Natural Living Des Moines

Two Events coming up by sarahtar
September 6, 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Events

1. DMCD Garage Sale. Tomorrow, 10 am, Vineyard Church at 36th and University.

2. Des Moines Green Gifts Fair, November 7. Applications accepted through the end of this month. Please contact sarahtar1 at gmail dot com if you’d like an application.


Don’t forget – DM Cloth Diapering garage sale! by sarahtar
September 1, 2010, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Events, Parenting

It’s coming up Tuesday, Sept 7, 10:00, Vineyard Community Church at 36th and University. Bring your old diapers for sale, bring your money to buy some new-to-you diapers! Rules here:

Can foods help increase your protection from the sun? by sarahtar
August 30, 2010, 12:33 am
Filed under: Food

I found this article interesting, particularly in light of a conversation I had with a friend towards the beginning of the summer. Despite the fact that we rarely put sunscreen on our fair-skinned children, they don’t tend to get sunburns.

Sun Protection Through Your Food.

Nutrition experts believe that foods like olive oil, fish, yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables, especially colorful ones, might be a good way to complement other important methods of sun protection, including the use of sunscreen and wearing properly protective clothing.

The Iowa State Fair by sarahtar
August 13, 2010, 8:37 am
Filed under: Events, Food

It’s Fair time! (This is an update/edit of an article I wrote in 2008)

I’m not going to pretend to know everything about this subject. I spend very little time at the Fair. Usually one day each year.

I’ll be honest…part of it is that the State Fair kind of disgusts me these days. The freakishly giant animals. Those poor pregnant and laboring mamas locked up for noisy onlookers to stare at in the Animal Learning Center. The fried food. I the year I turned 30 was the turning point on that one. Suddenly, the idea of eating hot fried food when it’s hot and I’m walking around in the heat just didn’t seem to make any sense. I just wanted something HEALTHY!!


There are healthy food choices at the fair, but they are of course still the more mainstream ideas of healthy. (In other words, not organic, possibly not local.)

  • Salad on a Stick. However, I have heard more people criticizing how difficult this is to eat than commenting on its taste.
  • Regular salad in a bowl is available various places. The Iowa State Fair website has a list.
  • The Salad Bowl, which is in the agricultural building and also the cultural center, has salads, wraps, and other non-fried foods.
  • Many places have fresh fruit. Again, the Iowa State Fair website has a list. Applelicious is one of our family’s favorites. They have several stands, including one outside the Varied Industries building. They have cut up apples with caramel, and they’ll omit the caramel if you wish.
  • Vegan fairgoers likely already know about the veggie corn dogs from the Veggie Table, north of the varied industries building, close to the KIOA beer tent. (Unless it’s moved in the 10 years since I brought out of state vegan friends to the fair…)
  • Omnivores can find healthy meat choices at the various Producer tents. (Pork, beef, lamb etc.)

Non Food

But the fair isn’t just about food. What else can you do to make your State Fair a little more natural-minded? Here are some ideas. Our family doesn’t follow all of these, just so you know.

  • Park at one of the handy Park and Ride locations and take the shuttle in to the fair. (personally, we still drive in and park in the parking lot, as we need ready access to the car. we always perform at the fair, and then need to change our clothes and stash our performance-related things in the car so we don’t have to haul three heavy bags around with us while we stroll the fair.)
  • Bring your own reusable water bottles, filled with water. Depending on how many people you have with you, think about bringing a hydration pack (one of those nifty backpacks with a giant water bladder inside).
  • (not related to natural living, but a good tip nonetheless: pack a cooler with ice and bottles of water. Leave it in your car. When you’re all hot and exhausted, you’ll have nice cold drinks waiting for you for the drive home.)
  • Be mindful of the amount of waste you create, and for goodness’ sake, put your garbage in the plentiful garbage cans.

Please feel free to post your favorite natural living at the fair tips in the comments!

Hang that Laundry! by sarahtar
August 3, 2010, 11:24 am
Filed under: Energy, Home and Garden, Urban Homesteading

It’s summer, and the hot air that makes us all sweat is perfect for drying laundry outside! Air-drying is cheap, doesn’t use any energy, and makes your clothes last longer. Read more over at Boulevard Farm.

Cedar Rapids approves urban chickens! by sarahtar
July 28, 2010, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Community

Good news for those who live in Cedar Rapids – the Cedar Rapids City Council yesterday approved backyard chickens!

According to KCCI, residents can keep up to 6 chickens in their yard.

The ordinance said chickens must be in a fenced area at least 10 feet from property lines and 25 feet from any adjacent home, church, school or business. Odors can’t be “perceptible” beyond the boundaries of the yard.

As a humorous aside,

Resident Audrey Rahn noted that raccoons love chickens, and backyard chickens could mean more raccoons. She wondered if the city would need a bow hunt of raccoons.

Solar Leasing by sarahtar
July 24, 2010, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Energy

Hm, perusing through the most recent issue of Urban Farm magazine, I came across the idea of solar leasing. Basically, some companies have started leasing solar panels to interested homeowners. This lessens the up-front costs but, like any lease, makes it more expensive in the long run. In doing just a short bit of research online, though, I’m finding that there are many who doubt the financial viability of a solar leasing program – particularly, Citizenre Renu has been promising solar panels to interested homeowners since 2006, but apparently have yet to actually install any.

Regardless, I did find a company in Minnesota called Solarflow Energy that provides solar panel leasing. They are in the middle of a pilot project limited to customers in the twin cities area, but I would assume that if the project goes well, there might be a possibility of expanded operations – or of a business opening up here in Des Moines providing similar services. Something to look into!