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Monthly Archives: April 2014

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact sunnews@kitsapsun.com.

Happy Earth Day! Five Reasons to be Grateful Today

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Of course Sustainable Spring has to say HAPPY EARTH DAY!

I hope you’ll get out and enjoy the day and give, at the very least, a moment of appreciation to the mind bogglingly complex biosphere that our human family is a part of.

Whether it be during a service work project, a moment at work, or a walk in the woods, I hope you’ll be outside for at least a moment, regardless of whether it’s raining or sunny.

During your time outside, I hope you’ll take a deep breath and think about how we are each on a very short ride on a very incredible planet, in a very lucky time of general abundance – most of us have plenty of clean air, water and healthy food options. This is not the case for everyone on the planet, and it will not be the case for even more in the future, but for today we can be grateful for what we do have as a human family.

Five things Earth has that we can be grateful for today:

  1. Around 400 billion trees (from NPR)
  2. About 326 million trillion gallons of water, with thousands of trillions of accessible fresh water (from How Stuff Works)
  3. About 8.7 million species on the planet (ones with cells, or eukaryotes, from Discovery.com in 2011)
  4. Only about 7.2 billion people on the planet (this is expected to go up to 9.7 billion in 2050. From PewResearch.org)
  5. About 7000 national parks in the world (in 2011, according to the International Union of Conservation of Nature)

Things are changing fast, but today we can be grateful for the bounty we have, as well as the phenomenal forces that came together on this planet, in this universe, to allow you to read these words.

If you’re looking for some fun ways to get out and participate in Earth Day events on the Kitsap Peninsula, check out the calendar at Sustainable Bainbridge. If you don’t live on the Kitsap Peninsula, just about every community has Earth Day activities, so a quick internet search should turn up something.

Now get out, breathe some fresh air and say thank you!

xo,

Sustainable Spring

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Eating My Antihistamines

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Birds, bees, flowers and trees…oh how I love springtime! However, I’ve had years where I’ve cursed the coming of spring sunshine due to the allergies it brings.

This year I’m very happy to be allergy free so far. I’ve tried the approach of eating my antihistamines, and it seems to be working so far.

Building a strong immune system and eating certain foods with high concentrations of natural antihistamines can prevent and help treat allergy symptoms, rather than just mask them as allergy drugs do. Below is a list of things that can help prevent and alleviate the torture allergy season can bring on.

My favorite way to get a bunch of these allergy fighting foods into my body is with a smoothie every morning. My tasty anti-allergy smoothie recipe is at the bottom of this post. I also incorporate fresh, raw foods from the lists below into as many meals as possible throughout the day.

This winter and spring I’ve paid close attention to what I’m eating and have included some of the things listed below in my daily diet for many weeks. I’ve also cut down on foods that can cause inflammation, like dairy, sugar and wheat (though I have a really hard time with sugary snacks!)

I admit I still have my neti pot ready just in case my body decides to freak out and start oozing from my nose and eyes, but I’m holding onto faith that I’ll make it through the season sniffle free.

There are many options to try for natural allergy prevention and relief. It helps to get these built up in the body at least six weeks before allergy season, but they’re good for overall health so they may as well be eaten as often as possible, right?

Here are a few natural allergy fighters:

Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant that is an overall health superstar. You’ll get the highest concentration if you eat foods raw and fresh.

Some foods with Vitamin C: leafy greens (like chard, kale and watercress), bell peppers, brocolli, strawberries, citrus fruits (we can grow Meyer Lemons here!), apples, blueberries, parsely, and my new favorite – dandelion greens.

Omega-3 fatty acids (or EPA) have natural anti-inflammatory properties.Western medicine hasn’t found solid proof, but Omega 3’s are considered by some naturopaths to be another superstar for overall health.

Some foods with Omega 3’s: oily, cold water fish such as cod, herring, mackerel, salmon and sardines; flax seeds (can be found as oil, whole or ground), walnuts, almonds and avocados. (Get wild caught rather than farmed fish when possible).

Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid that is becoming an anti-allergy superstar.

Some foods with Quercetin: garlic, red wine, apples, onions, grapefruit, tea, green vegetables, Turmeric (a tasty spice), and beans.

A note on nasal cleansing: Last year I used my funky little ceramic Neti Pot, which saved me when I thought I was going to sneeze my way to oblivion. Yes, it feels weird at first, and no, you won’t want to do this in a public bathroom, but I swear it helps relieve the agony of allergies! Make sure to fully understand the sterile saline solution for this before using.

Incorporating as many foods from the lists above may help prevent and avoid allergies not just to springtime allergens, but to things like mold and dust. They’re also just good foods to give to our bodies – most of these foods contain numerous vital vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy year-round.

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As promised, here’s my anti-allergy smoothie recipe – I use all organic ingredients and I pick the greens from my garden…

Spring Smoothie:

  • 3 fresh kale leaves
  • 4-8 lemon balm leaves
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice (enough to make the smoothie smooth, any juice or milk alternative works)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon, more if I’m feeling spicy
  • 1 -ish tablespoons of ground flax
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen blueberries and/or strawberries
  • 1/4 inch of chopped, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice (I cut it from the skin so I get all the goodness)
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsely
  • a small handful of chopped walnuts
  • a teaspoon of molasses (great source of iron and sweetness)
  • pinches of lemon thyme and rosemary
  • handful of fresh, young dandelion greens (if you pick them – make sure it’s not in a high foot, dog or car traffic area and make sure to wash them)

Blend all ingredients together thoroughly and enjoy your anti-allergy deliciousness!

Thank you to these sources for help with my list: 

Do you suffer from allergies? What do you do to fight them?

 

 

Earth Month Activities on the Kitsap Peninsula

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Even though I believe in doing everything possible every day to preserve and protect the natural world, I love that Earth Day exists. It’s an excuse for us to do all kinds of good things in our own backyards and out in the world. The events have stretched to fill an entire month…maybe some day we’ll have Earth Year, eh? I’ve listed some Earth Month activities on the Kitsap Peninsula below.

According to the Earth Day Network, “Over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day.” A billion people! What else do a billion people get out and do together? To learn more about Earth Day, visit EarthDayNetwork.org.

I find inspiration in the fact that 44 years ago one guy, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, wanted to “force environmental protection onto the national political agenda,” and now there are a billion people involved. This reminds me that one person, one idea, really can make a difference.

There are always so many things happening around Earth Day that I have a hard time deciding what to do!

One annual thing I do is an all-ages fundraising Wildlife Kayak Tour in Poulsbo that raises money for the Poulsbo Marine Science Center. It also raises awareness of the wildlife right here in our own back yard, downstream from all of us. I have spots available – if you’re interested see details at the bottom of this post.

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Here are some Earth Month activities on the Kitsap Peninsula. If you know of other opportunities please add them in the comments section.

All Month: Silverdale’s Seaport Salon and Day Spa is fundraising for Puget Sound Keeper Alliance, a local grassroots organization that patrols local waterways and enforces the Clean Water Act. Every penny they raise goes to the Alliance (Check out this cool video about the Alliance and Puget Sound).

April 12  Bainbridge Farmer’s Market grand opening! Saturdays 9-1:00. 280 Madison Avenue North (next to Town Hall).

April 12  Native Plant Sale on Bainbridge Island. Hosted by the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. Get plants that are meant to grow in this area – they often require less work and water, and they support the native wildlife! Click here to learn more.

April 12  Walk Your Watershed. Three mile walk in Poulsbo where guides will share about salmon habitat, rain gardens, sea birds, native/non-native plants and aquatic life. Learn more and register through the EarthRightInsight.org.

April 18  Composting Basics Class: 1-2:00 at the Bainbridge Island Public Library. Free!

April 19  Bainbridge Farmer’s Market Earth Day Special. Groups will be on hand to share information: Sustainable Bainbridge, Zero Waste, Weed Warriors, Bainbridge Island Land Trust, City of Bainbridge Island, Sierra Club, Acupuncture & Wellness Center, Bainbridge Community Broadcasting, Squeaky Wheels, and more, with music by Time and Tide.

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April 19  Earth Month Comedy Night at the Cloverleaf in Bremerton. All proceeds go to Puget Sound Keeper Alliance. For tickets: $20 pre-purchased at Seaport Salon and Spa or $25 at the door, or call 360-698-0781 for tickets and info.

April 22  State Parks Free Day – no Discover Pass required! Get out and play on Earth Day!

April 24  Clear Creek Trail Clearing: whack back blackberries with Central Kitsap High School students. About 12 adult supervisors are needed. Lunch is provided by Taco Bell.

April 25  Earth Day Green Drinks at Bainbridge Public Library. Meet other like-minded people over local wine and locally made, free snacks.

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April 26  Weed Warriors Earth Day Event at Pritchard Park. 10:00 – 2:00. Clear ivy and other invasive plants. Optional fun: bring a t-shirt you no longer care to wear and sort through the pile for one you would like to take home. For info: Jeannette Franks at 206-755-8461 or jfranks1@comcast.net.

April 26  Call to the Wild Auction and Gala Fundraiser for the West Sound Wildlife Shelter. 5-9:30 at Kiana Lodge. $125/person. Preregistration required.

April 26  Wildlife Kayak Tour FUNdraiser for the Poulsbo Marine Science Center. 9-12:00. Great for all ages, all experience levels, locals and visitors. Bring your own kayak or rent one.  Lead by me, Spring Courtright, a naturalist guide and kayak instructor. $55/adults, $35 for youth 4-17, free for youth ages 0-3 (in parents laps). No kayaking experience needed! Click here to learn more and register.

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I love this tour! It includes:

  • Hands-on tour of the Poulsbo Marine Science Center with their Director (pet sea cucumbers!)
  • Kayak lesson (or refresher)
  • Tour Liberty Bay with me – see my favorite wildlife viewing spots by kayak
  • Paddle with Harbor Seals and other wildlife
  • Locally smoked salmon snack
  • Stable double kayaks and all paddling equipment (single kayaks available by request)

April 27  Island Horticultural Services Free Workshop: Solving Landscape Problems with Native Plants. Learn about overly-aggressive non-natives to avoid and native alternatives to solve site-specific problems . Includes a tour of an ongoing sustainable landscape renovation. 1-4:00. For more information and reservations: bi.horticulture@gmail.com / 360-779-5002.

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See more Earth Month activities on the Sustainable Bainbridge website.

Today I think I’ll celebrate Earth Month by getting out and planting my baby plants…

What will you do to celebrate Earth Day? 

Thank you Roger Van Gelder for the beautiful Harbor Seal and kayaking photos!

Poulsbo Farmer’s Market Starts Saturday, April 5…with New Hours!

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 12.07.56 PMI don’t know about you, but I LOVE farmer’s markets! Call me weird, but being able to meet the people who grow and make the things I’m buying gives me a huge thrill.

I don’t like to buy new things unless I know the story behind them – who made them, what materials went into them, where did those materials come from (are they organic?), how were the people treated in the process…I have a lot of questions about things I buy new. Farmer’s markets let me ask them directly. I usually like the answers I get!

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I often lead kayak tours and classes on Saturdays and so I missed many of the Poulsbo Farmer’s Markets over the last few years…but this year I’m leading less and gardening more, and they’re adding an hour so I think I’ll actually be able to make it!

The first day of the 2014 Poulsbo Farmer’s Market will be this Saturday, April 5 and their new hours are 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The market will run every Saturday through December 20 – isn’t that an amazingly long time to get fresh fruit and veggies and handmade goodies?! Kudos to the vendors, sponsors, volunteers and everyone who makes this happen. I’m so grateful I think I’ll hug some of you when I see you…

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They’re still open for more vendors and volunteers, so if you want to help out, you have things you’d like to sell, or you have an organization /cause you’d like to share with people, click here for more details.

They also have a Facebook page, and Twitter and Pinterest accounts, so if you want up-to-date info about what will be at the market and other news, check them out!

If you aren’t able to make it to the Poulsbo Farmer’s Market opening on April 5, there are plenty of other opportunities. PugetSoundFresh.org has a list of all the Farmer’s Markets in the Puget Sound region – what a bountiful, wonderful area we live in, eh?

What are your favorite farmer’s markets? What items do you like to get at these markets? 

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