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Give your honey a bee house for a great holiday gift

If you are looking for an original gift and a great hobby, a bee house would be a something to put on your list. It is  easy to raise solitary bees and a fun hobby with the benefits of increased pollination in your garden.

BeeDiverse Bee Houses make great gifts for gardeners

Declining populations of bees has been linked to climate change.  Bees not only produce honey but also pollinate so that plant species can thrive.  The mason bee, unlike the honey bee, is solitary which means that every female is fertile and makes its own nest. Mason bees do not produce honey or beeswax and are immune from mites.  With no honey to defend, they do not sting unless stepped on or squeezed and so make great “garden pets” because they pollinate fruit trees and shrubs and are safe for children and pets.

BeeDiverse Bee Houses are durable, attractive, easy-to-clean and made from sustainable resources to last many summers.  So if your are looking for a great gift for a gardener, consider a BeeDiverse Bee House. Check out the several varieties to get someone started on a great new hobby.

Give your honey a bee house for a great holiday gift : http://t.co/Glbra3L


Those autumn leaves make good compost for your garden

Bag bagging those leaves and try composting them- it’s not so difficult.  Here are ten tips for composting leaves.  Leaf composting creates leaf mold, which is a soil conditioner. Leaf mold used in your garden also increases water retention of soils.

The Flowtron Leaf Eater is one of several products that make leaf compost easier because of its leaf-shredding capability.  For a good demonstration of how to compost leaves you can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSYbVHOmHog

David Temple of peoplepoweredmachines.com featured on L.A. talk radio show

The Hill and Dale Show:

On October 27, 2010 at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EST) David Temple of peoplepoweredmachines.com will be heard on The Hill and Dale Show, L.A.’s irreverent, entertaining and cool internet talk radio show.

Burn more calories!

Learn about how using a Naturcut reel lawn mower not only benefits your lawn and the environment but how it is also a great way to stay in shape. David Temple will talk about this and more of his environment-friendly garden products on The Hill and Dale Show on October 27 at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. EST).

Green Internet Radio Show

The Hill and Dale Show, a green radio show with a focus on L.A.,  is hosted by by Sharon Dale and Lucie Hill.  Previous topics have included the plastic bag ban bill, alternatives to energy-guzzling clothes dryers, recycling, composting and more.  David will talk about his company and his latest venture with NaturCut Reel Mowers in addition to information about the health benefits of the products he sells.   He will also talk about the Push Lawn Sweeper,  a great way to clean your lawn of leaves and grass clippings.  Also learn about many varieties of composters and vermiculture.

Cleans your lawn of leaves, grass clippings, etc.

Naturcut Classic Reel Mower

Problem:  A few of our customers have notified us that during use, the back wheel on the Easun Naturcut Classic reel mower has come loose.

Solution:  The solution we have found is to spray the bolt with lock tight, put the wheel back on and fasten, and the wheel should stay in place!

Easun NaturCut Classic Push Reel Mower

Easun NaturCut Classic Push Reel Mower

Our Most Popular Content: All Models of Reel Mowers Side by Side

reel mower comparison chart for all models...will help you choose!

reel mower comparison chart for all models...will help you see the differences.

11 years in business and we have accumulated a lot of content on our site. Out of all our pages, our  all reel mower models comparison chart is our second most visited web page. It has all the major manual push reel mowers side by side, with prices and reel blade types, cutting heights, and so forth…even prices (we try to keep them up to date).  Not as popular but important for our major products is the side by side comparison chart for Brill verses Sunlawn reel mowers which compares  only those brands models (the differences are hard to figure out without this chart- we saved ourselves a lot of customer support phone time with this page).

Most reel mowers sold in the US are manufactured by the companies listed our reel mower comparison chart. If you don’t see the reel mower you are considering on this chart, it is likely that it has had another brand name added to it. E-mail us and we can let you know which manufacturer has made the push reel mower model you are considering.

As a general rule, there are 2 types of reel mower blade technology. Brill + Sunlawn reel mowers have the “Contact-free” reel blade design. This means the Brill + Sunlawn reel blades stay sharp and keep cutting really well… saving you money, time, and hassel on sharpening services. Older generation reel mowers like Agrifab, Great States, and Scotts require frequent blade sharpening to keep cutting well. In fact, when you calculate how much money is saved by less sharpening of the blades, the Reel Mowers with non-contact cutting systems costs even less than an inexpensive mower.

But no matter which reel mower you choose…good for you! The world will be a better place…

Compost is Ready! Time to Empty Our Tumbleweed Composter

In preparation for our next round of compost, today I emptied our Tumbleweed Composter. As I have three different composters going at the same time, I am not quite sure this batch has been “cooking” but it has been a while…to check I peeked in and it is perfect. I am spreading this a bit late in our growing season (actually we are frozen here now), but I am envisioning a fertile place for my spring lettuce and that makes me happy! So back to the job…I pulled my Smart Cart (the best wheelbarrow ever…like I raved about here) up to the Tumbleweed and got the Tumbleweed in position,  undid the bottom lid and most of the compost slid into the Smart Cart. A little swing of the Tumbleweed back and forth gets all of the compost out of nooks and crannies. Bottom lid back on and we are ready for the next batch. That easy.

Of all my composters, the Tumbleweed does the best job of composting pure grass clippings…making great finished compost from grass clippings in two weeks. That’s about a fourth of the time of others. And this is really the only composter you don’t have to worry about the green/browns mix…as it just works on the pure clippings. Food scraps and coffee grounds do take longer than 2 weeks but not much. In winter I tend to turn it less to keep the heat in the center. The bin is weather proof and does a good job of keeping the heat. Placing the Tumbleweed in the sun will help keep everything cooking in winter. I also do some obessive things like heat kitchen scraps up in the microwave (I know…not very eco minded) in order to heat up a pile I feel is going to the point of freezing. And if your Tumbleweed Composter batch does freeze, no worries, that freeze-thaw process will help break down the fibers. Yes, some microbes and yummy residents will die but a lot will live and continue the composting process. Stay tuned for a post about more general winter composting tips this week…

Recycling Market Plummets 90%: How to Help Your Recycling Center

picture-8So you think all those newspapers, glass bottles, and cardboard boxes you put in the recycle bin are going to be reused…well these quick facts should make you think again:

  • Prices for recycled materials like plastics, paper and metals have plunged in the last two months, endangering some programs- The market for recyclables in Oregon and around the globe, riding at or near historic highs a few short months ago, has tanked along with the economy
  • Cardboard that sold for about $135 a ton in September is now going for $35 a ton and plastic bottles have fallen from 25 cents to 2 cents.
  • the price for bales of mixed paper has fallen by 90 percent since September
  • Prices for plastic bags and other plastic “film” have dropped by two-thirds in less than a month.
  • Some of the plastics have fallen from $480 a ton to $40 a ton
  • recyclers are loosing money and running out of money
  • some recyclables, particularly low-grade bales of plastic and mixed paper, may head to landfills if the economy doesn’t recover.

Faced with a dramatic slump in the recycling market, the director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority has cut 20 of his 24 employees’ work week to four days from five, shuttered six of the authority’s drop-off stations and is urging residents to hoard their recyclables after informing municipalities with curbside recycling programs that the center will accept only paper until further notice.

Some in the business are describing the downturn as the worst and fastest ever. “It’s never gone from so good to so bad so fast,” said Marty Davis, president of Midland Davis Corp. in Pekin, Ill., who has been in the recycling business since 1975. The turnaround caught everyone off guard, said Steven Kowalsky, president of Empire Recycling in Utica, N.Y.

So what can we do to help our community recycling industries?

  • First, consumers can help the recycling industry by creating demand for products with recycled content…for instance purchasing copy paper and Christmas cards made from recycled paper. And toilet paper. Every paper you can…buy recycled.
  • Help them during this down market by using/discarding less packaging – called precycling. That means avoid those bottled waters. Reuse containers, bring containers with you when shopping. Whatever you can to avoid actually having to get new containers or toss those used containers. Our thrift store here takes jars with lids. even nicer plastic jars with lids…so that could be an option.
  • Compost your torn up paper, or even better shredded paper, even cardboard. Cardboard is one of the favorite treats for worms in your garden. Ever notice that if you put a piece of cardboard out in the garden somewhere, and lift it a few months later, you will see an active worm meeting place.
  • Or use your shreds of newspaper in a worm bin. Worms will eventually eat them up. Not a solution for the big paper readers…but something.
  • And of course, read online. Check out magazines from the library and donate magazines to waiting rooms and gyms. Just find a way to require less printing and throwing less away.

Lastly, communities to have to rethink this idea of growing recycling capacity without finding a way to require more use of recyclable materials in products.

Requiring policies of all state and federal purchasing of only papers with recycled paper content is a great way to start: buy recycled paper products even tho they are about 8% more. Understand the social and environmental issues involved in the production of virgin paper:

Key impacts during the copy paper lifecycle include: hazardous releases of chlorinated compounds in the pulping process, high volumes of water use and contamination, pungent and toxic air pollutants, high volumes of solid waste, high energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions, and damage to arboreal and aquatic habitats. Energy consumption, emissions, and deforestation related to paper manufacturing contribute directly to the larger issue of global climate change.

Look to New American Dream for more info and vendors.

And incase you wondered, Peoplepoweredmachines is a nearly a paperless office! And on another sustainable note, we are excited to be moving to green solar powered servers in January.