Sunday, July 27, 2008

Organic Potash for Gardening - Why it works

Potash is any "compound" that contains potassium. Potash can be sourced from plants such as comfrey or even from ashes left over from your last fire or bonfire. Potash can be gotten from chemical forms such as Nitrate of potash (potassium nitrate) or Sulphate of potash (potassium sulphate).

Most gardeners will agree that Potash is an amazing compound when it comes to gardening. The Potassium in Potash is key to helping plants produce beautiful, healthy fruit.

So in a nutshell:
  • Nitrogen increases foliage and plant growth and
  • phosphorous helps root structure,
  • potassium (K) produces fruit and flower

Organic Potash like Quick Solutions has additional enrichments added. Another way to get potash is from your fireplace. Wood ash is a great source of potassium. Potash is especially beneficial for lemon and citrus trees. You can sprinkle ash from your fireplace to help plants hold more fruit.

Just remember to let fire to burn out by itself rather than dowsing it with water because the wood ash will retain all its potassium it it is not dowsed with water. If you don't have a fireplace, the next best source is available from Organic Potash from Espoma

The word "potash" is derived from the Dutch word Potasch, and originally referred to wood ash. Potassium carbonate, a basic chemical of pre-modern times, was extracted from it.

Today potash refers to potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, the most common being potassium chloride (KCl).


Friday, July 18, 2008

Cat Scratching's Instinct

Mother Nature knows what's best.

Cats need to survive and thrive, so they have a remarkable need to scratch. It is a part of nature and a part of being a healthy, happy cat. Scratching is a necessary part of being a cat and here are the main reasons:
  • Cats need exercise and they need to exercise claws - Scratching works cat muscles and stretches cat limbs. This is similar to a human workout. Whenever your cat is scratching, your cat is getting a workout from shoulders to toes.

  • Cats need to Scent Mark - Special glands in your cat's paw pads release a scent during scratching. Every home has a special scent. Think about the neighbors, your mother's house and so forth. It's the same way with a cat. He or she has to make his or her home smell like home. Two purposes are served when a cat mark's his or her scent in thier home: (1) a cat's feelings of well-being and security are reinforced, and (2) your cat's place in this world is marked against intruders.

  • Cat's need to Visual Mark - Visual marks like torn couches and shredded fabrics tell co-beings to respect her or her place in the world. This is instinct at work, and no amount of sprays and repellents are going to convince you cat that she doesn't need to visual mark the spot. In her mind, territory marking is very important!
  • Cats need to hone thier claws - When a cat scratchs, the outer sheath that covers each nail is shedding off to reveal a new, sharp claw underneath. This is the way a cat's nails grow and renew themselves. Scratching with the front claws on a rough object helps this process along. Cats use their teeth to bite and pull off the old claw sheaths on their back paws.

Cat Condos, Furniture & Tunnels

Cat Scratching Posts and Ramps


Friday, July 11, 2008

Purple Martin Houses and Attracting Purple Martins

Purple Martins are the only bird species in Michigan that are entirely dependent upon human-supplied houses and nesting places for reproduction.

It is very hard to establish a Purple Martin living abode - so patience is a virtue.

Here are some tips to make your chances of success in attracting Purple Martins more likely.

Your Purple Martin house should be in the center of the largest open spot available on your premises. It should be located about 30-120 feet from your own home or other human houses. Place the Martin House where you can see it - but remember to keep the distance.
Listening to the beautiful song of the Martins is one of the truly relaxing and beautiful pasttimes - so make sure that your house is within earshot also!
There should be no trees within 40 feet of the Purple Martin House. The farther the Purple Martin housing is places from trees, the better. The pole that your house attaches to should be around 10 to 17 feet tall.

Don't attach wires to the house or pole. Predators can use the wires to access the housing. (like squirrels and Starlings)

If you are looking to have a Martin Colony next year ... NOW is the time to buy your house. In July and August this year's young will be scouting for next year's breeding sites! Use coupon: rachels5 to get $5.00 off of any of the houses featured in this article.

The pair-bond of the Purple Martin is monogamous. The male and female cooperate equally in building the nest out of mud, grass and twigs.

The female lays two to seven pure-white eggs at a rate of one egg per day.

The female incubates the clutch for approximately fifteen days, then the young hatch. The parents both feed the young continuously for a period of 26-32 days until the young fledge.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July from the MSU Blog

Fireworks-related injuries are most common on and around holidays associated with fireworks celebrations, especially July 4th .

Thousands of people were treated in emergency departments in 2007 for injuries sustained from fireworks.

Fireworks Statistics

The following data and statistics show how important it is to practice safety
first when setting off fireworks. In the United States, fireworks statistics

  • The highest injury estimates are for firecrackers (26%), rockets (21%) and
    sparklers (11%).
  • Almost half (47%) of the injuries were to children under age 15.
  • Males represent 75% of all firework injuries.
  • Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt gold
    and account for three quarters of all fireworks injuries to children under
    the age of five.
  • Parts of the body most often injured are the hands (32%), eyes (28%) and
    head/face (16%).
  • Data from the United States Eye Injury Registry shows that bystanders are
    more often injured by fireworks than operators themselves.
  • The National Fire Protection Agency states that fireworks pose a higher
    risk of fire death than any other consumer product, three times that of
    burning cigarettes.

Be careful while you are having fun!