Thursday, May 29, 2014

Landscaping Continued

-- Garden -- 

 You may recall back on the 22nd of this month I gave a little chat about some of the amazing benefits of landscaping and greening balconies, roof tops, window sills, front steps, etc.

This is our 4th year on this property and we are finally able to do some landscaping... I started with a 30' mulched landscape bed leading to and underneath a huge pine tree - filled with daylilies, iris, marigolds, clematis, sweet peas, rhubarb, amethyst,  blue hyacinth, 4 o'clocks, nasturtium, flower bulbs and so on. It has taken quite nicely and things are blooming well despite being the first year. This weekend we will start on "gorilla gardening" techniques... planting on the city property - a grassy area between our fence line and the street curb. *We did check with the city to make sure it was alright and also followed through with the "call before you dig" service which connected us with the gas, water, sewer, city and other tech folks out there to make sure we wouldn't plant or dig where important lines were buried.

We went to Morris Flower Nursery here in Creston because it was a one-stop shopping for us and they give a 20% discount when you spend $200 or more... and they also threw in free delivery for us as we spent quite a bit there. We looked specifically for plants that not a lot of people had in our neighborhood to increase diversity - increasing bloom time from early spring to late autumn, and contrasting foliage... with a favor of plants that are known to have longer lives and survive drought (though most prefer moist soil). All of these plants listed below have the size listed as they would be at maturity, but this depends of course on how you prune them.

This is what we are planting in the next few weeks along the grassy space outside the fence along the front and side of our corner property:

BarBeri shrubs: This compact dwarf evergreen shrub has a maximum height of 2-3' with a spreading habit of up to 7' at maturity. "Sunsation Japanese" provides golden with orange tinge foliage. "Rose Glow Japanese" offers burgundy green foliage and the branches will arch a bit when the plant is larger.
Moon Glow Juniper: a slow-growing pyramid shape, dense, silver blue evergreen shrub with a maximum height of 15-20', can spread 5-10'.
Dwarf Mugo Pine: another slow-growing evergreen shrub that reaches only about 4' at maturity, can live 50 years or more.
Blue Globe Spruce: slow growing small dense globe-shaped evergreen shrub offers blue foliage with a soft, fine texture. Fills out low to the ground and will live 60 years or more.
Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree: this interesting shrub offers a globe shape on a trunk and is not as invasive as the shrub type of lilacs - flowers in the summer and only reaches a height of 4'. 
Quick Fire Hydrangea: this shrub blooms early in the spring and keeps blooming into autumn, flowers start out white and slowly turn rose - has a maximum height of 6' and spreads about 5'.
Hakuro Nishiki Willow Tree: an interesting dappled pink, white, green foliage is actually an ornamental tree that only gets about 8' tall and can spread up to 6' wide, depending on pruning. Foliage turns yellow in the fall, has a very early leaf-out in the spring and stems can turn deep red in color in the winter.
Purple Robe Locust Tree: the largest in the legume family is said to be nitrogen neutral (produces the nitrogen it needs without excess for other plants) and grows up to 40' tall and a spreading habit up to 30' wide... depending on pruning. This deciduous tree offers violet-red flowers early in mid-summer and in fall the delicate lime green leaves turn yellow. It grows fairly fast - up to 2-3' annually and produces long black or brown seed pods but they can be composted easily.
Spirea: A common landscaping shrub called "gold mound" is actually a member of the rose family and produces flowers in May-June. It is fairly short and squat at 2-3' high and 2-3' wide.
Sweetheart Mayday Tree: This interesting tree has an upright habit (as opposed to wide reaching branches) and offers fragrant pink flowers in mid-spring just as the leaves are coming out. It produces a black fruit that is popular with birds. Purple tipped foliage are more burgundy in color in the spring. A deciduous that offers winter interest with the brown bark and purple branches. Height: 20', spreads to 6.5'.
Butterfly Bush: There are many varieties of the butterfly bush, we chose two different kinds one with whiter flowers, the other with fuchsia colored flowers - both reaching 3' high and 3' wide.This shrub likes to be pruned, the new flowers bloom on new wood. Blooms in summer and has a weeping shape.
Tilla Green Spire Tree: a.k.a. Little Leaf Linden - this huge tree offers delicate small heart-shaped green foliage and a pyramid shape but cymetrical branches, leaves darken from light green in the spring to dark green in the summer to yellow in the fall. Produces small brown fruit for the birds from the yellow summer flowers. Can grow to 50' tall and 35' wide if it is not pruned. * We are not sure we'll actually have enough room now for this tree so we may give it to a neighbor who was really generous the last few years with raspberry/strawberry plants... and boxes of ripe organic pears.
Light and Dark Purple Iris: old fashioned, highly fragrant varieties from our yard and our neighbor's yard.

So that is what we'll be doing now for a few weeks... prepping the site, planting, putting landscape fabric down, lawn borders in place and mulching with rock. Whew! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tips for Guest Blogging

-- Guest Blogging Tips -- 

* By George Russel Joseph

Many people have been wondering whether guest blogging has an effect on SEO in current times. The truth is that the practice increases SEO. This is because it aids in increasing overall long tail traffic.

While guest blogging still has the ability of increasing the ranking of your site, you need to observe a number of tips. The tips that you need to put into consideration include:

Ensure that you post on relevant blogs
Google recently rolled out measures to punish websites that had links in irrelevant blogs. For example, if you have a health blog, you will be punished if a link is found in a commerce blog.

To prevent your blog from being punished, you should ensure that you post on relevant blogs. This means that if you have a finance blog, you should post on finance related blogs only.

For you to brand yourself and drive traffic to your site, you should not only post on related blogs, but you should also ensure that you post on bigger blogs. This is because posting on bigger blogs gives you more exposure than posting on small, unknown blogs.

Stay away from rich anchor text
When guest posting, you should avoid using rich anchor text. This means that you should avoid using your target keyword as the anchor text. This is because using rich anchor text will result to penalization of your website. To avoid penalization, you should use naked links instead of anchor text.

Build up your author rank
Due to increased use of Google+, it's now very easy for Google to determine how good of a writer you are. For you to be recognized as a high quality writer, you should ensure that you share high quality content only. If you are not a good writer you should hire a good quality writer to write for you.

Share the love
When choosing the sites to guest post, you should not focus on those that will be of benefit to you only. You should also keep the readers into consideration.
The best way of keeping the readers into consideration is by guest posting in a website that is read by many people. This way you will not only improve your SEO but you will also benefit the readers.

Although, guest posting aids in increasing SEO, experts are saying that the practice might not work in future. This means that instead of focusing so much on increasing SEO using guest posting, you should use the practice to increase branding, referral traffic and sales.

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Monday, May 26, 2014


-- The Power of Kindness --
* by Bruce Star

Sometimes you learn the simplest, most powerful lessons of kindness under the most ritual and mundane circumstances. For instance, five days a week, I get up, or I am awakened by my daughter Kenia, to get her ready to go off to school. This morning I asked her as usual what she wanted for breakfast. I would ask if she wanted cereal or oatmeal? She would say... either... oatmeal... or cereal.
Her response left me cold. It took a few days for me to realize that the correct and kind response was to say, "I will have cereal dad, thanks!" Or, "I will have oatmeal dad, thanks!" When I asked her to please respond that way, she said she would and did so from that point forward.

It wasn't that I was being mean or overly demanding of her. I just knew it made me feel better that if I had to get up earlier than I would like, if she showed a form of appreciation by responding in a way that would lift my spirits when I heard her responses. I also I told her it was excellent practice for when she got older and people were offering her things or asking her opinion, to respond in a positive fashion that would make the person feel better about asking.

I explained to her that if she could just choose the "kind" path or response, people would be more willing to not only be kind to her in return, but they would remember how good you made them feel when they offered you something in the past. They would do it again if they knew they would feel good again if they offered you something in the future.

I let Kenia know that even though the things we were talking about seemed small and unimportant, I told her that indeed, it was very important to get into the practice of being kind. I then went on to tell her that as she got older, being kind to everyone she met would make an incredible difference in her life, not only to the people she was kind to, but to her.

That very same morning and as we were walking to the school bus stop, we pass a security gate that the guard has to electronically open after we ring the bell. Right in front of us, maybe twenty feet away, a man was coming through the gate and instead of holding the gate open for us to walk through, he quickly moved on and let the gate close. He passed us by with his head down and we were so surprised by his untypical (most people are kind enough to hold the gate open if we were not too far from the gate) and insensitive action, we didn't have the chance to say hello as he had already walked by.

I looked at my daughter and said, "Isn't that interesting?"

She said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "What just happened is a perfect example of what we were discussing earlier this morning. Let me describe the two scenarios. On the one hand, the man did not hold the door for us. As he put his head down, he could not have felt good about his insensitive action, and no doubt left the situation feeling probably just as badly as he did before he came upon us."

"Right," my daughter said.

"Here is what could have happened instead," I continued. "When he came through the door, and saw us coming, with very little effort or time spent on his part, he could have waited three or four seconds and held the door open for us. He might have said good morning, bringing a sure smile to his face as he said it. Our faces would have lit up by the kindness of another stranger to us. We were sure to say good morning and gone out of our way to verbally thank him for being kind enough to wait the few extra seconds it took us to get to the gate. Kenia, you would have smiled at him and said thank you and the three of our spirits would have been uplifted instantly by this five second encounter with another person."

I then said to her, "Do you see the difference a small and short act of kindness can do to not only you, but to another person who in this instance was a stranger?"

Kenia said, "Yes, I do see the difference. It does make a big difference to be kind."

Moments later, a man walking to work the same time I walk Kenia to the bus stop, walked by just as he did each and every work day. For the first several months we saw him, this kind looking man would walk by without raising his head. Then one day, I said hello to him. His face also lit up. He called out energetically, "Good morning! Have a great day!"

From that day onward, we both enthusiastically say hello each and every morning, all the time having fun with it. Sometimes he is a few seconds to a few minutes late in getting to our spot. Sometime we are a few seconds to a few minutes late to meeting. When our paths do cross, we always remark, "hey, you are a few seconds late," or "it looks like we are late today," with each encounter ending in a big smile on all of us. He always then calls out, "have a great day!" I say, "the very same to you!"

Don't think little things like that makes a difference? This past week, my daughter stayed home from school for three days because she had a cold. When we got back on our morning schedule of walking to school, the first thing this man remarked was, "Hey, where were you guys? I missed you!"

Sometimes, the slightest act of kindness can make all the difference in the world, in your day or in another person's day. Imagine how different your life's experiences could be if you initiated positive experiences in your day rather than negative ones just by showing small acts of kindness. I know, not everyone is going to be kind or respond to your kindness. Don't let that bother you. Focus on how good it made you feel to be kind. Remind yourself that if the other person was feeling better about themselves, such as the person who did not even want to hold the door open for us, he would no doubt want to extend his kindness to others. Wish that person well who doesn't open that door. That will help you quickly recover from taking on his negative emotions.

The Power of Kind is sure and dramatic! Let it work in your life. Just try it for one short day. See if it doesn't make a difference. Then ask yourself, if this is all I have to do to have better days, why not do it everyday? Put a few weeks or months of positive experiences together instead of several weeks or months or negative days, and see how your life starts to turn around for the better.

  Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


-- Quote of the Day -- 

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, 
so as to have the life that is waiting for us. "

~ Joseph Campbell

 -- Positive News -- 

In keeping with yesterday's post about greening cities - I learned recently that upgrades and improvements have been made to an already good recycling system in BC , which earned top honors in Canada for the extended producer Responsibility programs. – find out more at: … recycling in BC has expanded the # of items they will accept to include things like aerosol containers, milk containers and plant pots. Recycling doesn’t just save energy and resources, and keep our air clean, it also preserves natural spaces through less resource mining, but also create jobs locally through businesses that use the recycled materials to make new products, as well as the recycling and shipping industries. People are getting really innovative creating interesting products from “waste” such as chairs and garden benches made out of discarded wood.

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Green Cities - Green Transportation

 -- Quote of the Day -- 

"The journey is not about helping ourselves, but about helping others. We do best when we use our own skills to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When we do this, we bring enjoyment, hope and fulfillment to others, but we also find that we enjoy the journey more than we ever could have imagined.” 

~ Dave Lieber

 -- Positive News -- 

In Bejing, subway services now offer passengers the option of paying for their travel through recycling plastic bottles via onsite kiosks. 

This is a fantastic way to encourage recycling to go mainstream, to help individuals who struggle financially and to keep the streets clean. Imagine a group of youth who's pockets are empty but they want to go to an event that is too far away to walk to. So they look around them, pick up some litter and take it to the nearest subway station to deposit the bottles in a kiosk and get a ticket for where they want to go. This could help young or single parents, students, the homeless, the elderly... and what better way to encourage keeping the city clean?

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!


Friday, May 23, 2014


-- Quote of the Day -- 

Everyone is the age of their heart. 

~ Guatemalan Proverb

-- Poetry -- 

Today I'd like to share a couple excerpts from my book 

Together Yet Apart

I am glad we are still friends,
That we can still relate;
I am glad we made amends,
Before it was too late.
Yes, we live our separate lives now.
'Cause time is too soon lost and gone,
But together - yet apart - we'll make it somehow.
We will be forever friends, this I now know.
No matter what comes, no matter what goes.
Together - yet apart - we will continually grow,
Until, together, we reach our highest goals.
Then, on that day, we will celebrate again,
What we have conquered together, my friend.
Helping each other along the way
We can make it through another day.

* Lillian Brummet, written in ode to R. Johnson

Go Ahead And Cry 

You give love with all your heart, 
Until you endure no more.
Now things start to fall apart,
You hae used all you had in store.
The tears begin to fill the brim,
And you start to softly cry,
For bygone years and how they dim.
Long ago, when laughter came easy, 
It was so simple to believe
In fairy tales, romance and magic...
But now you can only grieve.
You ask what happened to that child,
Full of laughter and innocence.
Life then seemed so exciting and wild...
Until you were forced to learn defense.
I know that sometimes you want to run from life;
Sometimes you just can't be that strong.
Love and hate tangles you in strife.
So now, pour out your mournful song. 
Cry now, for all those illusions that fooled,
And your wasted summer nights,
For because of them, your heart has cooled,
And become cynical, demanding rights.

* Lillian Brummet

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Green Garden - Green Buildings

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers - a living prismatic gem.... it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description." 

~ W.H. Hudson

-- Of Gardens and Green --

You've likely heard me talk about greening buildings, yards, balconies etc. on the radio show, or read posts about it here or in our Trash Talk book series...

Today I'd like to share a few thoughts on how planting a little green can save you a lot of green - cold hard cash. 

First - landscaping can increase the value of your home by 15-20%! This works best when you are considering curb appeal, planting for privacy and also diversity. Mature landscapes or those a few years old are much more likely to drive up the value of your home. Simply installing a patio area and entrance area with interesting plants can increase the value of your home by 4-12%! It really is that easy. 

As you've heard me talk about on the radio show, you can use plants to increase the energy efficiency of your home. If you plant deciduous trees (those that drop leaves in the fall) on the south and west sides of your home - shade will be created, keeping the home cooler in the summer. You can also plant vertical vines such as honey suckle, or edibles such as pole and runner beans, to grow up the side of your home if you have limited space. Either way you have more shade, but also the leaves mitigate moisture in the air surrounding your home and entrances to the building - and that reduces the heat on your property as well... by as much as 14˚C. These plants drop their leaves in the fall giving you fodder for the compost or mulch for your perennials and that allows the sun to warm the home during the cold months.

Planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the prevailing wind side of the home will protect it from stronger winds that try to find their way through small cracks and gaps of a building ...which decreases the energy efficiency, especially in winter. They also provide a both a living privacy screen and wind break for the garden, sitting areas, entrances, primary windows, air conditioning units, etc.

Shrubs and trees help reduce dust kicked up from the street - while cleaning the air for the inhabitants or workers of the building. In fact just 2 mature trees can produce enough oxygen for a family of 4 and absorb 300 kg of pollution each year! 

If you live in an apartment or condo building you can use your balcony instead. Plant a variety of food producing plants, flowering plants and grasses of varying heights and seasonal productivity. Grasses provide interesting textures all year round. Limited growing space? Try vertical trellis gardening of things that climb like runner beans, pole beans, sweet or edible peas, honey suckles, Chinese wolf berry,  grapes, clematis, etc. You can grow these in front of building walls, along driveways (which help shade the vehicles), along fences, etc.

Feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start?

Start in one spot and gently, gradually work your way around the property or balcony or roof top... and keep diversity in mind so that you have a variety of plants providing a wide array of colors, textures, heights, food, flowers, bird habitat, etc.

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Changing Perspective

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"Change your thoughts and you change your world."

 ~ Norman Vincent Peale

-- Fun Resource --

Check out this wonderful, brief, video when you get a chance:

Talk about putting our lives in perspective! 

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Open Discussion - Living With Less

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things."

~ Elise Boulding

-- Chatter -- 

I'd like to open a discussion here today about living with less...

Dave and I - for instance - have been living with one vehicle since '95. At times it has been difficult to simply schedule shopping and outings around each other. When I was working outside of the home, one of us would get up early to drive the other to work in the morning and then either he or I would walk, bicycle or take a bus home if the person with the vehicle was unable to pick us up from work. We managed to do this fairly well with few if any conflict of need. And all those years we paid one insurance, we maintained one vehicle, we had one vehicle to purchase... one gas tank to fill. Can you imagine the thousands and thousands of dollars we saved each year by doing this one simple reduction?

Where else can we live with less? 

Starting a garden makes a difference because you're no longer shopping for food at the grocery store as often, saving a great deal of money over time and increasing our nutrition as well.

How about shopping for used clothes?
Or renting the tools or equipment we need instead of buying them?

I'd like to open the discussion here to our readers to comment here or spread the topic over to social media for their circles to participate. 

How have you "lived with less" - what did it mean for you, did you experience a positive benefit?

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!



Monday, May 19, 2014


 -- Poetry -- 

Occasionally, I like to share excerpts from our published books of poetry. Today I'd like to share 2 from the Rhythm and Rhyme book:

Rhythm & Rhyme:
I chose this first poem based on a recent interview where the host and I were discussing the tendency for women to refer to themselves as "just" this or that. I wrote this poem tongue in cheek but with a powerful message. 

Women - Know Your Place

Women - know your place!
How DARE you go beyond
Where you are MEANT to be?
It is NOT your place 
To feel criticized or downsized
Or set standards no other can meet.
It is NOT your place
To fulfill your mother's dream
Or your father's expectation.
It is NOT your place 
To meet the ideals set by the masses
Or to reach without your "Self". 
You are NOT "only" wives
You are parnters, supporters
You are friends and lovers.
You are NOT "only" mothers
You are educators, nurturers
You are comfort and love.
You are NOT "only" a worker
You are creative, a giver of tools
You make a mark every day. 
You ARE unique as you were meant to be.
Every breath reveals an opportunity,
And it IS your place to pursue it.

* by Lillian Brummet, 2007

This next one was written by Dave and is a light-hearted look at the note papers I leave on his desk or on his spot at the kitchen table of the honey-do's I have for him. :)


I have a book of lists
That my life insists
I must complete
Before I retreat
Down to my room
And out of the sun

I must not desist
From doing my list
For if I fail
And my chores curtail 
I'll meet my doom
Before I have fun

Not knowing what to do 
Without that list left by you
Has me wandering around
With my head hanging down
Although it may seem 
Very easy for you
I am lost with out my 
List of to-do's 

* by Dave Brummet, 2013

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!


Sunday, May 18, 2014


-- Chatter --

I wanted to take the opportunity today to encourage our readers to browse the blog pages via the tabs on the top of the screen there, below the blog name. You'll find a media page that lists the most recent 50 or so interviews and media appearances that I've done (in the order of oldest on the top of the page to newest at the bottom).  By doing so you'll find interesting discussions, learn more from us and about us, but also discover wonderful informative resources (sites, blogs, talk radio, etc.) that you may want to follow regularly. For those of you looking for media exposure for your product, business or service - these resources might prove to be marketing opportunities for you as well. Feel free to share whatever links on the media page with your social networking circles as well. It is a great way to show support for our work, the media member, and to also spread the information around.

You'll also find a section that refers to product reviews I have done on this blog over the years. I am very careful to chose review projects on eco-friendly, conscious living, and ethically produced products ranging from food to clothing, to compost units and more.

Additionally I've taken the liberty to include a page of testimonials - this is where I share comments by members of the media, people who have heard our interview, listeners of the radio show, guests who have appeared on our blog or radio show, and publishers, agents, etc. that I've dealt with over the years. That page is there to show you how other people feel about working with us. 

Additionally there is a brief introduction to what Dave and I are all about, along with a few fun pics of us enjoying nature on the About page. 

You'll also find many links on the side bars of this blog leading to more opportunities and information that I hope you'll take advantage of.

I welcome comments and always welcome networking opportunities, as well as queries for guests on the blog or radio show. 

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Glass Recycling

-- Quote of the Day --

"No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent. "

~ William Ellery Channing

-- Positive News -- 

Kudo's to Austria Glass Recycling (a non-profit organization based in Australia) who recycled more glass in 2013 than any other year since the country began glass recycling more than 35 years ago.

 More than 234,000 tons of glass was collected for recycling, an increase of more than 3,500 tons from the previous year (2012)... which averages out to about 26.8 kg per person. 

It is encouraging to see the incredible support people give the recycling industry and proves that with education we become more willing to participate religiously. Advances in technology, efficiency, staffing and location of collection sites also plays a role in the increased participation. 

Success breeds success, they say - and successes like this gives us all a bright future.

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!