Earth Day: 7 Ways to Reduce and Reuse You Didn’t Know About

earth-dayApril 22nd is Earth Day. We love where we live and we could all do a little bit more to honor Mother Earth. Here are 7 ways to reduce and reuse things around your home you didn’t know about and make your Mother Earth proud.

Gardening

1. Milk jugs are the gardener’s little helper. They have many uses, but for the tomato gardener, it is heaven sent as a DIY trench watering system. Poke a few holes in the bottom and sides, dig a small trench near the plants and bury the jug about half-way. Fill the jug with water and it will slowly release water into the soil to keep it moist.

Pallet-walkway

Image source: http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

2. How many times have you seen a discarded wooden pallet and thought “I know I could do something with that”? Well, a garden walkway is about the easiest thing you can do with a wooden pallet. It requires little more than pulling it apart and arranging them along a dirt path. It’s so easy you’ll be kicking yourself for not having thought of it yourself.

Cooking

3. Cereal or cracker box lining can be used anywhere you might use wax paper or parchment paper. Cutting the ends and along one side you have good sized sheet. In baking, you can use it to roll out ice box cookie dough or to line cake pans. It saves money, time and waste.

Tiered-server

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4. For the mismatched dishes you just can’t seem to get rid of, a clever way to make use of them is by making them into a tiered server. The project does require some tools and materials, but it will be worth it to see your plates in play again.

Crafting

5. Save your cans. They’re the crafter’s dream material. Soup cans, coffee cans, paints cans: save ALL your cans. From lamp shades to biscuit cutters, there isn’t much you can’t do with a can.

6. Got something to stuff? That leftover pill bottle cotton can fill a sock doll. All of that dryer lint you toss in the garbage? You can stuff a pillow with it. No need to fill a landfill when you need to fill a toy.

Every Day

Cell-phone-wall-mount

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7. Just because an old water bottle can’t hold water anymore doesn’t mean it can’t hold something. With clever cutouts it turns into a gadget you didn’t know you need – a wall mount for your cell phone while it charges. It’s a brilliant way to repurpose the used, but not used up bottle.

 

We use stuff every day, but that doesn’t mean we have to throw it away every day. Being a responsible human being is easy, it just takes a little bit of thought on how to be responsible. Happy Earth Day!

recycle-symbol

Gearing up for the Breast Cancer Walk: How to Prepare

walking-crowdMillions of people across the country are getting ready to lace up their sneakers to walk in support of breast cancer research and awareness. If you’re one of the millions gearing up for the Breast Cancer Walk, here are some ideas on how to prepare before you set out on your journey.

Before the Walk

Walking isn’t the most strenuous of exercises, but it’s still exercise and when you’re walking for miles, it takes training. The amount of time you spend on training depends on the distance your charity walk is. Generally, you’ll want to walk 30 minutes five days a week, increasing the walk time by five minutes each week. Use a 13-mile training schedule as a guide for your training. Walk rain or shine during your training because you never know what the weather will be on the day of the big walk.

Make sure you have shoes dedicated to walking. When you walk for exercise, you walk differently than you would doing errands or going to work and your shoes adapt to how you walk. This can reduce your risk of injury and blisters.

Stay Motivated

Walk with a training group for some of your walks. This can give you a chance to meet other people walking for your cause. Another way to stay motivated is by keeping a walking log or journal where you can track your progress.

Information

As walk day approaches, start gathering information about what you’ll need on the day of the race. Generally, organizers send you a walk day packet or send you information on where to pick up your packet. The packet can include:

  • Information on how to get to the start and when you should arrive
  • Your number
  • Safety pins for your number

tying-shoeWalk Day

Carry as little as possible. It takes a lot of energy to carry even small items. The longer you carry something, the heavier it feels and it uses energy you need to get across the finish line. Items you should carry:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Poncho or light rain jacket
  • Protein bars
  • First aid kit (small)

Wear moisture wicking clothes. Moisture wicking clothes draws moisture away from your body so your body can regulate its temperature based on the elements rather than moisture gathered on your body.

Drink before you get thirsty and eat before you get hungry. Eat about 100 calories each hour you’re walking. Staying hydrated and energized can keep you going and you’ll feel less exhausted toward the end.

Start slow. When the walk begins, the crowd can be big and hard to navigate. When the crowd thins out, start walking at a comfortable pace for you. Be aware and respectful of other walkers and volunteers. Walk only in designated areas.

After the Walk

Now that you’ve completed the big Breast Cancer Walk, you’ve got a great base for an exercise regimen. Keep it up and start thinking about your next charity walk. Do good things for a good cause and do good things for yourself.

walking-foot

Tax Day Countdown: Tax Deductions You Didn’t Know About

TAx-form-with-cashThe countdown to tax day is on. If you haven’t already filed your taxes, consider yourself lucky. Here are 7 tax deductions you didn’t know about.

1. Generosity If you loaned money to a friend or family member and they didn’t pay you back, don’t sweat it. Unpaid personal loans are tax deductible. Uncle Sam is looking out for you if you were being a little too generous this year. This also includes unpaid child support. You can read more about it in Publication 535, Business Expenses and Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses on the IRS website.

2. Home Office Getting tax relief for your home office is a little bit easier this year. The IRS simplified the option for you this year and they’ll you deduct $5 per square foot of your home office up to 300 square feet.

Tax-file3. Sales Tax If your income tax was low this year, you may want to look into how much sales tax you paid. You can claim your sales tax rather than your income tax. If you spent a lot of money, it may be worth going through your receipts and adding it all up. In addition to sales tax, if you didn’t get a state income refund last year, you can deduct it from your taxes this year.

4. Seasoned Students Even if you finished college 20 years ago, you can still get tax relief for returning to school. You can get up to a $4,000 deduction in your income tax for post-secondary education to improve your skills or add to them.

5. Early Withdrawal Penalties When you have money tied up in a time deposit account (like a certificate of deposit) and you make early an withdrawal, money that you give up in interest is tax deductible. Refer to page 18 in the IRS Publication 550 for more information.

6. Made in the USA Uncle Sam wants to keep business in the family. If you make goods here in the United States, you get up to a 9% deduction of your adjusted gross income. However, if your business involves oil, this amount is significantly reduced. You can learn more about this in the instructions for IRS Form 8903.

Tax-form7. Alimony If you are contributing income to a former spouse in the form of alimony, this money is tax deductible. This money has to be part of the divorce settlement — and other details of the divorce agreement, like child support, are not tax deductible. More can be found on the IRS website on Tax Topic 452.

Tax time is taxing, but if you do your homework, it doesn’t have to be as damaging to your wallet as you expect it to.

 

Taking Care of Your Pet: 6 Questions You Should Ask When You’re looking for a Vet

Vet-with-dogPets are part of the family and we want to take care of them the best we can. So when they get sick, where do we turn? Here are 6 questions you should ask when you’re looking for a vet.

What is the range of services the vet provides? 

Like a primary care doctor, you want your vet to have a wide range of services. Preventive, diagnosis and treatment, dentistry and surgery are all basic services. Your pet’s breed and age may require care outside of a vet’s scope of ability. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge of your pet’s needs beyond common illnesses so you can match your pet with the right vet.

Are they accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association?

This is different than being a member — while membership means meeting standard veterinary practices, accreditation goes a step further with a rigorous evaluation process to provide high quality pet care. You want to make sure your vet is working to give your pet the best care possible – the AAHA has a system of checks and balances in place to make sure your vet knows what he or she is doing.

girl-with-kittensHow quickly can the vet see pets in emergency situations?

Pets can’t tell us what’s wrong, if there’s no purr or bark, for all we know they could be bleeding internally at worst  — or have a mild belly ache at best. We’re over protective and a good vet will know when it’s appropriate to make room in the schedule for your pet to give it the best possible care.

Does the operation offer after hours care?

We take for granted that emergency rooms for people are available at any time in every corner of our communities — but it’s not the quite same for pets. Emergencies happen at all hours, and when they do you should know if you can take your furry friend to the vet you chose or if you’ll have to drive ten miles to the pet ER at 2am on a Tuesday. It’s good to know what the situation is and if it will work for you.

How are overnight and weekend patients monitored?

It’s alarming to have a sick pet and the stress doubles if you have to leave your pet at the vet’s overnight. It’s important to be comfortable leaving Snowball, so make sure if your pet requires an overnight stay, you’re OK with how the doctors and technicians monitor patients for extended stays. If the office is closed on Sunday with someone coming in to check on the patients once, will you be OK with that? It’s something to consider to give you peace of mind when the time comes.

What is the position on end of life care?boy-with-dog

We want our pets to live as long and happy lives as possible. Pet owners have different views on appropriately prolonging a pet’s life. You should choose a doctor that shares your view. The end of a pet’s life is painful enough, it shouldn’t be aggravated by a dispute with your doctor.

Like any business, there are good vets and bad vets. If you do your research and ask the right questions, your pet will have a happy and healthy trip to the doctor.

 

 

Edible Gardens: 5 Plots to go from the Garden to the Table

vegetable-garden

Image credit: irrigationdirect.com

Winter is finally starting to wane and it’s time to think about what we want in your garden. A fun way to do that is to plan your garden around what you want to eat. It’s a simple idea and you’ll know exactly what to do with your vegetables once they’re harvested. Here are five edible gardens with vegetables that grow well together and taste great together, too.

American Garden:

What goes better with your barbecued chicken and ribs than creamy cole slaw? Not only is that grill in the backyard but so are the main ingredients for your slaw. All you need from the garden are cabbage, carrots and onions. The rest you can pick up from the store.

FYI:

  • Carrots and Cabbage are both biennial plants and fall crops can be easily stored during colder months.
  • Onions are harvested in late summer and can also be stored during winter months.
Pico-de-gallo

Image credit: yankeemagazine.com

Mexican Garden:

Chips and salsa are a great no-cook snack that you can eat throughout the summer. Salsa is best when it’s made fresh, but imagine if the ingredients — tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and cilantro — were picked from out your back door – it can’t get more delicious or easier than that. The recipe for salsa or pico de gallo is straightforward and if you add a mashed avocado and a couple of squeezes of lemon to the mix, you’ve got guacamole.

FYI:

  • Harvest cilantro weekly to keep the leaves growing and fresh.
  • Both tomatoes and jalapenos should be staked.
  • Tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro all work well as potted plants.

Italian Garden:

One of the best possible ways to taste fresh basil is in a caprese salad. It’s simple and tomatoes and basil love to grow together; they’re also the base for a margherita pizza. The recipe is easy (there’s no shame in using a store-bought crust!)  and if you have the other ingredients (onion, garlic, parsley and oregano) on hand or in the garden, you’ll be serving up Italian food all summer long.

FYI:

  • Basil is an annual and grows best in warm weather and should be harvested if temperatures are expected to dip below 40°F.
  • Tomato plants can handle temperatures as low as 30°F, but a frost could kill a tomato plant, so keep an eye on the forecast.

French Garden:

ratatouille

Image credit: makebetterfood.com

If you’re feeling a little French, you don’t have to go to Paris to get fresh ratatouille. Though there is debate on how to make authentic ratatouille, it can certainly be made on the stove top so you don’t heat up the entire kitchen during hot summer months.

FYI:

  • Zucchini (or squash), eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers all grow very well in hot weather.
  • Stagger your seedling start dates – start eggplant seedlings six weeks before your last frost date and give zucchini just a two week head start – will help you synchronize your harvest times and you can get your first summer dinner planned.

Spanish Garden:

For a cool soup in the summer, a cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, onions will deliver a good gazpacho. It requires little more than fresh vegetables and a good blender. And, if you’re feeling dangerous, you can steal a jalapeno from your pico de gallo garden to spice up your soup.

vegetable-gardens

Image credit: sharpercut.com

FYI:

  • Cucumbers should be picked every other day or so. Cucumbers left on the vine too long will make it harder for the plant to produce more cucumbers.
  • Both cucumbers and peppers love the sun and are thirsty  – as are onions – but water moderately and cover the soil around the plants with mulch to keep the moisture in.

Quick tip: Remember that most plants will probably need to be started indoors if you’re starting with a seed  and they shouldn’t be planted in the ground until after the last frost.

I have more ideas to share at LTD Commodities. Click here to find out more about me and the garden products I can’t do without.

Tips for Shopping for a Hot Water Heater

Hot-water-heaterHot water heaters don’t last forever, but they do last a long time; over the lifetime of a water heater technology changes. So what are the options now? Here are some tips for shopping for a hot water heater.

 

Easy and Quick vs The Best Longer Term Decision

If you are considering the purchase of a new water heater, odds are there has been a problem with your old one.

With that thought in mind, let’s be upfront. It will be cheaper and easier to replace your water heater with a similar model to what you previously had. At least for today. The reasons are easy to understand. You currently have the wiring, ventilation and plumbing in place to just change it out. Find a similarly sized water heater and you can replace it relatively cheaply and quickly. But is it your best long term move?

Probably not.

Your Options

You can choose a traditional storage tank gas water heater that heats water pretty quickly, but it may not be energy efficient. It also will not likely last as long as a solar water heater. If you currently have a gas water, it is easy to replace, but wouldn’t you rather improve than just replace?

A traditional storage tank electric heater takes longer to heat water, and other than better insulation these days, they are pretty much the same technology that has been used for years.

That leads us to tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters were touted as being a way in which users could save energy. The think was they would only use the energy absolutely needed to heat the water they needed right now. The problem is, it takes more energy overall to keep heating the same amount of water as your traditional tank heaters. If you are going tankless throughout your whole house, it will not only be energy inefficient, but if you have a large family it may have trouble keeping up.

In moderate climates, a heat-pump water heater could be a viable option. A heat pump water heater uses the heat in the air to directly heat your water. It does this rather than converting it into heat through a heating element. These types of water heaters are expensive to buy and install, but can significantly save you long term on your water heating costs.

Solar-water-heaterWhen it comes to solar powered water heaters, other than an initially higher cost of purchase and installation, there are few downsides. You will, after all, be using the free energy of the sun to heat your water, which can account for upwards of 15% of your total energy bill. When it comes to solar water heater systems, you have several choices. Your decision may be based on usage and where you live. The U.S. Department of Energy has an easy to read and understand explanation and graphics that detail your choices.

You should take into consideration that many custom built homes today employ the use of solar water heating systems. That is a pretty valuable indicator of the trends that lie ahead.

Ken Uhrich likes energy efficient houses. In fact he lives in one. You can contact him at the Custom Home Group website

Administrative Professionals’ Day Gift Ideas

Administrative-Professional

Photo credit: http://officesupplygeek.com/

Start planning now — Administrative Professionals Day is less than a month away! It’s the day we say thank you for all the hard work and support from our Administrative Professionals with Unique Gift Ideas. Here are a few ideas to show your appreciation.

Bath-fizzies-balls

Photo credit: http://www.brit.co/

The Gift of Relaxation

Show some consideration with homemade bath fizzies.  They’re easy to make, but your administrative professional will be grateful that you put so much thought into a feel-good gift.

What you need:

  • 2 tsp unsweetened powdered lemonade
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 box baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • 4 tsp baby oil

What you do:

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine the baby oil with 4-6 drops of food coloring in a separate bowl. Slowly add the oil to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well-combined. Form balls about 1” in diameter or press portions into a baking mold to make fun shapes.  Let stand on wax or parchment paper for at least one day. Throw those in a bathtub of water and you’ll have an effervescent evening.

Quilted-on-the-go-pursesGift of Go

For the administrative professional who doesn’t stop even off the clock, the Quilted On-the-Go Purse will keep her out and about when the work day is over. It’s a fashion accessory that’s fully functional with multiple interior pockets and a zipper to close it up. The adjustable strap is long enough for cross-body wear so she can wear it with confidence on the bus, train or car.

Gift of Guard

For the reader, you may not know what your administrative professional wants to read, but you know how to protect what it’s being read it on. You can’t go wrong with a monogram case for an electronic reader. On the outside, you can choose a letter for the monogram and on the inside, there’s a notepad with a slot to hold a pen. It all stays secure with a magnetic closure to keep it safe in a purse, backpack or briefcase.

 

Gift of FlavorHomemade-Vanilla

If your administrative professional bakes, a really nice gift is homemade vanilla extract. The only real work involved is figuring out what type of vanilla bean to use and letting it sit – but to a baker, having homemade vanilla is something special.

What you need:

  • 5- 7 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka, rum or brandy
  • Cute 10oz gift bottle.

What you do:

With a knife, split the vanilla beans in half.

Slip the beans into the bottle and pour the alcohol over the beans. Close the bottle. Let it steep for 8 weeks and shake it once in a while. Add a gift tag that says, “Do Not Open Until …” and write in the date. Homemade vanilla extract is adorable and useful – and it’s better than store-bought vanilla extract.

Glass-watering-stakesGift of Green

 For the indoor gardener, you may not know what’s being planted, but you can help with the watering with glass watering stakes.  Fill these clever glass figurines with water, place them in the planter and the water drips evenly into the soil for maintenance-free gardening.  It adds beauty and removes hassle.

 

Do It Yourself Kitchens: How to Install Your Own Granite Countertop

Granite-countertop

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/granite-charlotte

 

Granite countertops are a luxurious and functional addition to any kitchen or bath. In the past, installing granite was a job for the pros, with custom fabrication and installation costs running to thousands of dollars. Now, however, several companies offer do it yourself granite countertop kits that you can install yourself, achieving professional results at a fraction of the cost. This step-by-step installation guide will help you get expert results with your granite countertops.

Measure and Order Your Countertops

Before you start, make sure your cabinets are level, and securely anchored to the floor and walls. If your walls aren’t square, you’ll need to make allowances in your measurements. Use craft paper to make an exact template of your countertops, including lines for the sink and any other custom cutouts you need. Be sure to include a one to one and a half-inch overhang for the edges facing the cabinets. Select your granite color, and place your order based on your template.

Prepare Your Cabinets for the Granite

You’ll need to install a ¾ inch sheet of plywood on your cabinet tops to support the weight of the granite. Cut the plywood so that it lies even with the edge of the cabinet face; you do not want any overhang. Make sure wood is square and level. Screw the plywood in place using pilot holes to prevent cracking the wood.

Working with the Granite Slabs

Find a safe place to store the granite slabs upright while you work, and find a partner to help—granite is very heavy and breakable. Carefully set the granite in place to make sure the pieces fit properly. Trace the sink hole and any other custom cuts onto the plywood sub-counter. Remove the granite, and use a drill to create a pilot hole in the marked sink cutout. Using a jigsaw, cut out from the pilot hole to create a hole for the sink. Drop in and install the sink.

Replace the Granite and Prepare to Glue

Place the granite slabs on the counter, and press any seams tightly together. Fine-tune the leveling, since all the seams must be absolutely level before gluing. Use 1-1/2 inch screws beneath the plywood to make minute adjustments to the height of the granite, and measure continuously until the seams are smooth and level.

Glue the Granite in Place

Have your helpers lift the granite up, and apply silicone around the edges of the plywood using one-inch dollops every six to 12 inches around the perimeter. Lay a bead of caulk around the outer edge of the sink, and another bead on top of the sink to seal the granite side. Lower the granite slabs into place and make sure they are level and the seams are tightly matched.

Glue the Seams

Tape around either side of the seams with blue painter’s tape. Choose at least three colors to match the granite, and mix a little of each into separate dollops of resin. Mix with a putty knife, continually checking the resin color against the granite. When you have three satisfactory shades, add hardener to a mixture of three percent hardener and 97 percent resin. Using your putty knife, work quickly to dab and smooth the resin into the seams; you will only have about five minutes before the resin starts to harden. Start with the medium-hued shade, and then add dabs of the lighter color, using the darkest color last until you have a natural-looking match.

Finishing Touches

Immediately remove the tape so it doesn’t dry into the resin. After about an hour, smooth out the seams using a seam stone. Rub the stone in small circles using firm, steady pressure until the seams are sleek and smooth. Wipe the countertops down with warm soapy water to remove any grit. Protect your investment with a stone care system like Rock Doctor.

Use only granite-friendly cleaning products, and don’t expose your countertops to extreme temperatures. Granite countertops are a beautiful, durable way to update your home.

 

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

It’s officially spring! We’re excited about our new products and though it’s not warm in every part of the country, we have warm thoughts looking at the catalog. Here are the items we adore this week.

Swinging-Chair-hammock

Enjoy a break from your hectic life and relax in our Swinging Chair Hammock. Hang it from a tree or on a stand (not included). Made of cotton canvas, it’s held up by ropes on a wood frame. Features a foam-cushioned seat and back for extra comfort.

take-it-anywhere-outdoor-table

From the backyard to the beach, the Take It Anywhere Outdoor Table lets you kick back in style. Steel table keeps cocktails, sodas, snacks, BBQ servings and more nearby as you relax on a lawn chair, beach lounger or other outdoor furniture. Just stake it firmly in the ground or sand and you’re ready to enjoy your food or beverage. You can also use it as a spot for sunglasses, tanning lotion, books and more. Top handle makes it easy to transport and to pull out when you leave.

mini-taster-glasses

You’ll be glad you have these 12-Pc. Mini Taster Glass Server Sets when it comes time for your next party. Each set includes 6 pieces of glass serveware, 6 pieces of 18/0 stainless steel silverware and a recipe card. Bowl & Spoon Set is perfect for desserts, fruit cups, quiches and more. Recipe included for Eggplant and Garlic Baba Ghanoush. Bowls, Plate & Fork Set can be used for snacks, hors d’oeuvres and more. Recipe included for Creamy Dill Cucumber Toasties. Plates, Shot & Spoon Set and Tini & Spoon Set are both great for desserts, drinks and more.

babble-ball

Babble Ball Pet Toy is an interactive ball that talks or makes realistic animal sounds when your pup plays with it. Motion-activated toy is so sensitive, it can be triggered by your dog breathing on it or just by the vibration of your dog walking past it. When play is finished, it turns off automatically and waits to be touched again. Animal Babble Ball sounds include pig, cow, cat and more. Talking Babble Ball includes funny wisecracks like, “Hey, what are you doing?”,”Hot diggity dog!”, “I’m gonna get you!” and more.

Solar-Animal-Repeller

Solar Animal Repeller is the humane way to stop pests from damaging your yard, garden or property. It eliminates the need for cruel traps and poisons, plus it’s easy to install. Just stake it in the ground and it charges in sunlight to activate a built-in infrared motion detector. When pests come within its 20-foot detection range, it triggers powerful, ultrasonic waves that turn animals away. It only activates when motion is detected, so it can run around the clock when charged. Stake it in your lawn, near your garbage cans or near any spot where animals cause destruction.

Signs Your Lawn is Toxic

You might not think of something as benign as your lawn in terms of being toxic or not, but the truth is that it can very well be the case. A lawn can be considered toxic for a number of reasons, but the results are always detrimental. Here are signs your lawn is toxic and what to do if it is.

bermuda grass

Sleepy Grass One reason your lawn could be toxic is due to a type of vegetation known as sleepy grass. It’s found throughout the Midwest and in southern states like Texas and New Mexico as well as Hawaii. Sleepy grass prefers to grow in dry soil.

While it doesn’t look problematic, sleepy grass has a fungus in it which contains ergoline compounds. Lysergic acid amide is a good example of this. Scientists believe it is this fungus that causes the sedative effects in any mammals that ingest it. As the name suggests, they literally fall asleep.

Bermuda Grass Bermuda grass is another example of a type of grass you want nowhere near your lawn, although it looks plain enough. The texture of Bermuda grass is indistinguishable from other common varieties. It has a grayish green color and a short build.

The plant isn’t actually from Bermuda. It’s an invasive species there and has caused all kinds of problems. Because it’s believed the grass traveled from Bermuda to America, it was given the name of the island.

This grass likes warmer environments, meaning it’s quite at home down south. It grows quickly and it’s extremely tough. Bermuda grass is great for sports fields because it can take damage and quickly recover. However, it’s also believed that Bermuda grass is quite toxic and, if you don’t like the way it looks, you’ll have a hard time ridding yourself of it. This is a very common type of grass in the south and Florida — a lawn care program in Pinellas County is a must! West central Florida is right off of the gulf and the weather stays warm all year yet we have plenty of rainfall which allows this plant to grow very rapidly.

Organochlorines Unfortunately, sometimes you’re to blame for your yard being toxic. You add certain substances to your yard with the best of intentions, but these chemicals end up being the last thing they need. In the end, your yard becomes toxic.

Organochlorines are a good example. These chemicals include toxic compounds like aldrin, DDT, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, PCBs, heptachlor and dieldrin.

These chemicals can have positive effects in terms of lawn care on a short term scale. However, over the long term, their presence can be destructive to all forms of life. If you have pets that enjoy your lawn, they’ll be especially at risk. Even you and your family can suffer the consequences of these chemicals. Your symptoms could include nausea, anemia, lung damage, convulsions, central nervous system damage, hypertension, and even cancer.

Solutions Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do. First, learn to recognize the aforementioned toxic grass. The first step is knowing if you have it. Keep in mind, depending on how much of a lawn you have on your property, you may not notice either type as an invasive species.

So one way to deal with it is simply to dig it out and remove it altogether, replacing it with a healthier, more natural form of grass. But this invasive method is very expensive. Instead, try using an all natural product on it that can kill it off. You can also use all natural methods like mowing and irrigation to dry out the toxic grass and only the toxic grass, leaving everything else just fine.

When it comes to toxic chemicals that could be in your lawn, your one and only solution is to switch over to a non-toxic alternative. There are many ways to handle your lawn without using harmful chemicals. This includes conditioning it long before it can become an issue. Take the proper steps prior to your growing season and you’ll have a much better lawn to look forward to.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably a bit surprised by what can be lurking outside your front door. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to catch the problem before it becomes destructive or dangerous. Just look for the above signs and follow an organic regimen to rid yourself of the problem.

>Pete Kontakos is a certified wrestling coach and has experience in the retail industry and restaurant industry as a General and District manager.