• Did you Know?
    Styrofoam never decomposes in a landfill.
    Here's more information:
    According to  a Penn State University study, decomposing times are:
    Milk Carton- 5 years
    Plastic Bag- 10-20 Years
    Plastic Container- 50-80 Years
    Aluminum Can- 80 Years
    Tin Can- 100 Years
    Plastic Soda Bottle- 450 Years
    Glass Bottle-500 Years

     Great Link about Recycling!

     To help you along the path to recycling, this link is a very useful guide with over 25 sites to explore. We hope that it helps you become a thoughtful consumer. Please feel free to pass along this information along to others, and we can all help save the environment!

     DIY products are great!

    DIY Cleaning Supplies 
    Here are two links for information about making your own natural cleaning products: 
     Here are some natural cleaning products you can make at home: 
    Diluted White Vinegar

    Mildly acidic white vinegar dissolves dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, yet it's gentle enough to use in solution to clean hardwood flooring. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer, absorbing odors instead of covering them up. (And no, your bathroom won't smell like a salad. Any acid aroma disappears when dry.) With no coloring agents, white vinegar won't stain grout on tiled surfaces. Because it cuts detergent residue, white vinegar also makes a great fabric softener substitute for families with sensitive skin. In the kitchen, use vinegar-and-water spray to clean countertops, lightly soiled range surfaces and backsplash areas. In the bathroom, spray countertops, floors and exterior surfaces of the toilet. For really tough bathroom surfaces such as shower walls, pump up the cleaning power by heating the solution in the microwave until barely hot. Spray shower walls generously with the warmed solution, allow to stand for 10–15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.


    Undiluted White Vinegar

    Used straight from the jug, undiluted white vinegar makes quick work of tougher cleaning problems involving hard water deposits or soap scum. Use it to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. Before you begin, dump a bucket of water into the toilet to force water out of the bowl and allow access to the sides. Pour undiluted white vinegar around the bowl and scrub with a toilet brush to remove stains and odor. Use a pumice stone to remove any remaining hard water rings.

    Clean showerheads that have been clogged with mineral deposits with undiluted white vinegar. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar in a plastic food storage bag, and secure the bag over the showerhead with a rubber band. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, then rinse, and buff the fixture. White vinegar softens clothes and cuts detergent residue. For family members with sensitive skin, add 1 cup to the laundry rinse cycle instead of commercial fabric softener.

    For general cleaning purposes, you can substitute lemon juice for white vinegar. Use the outer rind to polish porcelain surfaces and release fragrant lemon oil. If you have a garbage disposal unit, grind the rind in it while running cool water down the drain. The oils in the rind clean the disposal unit and sharpen the blades.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda's mild abrasive action and natural deodorizing properties make it a powerful replacement for harsh commercial scouring powders. Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge to tackle grimy bathtub rings, scour vanity units or remove food deposits from the kitchen sink.

    For tougher grime, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply to the tub or sink, and allow to stand for 10–20 minutes until the deposits have softened and can be removed.

    Keep bathroom drains running freely and smelling sweet by pouring 1/2 to 3/4 cup baking soda into the drain, and dribbling just enough hot water to wash the solution down. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, and then flush thoroughly with hot water (do not use on blocked drains).

    Rubbing Alcohol

    Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol provides the base for an evaporating cleaner to rival commercial window and glass cleaning solutions. Use it on windows, mirrors, chrome fixtures and for a shiny finish on hard-surface ceramic tiles.


    An alkaline solution, clear ammonia creates stronger window and all-purpose cleaning recipes than acidic vinegar. Choose a nonsudsing type: Suds may look as if they're working, but they're tough to rinse and remove.

    Green Cleaners

    Homemade cleaning products offer many advantages to cost-conscious households. Using on-hand ingredients can be far less expensive than buying commercial cleaners, won't generate discarded product packaging, and the household avoids exposure to harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients. Try these cleaning recipes as a starting point, increasing or decreasing their strength as your household's cleaning needs require.

    Homemade Spray Cleaner
    Try this recipe to harness the cleaning power of white vinegar. Mix in a spray bottle:
    1 cup white vinegar
    1 cup water

    Homemade Glass Cleaner

    Try this recipe to harness the cleaning power of rubbing alcohol. Mix in a spray bottle:
    1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon white vinegar

    Try the following formulations for spring cleaning or tough chores.

    Strong Glass Cleaner
    Mix in a spray bottle:
    1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon clear, nonsudsing ammonia

    Strong All-Purpose Cleaner

    Mix in a spray bottle:
    1 tablespoon clear, nonsudsing ammonia
    1 tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid
    2 cups water

    Houseworks © 2006, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
    Text copyright © 2006, 2010 Cynthia Townley Ewer

    Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! 

    Compost is natural mulch and fertilizer that forms from the recycling of organic wastes from your kitchen and yard. 

    Be a Wise Shopper!
    Avoid excessive packaging.
    Some examples to avoid are: 
    • individually wrapped prunes that are then packaged in a plastic container
    • plastic wrapped bananas (the natural biodegradable package is not enough?)
    • plastic wrapped corn-on-the-cob
    • individually wrapped jelly beans
    • shrink-wrapped potatoes and cucumbers

    White-nose Syndrome Found in Michigan

    Today the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that the DNR survey team has discovered the presence of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans and White-nose Syndrome in Michigan. Officials have confirmed the diagnosis in Little brown bats sampled at sites in Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac Counties. 

    White-nose Syndrome has been spreading west since it was first documented in New York in 2006. Since that time, more than 5.7 million bats have been killed by this disease. Michigan now joins 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces that have identified White-nose Syndrome in their area. 

    Those at the Organization for Bat Conservation are devastated to learn that White-nose Syndrome has now reached our state. They encourage everyone to do what they can to support our bat population as bats are an integral part of our ecosystem. 

    Learn more about White-nose Syndrome and share the information with others. Visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org for a complete look at the disease and discover how officials are responding to this threat. 

    You can also directly care for bats in your backyard by providing summer roosting sites such as bat houses and dead trees and planting organic gardens to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides.  Learn more about bat houses at www.batconservation.org.