Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good Eatin'!!!

New article available! Click the link above...I'll also be guestblogging for a while. Check out my first post, Confessions of a Dolt. Should be posted by Tuesday the 28th.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Email Troubles On the Mend

Our webhosting service -- thinkhost -- has assured me they have identified the 'glitch' that has been affecting our email capabilities. It's something related to SQL on their end, nothing to do with our website or computers. They are working on a repair and should have the situation remedied ASAP. Thank you to those of you who submitted the error messages you received; your cooperation helped tremendously in the troubleshooting process. Let's hope for no more issues!

Thank you for your patience.

Would love to know your responses...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dangerous Toys

Too many of China's products, from toys to toothpaste, have been recalled within the past year. Click the link above to read about the NINE MILLION toys sold under the Mattel name that contain lead paint. Yes, LEAD PAINT. Other Chinese-manufactured toys were recalled earlier this month, leading one disgraced toy executive to commit suicide.

The part that scares me is, most Americans have come to trust Mattel and Fisher Price brands and might erroneously deem the toys 'safe'. To truly be safe, check all boxes for "MADE IN CHINA" before you make your purchasing decision. Besides, there are plenty of affordable non-toxic toys (and some that are organic!) that will soothe your conscience. For a few suggestions, check out my article "Earth Mama Goes Shopping":

Safe shopping!

Hope to see you this evening!

We will be speaking to the Dallas Sierra Club tonight at 7pm. For directions and details, follow this link: Our presentation will address Texas' environmental issues that can be directly improved by landscaping responsibly. Did you know what you do in your landscape here in North Central Texas affects about HALF of all Texans?

Ongoing Email Woes

I've been in constant communication with our webhosting service about bouncing emails from us as well as to us. We have reset our filters to allow manual 'spam filtering', so your emails should reach us successfully. However, according to the error messages analyzed by our service, most of the bouncing is a result of your filter settings. Most companies offer a 'whitelist' capability -- check with your employer's network administrator for instructions. Usually it's just a simple step: you send us an email and we are automatically added to your whitelist, or list of acceptable contacts.

I understand the frustration with abundant spam mails, believe me. Because we are a business and have a high volume of messages, we are sometimes unfairly slapped with the spam label. Technology, especially email, can be a wonderful convenience.

If you have changed your email filter settings and your messages still are not being delivered to us, please give us a call. We will work together to resolve these little electronic issues. Many thanks!

We Will Be Closed

It's time for fall planning again! We will close at the end of the day Friday, August 24th, and will reopen on Wednesday, September 5th, at 8am. During our planning period we will finalize our fall schedule, presentations for the coming year, and tweak our website a bit. So many great things are happening, we can't wait to share them with you!

Try to stay cool and hydrated...

Friday, August 10, 2007

12 Steps to Shop Fair Trade

Follow the link above then click on the 'download now' to get your very own FREE copy of this 24-page booklet produced by Co-Op America. Feel free to share the link with others!

Music to My Eyes

Folsom and I had to suspend our morning walks for a couple of weeks during the most intense part of our move. Finally, everything is set up--just a few boxes left to unpack, framed pieces to hang. So this week, we started again working on trimming a few pounds off Folsom, and keeping me fit while my belly continues to grow.

The first day we set out in the afternoon--big mistake. About one mile in, Folsom starting cutting his eyes at me as if to say, "are you sure this is a good idea?" He was panting heavily. We turned around and headed home, stopping for a few moments to swim in the creek. He loved it: the cool current whooshed past him. I held tightly onto the leash but found myself looking around at the plants. Despite years of foot ruts (carved by humans, pets and wildife), native vegetation is beginning to return to restore the creek bank. Ironweed, Prairie Verbena, Indian Blanket and multiple species of grasses have been allowed to propagate. I was amazed to find vast swaths of Coralberry and evolving thickets of Eve's Necklace volunteering themselves in mostly sedimentary limestone mixed with a little blackland soil. Spring '08 will be magical along that creek. Mother Nature has finally been allowed to garden as she wishes.

Yesterday we took advantage of the relatively cooler morning temps. Fortunately, we completed our full 3-miler. I was delighted. We saw some nightshade plants and evening primroses. Folsom thinks all plants are for HIM to enjoy, in whatever manner he pleases. He tends to show his displeasure with annual bedding plants, like petunia, pansy and begonia -- I'll leave it up to your imagination how expresses himself.

This morning we left a little later in the morning. What a difference 30 minutes can make! It was H.O.T., but we survived the trek. I learned something new: the best music for this occasion is disco. Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" helped me pick up the pace as we rounded the last bend. Singing along to "Dancing Queen" took my mind off all the dripping sweat. And who knew Donna Summer could belt out "Hot Stuff" at the exact tempo at which I walk? I turned up the music and sang along. Folsom paid no attention to my off-key wailing. Construction workers along our route looked around for a sick cat--what else could make that horrific noise???

I didn't care, I needed to get through this walk and out of the heat ASAP. I glanced around for plants I hadn't seen previously. Nothing new, only 6-foot sunflowers trying to bend forward and away from the sun. Blistering heat -- strange, isn't it? I know, that's normal for this time of year. In a normal year, that is. Temps have been cooler and rainfall is much greater than normal; spring has persisted well into July. And suddenly, SUMMER. Protect yourselves by staying indoors as much as possible between 10am and 4pm. Stay hydrated and in shady areas.

Don't forget about your plants. Use fine-shredded hardwood mulch around the base of each plant (about 2-4 inches), and then deep-root water. This type of mulch will retain enough moisture to give your plants a drink, and will decompose readily to continue feeding the soil. Now *that's* organic!