!

Each tomato pot has two plants growing, same with the green peppers. The pumpkins we did three in each pot, not knowing the fail rate.

The best part about this is that, when we weed out the plants, we’re giving those “extras” that survive transplanting to friends and family. My parents had already said that they would take both tomatoes and green peppers, and a couple family friends have also mentioned taking tomatoes, this on top of the fact that we promised some to Joe’s parents as well.

We’ve also done some re-arranging with our set up. (Hopefully a new layout will be drawn up and put into the gardening page soon.) We’ve decided to do a “Three Sisters” garden in one area, giving us much more space. Next year, we’re hoping to try our hand at even more companion planting, but we want to do it a little at a time.

Natural Beauty…Products, That Is.

Since I was about ten years old, I’ve been dealing with psoriasis. (I won’t get into the details of what it is here, but later on I might post more on this. If you need a good definition, click the link and you’ll have a really nice, simplistic one that just about sums it up.) I’ve noticed that one of my biggest issues tends to be sodium lauryl sulphate, a very common chemical in shampoos, soaps, and even toothpaste. (Which according to some information explains my constant battle with canker soars.) That being said, with sodium lauryl sulphate in almost everything, it’s almost impossible to eradicate out of your household.  But, we did it with corn syrup, so why not with this!

First off, the daily shower soap we swapped to goat’s milk soap a long time ago. I  really love the Canus brad, especially since they disclose all information and are from Canada, which is essentially right next door.

border: 0pt none;For my shampooing, my first try on changing things was to switch to Dr. Bronner’s. We use the peppermint soap as an ant deterrent around the house. While it works wonders at that job, it’s a wonderful all purpose cleaner. I’ve been using the almond scented version specifically, but I’ve noticed that the oils weigh my hair down a bit. For some, they might not mind it, but I’ve been feeling a like claustrophobic in my own hair. I kept using the product, however, since it was lacking sodium lauryl sulphate and didn’t seem to bug my psoriasis at all.

However, I constantly keep my eyes out.

Yesterday, I happened to go to Reny’s in Farmington to check out their clearance sale. I wandered into the health and beauty area to thumb through the shampoos and conditioners as I do every trip. Needless to say, this is what I found:

These products not only smell delicious, but:

  • contain over 95% natural products
  • contain certified organic ingredients
  • contain natural plant extracts
  • sulfate and paraben free
  • phthalate free
  • contain NO propylene glycol
  • contain NO artificial colors

According to the website for the products, they retail for $6.99. I found these are Reny’s for $1.99.  I tried the product this morning, and I have to say that I love the way it left my hair feeling. We’ll see in a couple of days if it really fits the bill.

Here’s to natural, organic products!