Monday, June 30, 2008

Free Trees and Plants

My mom comes across some pretty cool websites, but I think this is one of the best.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the plants, shrubs, and trees that don't get purchased each year? You guessed it - they get thrown away. They end up in landfills all over the country. Cheryl Richter founded Free Trees and Plants to deal with the issue of unused plants and to provide jobs to people with disabilities.

The process is simple. They give away plants to anyone who will send shipping and processing. All plants are shipped dormant and bare-root, just like most catalog stock.

Shipping and processing covers the cost of:

size sorting
unit grouping
hydro dipping
packaging labor
packaging materials
postal sorting
and postage to your door.

Every step is done manually. Shipping and processing is only $7.95 per unit. Some catalogs appear to charge less for shipping and handling, but they include part of the cost in the price of the plants.

You get free plants. You help stop a huge waste. Workers with disabilities get meaningful work and a paycheck.

They have a huge selection of perennials, trees, shrubs, and even bulbs. They have lots of items that are native to my area, so mom is going to get some to add to the garden. Like my mom always says, you have a choice when you shop, so choose wisely.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eco Cleaning

My mom is always looking for eco products for the kitchen. Paper towels are too easy to use, but of course they fill up landfills so they are not the right thing to use. Just last week mom found this company, Pacific Dry Goods and their awesome products.

Mom ordered the EcoSponge. Instead of using a traditional sponge, paper towel, or cloth to clean the counters, she has been using this sponge and she loves it. This sponge absorbs more than 15 times its weight in liquid and it's drip free. It is made from a durable yet washable natural fabric(more on that later). It is tough enough to scour and scrub, yet safe for wiping any surface.

Mom also ordered the EcoTowl. She usually uses a dish towel to wipe the dishes dry and to dry her hands after she washes them. The dish towels are okay, but the Eco Towl absorbs more than 10 times its weight in liquid. Like the Eco Sponge, it is made from a durable yet natural washable fabric. It can be used wet or dry and can be used throughout the house.

What is so great about these products? The secret is the natural fabric. According to the Pacific Dry Goods website, the fabric is as unique as how they produce the sponge and towl. The fabric is a natural and environmentally-friendly fabric (made from recycled wood chips) called Viscose. They claim that it wipes like a towel, dries like a chamois and absorbs like a sponge. Very clever indeed!

Like I mentioned before, Viscose absorbs a lot. The secre is in the thousands of tiny air cells in the material which trap liquid rather that absorbing it. So even when Viscose seems soaked, simply wring it out and it’s ready to dry again and again. This amazing natural fabric is versatile, durable, machine-washable, and even gets softer the more you use it.

But what about that miracle fabric microfiber? Microfibers are synthetic products, which means that they are made from petrochemicals - YUCK! They also pickup and hold dirt so tightly that they must be washed after every use.

Okay, but what about chamois? Chamois is made from the skin of animals (yikes!), most typically sheepskin. That is not good. Sheepskin belongs on sheep, not on your kitchen counter.

As if the products weren't great enough, the majority of the production work at Pacific Dry Goods is performed by workers with developmental disabilities. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, they have a long term and on-going relationship with the Association for Retarded Citizens. This company is just a win-win in my book!
You can check out their full product line at

But wait. Where can you buy these great products? Their website has a list of retailers and my mom chose She Hasit. They are a family owned business in Massachusetts and they offer free shipping to U.S. addresses. Shop with them at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kudos To The Home Depot!

On Tuesday, June 24, The Home Depot launched a CFL recycling initiative. This is great news because people like my mom have been buying these bulbs, but eventually the bulbs will burn out and need to be recycled.

The Home Depot has also implemented an in store energy conservation program. This program will help consumers make eco friendly decisions when shopping at The Home Depot.

Both initiatives are a step in the right direction. Like my mom always says, you have a choice when you shop. Make your voice heard by choosing wisely.

Also Implementing In Store Energy Conservation Program

ATLANTA, June 24, 2008 – The Home Depot®, the world's largest home improvement retailer, today expanded its long-term commitment to the environment and sustainability by launching a national in-store, consumer compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb recycling program at all 1,973 The Home Depot locations. This free service is the first such offering made so widely available by a retailer in the United States and offers customers additional options for making environmentally conscious decisions from purchase to disposal. The Home Depot Canada launched a CFL recycling program in November, 2007.

At each The Home Depot store, customers can simply bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulbs, and give them to the store associate behind the returns desk. The bulbs will then be managed responsibly by an environmental management company who will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance.

In addition to the CFL recycling program, The Home Depot has also launched an in store
energy conservation program to switch Light Fixture Showrooms in U.S. stores from incandescent bulbs to CFLs by Fall 2008 and save $16 million annually in energy costs.
The CFL recycling program is an extension of The Home Depot’s Eco Options program. Eco Options, launched in April 2007, is a classification that allows customers to easily identify products that have less of an impact on the environment.

"The CFL recycling program is another example of how The Home Depot is empowering customers to help make a difference in their own homes, and have less of an impact on the environment," said Ron Jarvis, senior vice president, Environmental Innovation. "With more than 75 percent of households located within 10 miles of a Home Depot store, this program is the first national solution to providing Americans with a convenient way to recycle CFLs."

Switching from traditional light bulbs to CFLs is an easy change consumers can make to reduce energy use at home. According to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program, if every American switched out one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would prevent more than 600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars. As the largest retailer of light bulbs in the country, The Home Depot sold over 75 million CFL’s in 2007, which saved Americans approximately $4.8 billion in energy costs and 51.8 billon pounds in CO2 greenhouse gases over the life of the bulbs.

Other environmental initiatives The Home Depot has implemented since the launch of Eco Options in April 2007 include:

Store recycling program in the U.S. of shrink wrap and mixed plastics, which will result in 50 million pounds of waste diverted from landfills each year.
Internal recycling initiative at corporate headquarters that is projected to increase the amount of recycled materials from 30 percent to at least 65 percent.
Renewed commitment to use transportation partners registered in SmartWay program and ensuring The Home Depot distribution facilities and stores further promote emission reduction.

For more information on the CFL Recycling Program or Eco Options, please visit

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday Keo!

My mom is a docent at Lincoln Park Zoo and she is always talking about all the animals. She tells me that zoos have changed a lot since she was young and that animals are living longer each year.

Keo celebrates his birthday today and he is the oldest male chimp in a North American zoo.

Keo usually lives behind the scenes in a non-public area of the Regenstein Center for African Apes, ceding the spotlight to the zoo's second, younger chimp troop. But in honor of his 50th birthday, the zoo put Keo back on public exhibit with the three females in his group.

Born in Africa, Keo was taken from the wild as a year-old infant to Lincoln Park. There, he was raised by humans. Today, importing wild chimps is illegal, and most chimps born in zoos are raised by other chimps.Much of Keo's childhood was spent in the children's zoo, where he was called upon to wear a hat and preside over pretend tea parties, once a favorite for zoo publicity photos. In his old age, Keo was the first ape in Lincoln Park trained to use a touch-screen computer as a part of cognitive experiments Ross launched three years ago.

I love my animal friends and wish that I could visit Keo in person, but dogs are not allowed at the zoo. Instead of celebrating today with Keo, I will be watching video of him on my computer. It will be just like being there.
If you are in the Lincoln Park area this week, please stop by and visit Keo. And if you are there on Friday, Keo's girlfriend and my mom's fellow docent Sue will most likely be right by Keo's side.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Pacifica Candles
My mom is super excited about the products from Pacifica. They sell candles, perfume, soaps, and lotions. Mom is going to buy the Tuscan Blood Orange solid perfume. When she told me the scent I almost vomitted. What the heck does Tuscan Blood Orange smell like? She told me that it is loved for it's absence of bitterness with rich, juicy flavor and bright raspberry and strawberry notes. Italian sweet oranges and mandarins flesh out this naturally beautiful essence. I just don't get it.
Pacifica was founded by Brook Harvey-Taylor and Billy Taylor in 1995 out of their love for exotic fragrance, travel, and romance. They believe that fragrance, much like music, is a beautiful connection to other cultures, experiences, and memories. Fragrance has the ability to place us fully in the moment or bring back the past. Every Pacifica candle is a celebration of color and of the power of essential oils. These elements are blended in unique combinations to inspire passion, evoke specific moods, and take you on a journey in the warmth of your own home. Check them out at
Bring Your Own Bag
My mom is anti-plastic bags. She has a ton of cloth bags in her car so that she can avoid getting plastic bags every time she shops. When she told me about Bring Your Own Bag I knew that she was going to purchase something from them. Bring Your Own Bag Designs Inc. offers reusable tote bags that are both environmentally and fashion conscious. When you use a BYOB bag you help support socially and ethically responsible practices. These tote bags are of superior quality. Made in Vancouver, BC CANADA.Each BYOB tote you use will prevent hundreds of plastic bags fromending up in our oceans, in our trees, or buried in our Earth. If you don't already have a ton of cloth bags or if you just want some new ones, visit
Eco Lips
My mom always tells me that she can never have enough lip balm. The lips (at least the human ones) are very sensitive to the elements and keeping them protected is very important. Eco Lips claims to have the best lip balm in the world. Mom is going to buy some of their balms to test them out. They have lots of yummy flavors like grape, coconut, and kiwi-strawberry. The best part is that they are only $1.99 each. What a bargain! They also have tinted balms and balms on a clip for you sportsmen. Their all-natural formulas, including high concentrations of certified organic ingredients ensures protection from all the harsh elements: sun, wind, and cold. If you need new lip balm or if someone you know does, visit

Friday, June 20, 2008

My mom doesn't buy a lot of books anymore, but yesterday she found this website. Most people probably buy their books online from and there is nothing wrong with that. By purchasing books from, you are actually making a difference in the world, not just to someone's bottom line.

Better World Books calls itself the online bookstore with a soul. They collect and sell books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. This is the best idea I have heard of in a long time.

All books are available with free shipping to any location within the United States (or $2.97 worldwide). Every order is also shipped carbon neutral with offsets from
In addition to selling new books, they support book drives and collect used books and textbooks through a network of over 1,600 college campuses and partnerships with almost 1,000 libraries.

As if all that weren't enough, they have converted more than 11 million donated books into $4.5 million in funding for literacy and education. By doing this, they have diverted more than 6,000 tons of books from landfills. How cool is that?

So far they have donated nearly one million books to partner programs around the world. Their four primary literacy partners are Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, and the National Center for Family Literacy. Every book you purchase from Better World Books contributes to individual literacy throughout the world.

You always have a choice when you shop. Please make the right choice when shopping for books. These guys are doing great work, so please support their efforts. Everyone, everywhere (including pugs) deserves a good book!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Red Fox Family

My dad always walks me in the morning. Mom sleeps in as dad and I visit the park, chat with the neighbors, and check out the scenery. Yesterday morning around 7:30am, we saw the red foxes that live in a fox hole on the east side of the pond. We haven't seen the whole family so far this year, so this was a real treat. Dad thinks that the four in the pictures consist of the momma fox and her babies.

As you can see by the pictures, these guys were having such a great time playing. They saw me, but thankfully didn't try to attack and eat me. Red foxes are related to dogs, but did you know that they have proportionately small stomachs for their size and can only eat half as much food in relation to their body weight as wolves and dogs can (about 10% compared with 20%)? I am so glad that I am not a red fox.

The fox hole is right next to the area where the foxes in the picture below are drinking. I don't know if it gets flooded when it rains.

Red foxes live about 3 years in the wild. Their known predators in our area are coyotes and eagles. We have a coyote pup that walks down the street at night, in front of his mother and cries. This does not happen every night, but when it does happen, it is loud enough to wake my mom up from a dead sleep. Nothing besides the smell of food cooking is enough to wake me up, so I sleep peacefully as the coyotes search for food.

Red foxes help to control populations of their prey animals, such as rodents and rabbits. They also may disperse seeds by eating fruit.

What a cute family. I hope to see these guys again soon. Oh, and before I forget. You know the geese babies? Well they were on the other side of the pond as the red foxes played. The foxes must have seen the geese and vice versa. Maybe the foxes had already eaten or maybe everyone knew one another. Either way, I am always happy to see my animals friends living together in perfect harmony.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sad News

My mom just told me that Mimi LaRue died yesterday. For those of you who don't know her, Mimi was Tori Spelling's pug. Now maybe I am just partial to pugs, but Mimi was THE pug. She lead the Hollywood life and was loved by everyone she met. As Tori put it "She was a star and a true lady, and she will be missed greatly. People everywhere knew her by name. I loved when fans wanted her over me. I felt proud!" Mimi died at home surrounded by her family, including Tori's husband Dean McDermott, 41, son Liam, 1, and newborn daughter Stella, 10 days old. As can be expected, Tori is devasted. Mimi had suffered from medical problems relating to her hips and neck for years. Tori is convinced that Mimi waited around to make sure that she had the daughter she had always dreamt about before she left us.Tori explained that Mimi was not just a dog, but a fashion ion and legend amongst Hollywood dogs. Mimi regularly received email and was always dressed to the nines when she walked the red carpet.

I will miss Mimi. Even though I never met her, I felt like I knew her and could relate to her on a pug level. Please keep Tori, Dean, Liam, and baby Stella in your prayers as they deal with this difficult time in their lives. And Tori, if you are reading this, whenever you come to Chicago, I will sit on your lap. I will give you kisses, snort in your face, and even let you dress me up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

My mom is always talking about her carbon footprint. She tells everyone that she meets that they should reduce their carbon footprint and she even goes so far as to tell them how to do it. I think my carbon footprint is pretty low because I don't drive or fly. I don't own a home, because the house I live in technically belongs to mom and dad. I will admit to liking air conditioning just a little too much, but hey, if that's my only downfall, I'm doing pretty good.

Mom calculated the carbon footprint created by driving her car, otherwise known as the TURTLER. Now you know how I love that car and I would be very sad if mom got rid of it.

Drum roll please!

Driving the TURTLER 10,000 miles a year:

produces 9,316 pounds of CO2 per year
has an annual fuel consumption of 476 gallons
produces 5 pounds less CO2 per 100 miles than the average car
gets 1 mile per gallon better fuel mileage than the average car
produces 2,684 pounds less CO2 per year than the average car

As you can see, there is good news and bad news. Even though the TURTLER is green, it is not green.

Please calculate the carbon footprint for your car and decide if your car is green enough.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Get Paid To Stop Your Junk Mail

I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is true. Just log on to, signup and you will get $1.00. Their website says that you will eliminate up to 90% of postal junk mail for 5 years. I don't know about you, but my mom and dad get lots of junk mail everyday. This is such a great idea, so please pass this onto your friends.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Visitor Yesterday

We had a new visitor to our pond yesterday.
The weather was kind of icky, but it didn't matter to this guy. This is a double crested cormorant. In the 9 years that we have lived here, we have never been visited by this type of bird. My mom thinks that maybe this guy has a nest in the rookery at Almond Marsh and that he followed one of the great blue herons from the rookery to our pond. I checked him out when I was out walking, but of course he was too busy drying out his wings to notice me.

Later in the day, the babies showed up.
They were making mom very nervous and you can
see that she snapped this picture as they were going back to the pond after hanging out on our lawn. These babies are getting bigger every day and I know it's just a matter of time before they head out on their own.

When my mom told me about this web site she found today, it made me think about one of my good friends. This website,, has lots of eco friendly treats and toys for green dogs like me. My friend Olive lives in South Elgin and at first I thought this was her site, but it's not. Check out all the goodies on this site and send some my way :)

My mom used to have a HUGE book collection, but in recent years, she has donated lots of her books. When she found this site today,, I
got a little worried. More books? Oh no, dad is not going to be happy about this. After hearing more about it, this site catalogs all your books and lets others see what is in your library. What a neat idea - an online catalog for your books. Seriously though, my mom and even my buddy Tony could have thought of this. Check it out and start cataloging away!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bad News For Sigg Lovers

My mom has been Sigg crazy lately! She ordered her first Sigg bottle (Paradise Found) a few months ago and has been obsessed with ordering another bottle ever since. She carries this bottle with her everywhere she goes and I don't know how she is going to fit another Sigg in her bag (she will probably buy a bigger bag).
She just loves the 'Make Love Not Landfill" bottle and has had her eye on it for months. She went to order it on the Sigg site the other day and she screamed out when she read that they were closing their online store.

Hello SIGG Internet Customers,
Due to the incredible demand for SIGG bottles, we are forced to close down the MySIGG shop. We are also unable to supply any other Internet business for Sigg Brand. Our Swiss factory is working around the clock to produce and ship more bottles to us, but the demand has currently and for the near future - exceeded the supply.
Here's why:

1. Due to the recently released report on some polycarbonate plastic #7 bottles leaching the chemical BPA, people are urgently looking for a safe alternative to plastic.
2. “Earth Month” has further raised awareness with Americans that using a reusable waterbottle makes more eco-sense than using disposable PET plastic bottles.

Now let us tell you what we are doing at SIGG Switzerland to manage this situation:

1. Reconfiguring our SIGG Switzerland facility and adding new equipment.
2. Hiring new production workers and having them work around the clock, 3 shifts andweekends.
3. Allocating 50% of our global production for North America.
4. Once summer is over - we will be able to re-assess our supply situation and react.

Other companies might outsource production to low cost markets like China. However,we know that one of the reasons why consumers love the SIGG brand is because ofthe trust in Swiss quality & craftsmanship - and that's what we are investing in!
We will continue to assess our supply vs business opportunities in the near termand longer term future and will let you know when we can strategically supply ourbrand on internet sales again.

Steve WasikCEO, SIGG Switzerland
RobertRobert RheaumePresident, SIGG USA

This is the only Sigg bottle still available for purchase on the Sigg site. It is a nice bottle, with a great message, but it's not exactly what she wants. Luckily, Sigg has a list of retailers on their site where bottles can be purchased. She told me the best place to buy a Sigg bottle at this point is online at:

or at your local Whole Foods Market. She stopped at Whole Foods today and they had lots of them, but not the one she is looking for. Oh and did I mention that I don't have a Sigg bottle? No. Nothing. Maybe she'll buy one for me before they are all gone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

My mom is always surfing the web in search of cool stuff. She like things that are environmentally friendly, recycled, and/or a little quirky. She found some really neat stuff today, but she didn't find anything for me.

Bamboo To Go Utensils - $21.00
a low-impact solution for life on-the-go. This utensil set of sustainable bamboo offers a low-impact solution for life on-the-go. If you get a lot of take-out, you're probably using a lot of disposable utensils. Why not have this set handy? You'll not only be making a positive choice, but we bet you'll enjoy your meal a little more, too, with these nicely carved, elegant utensils. The 100% cotton case is hand-woven by craftswomen living in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border - sales provide income to the women and their families. Lightweight and neat, it's also great to bring hiking and traveling. Buy this set and other great items at


Karma Market brings you stylish, handmade, affordable and socially conscious gifts helping to lift artisans from poverty through a positive trading environment. Gifts that match your values and your tastes.Our items are unique and contemporary handicrafts focusing on the trend towards world fashion and socially responsible products. Karma Market sources from suppliers who are members of the Fair Trade Federation which means that all our goods come from companies who support artisans by providing them with a fair wage and helping them to become economically stable. Producers work in healthy and safe working conditions in the local context and there is an emphasis on reinvesting in their communities and working to preserve the environment. By purchasing an item from Karma Market, you not only help provide income, dignity, hope and respect to people in developing regions. You also help to sustain the communities and the environment of these deserving artisans. We strive to promote fair trade and sustainable living conditions in our community, our country, and around the world. We encourage our family, friends and customers to get involved because we believe that the smallest voices, joined together, can make the biggest change. Help to give back to the world's community by purchasing with your values and voting with your dollars
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?Fair Trade is a growing, international movement which ensures that producers in poor countries get a fair deal. This means a fair price for their goods (one that covers the cost of production and guarantees a living income), long-term contracts which provide real security; and for many, support to gain the knowledge and skills that they need to develop their businesses and increase sales. The empowerment from fair trade lifts families from poverty through trade, not aid, keeping food on the table, children in school and families on their land.

This site has lots of great jewelry, bags, belts, cards, and things for the home. Shop for the greater good at

Pancake Meow - scented dessert jewelry

What a great idea! This jewelry is cute and fun - the perfect thing to wear when you don't want to take yourself that seriously. Lots of tasty charms and rings with scents that last for months. Check out lots of delicious goodies at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Garden

My mom finished the corner garden in our backyard. It came out really nice and she asked me to post these pictures of it.
It's hard to see in some of the pictures, but by the fence there is a big metal pole. At the top of this pole is a birdhouse and the babies are still in there. I hear them when I am out in the yard, but I am very careful not to get too close because I don't want to scare them.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Seafood Choices: Key To Saving Troubled Waters

My mom does not eat seafood (or any meat for that matter) and it bothers her that people do. She tells me that most people do not realize the damage commercial fishing causes the delicate ocean ecosystem.

This clip from NBC Nightly News that aired last night sheds light on the ever increasing problem of overfishing. We she saw it, she told me that I should write about it on my blog to spread the message about this problem.

The amount of fish caught everyday around the globe is mind boggling. This amount does not include the huge amount of bycatch that is caught everyday - everything from dolphins, to seals, to sea turtles.

Please do your part and leave my ocean friends where they belong - in the ocean and not on your plate.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Great Turtle Race II

The Great Turtle Race II started on Monday.
The Leatherback Trust, GLOBAL CAUSE Foundation, Drexel University, and Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) invite you to join the Great Turtle Race II. Follow 11 leatherback turtles on a two-week journey as they swim from their nesting sites on Jamusrba-Madi, Indonesia towards their foraging grounds in the Pacific Ocean, and from the waters off California towards their nesting beaches in Indonesia. It is a Race Across the Pacific!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Back!

Mom and dad were on vacation last week and my good buddy Kristen stayed at with me. She is going to be a sophomore at Northern Michigan University (go Wildcats!) this fall. She is majoring in photography, so I am hoping one day that she'll take my picture and make me famous!

The goslings are getting huge! Mom told me that they should be ready to fledge soon, but I think they like hanging out with us.

The geese make mom nervous when they cross the street from the park to our house. She always says "Your babies are going to get run over. Keep them in the park." You can see how close they are to the street as they feed on our freshly seeded lawn.

My mom bought this book while she was on vacation. She tells me that it is about a dog that is going to die and the dog is actually telling the story (though it was written by a human). Mom tells me that I have lots in common with the dog in the book, Enzo, because like Enzo, I wish I had opposable thumbs.

Since the book is about death and dying, mom found an unusual website for pet memorials: What is a reliquary you ask? A reliquary is defined as a receptacle to contain a relic of a saint, sacred object, or something treasured. As such, reliquaries provide us with a very special way to maintain a tangible link to that which is important to us. The permanently sealed reliquary lockets are designed to hold a small memento of your pet: ashes, hair, a feather, whisker, or photo, in honor of the important relationship you had. In this way, they are present even in their absence.
When she showed it to me I thought, I don't want to be worn around your neck when I am dead. What happened to stuffing me and letting me hang out in the family room? You just never know what she will come up with next!