Green Corner (March 2017)

Dear friends,

Do you remember the other day, when snow was falling at the end of February?  Part of me wished for it to accumulate, once again trapping me in my little cave, granting me permission to spend just a little more time curled up with a book as the laundry piles and pillow forts grow around me like the snow drifts outside did just several weeks ago.  I find winter such a delicious time to stew, to hunker down, to hide away.  And what a good winter it was to hide away.

But despite the teases of snow, now the birds are flitting about with renewed energy, ruffling their feathers in the gentle spring sunlight.  The crocuses have come, and the daffodils and tulips and irises are all peeking out, promising color.  They beckon me up from my winter slumber:  come on out and grow a little.  


As usual, this month I’d like to encourage us to focus on our own hearts and homes.  Are you inspired by the idea of “spring cleaning”?  Over the last several years, I’ve transitioned my house from store-bought to homemade, eco-friendly cleaners.  In addition to being better for our water, soil, and air, making this switch has also saved us a bit of money.  And, because I make the cleaners at home from large bottles of ingredients–primarily liquid castile soap, distilled vinegar, baking soda, borax, and essential oils–I rarely have to worry about running out.

If you’ve made this move already, I’d love to hear some of your favorite recipes.  I’m still in the learning phase myself.

Here are a couple I use daily:


Kitchen Counter Spray
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
3 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops grapefruit essential oil

Combine all ingredients in an empty spray bottle (using a small funnel makes this easy).  Give it a gentle shake.  Spray on counter tops and wipe clean.

Recipe adapted from


All-Purpose Cleaner
This is for use on anything besides glass.  I keep a bottle in my boys’ bathroom–if you have boys, maybe you understand where I’m coming from….

This recipe comes from a great little book called Make Your Place, by Raleigh Briggs.  That book is local, too, by the way.

1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
¼ teaspoon each eucalyptus and lavender oil
3 drops tea tree oil
1 teaspoon borax
2 cups hot water

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle.  Spray on, scrub, and rinse off with a clean, damp cloth.


If working outside in the spring is more your style, this is a great time to sign up to be a part of the Backyard Habitat Certification program.  Their native plant sale is coming up in early April and is only available for program participants.  Check it out at

I do believe that the Audubon Society of Portland also sponsors a native plant sale in the spring, but I have not seen a date yet.  I will update you if and when I do!

I also wanted to announce here that the Southwest Portland recycling event has been rescheduled for March 18th, from 9-noon, in the St. John Fisher Parish parking lot.  As before, they are accepting a variety of difficult to recycle items, including silver-lined snack bar wrappers (Who knew?  Start saving yours now!), batteries, rigid plastics, electronics, and more.  Get the details at

I hope these slightly longer, warmer days find you and your family energized and eager to savor springtime’s hope and small delights.

Yours in sustainability,
Cadel, 4’s class