Dr. Colette Dowell N.D.  © 2009



Organic Garden Herbs Vegetables Fertilizer Colette Dowell

    There are many little things you can do around the house and for yourself to help you make it through these tough times. The way you use electricity and energy to heat, light, clean and cook in your home; prepare your own foods like making your own yogurt, using natural heat of the sun to cook in pots with lids on them in variable seasons, recycle food, plant a garden, and use blown down limbs, twigs and leaves in the yard as kindling. These are very basic procedures and were used in the recent past in human history (until the age of technology came forward). Oldwife’s tales, folk remedies and many ideas of the past were in use as they worked, and many people had learned these valuable skills by their parents, family members or traditional tribal methods. In these modern days, where our ‘carbon footprint’, economic crisis, weather climate changes and just everything seems to be falling apart, it is time to put into action little changes in one’s life that will improve many issues of ‘our’ overall condition. Therefore, in hopes of helping with little ideas and methods, here is a paper on things you can do that will change a few things for the better and maybe ease up some of the tensions in your life and others.


    After the tips, there is another paper to read "Global Wobbling - Getting Back to Basics", if you choose. It is more philosophical and rambling in nature (with a few foot notes) that was written in hopes too of explanation and understanding a few peculiar things that have transpired in our recent times – The way we were, and the way we are now – how did this happen? Can we change our attitudes; can we make a personal difference and help others?

Little Things to Think About

    Organic vegetable garden flowers grow easy organic produce Colette Dowell

    Most people love flowers and nice shrubbery surrounding their abode; however, at times there is limited space and this is usually allocated for annuals and other favorites. Therefore at times you are not able to plant everything you would like to or need to; priorities are taken into account. Think of this though, next time you are in the grocery section of your favorite market, look at the availability, quality and price of produce offered. Then think about this: Instead of planting flowers this year in your flower garden, plant vegetables that you can eat, and herbs that are perennials and will grow back the following year. You will be surprised at how much money you will save at the grocery section when you are not paying one dollar per tomato or green bell pepper. Red bell peppers sell up to $2-4 each, this is ridiculous, you can grow them, and they will not be radiated or sprayed with wax and pesticides (unless you spray them). Cucumbers, squash, green beans - onions, garlic, all of these, plus more, can grow in your flowerbed this year instead of flowers. You can also save your plastic milk jugs, cut them down and use them as planting pots if you do not have any containers to start seeds if you prefer to use containers. In the old days, tin cans were often used for starting seeds. So, if you are using canned products, wash the can after you eliminate its contents and set it aside until you place dirt and soil in it for your seed. Read up on the seedlings before you plant and know your garden sun – know which month is appropriate to set your seeds/seedlings in the ground as different latitudes and elevations have different growing seasons. You can compost your scraps of salads and vegetable trimmings for nutrients in your soil. This may sound strange, but when you brush your hair,Organic Garden Herbs Vegetables Fertilizer Human Hair Good Colette Dowell Economic Stimulus Recovery remove it from the brush (any trimmings of your hair or your pet's) and cut it up and turn it into the soil. The proteins from it will transfer to the soil (roses love hair and banana peels - good for rose water). If you get grasshoppers and bugs, there are many organic sites online and books that can offer suggestions on how to control insect infestations that will ruin your crops. A nice tomato plant can produce many tomatoes and if you plant it in a large container, you can bring it inside and place it by a well lit window and continue to grow your fruit. If you have small windows, you can strategically place a mirror nearby to help reflect and increase the light.


    When you cut the roots off your onions save them in a lid of water and then plant them in your yard, they will re-grow. This is true for carrots or any vegetables that have exposed roots and are fresh when you eat them. Allow some of the new plants to grow and mature to seed, catch the seed to renew your crop. Remember to compost all waste from vegetables, pasta and such. Place a Tupperware container or a pot with a lid nearby your sink, dump your vegetable waste in it and close the lid so flies and other bugs do not contaminate and mate; this will contain your waste properly until you can dispose of it. Farming Garden Organic Herbs pots planter fertilizer Basil Oregano Photograph by Colette Dowell for Economic Stimulus RecoveryDO NOT PLACE MEAT OR ANIMAL WASTE in your compost if it is not contained in a compost bin because the animal waste will bring in dogs and other animals that seek animal/meat waste. You can make your own compost container if you wish to go that route (or purchase them) or just bury the waste directly into your ground. I bury my waste directly in the ground so I do not have an unsightly bin and odor that attracts animals as easily. It will decay, fertilize and add nutrients to your soil. I have horses on the land, so I use their aged manure. Chicken waste is high in nitrates; therefore, it can be very hot and actually burn your seeds and roots before they even sprout a leaf. Therefore if you use chicken manure/waste, make sure it has aged.


    If you eat yogurt, look at the price of it while in the dairy section. Compare the ounces of yogurt and its cost to the cost of one gallon (128 Ounces) of milk. You can usually make one gallon of yogurt for just a few cents more than the cost of one gallon of milk. Do you see your savings? Yogurt is easy to make and takes only about 12 hours (it is very easy to make in the summer months and is very good to eat with any fresh fruit you have grown). There are basic recipes online and in any good recipe book. 6 ounces of yogurt can cost between $.45 to over one dollar (USA) depending on the brand. Milk can range between $3.50 to $4.50 or more per gallon for non-organic (organic is usually more expensive) depending on your location and nearest local dairy. You can control your yogurt’s fat content as well by using 2% or non-fat milk. I use 2% milk.


    If your groceries are bagged in plastic bags, save them and use them as garbage trash liners for your smaller trashcans, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. You can also use them to place your other garbage in and just tie a knot to close it up and set it aside if your kitchen bin is filled. You can also cut the bags and lay them out flat for use as a waterproof cover for small items. Never waste anything, think of how you can recycle.


Energy Savings fluorescent Light Oil Natural Gas savings Economic Stimulus Recovery  photograph of Colette Dowell with little light burning no LEDS

    If you have those large fluorescent long tube bulb fixtures anywhere in your house, switch out the fixture if you can (usually for less than 15 bucks) and use a regular fixture with a small compact fluorescent bulb. Example: Instead of 4 four foot tubes at 60 watts each using 240 watts of energy, you can get by with a 4 bulb fixture using 15 watt bulbs that produce the light of 60 watts – 4 bulbs at 15 watts equal 60 watts of energy as opposed to 4 regular fluorescent tube lights burning at 60 watts totaling 240 watts of energy – that is a saving of 180 watts alone for that one light fixture. Switch out your bulbs from the old fashioned soft whites to the compact fluorescent if you can, and you will save much energy. I have been using compact fluorescent bulbs since they first came out, and I have some that are still in use after 12 years already in this particular home. At night, instead of leaving lights on everywhere, turn them off when you leave the room. If you need a night light, use the 4-7 watt bulbs in the little fixtures that plug into the outlet. Turn off all wall switches that have plugs in them at night. There are so many little ways to save on your electric bill.


    Burning candles can be expensive if you do not get the slow burning ones. Also, remember, they may smell good, but make sure the ones you purchase are not filled with chemical fragrances, otherwise you are breathing in harmful gases combined with acid smoke - not good. Keep your left over wax, melt it all together and remake new candles with strong cotton string as a wick. Check out internet sites or your local library for information on candle making. I have made candles by reusing my leftover wax that did not burn.


    Instead of using a large electric blanket to keep your bed warm at night, just use a small heating pad and set it next to you in your bed, this will suffice. If you have a small pet, like a cat or very small dog, allow them to lay next to you and keep your hand on their fur, you will exchange heat that way and keep each other warm.


    If you have a working chimney flue in your kitchen (some of the older homes do – however, get it checked by your local fire department to see if it is safe), depending on the burning code in which county or state you live in, you might want to look into obtaining an old cast iron wood stove and use it during the winter to both heat your home and cook on it at the same time.  If you have a fireplace, it would be better used by inserting a cast iron or radiating stove in it so you can heat your home and cook on it at the same time (they are out there, you just have to find them). They make all different size vent pipes, ceramic flues and stoves to fit most fireplaces.


    As far as firewood, if you are in an area that you can burn, collect all plants stems that dry and are standing, place all twigs and debris in a bin and you can use it as kindling and heat your home with it as well. I have huge wild plants that when they die, I use the stalks for kindling to start the larger pieces of sticks. I use everything that I can. You can even use leaves instead of paper. Therefore, when fall comes, and you rake up your leaves, place some of the dry ones in boxes and weight them down and compact them, you will have a paper type natural substance to use as a fire starter instead of using news paper. Just like in the old days, before they had lighter fluids and flammable materials that just cost money.


When you clean your stove out, use the ashes in the garden. However, make sure where you spread them, because some plants do not do well with ash. You must learn about what plant likes what and use what you have to make things work. Check the PH balance of your soil. Lime pellets are also available.


Image of Organic Gardening Yellow Tomatoes Herbs Seeds Rake Economic Stimulus Recovery Photograph Colette Dowell

    In the summer, instead of cooking foods, eat foods that do not need to be cooked (like some of the fresh vegetables you grow - or pick wild berries) and save your energy for heat during the winter months. Fruit is important to eat and you do not need to cook it. Summer foods should be light and have a high content of water in them. Anyway, it does not make sense to raise the temperature in your house by cooking only to reduce it by air conditioning. I very rarely use air conditioning, I have acclimated my body to the summer heat. I do sweat, however it is a natural and normal way for the body to rid itself of toxins. It is healthy for you as long as you watch your water, sodium and potassium intake. If you must cook as in bar b-q, use wood gathered around the house, not charcoal, and burn natural substances. You also can recycle your aluminum foil as well. When I have my big wood stove going in the basement, I wrap potatoes in foil, add a little water and bury them in the hot ashes up front. In one hour, they are cooked and I have a great tasting potato.


    Most electric stoves run on 240 amps and are very high cost to use. You can get a 2 burner hot pate that runs on 110 amps and get by with that. If you need 4 burners, get two hotplates with 2 burners on them. You will save oodles of power that way. There are the new countertop convection ovens, compare the power usage of them before you just buy one though as they vary and you may not be saving any money at all. PROPANE and NATURAL GAS can be very expensive to cook with. Just be smart about what you are preparing to cook at what time during the year.


    Remember that these are times of sacrifice. Instead of taking a bath every day, take a bath every other day and sponge bath in-between (unless you must work a job that gets you absolutely filthy). This will save you on hot water use. I have switched to the tank-less electric hot water unit that only makes hot water on demand, it is great.


    When you wash your clothes, use cold water, unless of course you must soak in hot. Use the gentle cycle (less energy) and cold water and this will even give more life to your clothing. After you wash them, just fling them a bit and (if you want) place them in the dryer on ‘low’ or tumble for a few minutes to get the biggest wrinkles out (about 3-5 minutes) and then hang them (dryers use a tremendous amount of energy). Some neighborhoods have codes that do not allow you to hang your clothes outside. So, instead, hang them in your bathroom on the bathtub/shower rod. There are also little plastic hanging devices sold cheaply at local dime stores that work quite well to hang clothes and such on. You will be surprised how much your electric bill will go down. If you think your clothes are not as soft feeling when hung to dry, try using a fabric softener in the wash (I do not, but I guess that is what it is for). Smooth your clothing out with your hands while it is drying so you do not have to iron. If you do have to iron, it will be minimal.


    Turn off all electric devices you rarely use that have LEDS on them because when you add up all of the little electric things that are running in your house that you do not really use, that is about 20 % of your electric bill right there. I tried it, and yep, I saved about 20 %. I keep my computer printer turned off until I actually need it, and I have unplugged clocks I really do not need on all of the time either and so forth.


    You can sweep your carpet (yes, I know, it does not get the dirt that is grounded in as well as sucking action does) but, if you sweep regularly with a large fine brush broom, you can pick up quite a bit before it gets lost in the fibers. You will save much by not using the electricity to run a vacuum cleaner all of the time. Place old sheets down in front of your entrance doors if you are worried about the winter mud and summer sand. You can easily wash them in cold water in your bathtub, wring them and hang them to dry.


Sunflower Organic Gardening Fertilizer Horse Manure Photograph by Colette Dowell Economic Stimulus Recovery

    Save your little leftover bars of soap as you can still use them. Mash them up with a bit of water and let them get soft and then reform them into a larger piece of soap for yourself. If you like salt in your baths, you can use regular table salt (much cheaper than fancy bath salts, it may not be pure sea salt from far away exotic places, but, remember, this is time of change and sacrifice). Place some in a little jar and drip a few drops of natural essential oil in it or spray your favorite cologne, shake and place a lid on it. You can also add any beneficial healing herbs or Epsom Salts to your mix if you need to detoxify your body. Fresh herbs like Rosemary is very healthy to add in.


    It is nice to have a clean kitchen, but every time you wash dishes, you are using hot water. So, I suggest to just place your dishes in the sink and spray them a bit with a cleaner and (depending on the size of you family) wash all dishes at one time and leave them out to dry as oppose to using the dishwasher that uses a lot of energy. If you drop a bit of bleach in the water, you can get by using warm water to wash your dishes and not waste so much hot water.


    There are many things you can do to save energy and save on food. You just need to be religious about your new habits and stick to them, as they soon will become normal habits. Remember, before modern appliances people did things on their own.


    Instead of just sitting and watching TV, if you must watch TV, at the same time you can be sewing or mending your clothes; knitting an afghan for warmth; cleaning your floors with a little bleach and water; or watering your potted indoor plants that will produce food for you. There are many things you can do to be productive – also being active, you will be exercising your mind and body, in turn burning excess calories and keeping in shape. Overall, you will be healthier and happier.


Chammomile Herb Organic Wild Flowers medicine Tinctures Homeopathy Photograph by Colette Dowell

    New habits are not that hard to develop, it is just changing your thought process and activities. You will be surprised at the good feeling you will begin to feel when you start being productive. If fact, instead of watching TV, work on a craft that you can use to barter and trade with. Learn the little things that you are capable of doing and just start doing them. Whittling wood making buttons, walking canes; anything is better than just wasting a life in front of a TV because we have now been brought up in a world of technology and computers. String beads, make necklaces, make your own medicine from the herbs you grow.  Massage your partner's back and body (or even your own); relax in beautiful ways. There are many things you can do to help yourself; you just need to read and learn and want to change. The most important issue of all of these things I am suggesting to do is to enjoy them and have a good time while you are working at home.


    If you are one of the fortunate who still have a job and are worn out from work when you come home, eat something that will boost your blood sugar to a practical level (fructose) and DO NOT just flop on the couch and turn on the TV…… on your bed if needed and get quality relaxation. This is more beneficial to you than watching TV, being exposed to electromagnetic fields and getting your brain fried by violence and vulgar pornographic scenes that takes away from the natural love and beauty of the physical realm of attraction. Be good to yourself and start protecting yourself from exposure of negative input; the nightly news is horrible to watch unless you need to know about the weather. It is better to watch “National Geographic” or the “Discovery Channel” (if you receive them or even “Andy of Mayberry” or “Twilight Zone” reruns) before it is to watch the evening news that just rehashes and pounds in your brain just how bad things are, are going to get, and who got murdered or raped that day. Why can’t most stations use the evening news to educate people about what is good in life?



Economic Stimulus Recover Politics George Bush Dick Cheney Dance DO NOT WORRY secret agent Colette Dowell joke

    As far as the economy and the politics that are going on right now, it is out of our hands unless you belong to groups that write frequently to Legislators and Lobbyists – or you are a Politician. Let the Politicians do what they will; they Egyptian Heiroglyphics Antique Book illustrations New Language Learn at Home READ and educate yourself work at home Colette Dowellwill do what they want any way. Do not allow yourself to be wrapped up in the negativity that is spreading like flooding waters and fill your brain with negative emotions. Move on, and do things that are fun and positive - like read a story to your children; play with Play-Doe and make little figures; or draw in a coloring book. Just do not get filled with sadness that will drain your body of needed energy and life's goodness, and make you feel bad out on a limb all alone. You must stay positive at this time and be productive. Grow some herbs or build a birdhouse, learn how to play an instrument or paint a picture. You can even take the time to learn another language or pick up a hard copy book with old fashioned illustrations and feel in awe of that magical imagery that was once printed on paper years ago before everything went digital.


NOTE TO SOME: This paper is a bit hypocritical because I am on my laptop computer writing right now, which is tech stuff and digital. However, what you do not see is this: I have an old video tape movie playing; my cat is on my lap; my wood stove is heating my home; I am snuggled up in my leggings with a hand crocheted afghan keeping me warm while one 15 watt bulb is burning as I sit here, and think of positive things to share with others to help them through these times. by Dr. Colette Dowell





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