For the Birds

One of the things I like most about where I live is that the backyard is filled with birds. There are Steller’s jays, red-tailed hawks, and a family of California quail that lives in the oak trees outside my window. My absolute favorite is the acorn woodpecker, though. They live in the tops of the grey pine trees and hide their stashes of acorns in the trunks, clacking and cawing and clowning day and night. Their “racka-racka” call is music to my ears!
Their wide-open eyes and red crests give them an exotic look that’s also somehow comical, flashier than other birds in the area:
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A couple weeks ago I started noticing they were doing something new: showering in the spray of the sprinkler system to stay cool by perching on trees in the water’s path. They’d move around the property, following the spray from the front yard to side yard to back, calling out a boisterous “racka!” when it hit them and shaking themselves off like wet dogs. Three or four would congregate together, shuffling from the front of the tree to the back and scooting up into the branches when they needed to take a break. It’s easy to lose track of time when I’m watching them. I enjoy it as much as they do!
Since I like to take care of my friends the best I can, I swapped the standard garden hose I was using for one that’s made with materials that don’t add traces of lead or other contaminants to the water. (We’re on a well where I live, so there’s no danger of added chlorine.) In addition to being nontoxic and drinking-safe — so better for people, too — it’s also made with 50% recycled materials. I feel better about using it to water my strawberry patch as well, or to fill the birdbath that’s a lifeline in hot weather for the creatures who frequent it. I got my hose from a company called Great Terrain, but other brands are available, such as this well-reviwed one from Amazon.
I also don’t use any pesticides or other toxic substances on my yard or lawn that could hurt living creatures. That one’s a no-brainer!  🙂
For an overview of chemical safety issues with garden hoses, and why it’s important to use a nontoxic alternative, check out www.ideas.time.com/2012/08/02/is-your-garden-hose-toxic/.

Keeping Organic Accessories Fresh and Clean

Sun and fresh air make great cleaning agents for items that can’t be machine washed. Our wool and cotton pillows, buckwheat-hull pillows, wool pillow tops, Wool Underbed Pad and Wool Moisture Protector Pad can’t be tossed in the washing machine, but they can all benefit from being aired outside on a sunny day to keep them fresh, clean and smelling like the great outdoors.Clothesline

Set the item outside and the sun will also naturally lighten and brighten light fabric. For the Wool Moisture Protector Pad, mist lightly with water and sprinkle a little baking soda on the pad to absorb any odors. After a few hours, you can just shake the baking soda off and bring the pad back inside, refreshed.

Home Sweet Home

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Last week I gave pointers on how to keep house cats from decimating our backyard bird populations. Here are a few more tips to keep birdies safe in their Home Sweet Home habitat:

  • Clean up spilled seed regularly to minimize ground-feeding birds.
  • Check fencing & repair any holes where cats and other predators can get through.
  • Use plastic or metal poles to support feeders so cats’ claws cannot help them climb to the feeder. Baffles are another option to deter hunting cats. I also like the mobile-style bird feeder. It works great in the winter when I feed the birds suet: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Bird-Suet-Cakes/

 

Birds

  • Birdbaths & bird feeders should be at least five feet off the ground and away from shrubbery where kitty predators can hide. Ideally, bird feeders should be 10-15 feet off the ground.

Mattress Size and Mattress Dimensions – Lifekind

Mattress sizes can be confusing. What’s the difference, say, between an Eastern king and a California king mattress? How about a twin vs. a twin extra-long? And is a “full” the same as a “double”?

Here on the Lifekind sales team, it’s one of the questions we’re asked most. In North American countries, mattress sizing has been standardized as follows:RulerBend

Twin (sometimes called a “single”):  38 x 75

Twin extra long:  38 x 80

Full (sometimes called a “double”):  54 x 75

Queen:  60 x 80

Eastern (standard) king, or “EK”:  76 x 80

California king, or “CK”:  72 x 84

Two twin extra-long mattresses placed side by side are the same size as an EK, so they’re sometimes used when two sleepers want differing firmnesses. Twin extra-long mattresses are also a popular choice for dorm rooms.

The full size — popularized as a “double” years ago — was previously the most popular size for couples. Now that couples are choosing mostly queen or king sizes, however, fulls are typically used for children or individual sleepers, or for guest rooms.

The most common mattress-size question of all is “Should I get a regular king or a California king?” The appeal of the California king size is an extra four inches of length, but four inches of side-by-side width must be sacrificed to achieve that, so for that reason the standard Eastern king is still the more popular choice. (Sheets for a California king can be hard to find. We do carry them here at Lifekind, however!)   🙂

Whatever size you need, give us a call. We’ll help you find the right mattress for you.Mattress_Stack

Tips How To Keep Your Cat From Eating Native Birds

I have worked diligently to train my cat to not catch birds, and it has ultimately paid off. However, while enjoying a warm summer day on the patio recently, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a bird swoop down at my old orange tabby, who was sunning herself and minding her own business. At first I thought it was funny, until the old kitty decided she’d pursue the bird that had picked a fight.

Looking back to when Peach was six months old, I remember being horrified when she caught her first little brown nuthatch. I instantly saw the impact this furry orange bundle of joy was going to have on the birds in my backyard. I scolded her, and the next time she caught a bird I was equally as strict, and a bit less forgiving.  When Peach caught her first mouse I praised her unendingly, saying “Good kitty – get the mouse,” and with that she took on the persona of mouser superhero and promptly learned that “getting the mouse” had far more rewarding benefits than catching a bird.

According to Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Washington, D.C., American house cats that venture outdoors, along with feral cats, kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds in a year.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/347928/description/Cats_kill_more_than_one_billion_birds_each_year

Many people don’t realize the damage that can occur to native bird populations from the nonnative cat populations so here are five tips I’ve found that can help cats and birds live peacefully in my backyard garden:

1.  Do not praise a cat that captures a bird. Train him when he is little, or any time, for that matter, that it is NOT okay to kill birds. I used a loud, firm tone to scold and startle my kitty.

 

BirdFeeder

2.  Use collar bells on your cat’s breakaway collar to warn birds of her approach.

3.  Keep your cat indoors permanently, or as I have done, do not let him out early in the morning or in the evening without supervision, since this is when birdies are most active, at their peak feeding times.

4.  Keep cats’ claws trimmed to make it more difficult for them to climb trees or catch wild birds.

5.  Take time to play with your cat, providing her with “indoor” toys. An exercised, contented cat will be less likely to go into a wild frenzy on backyard birds.

Slow Bedrooms

 

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We all know what fast food is, but what about Slow Food? Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. Having an awareness of food’s origin in general and using local or home grown organic foods is a start. Slow Food is enjoying the process of preparing meals with quality foods and taking pleasure in tasting and sharing these meals with family and friends. Slow Food emphasizes the importance of food biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and food traditions.

Founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini of Italy, the Slow Food movement has since expanded globally to include 100,000 members in over 150 countries. In Carlo Petrini’s words, “Slow Food unites the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability and harmony with nature” – the antithesis of fast food. To learn more: http://www.slowfood.com/

Within the Slow Movement are many subcultures, including Slow Parenting, Slow Travel, Slow Fashion, Slow Goods, Slow Church and more. All of these groups maintain a connection with community and a focus on ethics, ecology and economy. I am personally inspired by the idea as a whole. Slow is a reminder of how life should be, honored with tradition, thoughtfulness and quality, not quantity. Slowing down and doing things more efficiently can save energy, time and money in the long run. Not to mention the stress relief that comes with simplifying one’s life.

So, what if we were to implement “Slow Bedrooms”? We would draw from the principles of Slow and really enjoy the calmness and restful energy of our bedrooms. Here are some ideas:

  • Slow your bedroom: Have a dim light option or candles. Play calming or meditative music. Decorate with soothing aesthetics. Use healthy, organic bedding. Remove anything harsh or fast. Remove pending or deferred work (like unfinished projects, unfolded laundry or laptop).
  • Bedtime routines to wind down with: Some tea and a book. A bath with calming fragrance. Pamper yourself with a hair oil treatment or a foot massage, for example. Meditation.
  • Slow your wakeup: Use an alarm clock with a nice sound (let me know if you find one – I use a sound on my cell phone). Try a gentle stretch before your feet hit the floor. Open the window or door and take a breath of fresh air and listen for a moment.

PrettyBedroom

 

 

Pillow Fight!

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I am convinced there are two types of pillow fights. One is where we aim to win by whacking each other with brute force (using soft pillows, of course), and the other is the ultimate search to find the right pillow so we can get a good night’s sleep.

Pillow fights have probably been occurring since the dawn of pillows. Dating as far back as Mesopotamian times, around 7,000 BC, pillows were seen as a status symbol. The more pillows someone owned, the more affluent he or she was seen to be. Ancient Romans and Greeks mastered the creation of a softer pillow by stuffing them with reeds, feathers, or straw in order to make them more comfortable.

I won my personal pillow fight when I started using our adjustable Wool-Wrapped Shredded Rubber Pillow. I like it because it provides softness and good support at the same time, not to mention that I would most likely win any pillow fight I could encounter.

It can be challenging to find the right pillow when trying to narrow down all the choices, but one thing’s for sure… When it’s time to replace your old pillows for new ones, save them to use on International Pillow Fight Day: http://2013.pillowfightday.com

Check us out on Amazon!

Are you the kind of person who’s reluctant to order something online without checking out customer reviews first? Then you’re in luck — our website is being updated as we speak to accommodate customer reviews and ratings. Until then, you can go to amazon.com and search for “Lifekind” to find almost every one of the products we stock in our warehouse available for purchase, along with customer reviews. You can even write a review of your own and share your opinion with other shoppers.

Ordering on Amazon is a great way to get started if you know someone who’s considering buying our products for the first time. It’s an easy-to-use format many online shoppers are familiar with, and pricing on Amazon is the same as on our website. If you order $50 or more of qualifying products, you’ll also get your shipping for free!   🙂

Give one of our friendly Product Specialists a call if you’d like more information about ordering on Amazon, or send us a message by clicking the AliveChat window on our home page.

Until then, happy holiday shopping!