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Ditch the Bug Zappers, Try This Instead

It’s summer, your garden is blooming, and you are anxious to host weekend outdoor parties and show off your beautiful patio and yard, but… you live in an area where mosquitoes are like vicious sharks, seemingly waiting in the air to attack. Perhaps you have tried those noisy bug zappers that annoyingly let you know every time they annihilate a flying pest (some of which are not bad pests, either).  Between the annoyance and guilt, it may be time to try something more natural to keep the unwanted guests from crashing your party. Here are a few great options.

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Becoming a Mindful Gardener Amidst a World in Chaos

When an envelope of chaos surrounds your life, it is important to know that your garden can be a place of refreshment, renewal, and hope. It can be a safe place where you can be still and become one with the natural world around you. This is a good thing. We often trip on our thoughts, on fear, and on the what if’s. In the garden, you can be still, content, and soak in the beauty that surrounds you. When you become a mindful gardener, you have arrived at a place that allows you to escape the chaos of the world and just be.

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Low on Money? 7 Ways to Make More Green with Green

When you think of side hustles, ways to make a little extra money, you may conjure up images of things like selling clothes you don’t wear, walking dogs, babysitting, or even baking and selling cookies. But, have you ever considered taking your love of plants, gardening, and homesteading (even urban homesteading) and using it to turn a quick profit?

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They Told You That it Was Impossible: 5 Ways You CAN be Self Sufficient in the City

Do you live in the city – perhaps a dense urban area surrounded by tall buildings, cars and people…lots of people? Have you tossed your dream of self-sufficiency out the window because of your geographic location? If so, I have great news for you. It is possible to be self-sufficient in the city; seriously, there are several steps that you can take to become more self-reliant – even if you live in the the heart of a concrete jungle.

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Tips for Homesteading on a Half-Acre

We tend to think of homesteading as living on a farm. Don’t assume that you need acres to live off the land or be more or even wholly self-sufficient. A half-acre can fit a garden of a decent size, a small orchard, a small greenhouse, a work shed, a chicken coop, and even a couple of beehives.

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Banish Ear Fungi and Ease Pain With ACV

Apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy made from fermented apple juice that has been used for thousands of years to alleviate many conditions and ailments. You’ve probably heard of apple cider vinegar for things like cleaning, soothing a sore throat, and lowering blood sugar, but did you know that it may help relieve an ear infection as well? Read on for our favorite ways to use ACV for ear infections and a few other helpful hints. 

Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses developing in the outer or middle ear. Though they are more common in children, adults can experience ear infections as well. Regardless of whether you or your child is suffering from an ear infection, it is vital to take action and help the body eliminate the virus. Here are a few signs you may have an ear infection:

  • Earache
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Hearing changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever

Before you put anything in your ear or in your child’s ear, you need to understand precisely what it is and make sure that it’s safe. Apple cider vinegar is a viable at-home natural remedy that, when used properly, could help alleviate pain and loosen blockages. Plus, ACV contains acetic acid, an antibacterial compound that can help kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses inside the ear. 

Keep in mind, if you suspect you have a middle ear infection, it is best to see a doctor and avoid self-treatment. Apple cider vinegar should only be used for outer ear infections, also known as swimmers’ ear.  

How to use:

  • In a small dish, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Be sure to use ACV with “the mother”
  • Use a clean syringe or dropper to place about 5-10 drops in your ear and cover the ear with a clean cloth.
  • Lay on your side to allow the drops to sit in the affected ear for about 1 minute and then transfer to the other side with the cloth under your ear so that the drops can come out.
  • Repeat as often as needed to alleviate a mild earache or outer ear infection. 

This remedy is best for those who are experiencing a repeat infection as they will usually be able to recognize the symptoms and treat it quickly. If it is a first-time infection, it could have progressed too far and may need to be treated with antibiotics. 

If you have a sore throat or a cold or flu along with an ear infection, try gargling with a mixture of equal parts ACV and warm water for about 30 seconds. This may help soothe your throat and could indirectly ease ear infection symptoms. Always brush your teeth after rinsing with ACV. 

Note:

Discontinue any at-home remedies and see a doctor immediately if symptoms do not cease within three days. See a doctor if ear discharge, fever, or loss of balance occurs along with an earache.  

Other benefits of ACV

Help you feel full

Drink ACV diluted with water to help staunch your appetite and reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods. This could also be beneficial in aiding weight loss efforts since you won’t be tempted to eat as much. 

Deodorize stinky things

Mix ACV and water in a spray bottle and use it on smelly areas in the home to help deodorize and freshen. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for an even better odor-busting power. Try a foot soak with ACV, water, and Epsom salts to rid your feet of odor-causing bacteria. 

Facial toner

To avoid burning your face, never use undiluted ACV on your skin. Instead, mix 2 or 3 parts water with one part ACV and apply to the face with a clean cotton pad to help clean pores and even skin tone. Use after cleansing face. This is particularly helpful for oily or combination skin. Follow with a moisturizer. 

Hair rinse

Use a 1 to 1 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water every few weeks to cleanse hair and gently strip away product buildup. Use on wet hair and continue with normal shampoo and conditioner routine.

Fruit and veggie wash 

Rinsing fruits and vegetables with ACV could help remove certain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli. It may also be more effective in eliminating harmful pesticides and herbicides compared with plain water. 

-Susan Patterson, Certified Health Coach, and Master Gardener

Good Poop, Bad Poop (What Works in Your Garden)

You may have heard that poop is good for your garden. If you want to grow big healthy plants and beautiful produce, you need poop! However, all poop is not the same – some types may actually undo all the hard work you’ve put into cultivating your garden. Before you go putting poop on your garden beds, make sure you know the difference between good poop and bad poop.

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7 Really Good Reasons You Should Grow Your Own Food

While growing and preserving food is still a widespread activity in many cultures around the world, it isn’t necessarily popular in America. Many people take food for granted, simply going to the grocery store without much thought as to where the food comes from. We just expect it to be there, right?

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The Ultimate Guide to Growing Organic

Leaping from traditional gardening methods to organic ones may seem daunting at best. However, there are many little tricks that you can employ without much effort to help you get started on your organic gardening journey. Here are just a few of the most important areas to focus on as you transition to organic growing.

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What You Need to Know About Buying Bulk Compost

The generous and consistent use of compost is what makes a yard and garden beautiful. It is nature’s superfood for huge blooms, beautiful shrubs, trees, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. When people ask me how I get my yard to look so beautiful and vibrant, I tell them that I have a secret weapon…compost. 

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Homesteading: How to Grow 100 Percent of Your Food

Many Americans believe that to feed a city, it takes miles and miles of machine-laid and chemically-grown crops. But in reality, with the right soil and a little space, you can grow enough food to feed your family in your backyard. A homestead garden is your ticket to becoming self-sufficient and less reliant on commercial grocery stores. In fact, there’s no better time than now to become self-reliant — especially with the pandemic still looming over our heads and climate change on the forefront. Here’s what you need to know to grow 100 percent of your food.    

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