Avoid Injuries (Bill Moore - Moscow, ID)
I love to work on do-it-yourself projects. But I hate to clean up after myself. Unfortunately, that makes for an unsafe work environment. So I learned long ago (following a quick trip to the Doc’s for a tetanus shot), that it pays to take the extra time to pound the nails back through any boards, planks, plywood etc., so the sharp end is not exposed.
Even better is to finish pulling the nails all the way out. If you sweep the work area with a powerful magnet (like the ones they put in old computer hard-drives) tied to a short rope, you can pick up any nails or screws lying hidden on the ground or work area. This can pay real dividends in time saved changing a flat tire (or running to the Doc for a quick tetanus shot).
Milk Paint (Polly Hill - Boise , Idaho)
I asked a friend of mine who does antique furniture renovations about painting my new dresser to get the kind of dull rich colors he gets on his work.
He told me to buy Milk Paint.
With my order, I got a powder that I mixed with water in a wide-mouth Mason jar, like making a chocolate milk shake.
He says it's an old (possibly even Egyptian) recipe mixing milk protein (casein) and lime and color pigments. He promised me it was easy and that I would love it.
It was, and I do.
It is completely non-toxic, and really soaked into the wood, resulting in a beautiful earthy red color (I had a choice of 16 colors).
Check it out yourself. Their web site at www.milkpaint.com has answers to all your questions. It's a company back east. Amazing! I loved painting the dresser right in my bedroom without worrying about ventilation issues.
NATURAL FIRE STARTERS (MICHELE SKINNER - KUNA, ID)
A great natural way to start fires whether in the home or camping. Save your dryer lint (I also use pet hair) and your cardboard egg cartons. Cut the individual egg holders apart. Place on wax paper for next steps. Put a small amount of lint in egg holders, add melted paraffin. I melt the paraffin in a used tin coffee can on low on the stovetop. Let harden at room temp. These are magic and much healthier than fire accelerants.
Wood Finish Products (Mary Jane Butters - Moscow, ID)
Indoor air pollution can be 10 times worse than Los Angeles on a bad day. Man-made wood finishes, paints, stains, varnishes, cleaning supplies, vinyl and plastics outgas things like formaldehyde and 1,1,1 trichloroethane. There are about 50,000 chemicals that release an alphabet soup of unpronounceable compounds, most of which challenge your immune system. Many of these toxins have a cumulative effect. That means you never get rid of them. They just collect until you reach your threshold. Then, something inside you fails to function. Outgassing is like evaporation, only with solid materials. It happens because even the densest solid material isn’t really solid. There are spaces between the molecules, and molecules work their way into your air.
Nester Noe, a manufacturer of paints, watersealers, etc., became alarmed when he and his employees started becoming ill in the 1970s. Mr. Noe asked his company chemist to explore alternatives to toxic ingredients. His first product was Safe Seal. Safe Seal got its first major trial at an armed forces hospital in Nevada, which had closed because it actually made patients sicker. After coating the interior of the facility with Noe’s Safe Seal, it reopened successfully. Today, Noe runs the only company to provide a complete range of chemically responsible building and maintenance products. Log on to www.afmsafecoat.com to find a store near you and check out all their healthy products. One of their dealers, Builder’s Wholesale Supply in Fairfield, Iowa will ship AFM products to you mail-order. Call and ask for Joel Hirshberg 888-405-0222. Paints made by AFM are so low in toxicity that you can repaint your home’s interior walls, in the middle of winter, without opening windows for ventilation.