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Friday, February 22, 2013

Working Away

New in our Directories

You can see Civilian Art at the Easton Winter Mart.  Civilian Art is art, fashion, stationary.  Very unique designs.  Civilian Art is the epitome of the kind of unique, independent, local businesses we're looking for to present to you.

Thank you Easton Farmer's Market for extending your schedule into winter and the Nurture Nature Center for providing the space.

Working Away

We're working away, adding entries in our directories.  Right in the midst of that, an idea of a different way to arrange the entries interrupted things and we're re-working some things.  Still, there are quite a lot in the directories already.  See the listing on the right.

Hawks at Your Birdfeeders?

I've been having this problem for a few months.  They're beautiful birds, there are several in the neighborhood, but I'd rather they do their hunting elsewhere.

According to a couple of web sites I found, you have some options:

  1. You can't kill them, they're protected, and I wouldn't want to anyway.
  2. You can stop feeding the birds, squirrels, whatever, for a couple of weeks.  The hawks will go away because their prey will go away.  Then you can start feeding the birds and whatever again and they'll be there, believe me.  Of course, the hawks will eventually get the idea so, repeat as needed.
  3. You can just let nature take its course.  And, I do, when I'm not present, but I can't when I am so, finally.
  4. You can do what I do and run out and wave your arms around and yell at them and chase them out of your yard.  They're really not very worried about me but they do eventually leave.  I'm sure the neighbors find it amusing.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

You might remember that I last year I was drooling over an item available at:

Sweet Things of Smithville

in Atlantic County.  They have this wonderfully decadent Heart Shaped  Belgium Waffle filled with Caramel and Dipped in  luscious Belgium Chocolate  that's only available for Valentine's Day.  I've been waiting for Valentine's Day to arrive again so I can try it.  Well, I'm not going to have time to get there so I'm going to have to wait again.  But you don't have to.  Click on the link and order yours now.  Don't forget to tell them where you heard about them.

There are all kinds of chocolatiers through New Jersey.  I haven't built that directory yet but here are a couple of suggestions for places to go to get that last minute gift:

Antoinette Chocolatier

in Phillipsburg has wonderful gourmet chocolates.  Take a look at the variety of flavors on their site.

Astor Chocolate

has a variety of chocolate gifts for Valentine's day.

Matisse Chocolatier

also has many Valentine's Day gifts.

  The Chocolate Goat

not only has chocolate gifts but they are a gift store with a many different gift ideas.

And, does it have to be chocolates?  No, of course not.  Anything that is chosen with that special Valentine in mind; whatever is known to bring pleasure:  a gift certificate for a massage, dinner and a movie, maybe some scented soaps from:

Northwoods Farm Soap & Candle Co.

Please take our survey.  Thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Way Behind

Way behind, not an unusual position to be in but usually not a good one.

Valentine's Day


I realized today that Valentine's Day is upon us and I haven't had a thought about it until now.

Many things on my mind, not much thought for this blog and the upcoming holiday the past few days.  I'll try to post some links tomorrow for gift ideas.


Just a thought that's crossed my mind:

Whatever reaction you have to whatever issue, is, at least in part, due to whatever expectations you have thinking about that issue.  

If you love someone and expect them to love you back and they don't, you're going to react differently than if they do.  

If you expect paved streets and rescue squads, you're going to react differently if you've thought about what it costs to have them than if you haven't thought about it.  

You're going to react differently to people, if you grew up in an environment limited to contact only with people very similar to your family than if you grew up in an environment where there were lots of people who lived differently than your family.  

Whatever is IS.  Your reaction to what IS differs from those of someone else, in part, because of your different expectations.  

The realities remain the same:  our love is not always returned, potholes cost money to fill, there are millions of people in the world who think, speak, look and act differently.   

It's probably more effective to change your expectations than to keep reacting to the fact that sometimes it rains.

Wildlife and Animal Welfare

I've done a little volunteering at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary.  I hope to do more.   It's very messy and tiring but great fun to feed the babies: squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, fawns....  There are so many of them and they squirm and wriggle and kick but they're adorable.                                                                                                       

I also hope to do some volunteer work for Woodlands Wildlife Refuge.


I think they both do wonderful jobs helping injured, sick and abandoned mostly wild and but a few not-so-wild animals.  It takes a lot of time and supplies to keep these operations going:  incubators, cages, all kinds of different foods, medications, bedding, heating, lighting, and facilities.  

If you appreciate all the wildlife we have here in New Jersey; if you want injured and sick animals taken care of, please consider contributing, tax deductible donations to either of these facilities. Visit their web sites; see what they need.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Meditation in New Jersey


Leafy greens have been shown to be the top food poisoning source.

The results from a new government study were released Tuesday by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating leafy greens, like lettuce and spinach, as the leading source of food poisoning, unfortunate since green, leafy vegetables are rich in nutrients.

Previously CDC estimated that, annually, roughly 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from food poisoning; that includes 3,000 deaths.

This new report is the most comprehensive CDC has produced on the sources of food poisoning; It reflects the agency's growing sophistication in monitoring illnesses and finding their source.

In the study, conducted from 1998 through 2008, the role fruits and vegetables played in food poisonings was noticeable.  About 1 in 5 illnesses were linked to leafy green vegetables — more than any other type of food. And nearly half of all food poisonings were attributed to produce in general, when illnesses from other fruits and vegetables were added in.

One of the study's authors said the finding shouldn't discourage people from eating produce. Just be sure to wash those foods or cook them thoroughly.  

Many of the vegetable-related illnesses come from norovirus, which is often spread by cooks and food handlers. Contamination sometimes has more to do with handling and cooking than the food itself.

Earlier, the FDA proposed new rules for produce safety to reduce contact with animal waste and dirty water, setting new hygiene standards for farm workers among other measures.

Also, vegetable-related food poisoning was shown not to be the most dangerous. The study also found that, while more people may have gotten sick from plants, more died from contaminated poultry. — about 1 in 5.

See more in this article at Yahoo Health


Make your own baking power - courtesy of WholeNewMom:

This is suggested as a way to reduce corn, aluminum and GMOs in your diet or just because you like making things from scratch.

Do  It Yourself – Aluminum and Corn-Free Baking Powder

Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cream of tartar
1/4 cup arrowroot (if you are not avoiding corn, cornstarch may be substituted.)
Blend all ingredients with a whisk to mix well. Use as you would regular baking powder.


There are several issues here:
  • The long term effects of GMOs in the diet.
  • That a corporation can patent a seed that, once grown, can cross pollenate the crops of nearby farms whose seeds then become the property of Monsanto.
  • Whether any life form can be or should be owned by anyone.
  • That cross pollenation by GMOs will eventually eliminate heirloom varieties of plants:  no more beefsteak tomatoes, 
  • That corporations have unequal support of governments over citizens.


We haven't completed our Directory of Spirituality yet but here are a few links to places where you can meditate in New Jersey:

There will be more in our Directory of Spirituality soon.

Spirituality vs Religion

This is a topic that interests some of us and a distinction with which some of us wrestle, from time to time.  I've searched online to see what others have written on the subject and I find, so far, that I'm not in agreement or not satisfied with what I've found.

Of course, it's the question that's more important than the answer, or, at least, in my sense of things.  Being in questions is a state of being.  One is general more open in a state of questioning that when has answers.  

However, I would like to offer my particular, and current, sense of the distinction between spirituality and religion, based solely on my own experiences of the two.

First, I should say that I'm not currently practicing any religion.  I don't identify with any religion.  I was raised a Christian, in our family's specific definition of what a Christian is.  I attended a specific church as a child until high school.  I left my church, more or less, in disgust, disillusionment and disappointment.  I spent many years searching and researching Christian sects and other related religions.  I found nothing that made sense to me.

Throughout my search, I had a strong sense that I there is more to life than what normally, usually occupies our thoughts, activities and feelings.  I felt that there is more to me than what I normally am in touch with.

What was missing, for me, at church, was help in gaining a greater relationship with the divine, with creation, with everything, including the greater part of myself that remains largely undeveloped.

For me, that is the difference between spirituality and religion.  

For me, religion is about rules, behavior, external practices that socialize and make living in this world saner.  I was taught a set of rules, a hierarchy of authority and a sense of consequences.  That was pretty much what I learned at church.  It was reinforced at home, not so much in the name of religion but in the sense of "knowing my place".

For me, spirituality is about inner development, in establishing a relationship with the Creator, with Creation, with all that exists and about practices that attempt to fulfill our greatest potentials.  In sensing our connected with everything, there is peace and respect and a profound sense of responsibility.

So, of course, there are religions and churches and religious institutions that are spiritual.  There are many, many religious people who are very spiritual and have a spiritual practice through their religion or in addition to their religion.  There are also spiritual individuals and groups who are not religious, that do not associate with or identify with any specific religion.


I recognize that doing business is about making a living, making money.  I'm afraid I'm a great deal less interested in either of those 2 things than in engaging in activities and thinking that I either enjoy or that I feel connects me with those things that I value, such as the environment, animals, the finer, quality man-made things, like culture.  I would like the 2 to be completely related.  I'm still working at that.

I feel very strongly that you cannot follow one sort of path for your inner growth and completely ignore that in doing business.  If your business ethic ignores your inner values, something is going to be lost.

I had an interesting conversation with my son a few nights ago and I have to stand by my wish to only do business in a way that I feel is justifiable by my inner values.  I selected the specific niche markets I promote here because I think they are worthwhile.  I think the markets are glutted with Stuff that is pointless and crap.  I don't feel any interest or need and most of what's out there to be had.

Animal Welfare

How can you look at a photograph like that and not be move by the wonderful variety of creatures with which we share this planet?


I think I've been too serious in this blog so, don't forget to keep a child-like, even childish sense of humor:

The source of any photos used in this blog will happily be cited or removed on request.  I'm sent or discovery a mountain of wonderful art and photographs on Facebook, etc.  Much of it doesn't give the source.  It's unfortunately,  I would love to give credit to those who created these images.

Please take my survey and help me turn this business around.  Thank you.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Rosa Parks

Born 100 years ago today.  Rosa Parks' bravery is an inspiration and we ALL owe her a debt of gratitude and enormous respect.

Nothing else to be said.  That's it for today.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Do You Eat?

Please take our survey.  Help us turn this business around.  Thank you.

Groundhog Day

I understand Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early Spring.  It's sunny and bright today but I'm guessing it's cold; I haven't been outside yet.

World Food

This is an interesting photo essay at Oxfam showing what people eat for a week around the world.  Oxfam is an interesting organization.  It looks like they need people too; check out their job opportunities.

This book is a little older but I found it really interesting:

I've been trying to move slowly to a better diet, both for my health and for my pocketbook.  


Working on our next directory.  Hope to have it added by the end of the weekend.  No, no weekend here.  Not with the economy is what it is, not when our finances are what they are.

Don't forget to check out our new enterprise helping people get access to affordable, unlimited legal advice and identity theft protection.  The link to that service is always on the right.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Punxsutawney Phil

Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day 

and we'll learn, for the 127th year, Punxsutawney Phil's opinion whether we'll have another 6 weeks of winter weather and retreat back to his burrow or whether he senses spring is around the corner and stays above ground.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has a great web site with all kinds of information about the history and festivities surrounding the tradition.

Wikipedia has an excellent article about Ground Day.

Please take my survey and help me decide what direction to take this business.  Thank you.


We're about recycling, the environment, living economically, thinking small, living small, being sensible. 

We're also about beautiful things, fun things, unique things.

Look at these:

Are they not adorable?  They're made from a recycled sweater.  Learn how to make them yourself at the tutorials at Urban Threads.  

Making something unique for yourself, using recycled materials, that's what we like to see.

Legal Protection

LegalShield is a new venture for us but we've been a member of their services for many years.  It's a great service giving members constant access to legal assistance for a small monthly membership.  They've reviewed real estate documents for me, advised me on personnel matters, on a variety of financial matters and you legal counsel is a law firm in your area.  Considering the legal support corporations and the wealthy have at their disposal, this is an affordable legal service that's like having a law firm on retainer.  They also have identity theft protection available.  We highly recommend a LegalShield membership 

Spring is Coming

It's only February but it's time to think about Spring, about the yard, about the garden and start to plan and prepare.

I've been wanting a popup greenhouse for a few years, one just big enough to stand in, to start some plants early and to have for herbs and greens  I'll do some investigating and write more as I find out more about them.

I don't have any edible plants intentionally growing in my yard so far but I've been wanting to plant some things.

Time to start planning.