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    The Healthy Home

    Natural, Holistic, Health at Home

    Monday
    Mar302015

    Can You See?

    Our sunroom windows (poor sunroom windows) are sparkling once again!  Last fall I decided that I could not go through the winter months trying to gaze through smudged, dust-coated windows.  The outside world is always calling and I do love windows.  Clear, open space wherever you want to look.  Trees, flowers, squirrels, several cats, our sweet creek – they all need framing with crystal panes of brightness.

    This particular bank of glass faces south and directs our gaze to the most beautiful Silver Maple you’ve ever seen.  It’s trunk is beautifully mottled with boles and knobs and an almost shaggy bark.  All maples are a thing of beauty; but this tree is quite the specimen.  The cherry red blossoms were clear to see in late winter and the leaf buds are the happiest shade of spring green.  I’m thinking that without a clear field of vision the blossoms would not have popped so red, nor would the early leaves dangle so limeishly.

    My conclusion:  healthy windows + spring color = happy me.

    Everyone has their own cocktail of window cleaning in a bottle; and the store-bought stuff is only a car ride away.  In a pinch, here is a healthy, happy, chemical-free version to try.  The addition of essential oils helps cut grime and leaves a fantastic aroma throughout the house.  Sparkle up that glass and see the bright, beautiful world around you!

    Safe and Fun Window Cleaner

    Fill an empty spray bottle half-full of filtered water
    Add ½ cup isopropyl alcohol or white vinegar
    (or a mixture)
    Pour in more water to just below the fill point
    (Some folks, before filling the bottle, add a little cornstarch or baking soda.)
    Shake to combine
    Now come the essential oils
    – lemon, orange, lime, bergamot, peppermint, spearmint, or rosemary –
    Place 10 to 20 drops in the bottle
    (of a single oil or in combination)
    Twist on the lid and turn the bottle over and over to distribute
    Ta da!


    * Essential oils do not stay in suspension, so shake the bottle before each use (and throughout your cleaning session).  

    * You can use a strong brew of herbs or citrus water in place of plain water.  Steep and cool before mixing with the other ingredients.

    Tuesday
    Aug232011

    Pettalk, part two

    Fleas, ticks, ear mites, lice, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms.  Almost sounds like a gruesome children’s rhyme penned by the Brothers Grimm.

    If you have pets, you have heard of the above.  You have limited your animals’ exposure to these parasites, treated them for an infestation, and pre-treated to keep these nasty bugs at bay.  Whether it’s over the counter medication, harsher prescription drugs, or smelly ointments, keeping your beloved animals healthy is of prime importance.  Why have pets if you are not going to keep them healthy and happy?

    Here are a few recommendations for a more ‘natural’ approach to pet treatment.  Read my previous post for information on keeping your pet pest-free.  I would also be interested to know how you approach holistic animal care.

    Fleas ► Use a homemade Repellent Powder:  place 1/2 cup diatomaceous earth in a blender or food processor.  Add dried lemon or orange peel (1/2-1 tbsp) and dried rosemary (1/2-1 tbsp).  Grind until all ingredients are incorporated.  Carefully comb this powder through your pet’s fur with a flea comb, dropping any picked up fleas into a bowl of soapy water.  Keep your face and your animal’s face away from the diatomaceous earth - it will cause respiratory problems.  Citrus Rub:  steep the zest from on lemon in a pint of boiling water for 24 hours.  Dab the mixture onto your pet’s coat.  Add brewer’s yeast to their food - up to 1 tablespoon a day.  Several homeopathic remedies may help with flea infestations - read through the selections, in a homeopathic book, to make the appropriate choice for your pet (check out Ferrum phosphoricum, Natrum phosphoricum, Kali phosphoricum).  Research all natural remedies before use or consult your veterinarian for natural pest control recommendations.

    Ticks ►Comb through your pet’s coat with a flea comb after woodland adventures, to pick up any unattached ticks.  If you find one already attached, pull it out just as you would if it were in your own skin.  Use a slow, steady pull, not a quick jerk.  Pull strongly, but not quickly.  Try to pull out the whole body, including the head.  If the head is left behind it may inflame, as with an impacted splinter.  Treat as you would for any minor flesh wound - it will work itself out eventually.  Work the repellent powder (above) through their fur before extended stay in tick-infested areas.

    Lice ► Treat as for fleas and keep your pet well groomed.  Be patient, natural remedies may take a little longer.

    Ear Mites ► You may have to get a diagnosis from your vet, as mites are hard to see.  As a beginning treatment use 1/2 ounce olive oil mixed with 1, 400 I.U. vitamin E capsule (pierced to remove the contents).  Mix well in a dropper bottle and bring to body temperature by placing the bottle in warm water.  Hold up the earflap and place one or two drops in the ear canal.  Massage gently to disperse.  After a few minutes, let the animal shake its head.  You can then gently clean the surrounding area, not deep into the ear.  Use this oil once a day for three days, keeping the unused oil in the refrigerator (warm again before each use).  Further treatment may be required to rid the ears of remaining mites and eggs.  Research herbal ear mite oils or use a natural over the counter remedy.  Thyme, rosemary, and rue are good choices for ear mite remedies.

    Worms ► A rule of thumb is to keep your animals healthy from the inside, out.  Excellent nutrition, especially for older pets, is very important (limit commercial food intake - use raw or lightly cooked protein, excluding pork or fish.  Canned fish and sardines, unsalted, would be great; as well as poultry, beef, eggs, and low fat dairy).  A raw food diet is helpful in expelling worms, especially one that includes raw, vegetable fiber (some chopped garlic or grated carrot).  Ground pumpkin seeds or flaked coconut (unsweetened) are also helpful - sprinkle a little over their food.  Homeopathic medicines, especially Natrum Phosphoricum, can be beneficial.  Research for potency recommendations.  Hookworms can pose serious medical problems - seek professional help.  Heartworms, too, are not to be taken lightly.  If heartworms are diagnosed, discuss treatment plans with your veterinarian.

    As always, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Keep your animals well fed, well loved, healthy, and use natural protections when possible.

    Sunday
    Aug142011

    Pettalk

    When we were out at my parents’ for Fish Taco Night last week, a momma dog and her three little ones greeted us as we drove up.  They belong to a neighbor down the road but just love to hang out at mother’s and daddy’s.  GB says they are a basset hound and daschund mix.  Cutie pies - and I’m not a huge dog lover.  One thing about this ‘down the road’ neighbor, he has lots of dogs and they are mostly left to their own devices.  This poor momma had big ol’ ticks all over her and I’m sure the fleas had a huge circus going on.  The puppies were probably in the same fix, but they wouldn’t hold still long enough to get a good look at them.  Feisty and full of energy.  We suspected that they were also a tad bit abused.

    We have cats at our home, and this year the fleas have been giving our Tiger (who is 16ish years old) something of a challenge.  Being the non-chemical types, even our pets enjoy holistic living.  We’ve always treated them for fleas and ear mites (if needed) ourselves and supplemented their diet with good oils, garlic, bone meal, and nutritional yeast.  Since a healthy home means health for all those living in the home, here are some ‘starter’ ideas for a healthier pet.

    Feed them as well as your budget will allow - animals can form food allergies and sensitivities to artificial color, flavors, and fillers just as humans can.  Read the ingredient list on that bag of dry food.  You’ll be surprised how much of it is non-food.  And, notice how fillers are listed before protein sources.  (Remember, on any ingredient list, the ingredients of highest percentage are listed first.)  There are some good brands on the market, buy them when you can.  Raw diets are great for pets, with raw meat protein winning over commercial food.  So, when you trim your roasts, give some to your pet.  Raw or cooked eggs, raw or lightly cooked meats (non-seasoned), low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, as well as whole grains and raw vegetables, are great additions to their commercial food diet.

    Adding some or all of the following to their food (start with tiny amounts and gradually increase) will benefit their over-all health:  nutritional yeast, bone meal powder, kelp powder (and/or alfalfa powder), olive oil (for cats), safflower or sunflower (for dogs), cod-liver oil.  A tiny pinch, or drop, of whichever supplements you choose is plenty to begin.  Place it on their food and mix well.  Every few weeks, increase the amount until large pets are getting up to one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon of each supplement, daily.  Supplements for your pets can be cost prohibitive, so if I have to suggest one it would one of the oils.  Most commercial pet foods add plenty of calcium supplement, so you can omit the bone meal if you go that route.

    To help fight fleas, ticks, and other parasites, sprinkle a little garlic powder (not garlic salt) on their food.  Enhancing their diet (above) will make them less vulnerable, along with any of the following:  grated raw vegetables, cooked whole grains, and barley powder.  Mix your choices through their regular food, using just small spoonfuls at first (just a sprinkle with the barley powder).

    In my next post, there will be some advice for taking care of those parasites after they’ve made their home in, or on, your pet - stay tuned!

    Always consult a veterinarian for treatment of disease and parasites.  Research natural pet care books for more information on holistic care for your animals.  I can recommend Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.

    Tiger