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How to Tap a Walnut Tree


Usually you hear about people tapping maple trees, but there are several other trees you can tap as well including walnut and birch trees.  Although I have birch trees, I decided to tap a walnut tree.   (Teri at Homestead Honey wrote a post about walnut tapping which fascinated me.)  My inner child cartwheeled with glee all around the walnut trees.  So I want to teach you how to tap a walnut tree as well.  

It is only my first time, so next year I will be better prepared.

Timing is Everything!

Timing is everything.  You want a freeze thaw type of temperature.  For example, you need a freezing temperature at night and then temperatures in at least the forties and fifties degrees during the day.  Given, this crazy winter, I should have been more mindful of the temperatures.

Michael Farrell, Ph.D. , the Director of The Uihlein Forest, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources explains as follows:

“Freezing temperatures in early spring cause the tree to go into negative pressure and brings water up from the ground into the tree’s cambium layer. Warming temperatures during the day cause the tree to thaw again which releases the water, now in the form of sap, back down through the cambium. It’s the freezing and thawing events that cause sap to flow back and forth in late March and early April.”

Typically, you tap walnut trees the same time as maple trees.  I am zone 6 (New Jersey) so Maple trees are usually tapped in mid February to March, weather permitting.  (Birch trees are tapped later.  To learn about birch tree tapping, read HERE.)

Prerequisite to Tapping a Tree:

Before you tap a tree, you need to make sure it is healthy and the right diameter.  Generally, walnut trees can be tapped when they are about 10 to 15 years old and 10 to 12 inches in diameter.  (Maple trees must be 25 years old.)

However Dr. Farrell states during our email interview that an exact diameter for tapping is up for debate.

“It depends not just on the size but also the growth rate of the trees. For fast growing walnut trees, they may be tapped when they are less than 10 inches, perhaps as small as 5 or 6” in diameter.”

So here are some other prerequisites:

  1.  Tap on the south side of the tree, two to three  feet from the base.
  2.  Walnut trees have ridges, so you want to tap into the ridge part of the tree.  (This is the sapwood of the tree.)
  3.  Have patience.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
  4.  If your trees are large, you can put in more than one tap.

How to Tap a Walnut Tree:

Tools you need:

  • a drill with the appropriate drill bit based upon your spout size to make a two inch hole.
  • A hammer to tap the spout into the tree.
  • A bucket of some sort.  You can use any type of bucket.  We used old plastic vinegar containers and drilled a hole in the middle.
  • A spout.  We used a 5/16th stainless steel spout in following Teri’s post.  It has a little lip so you can hang the bucket or container on it.
  • A top to cover the buckets to keep out the rain and snow.  Since we used a plastic vinegar container with a stopper we didn’t need a top.
  • Rope, twine, or bungee cords.  We live in a wind area and you want to secure the bottles.  One did fall off when we had a terrible wind storm one weekend.  (I think it wasn’t properly tightened.)
  • Shoes you don’t mind getting dirty.  You will need to check every day or so if you have sap.
  • A camera or your cell phone!  You will want to shoot pictures of it and share with friends when you see a clear liquid in the container.  (I was jumping like a little kid.)

Watch Dr. Farrell as he taps a walnut tree.



Just in case you don’t want to watch the above video, here are written instructions:



  1.  Drill a two inch hole into the south side of the tree about two to three foot from the bottom of the tree.  (We drilled at four feet.  Another mistake.)  If you are tapping more than one hole, Theresa of Tiny Homestead suggests keeping the taps one foot apart.  She also suggests for every additional 6 to 8 inches in diameter, you can add another tap.  Before you get tap happy, remember you have to boil down the syrup which is very time consuming.
  2.  You need to drill on the ridge to tap into the sapwood of the tree.  (We made this mistake.)  According to Dr. Farrell, sap flows best through the sapwood.    When you take out the drill from the tree, the wood shavings should be white.
  3. Insert a spout.  We purchases an aluminium 5/16th one from HERE.  You can buy a variety of spouts from Lead Evaporator or Tap My Trees which have hooks, buckets, etc.  We chose an aluminium spout because I wanted something strong.  Plus this spout had the smallest diameter I could find so as not to hurt the tree.
  4. Use a hammer to gently tap in the spout.
  5. We cleared away some of the bark to make sure the plastic bottles were flush with the tree. (However, you can follow this method which doesn’t remove any bark.)


6.  As I mentioned above, we live in a windy area, so we used 2 bungee cords for each tree to secure the containers.

7.  If you use vinegar bottles, be sure to tip quickly or get the liquid to the side of the non-holed side before tipping.  Otherwise, the liquid will come out the tapping hole and you will lose the liquid.  (This happened to us.)

8.  Collect every day.  It is possible you might need to collect twice a day.  This is one of the reason I only tapped each tree once because I knew I didn’t have the patience to render that much sap.


How much liquid did we get?  About a spaghetti jar.  I think we were a tad too late to tap the trees.

The liquid can only stay in the refrigerator for a few days.  Some people render the sap right away because you might get a lot of syrup.  I put mine in the freezer since I didn’t have time to render it.  Dr. Farrell told me it should be fine.  (You know I love to preserve food in my freezer.)

Just in case, if you are wondering what did the sap taste like, I think it tastes like water from the tree.  In fact it looks like water too!

Dr. Farrell states it tastes  like a “lighter maple syrup, with nutty butterscotch overtones” when it is rendered into syrup.

Next  Year Tapping:

As for next year, I will probably tap in January.  Dr Farrell advised, “You should use a new spout each year or do the best job you can to sterilize an older spout if you will be using old spouts.”

Catch my next post as I render the syrup.  Wish me luck.Similar Posts:

The post How to Tap a Walnut Tree appeared first on Green Talk®.

How to Make the Perfect Glass of Shakeology

How do you make the perfect glass of Shakeology?? Watch this video to find out: Why am I so passionate about Shakeology? Because finding the right balance of good nutrition can have a tremendous impact on our busy lives. Yes, it tastes like dessert to me. Yes, it has over 70 superfoods in it. But […]The post How to Make the Perfect Glass of Shakeology appeared first on I Thought I Knew...

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A Mind of Your Own: Treating Depression Without Drugs

I received a reviewer’s copy of A Mind OF Your Own: What Women Can Do About Depression That Big Pharma Can’t by Kelly Brogan, MD, a holistic Psychiatrist and I could’t put it down. I read this fascinating book cover to cover with such interest that I highlighted and took notes on every other page....

The post A Mind of Your Own: Treating Depression Without Drugs appeared first on Dr. Karen S. Lee.

Stop Shopping and Start Sharing! New Lower Cost Toy Rental Subscriptions from Pley

This fall I wrote about The Top Reasons for Renting Versus Buying New Toys with PLEY – waste, clutter, money, boredom, and eco-consciousness. Total no brainer, right? Recently PLEY announced a new, lower-cost program enabling even more kids to rent educational toys, and an even wider catalog that includes toys for preschoolers and toddlers. Originally launched with […]

2 Ingredient Carpet and Mattress Cleaner

I have a love-hate relationship with carpet. I love that my feet don't get cold when I get out of bed in the morning. I love how I don't fall tumble weeds of cat fur in the corners. I hate that this means that the fur is sitting deep inside the carpet - taunting me when I vacuum. Years ago I had read that using a carpet cleaner in a powder form would reduce the friction and static of the particles stuck in your carpet, making it easier to suck up.

Traditional carpet cleaners come into two forms, either a foam or a powder.  Foam carpet cleaners are sprayed onto carpets and then wiped away with a cloth or with a wet vac. They contain an extremely long list of hazardous ingredients including: ammonium hydroxide, polyacrylates, methylchloroisothiazolinone, propane, isobutane, and of course - fragrance.  Powder carpet cleaners are sprinkled onto carpets and then sucked up with a vacuum cleaner. The list of hazardous ingredients is just as long as foam carpet cleaners and while they contain a lot of the same ingredients they also include: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and filler. FILLER?  This is just another way for ingredients to be hidden under a generic term, similar to fragrance. 

Your risk of exposure is in the application of both products. With foam cleaners the concern is vapors becoming airborne, while with powder cleaners it is fine particles becoming airborne.  Skin exposure can occur from tracking powder throughout the home and from residue leftover on the carpet after you are finished cleaning. Your vacuum will also become contaminated withe products and could be transferred to other areas, increasing your exposure each time you clean. In both product types, exposure can lead to respiratory issues, skin and eye irritation and triggering of allergies.  

There are products on the market like Arm and Hammer with a smaller ingredient list and while it is a vast improvement they still contain fragrance, which is the black hole of hazardous ingredients. An easy way to reduce your exposure and create a healthy home is to make your own carpet cleaner.

DIY Carpet Cleaner

What You Need
1 cup baking soda
5 drops of our favourite essential oil (buy here)

What To Do
Place baking soda and essential oil into a glass jar with a lid. Mix well to combine the essential oil. Sprinkle onto your carpet, allow to sit for 5 minutes and then vacuum as your normally would. For a typical sized bedroom I have found that I use 1/3 cup of the mixture.  Once a quarter follow the same process and then follow up by using a steam cleaner on the carpets. 

Bonus is that you can use it as a mattress cleaner too!  Cleaning your mattress gets rid of dead skin and any mites that might be living off of them. Sprinkle the top of your mattress with your homemade powder, let sit for 5 minutes and then vacuum it off. When picking your essential oil for a mattress cleaner think about scents that are calming and can aid in sleep. Make sure you steer clear of ones like peppermint that aid in waking you up. Don't forget to clean the sides and bottom of your mattress too.

Do you make your own carpet and mattress cleaner?  What is your recipe?

Related Posts - Check them Out
4 Ingredient Non Toxic Deodorant
Eliminate Mold Naturally
Are You Using Your Steam Cleaner Properly?

This post contains an Affiliate link that when used helps to pay for this blog. 

Korean Style Paleo Seafood Pancakes

If you have ever been to a Korean restaurant, Scallion Pancakes or Seafood Pancakes – a.k.a. Pajeon – are one of the most popular appetizers, next to Jap Chae. Usually, the pancake is divided into equal pieces, like pizza slices, and they are served with a dipping sauce. Koreans have been making these savory pancakes...

The post Korean Style Paleo Seafood Pancakes appeared first on Dr. Karen S. Lee.

Choose Safer Cleaning Products this Spring! +21 DIY Recipes


Why does Spring make you want to clean?  I have this natural instinct to open the window, dump drawers, and scrub like a mad woman.  But here’s the rub.  Are your chemically laden cleaning products making you a mad woman or man?  Stop!  Learn why you need to make the jump to safer cleaning products.  Your health is just too darn important.  But don’t fret–I have you covered with 21 DIY recipes ranging from your own DIY Kombucha cleaning recipe to a healthier homemade goo be gone.

Are you ready to ditch the toxic cleaners?

Why Should You Use Safer Cleaning Products?

Take a peek at your present cleaners. Go ahead and turn over the bottle. I will wait.

Environmental Working Group lists the following red flags:

  • “Chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer.
  • Will burn skin and eyes.
  • Will penetrate skin and attack underlying tissues and bone.
  • Suspected of damaging the unborn child.”

Does your products contain any of those warning?  Do you really want to use them now?

While you are at it, be sure to check EWG’s Hall of Shame.  Some of your favorite cleaners might be on their list.

Some cleaners are just downright nasty and could harm your family and you.

These toxic cleaning products can cause an increased risk in developing the following:

#1 Asthma

Studies have showed that asthma symptoms may worsen or develop from the inhalation of certain chemicals such as:

  • benzlkonium chloride, which are added to products to kill germs, disinfect air freshners, and fabric softners.
  • Ethanolamines which are used to control product acidity or act as detergents in cleaning products
  • Bleach.  Yep.  The old stand-by.   Beware of sodium hychlorite and amonnia hydroxide.
  • Products similar to pine and citrus cleaner which contain VOCs that react with chemicals in the air.  The California Air Resources Board recommends not to use these type of products on warm days because of  the high ozone level in the air.

#2 Cancer:

EWG surveyed many manufacturers to find that certain products contained known carcinogenics, which included formaldehyde, and 1, 4 dioxanine.

Formaldehyde may be generated in cleaners by formaldehyding releasing preservatives such as bronopol (also known as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol.)  Similar to fragrance, formaldehye formation is worse on smoggy days.  The Report on Carcinogens, Thirteenth Edition from the National Toxicity Program states formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

The National Toxicity Program regards 1,4 dioxane as a  “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.”  1,4 dioxane is a by-product from the reaction of chemicals (PEG and polyethylene compounds) during the manufacturing of detergents, shampoos, surfactants, and some food additives.  It is also in paint strippers and varnishes as well. The general public is exposed through contact with these residues as well through ground water contamination.

A recent story in the Record found traces of 1,4 dioxane  in more than 80 NJ drinking water systems. Currently, there are no standards for the regulation of this chemical in drinking water.

#3 Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity:

The EWG’s manufacturing survey revealed that borax, boric acid, Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether (DEGME.) and sodium perborate were in some of the products.  These chemicals are  known or suspected to cause reproductive and developmental toxicity.

These chemicals are found in laundry or dishwashing detergents. ( Sodium perborate, an oxygen bleach, releases sodium borate during the bleach process.)

Studies on both men and women, who are exposed to high doses of boric acid, revealed that both men and women suffered reproductive toxicity.

Men have a higher risk of decreased sperm count and libido.  On the other hand, female exposure could lead to reduced ovulation and fertility.

In addition, in the case of high exposure, borax and boric acid can cross the placenta, which in turn can lead to fetal skeletal development and birth weight issue.

However, EWG notes that the EPA failed to create a risk assessment of boric acid and borax in products which includes cosmetics and cleaners so it is unknown what the risk associated with using these chemicals are.

Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether  is used as a degreaser in cleaning products.  A 1989 California’s Department of Health Fact sheet regarding occupational hazards of  glycol ethers, indicated that certain ethers (including DEGME)  impact reproductive health. Men have suffered from lower sperm counts and children of women exposed had birth defects.

Again, EWG notes that there are few studies evaluating the reproductive risk of cleaning products that contain this chemical.

#4 Allergies and Irritation:

Many cleaner can cause mild to severe irritations to eyes, skin, and lungs. The Washington Toxic Coalition states that drain cleaners, most oven cleaners, some toilet bowl cleaners and rust removers can burn skin or eyes.

Cleaning products are among the products most frequently ingested accidentally by children. Corrosive and solvent-based products can cause serious damage.

Bleach has been linked to wheezing, respiratory damage as well as nose and eye irritation.  In a 2009 study, researchers found that people who cleaned their home with bleach were more likely to have respiratory symptoms.

In addition, fragrances added to products may cause respiratory irritation, headaches, sneezing and watery eyes to those who are sensitive to fragrance or are allergic and/or an asthma sufferer.

Worse yet, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found a third of the chemicals used from fragrances are toxic.  Many of the companies don’t list the chemicals used for their fragrances since they are considered trade secrets.  Detergents, fabric softeners and many cleaners contain fragrance.

#5 Accidents:  Burns and Poisonings:

Cleaning products are the most frequently ingested by children, in which corrosive and solvent based products can cause serious damage.  According to the EWG, in 2010, 116,000 poison control calls were for children under the age of 5 involved in household cleaning accidents.

In addition, cleaning products can cause serious burns to the skin and eyes.  They also can cause permanent tissue damage.  Inhaling certain cleaners can cause harm to the lungs.

Okay–Isn’t it time to ditch your cleaners?

I think so.

What Do I Use?

I am a vinegar, soap, and bonami type of girl.  It is easy on the wallet and so much better for you than many of the store bought green cleaners.  In fact if you want to get fancy, you can spice up your vinegar with orange and grapefruit peels or basil flowers.  (Just an FYI, if you do make your vinegar by seeping basil flowers in it, use it rather quickly.  It looses its smell quickly.)

Make Your Own DIY Cleaners:

So if you are ready to ditch the chemicals here are list of DIY recipes for you to make yourself.

How to Make Orange Peel Vinegar–Green Talk

DIY Non-toxic Goo Gone Gunk Remover–The Soft Landing

Multi-purpose Kombucha Cleaner. –Good Girl Gone Green.

Homemade Soft Scrub Recipe + 12 More Awesome Uses for Castile Soap–Happy Mothering

Homemade Window Cleaner Recipe–Happy Mothering

Homemade Furniture Polish to Make Wood Shine Naturally–Happy Mothering

Homemade Upholstery Cleaner Using Simple Ingredients–Happy Mothering

Homemade Shower Cleaner That’s Great for the Tub & Tile Too!–Happy Mothering

How to Remove Pet Urine Odor Naturally–The Soft Landing

Truly Effective and Non-toxic Bleach Alternatives–The Soft Landing

All Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner–Homespun Seasonal Living

Vodka Disinfectant Spray Recipe–Scratch Mommy

6 DIY Non Toxic Cleaning Recipes–Small Footprint Family

DIY Herbal Cleaner –It Takes Time

DIY Washing Soda–It Takes Time

Pumice for Cleaning–It Takes Time

12 Natural Cleaning Methods Using Vinegar and Baking Soda–Dr. Karen S. Lee

How to Clean a Moldy Shower Curtain without Bleach–Dr Karen S. Lee

Homemade Anti-Mold Spray & Bathroom Cleaner + 10 Ways to Reduce Moisture in Your Home and Clean Your Indoor Air–Recipes to Nourish

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner Recipe–Dr. Karen S. Lee

How to Spring Clean Your Bathroom Naturally–O’Boy Organic

Want More?  Be sure to visit HERE where I list another (yes another) 11 more recipes such as Herbal Scouring Powder to How to clean carpet.

PS Be sure to check out Anna Lee Herbs for any of your dried herbal needs.  Homegrown, harvest and dried from my garden.

Join the Conversation:

Do you use safer cleaning products that you love or do you have a homemade recipe to share?


National Toxicology Program. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from
Borax: Not the green alternative it’s cracked up to be. (2011, February 17). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from
Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service. (2008, May 6). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from
How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies? (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from
Zock, J., Plana, E., Antó, J. M., Benke, G., Blanc, P. D., Carosso, A., . . . Kogevinas, M. (2009). Domestic use of hypochlorite bleach, atopic sensitization, and respiratory symptoms in adults. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 124(4). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from

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The post Choose Safer Cleaning Products this Spring! +21 DIY Recipes appeared first on Green Talk®.

Calendula Benefits and Uses: Plus 16 DIY Recipes


Calendula is my go to flower in the summer.  Behind those cheery yellow and orange blossoms is a whole lot of awesome calendula benefits.  Calendula has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that aid in healing so many aliments.  So, let’s jump right in and you will see why I love this plant. And as an added bonus,  I included 16 different DIY product recipes that you can make yourself right now.

Let’s get started.

Calendula Benefits and Uses:

Some History:

Calendula has been used since at least the 12th Century for a variety of aliments such as treating stomach upset, stomach ulcers, and menstrual cramps. The Romans used the juice from the fresh flowers to cure warts, jaundice, measles and small pox. Additionally, calendula balms and creams were used in the Civil and First World War as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agents.

It is known for:

Healing Burns, Diaper Rash, Cuts, and Bruises

Calendula applies to the skin can help heal bruises, burns, diaper rash and wounds.  In fact, a 2011 study confirmed that calendula extracts applied to rats’ wounds healed faster.

Reducing Throat and Neck Radiation Effects:

Calendula helps to reduce throat and neck radiation effects.  In a 2013 study, subjects gargled with a 2% calendula formula while undergoing radiation for neck and head cancer. The study found that the solution helped reduce damage to the mucuous membranes of the throat.


Helping with Insomnia

The tincture is used in homeopathy for the treatment of insomnia and mental tension.

Preventing Dermatitis for Breast Cancer Radiation:

Breast cancer radiation can cause dermatitis.  A 2004 study revealed that dermatitis was significantly reduced when calendula was used versus a topical application, trolamine.

Reducing Ear infection (otitis media) Pain:

If you have ever had an ear infection, then you know how painful it is.  A 2001 study showed that a homeopathic remedy which contained calendula as an ingredient was beneficial to alleviate ear pain.

Reducing Blood Sugar:

Insulin resistance has become an epidemic.  A 2001 study revealed that calendula delays gastric emptying in mice and thus lowered blood sugar.

Alleviated Ulcer & Gastritis Symptoms:

A 1981 study revealed that an herb remedy which included calendula quickly reduced problems related to digestion and palpitations in patients with ulcers or gastroduodenitis.

Moreover, a German study found the herb reduces hormonal reaction that produces swelling of the stomach lining. According to Phyllis Balch, author of the book, “Prescription of Natural Healing,” using calendula may counteract Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with both gastritis and peptic ulcers.

Food Allergies:

Calendula prevents overgrowth of candida in the bowel, which in turn helps reduce food allergies.

Bowel Disease:

Calendula helps reduce inflammation and pain in the bowels.  It also relaxes the digestive muscles to help with the bowels.


Calendula has been used to heal conjunctivitis.  In addition, the tea is used as an eye wash.

Consideration for Use:

Balch advises due to the cumulative nature of  the anti-bacterial toxins in calendula, it is advisable to use the herb no more than the earlier of  2 weeks or  after the symptoms have subsided.  Wait six weeks before resuming the use of the herb.

In addition, when taken internally, calendula can increase the sedative effect of medication taken for anxiety and insomnia.

Moreover, if you have a sensitivity to ragweed, you may have a sensitivity to calendula since they are in the same plant family.

Recipes to Make Your Own Calendula Ointments, Salves, etc.


Now that you have hopped on the calendula benefits train, here are 16 recipes for you to try.

(PS If you are thinking of making your own herbal remedies,  Jan of the Nerdy Farm Wife just wrote  the book, 101 Healthy Products for Skin, Health and Home.)

If you are just looking to make the tea, HERE is a recipe to follow.

Where to Buy Calendula:

If you don’t want to grow it, you can buy it from me at Anna Lee Herbs. I sell both the petals and the entire flower.

I grow calendula from seed, harvest it and dry it on the farm.  All packages are vacuumed sealed for freshness.

So what are you waiting for?  Go make some balm!

(PS There are a ton of other great herbs at Anna Lee Herbs that are waiting for you to whip into a product, sprinkle on your food,  or make a nice herbal cup of tea. Don’t keep them waiting.)

****As always, the information provided above has not been approved by the FDA and it is not intended for medical purpose.  Many of these studies were conducted with small control groups.  Please consult your medical doctor or holistic practitioner before taking any herb especially if you are pregnant and/or nursing.****

Can I Ask a Favor?

Please pin and share this article via your social media channels so everyone can learn why calendula is so awesome? Thanks from the bottom of my garden boots!


Join the Conversation:

Do you use calendula?


Arora, D., Rani, A., & Sharma, A. (2013). A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula. Pharmacognosy Reviews Phcog Rev,7(14), 179. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

Babaee, N., Moslemi, D., Khalilpour, M., Vejdani, F., Moghadamnia, Y., Bijani, A., . . . Moghadamnia, A. A. (2013). Antioxidant capacity of calendula officinalis flowers extract and prevention of radiation induced oropharyngeal mucositis in patients with head and neck cancers: A randomized controlled clinical study. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences DARU,21(1), 18. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from*~hmac=5dffbb19131c27edb2d77537671ca352474a8082712dfe562a957b36e451f039.

Balch, J. F., & Balch, P. A., (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. New York, NY: Avery.

Chakŭrski, I., Matev, M., Stefanov, G., Koĭchev, A., & Angelova, I. (1981). Treanntment of duodenal ulcers and gastroduodenitis with a herbal combination of Symphitum officinalis and Calendula officinalis with and without antacids. Vutr Boles,20, 44-47. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

Ehrlich, S. D. (2015, June 15). Calendula. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from

Parente, L., & Andrade, M. (2011). Angiogenic activity of Calendula officinalis flowers L. in rats. Acta Cirurgica Brasileira, 26(1), 19-24, 26(1), 19-24. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

Pommier, P. (2004). Phase III Randomized Trial of Calendula Officinalis Compared With Trolamine for the Prevention of Acute Dermatitis During Irradiation for Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology,22(8), 1447-1453. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

Sarrell, E. M., Mandelberg, A., & Cohen, H. A. (2001). Efficacy of Naturopathic Extracts in the Management of Ear Pain Associated With Acute Otitis Media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 155(7), 796. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

Yoshikawa, M., Murakami, T., Kishi, A., Kageura, T., & Matsuda, H. (2001). Medicinal Flowers. III. Marigold. (1): Hypoglycemic, Gastric Emptying Inhibitory, and Gastroprotective Principles and New Oleanane-Type Triterpene Oligoglycosides, Calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, from Egyptian Calendula officinalis. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin,49(7), 863-870. Retrieved March 15, 2015, from

Disclaimer:  There may be affiliate links in this article.  Thanks for helping Green Talk to keep pumping out great content.  (Oh–and thanks for helping with my plant obsession.)Similar Posts:

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25 Days of Spring Cleaning for a Healthier Home

Regardless of the amount of snow on the ground, I am jumping into Spring and starting by cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. A few weeks ago, something in me just clicked and I decided to do a full house overhaul. Cleaning, decorating, finally completing the honey-do list...I am going to get it all done. I have broken down Spring Cleaning into 5 weeks, cleaning 5 days each week with 2 days of rest or you know you can just call those your laundry days. Fucking laundry. I have pulled together my favourite cleaning tips and tried out the ones that are popular to see if they really work (spoiler alert - they don't).

I tried cleaning in two different ways, either room by room or by grouping like items together. While there is more instant satisfaction in cleaning a full room, it takes longer than cleaning like items all throughout your home. My recommendations below will be based on that approach, but if you prefer to clean room by room you can simply modify the list to suit that approach. It should only take you an hour or so each day, depending on what you are cleaning. Some weeks I combined items only because I had more time and wanted an extra day off. You could breeze through the entire list if really wanted to or if you really love cleaning (who are you???).

Start high and work towards the floors. You don't want to clean one area and then when cleaning an area above it and get dust (or whatever) all over the area you previously cleaned. Not that it happened to me when I cleaned the bathroom fan after cleaning the toilet the previous day. Nope, not at all.

Open the windows as often as possible. If you live in a colder climate you probably haven't had the windows open since September. As soon as it is sunny and above freezing crack those windows for at least a few minutes.

Week 1 - Ceiling Fans, Lights, Window Coverings, Windows, Mirrors

It is important to clean your fans so they don't recirculate dust throughout your home. It is especially important to give them a good cleaning after they haven't been used for awhile.  I spray mine with a vinegar/water/grapefruit essential oil mix and then wipe off with a reusable cloth. I have always found this to be more effective than using a vacuum or just dry dusting.

Don't forget your bathroom fans. They can become quickly clogged with dust which makes them less efficient at removing moisture from the air. This could increase your chances of growing mildew and mold. Remove the cover and soak in the sink with warm water and castile soap. Remember to unplug the fan before cleaning. Spray a reusable cloth with your vinegar/water/essential oil mix and wipe down the fan. Once done, plug the fan back in a replace the cover.

My favourite recipe for cleaning mirrors and windows is a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar with a few drops of orange essential oil. Instead of a cloth I use old newspapers, which guarantees a streak free shine.

Week 2 - Walls, Dusting, Mattresses, Linens, Pillows

I try not to think about all the really gross things that are living on my mattress and pillows. I watched an episode of Oprah once and they showed the up close footage of someones pillow and I literally yelled BURN IT TO THE GROUND.

Mattress Cleaner
  1. Follow this recipe for mattress cleaner.
  2. Sprinkle on top of your mattress (sheets already removed, of course) and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Vacuum the top and sides of the mattress and then flip it over.
  4. Sprinkle more of your baking soda mix and let it sit again.
  5. Vacuum the top and sides.
  6. If your mattress allows you to sleep on either side then make sure that the side that was the top is now on the bottom.
If you need to replace your pillow consider alternative uses for them instead of throwing them in the garbage.

Week 3 - Appliances, Furniture, Toys, Toilets, Sinks, Front Porch

I have had a particular Pin in my Cleaning and Laundry board for awhile now and I was so excited to try it that I even gave up outside time on the nicest day of the year! There are so many rave reviews over cleaning your microfiber couch with rubbing alcohol and with those reviews comes pictures that show success. I tried it. Oh did I try it. I doesn't work. I scrubbed and scrubbed and when it dried it looked EXACTLY the same. All those blog posts tell you not to use water because that will just increase the number of stains you have. I have always used soap and water to clean my microfiber couch so I knew the secret to success is to clean the entire cushion each time you have stain. You won't get a water ring if you treat the whole cushion in the same manner.  The 3rd option I tried was using my steam cleaner. It worked well but due to the inconsistent distribution of steam it was not consistently clean over the whole cushion. It also was really had to make it work on the vertical cushions.

Clean Your Microfiber Couch
  1. Mix castile soap and water in a reusable container.
  2. Dip a cloth that is a similar colour to your couch in the water/soap mix and start in one corner of the top cushion. Always start at the top cushion so you don't drip water on a cushion you have already scrubbed.
  3. Rub aggressively, it will hurt but it will be worth it. 
  4. Remember to stop and hydrate with wine.
  5. Continue to keep the cloth wet and scrub until the entire cushion has been cleaned. 
  6. If you see any of the previous water/juice stains coming through, continue to scrub until they disappear.
  7. Continue on to the other cushions.
  8. Once dry, fluffy the cushions up with a bristled brush or with your vacuum furniture brush. 

Going forward I will clean my couch using soap and water and then once a quarter steam clean it followed up by soap and water.

Week 4 - Pantry, Cupboards, Doors, Knobs, Stuffed Animals, Car

Having your car on this list may seem out of place but it really isn't. The inside of your car can get really gross over the winter months, with salt build up and don't even get me started on what is on the floor in the back seat. Cleaning your car will ensure that you don't track any of that dirt back into your now clean house. Tackle it the same way that you would your house, starting at the top and working your way down to the raisin and rock filled floors.

Week 5 - Floors, Carpets, Baseboards, Furnace Filters, Air Conditioning

Baseboards can kiss my ass. Some people get on their hands and knees and scrub them with a toothbrush. I am not one of those people.  I vacuum all of my floors (even tile and hardwood) and use the wand tool to get any dust/cat fur off of the baseboards.  Then when I am washing the floor with my steam cleaner I wash the baseboards too.

Freshen up your carpets and break the static cling by using my carpet cleaner recipe.

What are your best Spring Cleaning tips?

Related Posts - Check them Out
Cast Iron Care for Really Busy People
My Favourite Uses for Essential Oils
Eliminate Toxins Hiding as Fragrance

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Camping at Halfway Lake Provincial Park

You are going to start to notice a theme with my camping posts. They will most likely all start out with me telling you about our trip being delayed, meltdowns (mine) and food being left behind. I think we are starting to get better at dealing with travel day stress but for some reason it still doesn't stop us from thinking we can actually get out of the house on time on a Friday night after working all day. We had decided to head North to get away from the overpopulated Southern parks and since it was a 7 hour drive we planned to split the drive up by heading out Friday night and driving 2.5 hours to another park for the night. Insert laughter here. This plan hinged on us leaving the house by 4PM, and leave by 4PM we did not. In fact the packing of the truck had only just begun and we did not pull out of the driveway until almost 6PM.

I don't want to brag or anything but when it's dark and you are tired, admitting defeat and getting a room for the night is a pure genius move.

Halfway Lake is located about an hour north west of Sudbury. There isn't a lot around the park so grab anything you might need when you first get onto Hwy 144. The drive to the park is stunning with its rock outcrops, tall trees and lakes. There is both car camping and back country camping available and we opted for car camping because it was our first time in the area. After navigating the lake I think back country camping would be doable for a someone who has basic experience in the back country.

Top 5 Reasons to Go to Halfway Lake
  1. The solitude that comes with a northern park. I could hear a squirrel fart it was that quiet. 
  2. The canoeing is fantastic. You could go out on the same lake multiple times and always be exploring new parts.
  3. Sudbury is a great day trip to give yourself a break, especially if it rains.
  4. The sites are amazing. Large, private and well maintained.
  5. You can drink a Black Bear where it was invented (by Me).

Must Have's For Camping at Halfway Lake
Stainless steel drinking glasses
Cast iron pan
Camping hammock
Map of stars and constellations

We stayed in the Hawksnest North campground where the campsites are huge and offer a lot of privacy, not that privacy was really needed because the park was pretty much empty during the week. There are a lot of seasonal campers at this park so the weekends are busy but as soon as Sunday night rolls around the park really clears out and only a handful of campers remain.

Must See and Do

It is a miracle that our canoe trips don't result in only one adult returning. Because we are total morons, we decided that a large windy lake was the perfect lake to switch up our traditional paddling positions. All the expert canoeist are laughing right now, I can hear you. We had our destination in mind, a small island that I had located on the map. Joe traditionally sits in the back of the canoe to steer but I suggested we switch because I have more experience canoeing and it was windy.

I'm still shocked we made it to the island. Not due to anyone's fault (other than mine) but just that we were so used to our traditional roles in the canoe that we had a hard time not reverting back to those roles. A canoe with two people steering is a recipe for disaster.

Pro Tips
  • There are several islands and landings that you can explore on Halfway Lake so give yourself at least half a day. 
  • Bring your fishing gear with you in your canoe and hopefully you will have better luck than we did catching something.
  • Be smart and bring safety gear, a map, snacks and water.

The trails at Halfway Lake are designed to allow you to go as far into the woods as you want to. They are loops within loops so you can chose a length that is most comfortable for you. It was a hot day when we set out and Joe had forgotten to bring any sort of sensible footwear so we opted for the shortest route, which took about an hour to complete. The trail is all uphill one way until you reach a lookout and then it is downhill the rest of the loop.

What is really interesting about Halfway Lake is its history. Within the woods we saw first hand the devastation from the 2002 tornado that ripped through the park.  Old trees were toppled onto the ground but all around them was new life beginning to take over, showing the makings of a new forest. From the lookout (and from the lake) you can also see the damage that the park sustained during the 2009 fire. 

It takes an hour to get to Sudbury, which makes for a really great day trip. We selected what looked like the worst weather day for the week and headed into town to explore Science North and the Big Nickel. There is so much to do at both locations that we had to cut back just to fit it all into one day.

Pro Tip - On the way home stop and grab a pizza for dinner. You have just spent all day back in civilization and are probably exhausted so the last thing you should have to do is fire up the old campfire to make dinner.

Final Verdict
Halfway Lake is worth the drive. Even for a smaller park, I still feel like there is lots we didn't get to see and do and we have added this park to our favourites list. 

Related Posts - Check them Out
Campfire Nachos
Protect Natural Areas by Exploring Them
Canadian Camping Challenge

Amie Valpone’s Eating Clean: A Cookbook Review

I’ve been on a cookbook binge lately. I rarely ask to review a cookbook since I receive so many pitches from publishers. But one book I DID ask to review was Amie Valpone’s  new cookbook, EATING CLEAN: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight inflammation and Reset Your Body. (Amazon Link) If you remember Amie, a Culinary Nutritionist,...

The post Amie Valpone’s Eating Clean: A Cookbook Review appeared first on Dr. Karen S. Lee.

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