The Birds and the Bees

As you begin to open your windows this spring you will enjoy the spirited song of the birds again. You will hear the tree frogs and the crickets making their magical sounds. Do you relish in the vibrant colours as the blossoms on the trees emerge and your gardens begin to flourish with the promise of summer splendour?

Do you know that the flowers and the vegetables exist from the pollination of the bees and other insects that carry the pollen from flower to flower? Did you know that birds eat many of those insects? Well here’s the scoop – if you are using chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and some types of fertilizers on your lawn and in your gardens you will hear less birds each spring, and there will be fewer flowers as well.

The poison contained in these products do not only kill the weeds, but all of the living beings that bring us flowers, vegetables and nature sounds. When the birds consume the infected insects, they get sick and die.

In this week’s article I would like to discuss the use of chemicals in your homes and yard. The use of chemicals affects your wellness, the wellness of your children and animal companions, as well as, all living beings that exist around you.

They all have equal value and deserve the same respect. Yes, I am on my soapbox this week but I am VERY concerned every spring when I see the cars loaded up with bags and bottles of toxins and I see the lawn companies begin spraying.

We need to be aware and help spread this knowledge to others.

We are bombarded with toxins from all directions in our daily lives, and this is one area we can control if we take some time to think when we shop for products for our homes and our yards. When we spray our lawns with pesticide for example, our dogs and cats carry it in. Our children play in it. Now it is in the carpets and perhaps in our beds if they nap there.

Children play on the carpets and ingest it. Animals lick their paws. Birds and insects are affected as they ingest it and are covered in it. I saw a gorgeous golden retriever napping on my neighbour’s lawn one summer… his back to the skull and crossbones sign (from the pesticide company) behind him. I found out months later the dog was dying of cancer, no wonder.

I recall bending over to inhale the aroma of a gorgeous rose in my uncle’s garden in California years ago, only to find that it had no fragrance at all. I called him over and asked him why. He told me that they don’t like bugs so they have created hybrids with no fragrance.

I was in a state of shock when I heard that. Controlling nature in this unnatural way will only have terrible long term repercussions along the entire food chain, including each one of us. I cannot stress enough how we need to refrain 100% from using these toxic compounds that have been proven over and over again to be permanently damaging our earth.

Please take care in any product you purchase. If the label says it is safe for the environment AND kills weeds then it is a dangerous poison, no matter what the label states.

What are the options for indoor healthy cleaning supplies and safe outdoor products?

Outdoors: first of all, who really cares if the lawn is weed free. Grass is an unnatural phenomenon anyway… dig some of it up and plant some vegetables, or get some chickens for fresh eggs. Pick the dandelions and add them to your salad (if they have not been poisoned of course). Dandelions are there in the spring to help us detoxify our liver after a long winter. Every so-called weed is there for a reason.

I have read that most fertilizers are not toxic unless they are eaten right from the bag, since they normally contain primarily nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. If animals are eating fertilized grass it can upset their stomachs. Weed killers and herbicides are dangerous and poisonous. I pull out invasive weeds manually and plant loads of grass seed where needed.

A thick lawn will naturally choke out the weeds. Cutting the grass too short can allow weeds seeds to creep in and germinate in-between the blades of grass; so raise the blade on your lawn mower. Taller grass will require less watering over the hot summer months as well.

Insecticides are bad news and can pose a real threat to our health. They are not properly labelled and the companies are not required to do so. Using them can cause serious damage to the nervous system of anything alive (us, our children, our animals, the birds etc), possibly causing paralysis and muscle weakness. Go to your health food stores or the health section and look for organic natural products that are safe for you and the environment. Go online and do some research before you buy products that could cause harm to us all.

Indoors: harmful chemicals can create indoor pollution. The combination of certain products can be even more toxic. Here are a few ideas and way to use natural products:

  • Borax: Combining equal amounts of white vinegar and borax will banish mold and mildew from hard surfaces. This natural mineral can also clean your toilet. Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few hours before scrubbing to eliminate stains and odor. 1 cup with your laundry can help eliminate mildew from towels in the humid summer months.
  • Distilled White Vinegar: It cuts grease, eats away lime deposits and destroys odors. Because of its neutralizing properties, white vinegar is also good for washing windows, sanitizing kitchen counters and shining bathroom fixtures. Simply dilute 1 part vinegar in 4 parts water. A natural antibacterial because of its high acid content, vinegar is an effective alternative to caustic cleaners on toilets and floors.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Typically found in the medicine cabinet, this disinfectant can also be used as an effective bleach alternative in the laundry room. Because it’s also a powerful oxidizing agent, it works especially well on food, soil, plant, blood and other organic stains. Just make sure to spot test in a discreet area because, like bleach, hydrogen peroxide may lighten fabrics. For each average-size load of whites, add 8 ounces of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide after you have filled the washer with hot water.
  • Baking Soda: A truly multitasking cleaner, baking soda is a perfect substitute for cleaning powders that scour sinks and tubs without scratching. It’s also great for wiping down and deodorizing the fridge. Combined with an equal amount of vinegar, baking soda can freshen drains and prevent them from clogging. Sprinkle some on your carpets before vacuuming for a natural deodorizer.
  • Lemons: Lemon’s citric acid content cuts stubborn grease and makes your home smell fresh. Lemon juice is also a natural bleach, especially when combined with the sun. Freshen cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. This is especially effective for fish odors. Undiluted lemon juice can also be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits.

And check out David Suzuki’s website for more great tips.

It all comes down to what is most important… a perfectly manicured weedless green lawn or the health of our planet and all living beings. Let’s make the right decision this spring. All of the future generations will thank us for our stewardship.

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Cheryl Hiebert: Wishing you an abundant spring filled with much love. As always – I am here to support you in this life journey and always love your feedback. I hope to see you soon!  //