Birthday: January 8, 1992
Education: Bachelor's Degree Business
Home: Stargazer Island
Employment: Alternate Universe (owner)
Relationship: Engaged to Eric Gunnerson
Happy birthday, Sonya! Celia’s practically giddy with excitement over our girls’ lunch, so better not be late!
The debate between eating meat, being a vegetarian, or vegan has been raging for decades, with no end in sight. Both sides have their arguments honed to a sharp edge, and neither is willing to bend.
For myself, I choose to be a flexitarian. What is that, you may ask? A flexitarian is one who is in some ways not as strict, dietarily speaking. When visiting others, I will eat whatever is put in front of me, rather than attempt to force my choices on others.
But in other ways, flexitarians are even more strict. We choose what we consume carefully. It requires being mindful of each process the foods we consume undergo.
I ONLY eat meat when I know the exact source, and know that the animals are treated well throughout their lives. Organic diets, plenty of room to live and be, good conditions, and no antibiotics. Otherwise, I will choose the vegan option every time. Currently, only the Anderson Farm meets my exacting standards, so anytime I leave Stargazer Island, I am vegan.
However, even there, I am careful. I want my fruits, vegetables, and proteins to all be organic, with as minimal processing as possible.
This is not always an easy path, but for me, it is the right one.
The tree spirits have asked me to pass along a message:
Please refrain from carving into their trunks. While you may not realize it, this does damage the tree. It also causes the tree, and thus the spirits, pain.
Tree spirits know they have a bad reputation for being grouchy and unpleasant, but consider if you had strangers carving into the walls of your house all the time. You would undoubtedly be grumpy too!
These are truly evil! Please refrain from buying them!
Water bottles are a major source of pollution in landfills, wild places, city streets, and our oceans, lakes, and streams. And the recycling process is not all that much better for the environment.
Plus, they are unhealthy for you, the consumer. These bottles are made from plastic. As their temperature changes, often multiple times, they begin leaching chemicals into the water inside. The very water we then drink.
So do yourself and the environment a favor. Purchase a reusable tumbler or travel mug for your water.
The green sea turtle is the largest hard-shell sea turtle alive today, and can be found in shallow ocean waters ranging as far north as Massachusetts to as far south as Argentina. They migrate great distances to escape the winter colds, to find food, and to breed. Nesting usually takes place in tropical areas.
They are officially listed as ENDANGERED and are threatened by habitat destruction and costal development by humans. Water pollution also plays a major factor, as does hunting. Green Sea Turtles are often hunted for both their meat and eggs. No creature should be threatened with extinction just to provide humans with a meal.
Paper or plastic? You’ve been asked that probably every time you’ve gone to the grocery store for most of your lives. The problem is, when you really stop to think about it, neither option is really a good one. We all know about plastic pollution. It doesn’t biodegrade and often makes its way to our oceans, where bits of it are consumed by the very seafood so many people enjoy. And while it can be recycled, the process to do so often releases chemicals into our environment and air. But at the same time, paper bags are made from trees. Deforestation is still a widespread issue in many parts of the world, leading to erosion, rising greenhouse gas levels, global warming… you name it. So, what’s a savvy shopper and environmental advocate to do? Bring your own bags! There are plenty to choose from. Some stores sell premade bags that you can purchase fairly inexpensively. Some are even thermal bags, allowing cold foods to stay cold longer. Or you can make your own. There are plenty of patterns for doing so online, and you can choose your own fabrics, colors, or whatever. Add your own flair! Show the world your style, what you like, and what you stand for, while still protecting Mother Earth and Her creatures. All under the guise of shopping, of course!
Earth Day is a day to celebrate the planet we inhabit. It’s easy in our busy day-to-day lives to forget that our world is as alive as we are. Just as we need to take care of our bodies to live long, happy, and healthy lives, so too do we need to take care of Mother Earth. Last year when the pandemic started and the entire world was on lockdown, we all noticed how different the world became. The better air quality, the return of animals to habitats they had long disappeared from. The reduction in noise pollution allowed us to hear nature again. So, while the restrictions that have kept us from living our normal lives are now being eased, let’s make a conscious effort to live in ways that benefit both us and Mother Earth. Let’s not forget what the lockdown showed us our world could be. Because we don’t just live on the Earth, we live with it. For humanity to survive at its best, Earth needs to be healthy as well.
For Dryads and their children, Arbor Day is akin to Christmas and our birthdays. How great is it that we live in a time where trees are celebrated? Granted, we should all be doing everything we can to preserve, protect, and plant trees every day of the year. But since life tends to get in the way, it’s good to have a special day set aside to remind ourselves of just how important our stately brothers and sisters are. So, take a bit of time today to plant a tree. Watch it grow tall and strong, and in return, it will watch over you and your family. Trust me, I know how protective trees can be for those who treat them right.
Have empty wine or liquor bottles from your summer party? A great way to reuse/recycle them is to turn them into vases, lamps, and other home décor. Wash them thoroughly, and if you’re painting them scrape off the label. Otherwise, the labels can stay on if you want. Once the bottle is dry, grab your acrylic paints and go to town. The only limit is your imagination. It may take several coats of paint to get the desired effect/design, so make sure you wait until each layer is completely dry before adding the next, or the paint you have on the bottle already will get damaged by the brush. If painting isn’t your thing, grab some battery-operated fairy lights, some tulle, or water beads. Place them inside the bottle and light it up! If you aren’t into creating your own, stop into Alternate Universe. We sell our own handmade bottle décor. And if you bring in your empty, clean bottles, you’ll get a discount on your purchase.
The White Rhino is the third largest African animal, it’s wide mouth perfect for grazing on grass. Their name actually comes from a mistranslation of the Dutch word “wijde,” which actually means wide, a description of their mouths, rather than their color, which is gray. Once, White Rhinos ranged across several Northern African countries. Between warfare, poaching, and climate change, the population has shrunk dramatically. Now, there are only two left, living in Kenya.
Two. White Rhinos. Left. In the world. Both are females. And both are under heavy security and 24/7 guard against poachers, because even in today’s supposedly enlightened age, rhino horn is still used in medicines and as a status symbol.
Scientists are doing what they can to stop this beloved species from going from functionally extinct to fully extinct. They have harvested eggs from the females and taken cryogenically frozen sperm from one of the males who died years ago. Since one of the last remaining females is too old, and the younger one cannot conceive naturally, the fertilized eggs have been cryofrozen until scientists can work out how best to have these embryos successfully develop.
Anger, fear, and resentment are emotions we all feel at some point in our lives. But we all should work on acknowledging those feelings, finding a positive solution to the causes of them, and then letting them go. Holding onto such emotions engenders resentment, bitterness, and outright hatred. And these are not just unhealthy for ourselves, but they can lead to conflict, especially when turned on an entire group. So, on this day of peace, let’s take some time to really look at our prejudices, our bitterness, and grudges and take an effort to let them go. It isn’t easy, especially when they’ve lived within us for a long time, but if we can manage it, we’ll lighter and happier. And isn’t that what we all strive for in this life?
With Fall temperatures dropping, Fall leaves do as well, leaving our yards a colorful kaleidoscope that most of us enjoy for all of five minutes before hauling out the rakes and garbage bags. But here’s the thing, there are a couple easy ways to make those leaves work for us, and they won’t be contributing to the methane problem in our landfills.
The one I’m sure most of you are familiar with is composting. Leaves make wonderful compost, which will help our springtime gardens without adding chemicals and nasty smelling fertilizer. It’s simple enough to build a compost bin in your backyard if you have a free weekend and can read directions. But I get it, composting isn’t necessarily for everyone.
What you could do is rake all those leaves straight into your garden beds. You’ll need to leave a bit of room around the base of each plant, or they could develop rot, but otherwise, the leaves can just be piled on top of the soil. They’ll break down over the winter, especially if you keep your gardens moist, and provide instant fertilizer in the spring. Or, if you’re worried about them blowing away, run them over a few times with your lawnmower. That will start the process and keep the wind from catching them up.
Don’t have gardens? You can fertilize your lawn in the same way. Instead of raking up the leaves, just mow over them along with the grass. As they break down over the winter, they’ll provide your lawn with some much-needed nutrition.
And, of course, you can always save a few of the bright, gorgeous leaves to adorn your harvest table, wreaths, and children’s art projects. Stop in to see me at Alternate Universe if you need some artistic ideas!
Happy Bison Day! Bison have roamed North America for thousands of years. In the 19th century, due to a combination of disease introduced by domestic cattle and commercial hunting/slaughter, the bison nearly went extinct. By 1889, a population once numbering in the millions was reduced down to 541 animals. Thankfully, conservation and recovery programs beginning in the 20th century have seen the population increase. Today, there are over 30,000 bison in North America, mostly living on protected lands.
Birthday: May 28, 1991
Species: Viking Berserker
Education: Bachelor's Degree Computer Science
Home: Stargazer Island
Employment: Co-Owner Force Security
Relationship: Engaged to Sage Winters
Happy birthday to a hell of a teammate and an even better friend. Hope you have a great day, Tsunami. And try to stay in one piece. We’re all looking forward to seeing you on Stargazer Island again one day soon.
Luckily Sam told me today was your birthday, so I didn’t miss wishing you a very happy one, Sonya! I’ll be sure to stop into the Witch’s Pantry sometime today to give my sister from another mister a present.
Things break. That's life.
And they usually choose the most inconvenient times to break down/apart. Having good old duct tape on hand is a good way to rig a quick-fix. It'll at least get you to where you need to be until you can find a more permanent solution.
The wonders of chalk. I always keep chalk around. Not only is it handy when you need to make temporary notes on something (like a measurement), but it can help keep your belongings looking newer longer. Chalk absorbs moisture, so think about using a few pieces in your toolbox to keep your tools from rusting.
Normally, my posts are all about jerry-rigging quick fixes for broken items and such. But since we’re reaching the hottest part of summer, I thought I’d give you all a little tip for keeping your drinks cool, but not watering them down. To my mind, there’s nothing worse than the weak, watery drink you’re left with once the ice melts. I’d rather drink it room temperature. So, instead of filling your ice cube trays with water, get creative. Use juice or frozen berries and grapes for cocktails and other fruity drinks. (Cranberries, blueberries, and other brightly colored fruits add a festive garnish to holiday drinks, too. And don’t I just sound like Martha Stewart lol?). Fill your ice cube trays with coffee to add to your iced coffee and cappuccinos, too. We do what we can to stay cool in the summer heat, but we don’t have to suffer with watery drinks for it.
Anyone who's ever had to hammer in a nail has experienced the pain of whacking your thumb instead of the nail. Even if you aren’t striking hard, if it catches you in just the right way, it can leave your thumb battered and bruised. So, here’s a tip. Keep a clothespin handy. Use it to hold the nail in place while you strike that first blow with your hammer. The clothespin takes any residual blow, the nail goes where it’s supposed to, and your thumb stays pain-free.
Have a door with a sticky lock? A lot of people grab some WD-40. But if the area isn’t very clean, or if it’s an outside door, this could cause problems of its own. Dirt, dust, or other particles can be attracted to the liquid and cause buildup, which can make the issue with your lock even worse. Instead, try graphite powder. Dust a little inside the keyhole and on the latch and it should take care of the stick.
Happy National Make a Difference Day! We all dream of making a difference in the world, and really, it isn’t all that difficult. Sure, we might not make a huge splash, might not single-handedly achieve world peace or unlock some deep understanding of the mysteries of the universe. But we can make a difference in our communities and in the lives of those around us, not just on this day but each and every day. So, volunteer. Or make a donation to a charity. Give a gift of time to an elderly neighbor or call to see how a relative is doing. Put your hobbies to use and create something fun, useful, or beautiful for someone else. Read to children at the library. There are a million small ways we can make a difference. And if each of us do one of these small things, they add up to a pretty big difference in the world.
As outdoor activities go, hiking is probably one of the most popular. Cost is minimal, it can be done in large groups or small, the difficulty varies from trail to trail so there’s something for everyone, and the views you get are incomparable. But hiking can also be dangerous if you aren’t prepared. So, here’s my list of essentials to stay safe when you’re on the trail.
1. Choose a trail that’s within your fitness level. You can always work your way up to the harder trail that leads to a mountaintop. The views aren’t going anywhere.
2. Check the weather. Do this multiple times between planning your hike and starting it.
3. Let someone know exactly where you’re going and when. How long you plan to be gone, and how long they should wait before calling someone if you aren’t back. A friend or relative is great, but if you can, also let park services know.
4. Pack the essentials. These might change depending on when you’re hiking, but they are important. Even for a “short hike”. Better to be prepared than not. These include something for navigation (and probably a backup if you’re relying on your phone’s GPS. You might not have a signal). Light in case you find yourself still on the trail after dark, sun protection, first aid kit, knife, fire starting supplies, shelter (like a light tent/tarp), extra food, extra water, and extra clothes. The “extra” is beyond the minimum you expect to need.
5. Wear the right clothes. Look for good, comfortable clothes from the top down. Designer boots might look pretty, but are they worth the pain of blisters on your feet?
6. Hydrate and eat! Dehydration is a ridiculously easy stage to reach when you’re hiking. You need to drink plenty of water, before, during and after your hike. And don’t skip breakfast. If you want to make it to the scenic splendor promised at the end of your trail, you can’t risk low blood sugar or a fainting spell because you didn’t fuel your body.
The forests are our friends. Treat them right. You wouldn’t leave trash at your friends’ houses, so pick up after yourself when you’re hiking. Leave nature in the same state it was when you arrived. The tree spirits and sprites will thank you!