Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to make a bee bath

June 25, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to make a bee bath

A shallow plate, rocks and water is all you need. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

We all know that bees are busy. So it makes sense that they get thirsty!

But have you ever witnessed a bee watering hole? Now you can make one.

Fact is, bees are crash landers (like those other beneficial insects, ladybugs). Open water, like a creek or pond (even a bird bath) means bees risk drowning or being caught by predators — you've seen fish jumping out of water to catch yummy insects, right?

Prevent bee drowningsmake a bee bath! These three simple steps use ingredients already in your home. Your creation will also combat pests like aphids, because ladybugs that stop by for a sip will eat 'em!

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How to reuse silica gel packs

June 22, 2015 | 15 comments
Photo: How to reuse silica gel packs

To prevent mould and mildew, add a few silica gel packs to your tent bag or camping gear bin. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Don't throw out silica gel packs found in vitamin bottles, packaging for electronics and leather goods — even seaweed snacks! Instead, reuse them to combat excess moisture in your home.

Watch this video to understand how silica dries things out.

Six ways to reuse silica gel packs

Spice it up

Do you get a workout shaking clumped chili or garlic powder? Toss silica gel packs into spice jars and sugar and salt containers.

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Five shopping tips to end food waste

June 10, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Five shopping tips to end food waste

Grab a few single bananas next time instead of choosing a bunch. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Our society wastes food. It's appalling.

Households in Metro Vancouver, where I live, generate about 190,000 tonnes of food waste every year! And over 100,000 tonnes of that could have been eaten.

Our understanding of food waste has come a long way in five years — when I first shared how to use refrigerator crisper drawers properly.

Now:

There's a movie! Watch Just Eat It: a food waste story (@JustEatItFilm) by filmmakers Grant and Jen, who ate rescued food for six months. It will change the way you shop and cook!

There's a movement. Follow #NoFoodWasted.

It's illegal. Metro Vancouver said, "Food isn't garbage!" and banned organics going to the landfill. Check out Love Food Hate Waste (@LFHW¬ca). And in France, grocery stores can no longer destroy unsold food. They must donate it.

Five shopping tips to reduce food waste

Pick the first one

This goes for things like dairy items. Don't reach to the back. Grab from the front.

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How to wash fruits and vegetables

June 9, 2015 | 3 comments
Photo: How to wash fruits and vegetables

Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing, to prevent rot. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Lots of people touch, sniff and sneeze on produce — from the farm to the grocery store. So even if you're enjoying organic and local farmers market fruit and veggies, you're bound to encounter dirt and germs (and some pesticide residues) from all the caring hands it passes through.

But don't buy fancy produce washes. Make your own! It's cheaper and avoids plastic containers.

Tip: Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing (which will make it rot faster).

Tip: Firm-skinned produce, such as melons and citrus fruits, needs warm water, a scrub and rinse. Soft-skinned produce, such as strawberries or grapes, needs a soak for a few minutes.

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Test your indoor air quality

June 4, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Test your indoor air quality

Test your home (old or new) for mould and levels of carbon monoxide (CO), total volatile organic compounds (tVOCs), and formaldehyde (HCHO). (Credit: Brendon Purdy Photography)

I was beginning to worry about mould in my home — airborne spores can be inhaled and become a health concern.

I wasn't feeling sick, but we discovered mould during a recent bathroom renovation, my husband had been rather sneezy and we have a child (children and the elderly can be more vulnerable).

Did you know mould comes in all colours — not just black and white?

I called two companies to ask what was involved in a home indoor air quality test AND the cost. Within a day, a professional showed up to walk through my house with hand-held meters to test for levels of carbon monoxide (CO), total volatile organic compounds (tVOCs), and formaldehyde (HCHO). He also took an air sample and sent it for laboratory analysis to compare mould spore concentrations inside my home to concentrations outdoors.

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