August 4(for) Green Acres Challenge

These monthly challenges are your opportunity to cultivate your own acres. They are designed to challenge your creativity, test your will power, and pull your awareness to the footstep you are leaving behind.

By participating in these challenges and sharing them with others you are spreading the message. Over time, those around us will be making better choices as well. The goal is not to change how you live your life, but rather think about the implications of those choices and tweek them for the best outcome.


Summer is winding down and for most of us our thoughts are starting to turn toward a new school year. But while you start to engage in all the flurry that comes with a new school year, it is more important than ever to think about protecting your body and your home against mosquitoes.

Believe it or not mosquitoes carry the highest amount of the West Nile virus in early fall, increasing the rate of the disease in August and into September.  Are you prepared?  In Texas alone, 71 cases have already been reported out of the 113 total cases in the U.S.  The data is pretty convincing.

On the other hand, protecting yourself with repellents that are full of chemicals could potentially lead to as many cases of illness as well.  DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) being the number one chemical perpetrator causing major neurological damage if absorbed into the body.  Without going into the details of the dangers of DEET, here is an excerpt from a 2004 article from Natural News.  

Even the EPA says that DEET should not be frequently used -- in other words, they're saying it's okay to poison yourself just a little bit, but not too much. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one application of DEET per day for children. Once again, this is a position that says it's okay to poison your children just a little bit. The Duke University Medical Center has concluded through laboratory rat studies that long-term use of DEET kills brain neurons.

So there has to be a balance between protecting yourself and what exactly it is you expose yourself to.  This month's challenge is about finding that balance.  Start with the following tips to limit the amount of mosquitoes around your home, and later this month I'll post a few recipes for natural repellent for your body and your yard. 

1. I know you've heard it a thousand times, but it's true.  Standing water breeds mosquitoes.  Heed this advice and walk around your home with fresh eyes.  Better yet, ask a family member or neighbor to walk with you and spot every place there could be standing water.  Bird baths, low areas that collect water from sprinklers or rain, saucers from potted plants on the porch.  Even cracks in concrete can hold water.  Dry these areas.  

2.  Feeding times are at dawn and dusk, which is when a green minded person is typically watering the garden.  Adjust your schedule or wear longer, cotton clothes.  Make repellents that are natural and avoid heavy perfumes or soaps on your body. 

3.  Arm your yard and yourself with the right scents.  Mosquitoes are driven by scent. An attractive scent, such as perfumes and laundry soaps attract them to you.  Same goes for scented flowers that you may have planted in your yard or garden.  However, many herbs such as rosemary, mint, and especially lavender will repel mosquitoes because they can't stand the smell.  Mix in these herbs in pots on your porch or around your garden beds.  Any place you or your family may be interacting at these times of day.  

4.  Be diligent about what your city or town is doing to protect the citizens.  Dallas for example is spraying neighborhoods at night by driving big trucks down the street with arms on each side spraying chemicals in the air.  There is no doubt the spray is full of DEET.  Educate yourself and be sure you and your pets are indoors when they spray and for several hours afterwards.  

There is still time to enjoy what's left of summer, but do so diligently.  


Excited about the challenge and want to spread the message? Grab a 4(for) green acres project badge for your blog by using this code to let others know you're growing your own greener acres. I've added the badge to the sidebar as well.

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