Author Archives: jane

4th Of July Centerpiece Made From Recycled Materials

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Looking for an easy craft to decorate for this patriotic holiday? Here is a super easy craft that is red, white and blue- and “green” too. The swirls make you think of fireworks.

Save the twist ties off lettuce or other vegetables. In this instance you will want to use the ones that are red, white and/ or blue. Make tight curly cues by winding around a pencil and make larger curls freehand. Twist one end to the top of a clean saved chopstick (saved from last year’s outings). You can glue in place. Arrange your sticks in something you already have: an interesting jar could be nice.

Box House For Pet Rat

Meet my daughter’s pet rat named Kitty.

Entertain your pet rat with a multi-story playhouse. Rats are curious little things and are very smart. Keep your pet rat busy with houses you can make yourself out of salvaged boxes.

To make:

Find boxes that will fit inside your enclosure. Use them to create the playhouse especially for your rat. Don’t be sad if it gets chewed up or soiled. Just make a new one. Changing up your rat’s environment will make your rat happy.

Don’t forget to hide food around for your rat to find.

Here is a very simple home for a rat made out of a tissue box.

Before Kitty had her own home, my daughter liked to share her doll house.

Here are a few shots I took. Hope you enjoy them!

Hope you enjoyed my little story about a rat.

It’s environmentally friendly to share your toys. Right!?

Make A Playhouse Box Tower For Your Cat

Make something fun for your cat and have fun doing it. My husband and kids made this box tower playhouse for our then young cat. It has many levels, two observation decks and plenty of interior places to explore.

To Make:

Gather boxes. Cut holes. Tape together. I could give you step by step instructions for making this box tower but that would take away half the fun of it. Be creative with your design.

Our box tower has holes at the base for the cat to enter. The stacked boxes have holes in the top of one box and through the bottom of the box above so our cat could climb higher. Windows were added. The most important part is the observation deck. Cats like to have a place to perch up high.

Green Southern Maryland: A Local Source For All Things Green

Do you live in Maryland? If so Check out GreenSoMd.com. My husband made this useful site. Want to volunteer your time to a local environmental group, join others on a kayak trip, or live more sustainably? GreenSoMD.com is a great place to find out what is happening in our community.

Think Globally, Act Locally!

Green Southern Maryland

Green Southern Maryland promotes environmental awareness within the Southern Maryland region of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties by providing environmental news, a calendar of events, a directory of green organizations and businesses, discussion forums and more.

Make A Micro Pond Observatory For Learning And Fun: Damselfly Observation

In this photo is a damselfly larvae (arrow points to it) and to its left is a salamander larvae (more on it in another post).

How interesting to discover the world living in pond water. When I scooped up some pond water and brought it home for observation, I didn’t know that there was a damselfly larvae in it; we just wanted pond water full of tiny aquatic insects to feed our salamander larvae (more on this salamander larvae later). We were delighted when it crawled out of the water and soon emerged as an adult damselfly.

To make your micro pond you need only to find a container, gather some pond water, and add a stick and/or rock. We used a large glass cookie jar. We broke the top sometime back; it is 10.5 inches height and about 9 inches across (see picture). But you can use what you have or can find; think outside the box. Use an extra large pickle jar (ask for one at a sandwich shop; that’s what I did), find a secondhand fish bowl (not hard to find at thrift stores), or use a large glass carafe from a coffee maker (one that the coffee maker itself is broken but not the carafe).

The idea is to keep your micro-pond around long enough to allow things to grow. We plan to keep ours for most of the summer or until our frogs metamorphose. Some frogs like bull frogs and sometimes green frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds and therefore will not finish metamorphosing until the following summer. Bull frogs will sometimes take 3 years. If tadpoles don’t complete their metamorphosis, we will let them go before the fall (more about keeping tadpoles in another post). To keep the critters in your micro- pond alive you must add new pond water to it every week. Take out some of the old water at this time. Basically, the tiny things swimming around are food for the larger things. 

According to this website: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/bay/cblife/insects/damselflies.html, larvae feed on other insects and small invertebrates while adult damselflies feed on mosquitoes and other flying insects.

The three “tails” at the back are called the caudal lamellae. These are the insect’s gills.

The skin that the insect leaves behind after turning into a winged adult damselfly is called an exuvia.

Here is a snapshot of the adult damselfly. You will want to put a screen across the top of your pond if you suspect a damselfly larvae will be emerging soon. I was unprepared and this guy got away in my house.

More about this soon.