Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What To Do With Halloween Leftovers

Happy Halloween to everyone celebrating! Today's blog is all about what to do with those left overs when all the trick-or-treat-ers are home in bed.

1) The Great Pumpkin
While it's easy to use pumpkins to cook, often times you've already cut up your jack-o-lanterns, so they don't make a great meal. One great way to deal with those left over pumpkins- compost them! Then nature does most of the work and you'll have a great fertilizer to boot!

2)Tasty Treats
The first thing to remember is that candy is freezer friendly! If you want to stretch those treats out so everyone doesn't go crazy right away hide them away in your freezer after rationing out the candy. You can either eat the candy later or use it in your upcoming holiday baking.
Also keep in mind that food pantries and dentists offices may have a program specifically for Halloween candy, so giving it to the dentist for a few bucks or to a food pantry so someone less fortunate gets some candy can be great. There may be other great give away programs in your community, like sending candy to the troops. Look for these, they can be great.

3) The Costume
If you went with a straight up, bought from the store costume, there may not be much to do other than pray that your child will wear it again or give it away either to a Goodwill or to a family friend who might use the costume next year. For the future: A great green way to do Halloween is to use clothing that your child will be able to wear after Halloween, if possible. A good Ninja costume can easily be made from a mask and some black clothing that can be separated and worn after the spooky holiday is over.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Featured Article: Fall Pest Patrol

We've already had a couple winter prep blogs for you garden, but today's featured article gets a little more in-depth with the cleanup part of your fall gardening duties. The blog post we're featuring, from A Way to Garden, is a great quick overview of how to deal with a host of pests that prey on your garden.

A lot of the pest cleanup work you do in the fall can greatly benefit your garden in the spring. The blog goes over some of the greatest problem pests, cabbage worms, viburnum leaf beetle, squash bugs, deer,  mice, and voles. All of these creatures can ruin a perfect garden, so taking out their paths and hiding places in the fall will make it hard for them to move back in come spring.

Read the full article here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Friday

With the dreary and blustery days we've had for the last week, this Photo Friday couldn't come soon enough. This week's photo is a great picture from one of the gardens using Chamness Brand Compost. It's great for landscapers and gardeners alike, and it makes plants flourish. We love this interesting planting layout that makes a beautiful Cyclone themed pinwheel in Ames.

Did you get any great shots this week? Be sure to share them in the comments!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Featured Article: Late October Stars (In the garden)

Today's featured article is a blog post from A Way To Garden. On Monday we talked about indoor plants for the cooler months, but this blog features a great selection of photos of plants that flourish in late October. She's posted a lot of very beautiful photos of her favorite fall foliage.

In Iowa it's pretty difficult for plants to hold a candle to the changing trees, but these photos show a more diverse selection of different plants in bloom. Check it out and share links to pictures of your favorites from your fall garden in the comments!

See the original post here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our 5 Favorite Indoor Plants for Winter

As the fall arrives we are often so lost in the swirl of colorful leaves we don't truly notice that our favorite spring and summer blooms are going dormant for the winter. When the cold weather hits and the beautiful red, oranges, and yellows have turned into crackly brown leaves on the ground, these plants will brighten up your house and remind you through the winter that spring is on it's way. Here are our top 5 indoor winter plants.

Amaryllis bulbs have become a popular gift, you can buy them in beautiful pots from most stores these days around the holidays. These cheerful flowers are a type of Lily, and are sure to give your home a pop of color through the winter months. In the spring you can choose to transplant the flower to the ground so that it can liven up your garden as well. Make sure this flower gets plenty of sunlight and water.

Crocus is another colorful bloom that can also flourish indoors. Make sure that your Crocus plant's pot has a good drainage system. This plant also works best with compost mixed into it's soil, so make sure you give it those added nutrients. After you plant the bulbs plant them in a dark place with an average temperature between 35-45 degrees. Once they sprout move the plant back into the (indirect) sunlight and water regularly.

Orchids are beautiful, with a large variety of colors to fit any home decor. Make sure your orchid gets strong, indirect light. If possible, place your orchid somewhere that will give it a little humidity. This plant is another one that you can buy from a lot of different stores when the holiday's approach, since they are a popular gift flower.

Jasmine won't just look pretty, it is also a very fragrant plant. This plant is a bit of a crawler, so give it a trellis to crawl on if you like the look. Jasmine flourishes at 65 degrees, so if you keep your house a little cooler in the winter to save on that heating bill your Jasmine will love you. A little humidity will do Jasmine some good, and indirect sunlight is also what the plant prefers. However, if you have a dog for a family friend we urge caution with indoor Jasmine, as the plant isn't very puppy friendly.

This last plant is a little bit trickier to keep, but is know to survive for a very long time if given the chance. It prefers cooler temperatures and large pots. While they require slower watering during the winter you should try to keep the soil moist at all times.

Do you have any other plants you love to use to brighten your home during the winter? Share them and your care plan in the comments!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Friday

Happy friday everyone! This week's photo shows some high capacity equipment- our heavy hauling vehicles.

Did you snap any great photos this week? Share them in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Featured Article: 5 Ways to Start Preserving Food At Home

Once you start to look into the statistics on food waste the can be fairly alarming. In the United States over 40 percent of food produced is wasted, and the average American produces 10 time their body weight in trash a year.

When faced with statistics like that it's easy to start taking food preservation measures that will also save you some cash! That's where today's featured article comes in. This article goes over a few easy ways to start saving your food, from canning to making jam, they have some great ideas to help you get the most out of your grocery bill.

We hope this article can help you to save some much needed grocery money and some waste- but don't forget that if you do have food waste composting is a great sustainable way to take care of it.

Check out the article here.

Do you have any other smart ways to preserve your food? Share them in the comments!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tips to Make Your Halloween a Little More Green

Halloween is a lot of fun for everyone. Costumes, candy and decoration can be fun, but they can also result in a lot of waste. However, there are a lot of fun ways to cut down on that holiday waste and still have a blast.

1) Get Natural Decorations: Decorating with pumpkins, gourds, hay and other fall farm fare isn't just local farmer friendly- a lot of it is also compostable! If you scrape out your Jack-O-Lantern like most people, you can even make a tasty snack out of your seeds.

2) Homemade Costumes: If you've had children you know they come up with some crazy stuff for halloween costumes. However, most stores don't carry Tornado costumes. This is just one reason that homemade costumes are an attractive option. Often times you can make a much nicer (and often times reusable) costume at home, and it doesn't involve masks that aren't recyclable.

3) Use Reusable Bags: Reusable bags are durable, and frankly more suited to candy collecting, especially in large neighborhoods. It also means less plastic bags flying around in the weeks following Halloween. If you need a new reusable bag for Halloween, make sure to check out our list of great tutorials here.

4) Green your Halloween Party: When you're in that stage between being the age of a trick-or-treater and having children Halloween Parties are one of the best ways to celebrate. It's important to offer snacks and drinks in large bowls with the option of smaller dinnerware that isn't disposable, whether it's compostable or your own dishes you won't be sending it to a landfill on garbage day.

5) Consider a Candy Alternative: Although it's hard to imagine Halloween without Candy, there are plenty of fun things to give out that require less wrappers and may even be healthier (or not food at all). Plenty of stores stock Halloween themed pencils and crayons, which are great, useful gifts. Pre-packaged dried fruit and pretzels often have less packaging and are, admittedly, more filling than a fun-sized candy bar. They keep a few more wrappers from entering the waste stream and they're a little healthier for the kids.

Those are just a few great ways to green your Halloween this year! What are you doing to make your Halloween a little more green? Have any great stories about the tips we did give? Share in the comments!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Tomorrow we're forecasted to have some pretty impressive storms around central Iowa, and everyone knows that with storm cleanup comes a lot of wood from branches and trees damaged in storms. This week's photo shows our Wood Grinder hard at work.

Did you get any awesome shots this week? Make sure to share them in the comments!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Top 10 Pumpkin Recipes

We've already done one fall recipe series with apples, but with the bite of late fall already hitting us, and every coffee shop pulling out their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Pumpkin Pies gracing the shelves of every grocery store and bakery, we felt it was time to pull out a pumpkin recipe post! Enjoy, and let us know which are your favorites in the comments!

Pumpkin Fudge
 This pumpkin flavored fudge looks positively delicious, and with a fairly easy recipe it's easy to see why this pumpkin fudge could become a fall favorite!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie
 This list wouldn't be complete without the classic pumpkin pie. However, with over 1,000 positive reviews- it's sure to become your favorite. Look through the user picture for great presentation ideas as well! We love the simple crust cutouts to give your pie a little fall flair!

Pumpkin Garlic Knots
 Everybody loves garlic bread. This playful adaptation adds undertones of pumpkin to a tried and true classic.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Another classic with a twist,  this is a great fall version of the classic comfort food. We recommend checking out some of the reviews, as they have some pretty great ideas for making it even better!

Pumpkin Latte Coffee Cake
On chilly fall days not much can beat a warm breakfast. This coffee cake brings the fall flavor into the fall breakfast food. It's a fun twist with a delicious coffee drizzle! This one is a bit of  long recipe to cook, but if you cook it the day before and then warm it up in the morning it's a perfect wake up call!

Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Creme Sauce
Talk about a twist! These enchiladas are delicious though. A great change up to your typical dinner!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 A favorite fall snack, this classic recipe is a nice reminder for those who are a bit out of practice. For added flavor feel free to add your own seasonings, like chili powder for a bit of spice or a dash of seasoning salt for an all around great taste!

Roast Pumpkin and Feta Risotto
 The picture above even puts the finished dish in a pumpkin! What a festive way to serve! If you like a risotto this dish is sure to be a classic.

Pumpkin Chili
 This is yet another twist on a classic, but it makes perfect sense, since chili season starts right around the time pumpkins come into season!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
This is your classic oatmeal baked in a hollowed out pumpkin, then you can serve it out of the pumpkin. The flavor seeps into an already delicious oatmeal. You can't go wrong with this cool weather breakfast!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Featured Article: 10 Things to Recycle for Charity

Today's featured article is an interesting read. According to the article, 72 percent of the people they polled would be more likely to recycle if it benefited a charity! That's great, but if you don't know a way to do that it doesn't help much. Fear not though- this list has a list of 10 things to recycle for charity!

This article is great because it shows you directly who your recycling will benefit, and it isn't an abstract concept like the environment, it's smiling little kids, low income families, teachers, and many others. By showings us people who benefit from the action it gives people someone to relate to, and anything that leads to less waste, especially some of the waste categories on this list, is a good thing.

What do you think? Would recycling come more easily to you if it was for charity?

Read the full article here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo Friday

Monday-Wednesday of this week we were at the Coralville Marriott for the Iowa Recycling & Solid Waste Management Conference! We had a lot of fun sharing the benefits of composting with everyone who stopped by to talk to us about Chamness Technology or GreenRU. Check out this week's photo, featuring Demetrios Hadjis, who also spoke on Wednesday at a panel about organic waste.

Did you see us at the conference? Did you take a great shot this week? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Featured Article: Waste Management and Recycling Infographic

Today we have a featured article... sort of. It's more of a featured infographic. Infographics are a great way to get a lot of information very quickly and this one is no exception.

While none of the facts shown are shocking to us, you might be surprised. U.S. generates a lot of food waste, however we still aren't on board with composting enough to match the waste. It will be interesting to see how these number change now that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of landfilling, especially landfilling organic waste.

Check out the infographic here. Which fact surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!