Green 'n clean carpet follow-up

I meant to spend some time with a few rugs this past weekend, testing out the Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo. Between Fox officially crawling (and trying to crawl up the stairs) and prepping for a 30 day detox I didn't get to all of the rugs, but I did try out the goods.

The EFP shampoo is more concentrated than the Bissell (uses 1.5 oz to Bissell's recommended 2.5 oz). It also uses essential oils for fragrance rather than artificial fragrance, which meant I didn't end up with a migraine post-use. In fact, the EFP fragrance was pretty much undetectable after the rug dried, the Bissell lingered for the next 24 hours or so.

Did it clean as well? Absolutely. I cleaned this small rug from C's and my bedroom, one that sees the most traffic in that room. Though it's relatively new, it needed some attention. For several weeks M had a nighttime cough that I approached with Hyland's Cough Syrup (disappointingly, I realized it has Sodium Benzoate, so out it goes) and raw, local honey. There were spots of gunk across the carpet thanks to the combination of those 2 sticky substances plus nighttime doses.

A quick steam and the dirty water that cycled back into the tank was a murky medium brown. I still had some clean water and shampoo in the tank, so I used it up on an area of the main rug in the den...that very same rug we'd cleaned 2 weeks ago. The 3'x5' area of that rug cycled black water back into the tank. Total yuck to the nth degree.

The visible results: The sticky mess from the bedroom rug is gone. A few of the stains on the larger carpet are significantly less visible than they were after the Bissell round. 

The short of it: I'm glad I researched and decided to try this particular carpet cleaner! While I'm pretty sure nothing can return our carpet to it's new glory, I can definitely breathe easier having little hands and feet playing on it all the time.

Independent Suppliers: Fire Escape Farms

This is going to sound like a commercial, but I promise this is a little post about an online store that I keep visiting {weekly!} for a bit of window shopping .

Have you ever visited Fire Escape Farms' website? Geared toward the apartment gardener but is packed full of high-quality tried and true products for all kinds of gardeners, the shop is packed full of beautifully designed essentials. Hard working and easy on the eye, that's what we all need more of.

This, though...These pruners are what keep me going back.
The ARS 120S-8 is the cadillac of Pruners. Made of high chrome steel it is coated with hard-chrome to resist rust and sap. A professional grade pruner, it creates smooth clean cuts and wipes clean easily. The metal handle is coated with rubber for easy ergonomic handling and is the perfect size for most hands. 

In the past 6 years I've probably been through as many pairs of pruners. Rusty blades, dirt getting into the spring mechanism, and most recently a chunk of metal fell out of the blade of my Fiskars when I opened them to prune something. I think I pretty much deserve a Cadillac, don't I? Seems it's time to stop window shopping and go in and make that purchase!

A brief intro to our indoor composting station

In case you haven't noticed, we take our compost pretty seriously. There's a worm bin in the kitchen, and passive piles (sometimes hot...but to be honest I haven't had much time to keep turning them so they're passive for now) in the yard. The chickens do a lot of compost work by eating veggie scraps, but we don't give them spent coffee grounds, onions, garlic and a few other things; our worms get those.

The worm bin, though was too awkward for our new kitchen arrangement. In order to get into some of the cabinets the bin had to be moved, and worms don't particularly care to be bothered with that. They like to have little by way of change, so I'd been considering a vertical worm bin for some time. We'd kept them going for 3 years in the storage tote bin, I finally decided it was time to move them to something a little fancier: a Worm Factory. Lucky for me, I know a guy.

I got in touch with my friend (and fellow Master Composter) Stefan and ordered the Worm Factory and a bokashi bucket. {Because if you're going to have worms in your kitchen you might as well have fermenting waste as well, right?}

Bokawha? Bokashi is an anaerobic form of composting. You're basically fermenting the food scraps. I thought we should add that to our composting repertoire because you can add bones and dairy to the bokashi bin.

Adding meat to my diet way back when created a new challenge for our household food waste. Before, when there was meat in our house, it was only Charlie's meals and I wasn't a fan of touching/preparing the stuff, so everything was of the heat-and-serve variety that no longer resembled the formerly living creature it once was. No skin, no bones, no fat to cut off.

Now, though, the meat comes straight from the farmer; it looks like meat, there are bones, there is skin, there is fat. Usually trimmed fat and skin go to the furry kids, but bones pose a risk so they are sometimes used for broth preparation, but ultimately go to the landfill.

After little rearranging in the kitchen, the worms are in their new home and the bokashi has started a-brewing. I'll keep you filled in as things progress, but for now I love the fact that I can open the cabinets without shifting everything around. A bonus for the new set up? The two new bins take up less space than the old worm bin alone!

sentimental me

I'm feeling especially sentimental this holiday season, but haven't done much in the way of setting the mood around the house to be very Christmas-y. I have been on the look out for things that would convey the magic of the season to Mabel...and not by way of over-the-top piles of gift wrapped toys. One fine bit of magic comes from the pop-up book Follow the Star. Since M loves to find stars in the sky, I knew the silver stars would grab her attention and the modern graphics and intricate pop-ups would appeal to both C and me.

The message is religious (Christmas...duh) but not literally so, it's more a spiritual reflection. And you know what? M does love it! We read it twice yesterday and once this morning before work. It's finally beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!