Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Building your own bat house.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where to put your new bat house.


Well, I guess you read my post on bat houses and how important they can be.  Today’s post is about where to put and locations in different parts of the country.
There are a few placement recommendations you should follow to increase your odds of bats moving into your bat house.
In general, bat houses should be:
• attached at least 15 feet high
• free from obstructions with at least 20 feet of open space
• facing southeast to gain exposure to sunlight
The placement of your bat house plays a major role on its internal temperature.  Bat houses can be placed on buildings such as the side of a house or a garage.  They can also be mounted to a pole.  Attaching a bat house to a tall tree is another option; however studies have shown that bat houses placed on trees are less likely to be occupied than those on a building or pole.
The place you choose to attach your bat house should be free from obstructions with at least 20 feet of open space. This will allow the bats to locate the house and easily fly in and out of it.
In order to provide a secure and undisturbed roosting location, bat houses should be placed at least 15 feet high.  At this height, the bat house will also be exposed to more sunlight throughout the day, especially if it is facing southeast to take advantage of the morning sunlight.
Select your general region below for helpful bat house placement information. Details vary based on your location, including which helpful colors your bat house should be painted.  Typically in temperate regions, bat houses should be painted a darker color while in hotter regions, it may be helpful to paint the bat house a lighter color.  In addition, you’ll find out what types of bats are likely to occupy your bat house in your region.
Northeast United States
Bat houses should face south to southeast to take advantage of the morning sun. In northern states and Canada, bat houses need to receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. It is also advantageous to paint the house black to absorb plenty of heat.  Baby bats require a very warm temperature. Paint only the outside of your bat house and use a non-toxic, latex paint.
Bats return from migration and awaken from hibernation as early as March in most of the U.S. They will be abundant throughout the summer and into early fall. Approximately half of all bat houses are occupied within the first summer and up to 80% are occupied within the first 2-3 years.  If bats do not roost in your house by the end of the third summer, move the house to a different location.  It is also helpful to attach more than one bat house in your yard in order to provide bats with different housing options and increase your chances of having an occupied bat house.
Bats that Commonly Use Bat Houses in the Northeast
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Northwest United States
Bat houses should face south to southeast in order to take advantage of the morning sun. In northern states and Canada, bat houses need to receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. It is also advantageous to paint the house black to absorb plenty of heat.  Baby bats require a very warm temperature. Paint only the outside of your bat house and use a non-toxic, latex paint.
Bats return from migration and awaken from hibernation as early as March in most of the U.S. They will be abundant throughout the summer and into early fall. Approximately half of all bat houses are occupied within the first summer and up to 80% are occupied within the first 2-3 years.  If bats do not roost in your house by the end of the third summer, move the house to a different location.  It is also helpful to attach more than one bat house in your yard in order to provide bats with different housing options and increase your chances of having an occupied bat house.
Bats that Commonly Use Bat Houses in the Northwest
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus)
Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
Southeast United States
If deciding to attract bats that choose to roost in full sun, bat houses should face east to southeast to take advantage of the morning sun. You can paint your bat house white, or leave natural.  Paint only the outside of your bat house and use a non-toxic, latex paint.
Bats return from migration and awaken from hibernation as early as March in most of the U.S., but stay active year-round in the extreme southern U.S. They will be abundant through out the summer and into early fall. Approximately half of all bat houses are occupied within the first summer and up to 80% are occupied within the first 2-3 years.  If bats do not roost in your house by the end of the third summer, move the house to a different location.  It is also helpful to attach more than one bat house in your yard in order to provide bats with different housing options and increase your chances of having an occupied bat house.
Bats that Commonly Use Bat Houses in the Southeast
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensi)
Southeastern Bat (Myotis austroriparius)
Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
Southwest United States
Bat houses should face east to southeast to take advantage of the morning sun. You can paint your bat house white, or leave it a natural. Paint only the outside of your bat house and use a non-toxic, latex paint.
Bats return from migration and awaken from hibernation as early as March in most of the U.S., but stay active year-round in the extreme southern U.S. They will be abundant throughout the summer and into early fall. Approximately half of all bat houses are occupied within the first summer and up to 80% are occupied within the first 2-3 years.  If bats do not roost in your house by the end of the third summer, move the house to a different location.  It is also helpful to attach more than one bat house in your yard in order to provide bats with different housing options and increase your chances of having an occupied bat house.
Bats that Commonly Use Bat Houses in the Southwest
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus)
Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bats eat lots of insects.


Summer is basically here in the South.  The temperatures are up and so are the bugs.  You read it right; this summer is going to be terrible with all kinds of bugs.  One way to lower the number of bugs in your and the garden is to place a bat house on your property.  I know what you’re thinking.  They are not rats with wings, and they will not attack your pets or get in your hair.  Stop worrying about it. I love bats. I think they are beautiful creatures that eat lots of bugs, because I really hate bugs….lol.  Here is some information on bats and their homes.
Why should you put up a bat house?
Bat houses benefit bats, you, your family, communities, farmers, gardeners and the ecosystem as a whole.
Bat houses give bats a home and in turn they will eat thousands of insects.
Bat houses give bats an alternative to our houses thus reducing the chance of human to bat contact.
Bat populations have decreased significantly (especially with WNS) and bat houses can help provide secure habitat.
Bat houses provide a safe home for bats and are educational and fun for the whole family. Bats significantly reduce the amount of pest insects in your backyard while simultaneously helping farmers and gardeners by eating insect pests. An individual bat can eat thousands of insects in just one night! More bats eating insects mean less pesticide use in our environment.
Many bat species would typically roost under the bark of a dead tree and other safe crevices. However, due to habitat loss, this is often not an available resource. Bat houses provide a safe and secure home for bats to roost during the day and to raise their young.
Bats are helpful, not dangerous animals. They are safe and beneficial to have in your backyard. Less than 1% of bats have rabies- the disease is also fatal to bats, they are not carriers of rabies.
The Organization for Bat Conservation has years of experience researching and designing successful bat houses. The information shared on our website will aid in your success of having occupied bat houses. Be sure to check out the best placement for your bat house, plans to build your own, and step-by-step instructions on how to attach your bat house.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do not go to a circus that has animals!


Would you want to be beaten to perform for children?  These poor elephants do not need to be held hostage by these men and whipped for no reason.  These "trainers" deserve all of the attacks that they receive from these animals.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Make Money by Going Green


7 Ways to Make Money by Going Green
1. Selling your old clothes online
If you have a closet full of clothes that are still in good condition but just aren’t your size or style anymore, you could be making loads of extra cash by selling them to other fashionistas online.
At SwapStyle.com you can sell, buy or swap all your used fashions in good condition. In addition to women’s wear, the site features kids’ and maternity clothes, shoes and accessories. You can also use to the site to cash in on your old books, DVDs, electronics and purchased but unused cosmetics. Sorry to all you fashion-forward guys out there; SwapStyle.com doesn’t include menswear.
For a swap site that accepts both men’s and women’s clothing, head to Dresm.com to trade, sell or buy in just a few clicks. Or, for U.K. swappers, check out Clothes For Cash – where you can sell and swap everything from trousers to shoes to kids’ clothes and receive payment on the same day.
2. Disposing of e-waste responsibly
Listen up, tech junkies! If you’re constantly replacing your “outdated” (aka 6-month-old) gadgets, don’t throw your old ones away! Recycle them with paid collection companies like YouRenew, BuyMyTronics or Gazelle, and receive up to $1,000 per item.
Just answer a few quick questions about the age and condition of your items and send them in via prepaid postage. You’ll usually receive payment for the full market value in less than two weeks. Accepted items include cell phones, smart phones, laptop and desktop computers, tablets and e-readers, MP3 players and digital cameras.
All three sites will send you a check in the mail or pay you directly via PayPal. Gazelle will also give you a Walmart Prepaid Visa or Amazon gift card instead of cash, and YouRenew allows you to donate your earnings to environmental causes like tree plantings and renewable energy projects.
3. Sharing your car
If you have a car for long trips but don’t use it on a daily basis for eco reasons, you could be making a pretty penny by renting it out to your neighbors. Companies like RelayRides connect people who need a car with vehicle owners whose rides would otherwise be sitting idle. And you could be making as much as $7,000 per year by loaning out your wheels, according to the company.
Just answer a few quick questions about your car and start a listing for free. Once you’re approved, simply pick the dates and times that your car is available, set the price and start selecting renters.
RelayRides currently only supports listings in San Francisco and Boston, but they’re growing quickly. So, if you want to share your car, just start a listing and the company will notify you as its service area expands.
Another ride-sharing option is JustShareIt, which helps drivers rent out their cars in Virginia, Texas, Oregon and California and offers paid sharing for boats, RVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
4. Renting your parking space
Searching for a parking spot on crowded city streets is seriously annoying. But it’s also bad for the environment: the more drivers circle the block, the more carbon emissions their cars release into the atmosphere.
Two companies, ParkatmyHouse and ParkCirca, have developed an innovative solution to the urban parking problem: connect drivers looking for a spot for a few hours with city-dwellers who want to earn money by renting their personal parking spaces when they’re not using them.
ParkatmyHouse operates as an online marketplace for parking spaces, while ParkCirca is a mobile app, still in its beta testing phase. Both services are free of charge for renters. Depending on the city you call home, you could be making more than $1,000 per year by sharing your space.
5. Starting an Etsy shop
Are you always churning out loads of creative crafts to give away as presents to friends and family? If your crafts closet is getting full and your mom already owns four of your oh-so-lovely Mason jar candle holders, why not make a little extra cash with your artistic creativity?
Etsy allows everyday crafters to open online stores and sell their handmade goods, vintage items and crafts supplies right from their living rooms.
Typically, rent and overhead costs for a small shop can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you can register your Etsy shop for free, and it will only cost you 20 cents to list an item for up to four months. When your item sells, you’ll pay a 3.5 percent transaction fee on the final sale price and the rest is yours!
You can sell as many or as few items in your shop as you’d like. If you’re worried you may not have the time to keep a shop fully stocked, you can also create an account with multiple users and collaborate with crafty friends to cash in on your upcycling genius.
6. Carpooling
We all know that carpooling is a great way to reduce air pollution, save money and relieve the stress of your commute. But did you know you could make money from it?
Sites like Zimride allow you to sell empty seats in your car – whether it’s your daily commute or a cross-country road trip. The amount charged by the driver covers the cost of gas and travel, meaning you can take your trips for less by filling all your empty seats.
You can also sign up for GoLoco, which allows you to split the cost of your ride between all passengers evenly based on a 50 cents-per-mile estimate. So, if you’re headed on a 300-mile road trip, you could save $100 on gas by sharing your ride with two other people. Not too shabby!
7. Recycling curbside
You already toss cans, bottles and other recyclables into your curbside bin each week. So, why not get paid for it? Recyclebank will give you points for each item you recycle, which can be redeemed for discounts and deals at all your favorite stores and online retailers.
So, how does it work? Recyclebank partners with with waste haulers across the country to find out how much recyclable material was collected and converts the total into Recyclebank Points, which are distributed amongst all recyclers in the community. So, the more you and your neighbors recycle, the more everyone gets paid!
But Recyclebank isn’t just for your curbside bin. You can also earn points for other green actions, including saving energy at home, getting your postal mail online and supporting environmental initiatives.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's recycle our plastic bottles


    According to the Beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006, that number jumped to 28.3 gallons.
    More than 2.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2008. Although the amount of plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. has grown every year since 1990, the actual recycling rate remains steady at around 27 percent.
    In 2007, more than 325 million pounds of wide-mouth plastic containers were recovered for recycling. (This included deli containers, yogurt cups, etc.)
    In recent years, the number of U.S. plastics recycling business has nearly tripled. More than 1,600 businesses are involved in recycling post-consumer plastics.
    Plastics in the U.S. are made primarily (70 percent) from domestic natural gas.
    Plastic bags and product wraps (known collectively as “plastic film”) are commonly recycled at the many collection programs offered through major grocery stores.
    Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
    During Keep America Beautiful 2008 Great American Cleanup, volunteers recovered and recycled 189,000,000 PET (plastic) bottles that littered highways, waterways and parks.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bromeliads - Another house plant


I was looking at these plants last night at Kroger.  They were so pretty and large.  They were only $20 a piece and about a foot and a half tall.  If you have the room and the right lighting, I think you should pick one up.
Bromeliads are finally beginning to attract the attention they deserve.
For a long time, bromeliads were considered advanced or expert houseplants, more fit for a greenhouse than a normal home. The truth is, however, that bromeliads can be easily adapted to regular home conditions. This is good news for the houseplant enthusiast because bromeliads are available in an astonishing array of colors and textures. Even discounting their showy flower displays, bromeliads are beautiful foliage plants, with strappy leaves in red, green, purple, orange, yellow, banded, stripes, spots or other combinations.
There are actually several subfamilies of bromeliads. Pineapples and Spanish moss are both kinds of bromeliads. But the ones most often seen in cultivation are epiphytic plants that grow naturally in the tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas. As a general rule of thumb, bromeliads will thrive in the same conditions as epiphytic orchids. However, they are considerably more tolerant than orchids of fluctuations in temperature, drought and careless feeding.
Understanding Bromeliads
The most common bromeliads (such as the Aechmea, Neoregelia and Guzmania genus) grow in rosettes of relatively large, strappy leaves around a central cup. These leaves are often relatively thick and may have backward facing spines that are capable of giving you a sharp jab. The leaves arise from the center cup, which is designed to hold water. In nature, bromeliads' roots are adapted to clinging onto trees. The plant relies on rainfall and leaf litter to fill up the central cup with both water and ample organic material for food.
Obviously, few people have a tropical rainforest in their homes, and this is where bromeliads really shine. The plants are highly adaptable, and for most people, it's actually better to grow them in a rich, fast-draining potting soil than it is to attempt to duplicate their native conditions. Plants grown in pots will quickly adapt. Their roots and leaves will absorb nutrients and water, and it won't be necessary to fill the central cup at all. In fact, if it's going to be cold or especially dark, it may be dangerous to keep the cup filled because it will encourage bacterial or fungal growth.
Blooming Bromeliads
Fortunately, bromeliads are beautiful foliage plants. No attempt is made to bloom them. In general, bromeliads need a fairly specific set of conditions to bloom—and these conditions vary from genus to genus. Their bloom cycle is affected by day length, temperature, humidity, water and feeding.
While it can be difficult to accurately replicate the conditions any particular bromeliad needs to bloom, some research has shown that the plants can be forced to bloom by exposure to ethylene gas. If you want to force your plant to spike, place it in a tightly closed, clear plastic bag for up to 10 days with a ripe apple. The apple will give off ethylene gas as it decomposes. Make sure any water is drained from the bromeliad's central cup before attempting this.
Growing Tips for Bromeliads
Light:
Different genera of bromeliads are tolerant of different levels of light. Some can withstand full tropical sun, while others will quickly scorch. In general, however, the plants prefer well-lit, bright windowsills, but not direct sunlight. A south, west or east window is often perfect. Plants that are yellowish may be receiving too much light, while plants that are dark green, or elongated, may be receiving too little light.
Temperature:
Bromeliads are also highly tolerant of temperature variations, but remember that plants in hotter conditions will need more humidity. Ideally, bromeliads prefer temperatures between 55ºF and 80ºF. They should not be exposed to temperatures under 40ºF.
Water:
Bromeliads are very tolerant of drought conditions. In a normal house, it's not necessary to keep the central cup filled with water, but this is an option if the light levels, temperature and humidity are high enough. If you do centrally water your bromeliad, make sure to flush the central cup every so often to remove any built-up salts. In general, however, it's enough to water these plants through the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce watering during the winter rest period. Never let the plant rest in standing water.
Potting Soil:
Although they are epiphytic, bromeliads can be grown in a fast-draining potting soil. A mixture of 2/3 peat-based soil mix and 1/3 sand is a good idea. Bromeliads can also be grown mounted to boards and logs. These plants will need to be watered more often and consistently throughout the year.
Fertilizer:
Bromeliads are not heavy feeders. During the growing season, use a liquid fertilizer at 1/2 or 1/4 strength. If you use a slow-release pellet fertilizer and water the central cup, a single pellet dropped into the cup will suffice for a season. Slow-release pellets can also be mixed into the soil compost.
Propagating Bromeliads
Bromeliads multiply by sending up off-sets, or pups. In a natural growth cycle, a mature plant will send up a flower spike that includes small, sometimes insignificant flowers, surrounded by showy bracts (it's really the bracts that people like in bromeliad flowers). The flower bracts are often long-lasting—sometimes for months. After the flower dies, the plant begins to die also, and over the next few months, will decline. However, the mother plant will send out one or several smaller pups at the base of the plant. These pups can be carefully cut off with sterile snippers and potted up individually. Pups should only be potted up after they develop a few roots and begin to form the central cup characteristic to bromeliads.