December 13, 2008

A green Christmas?

This post is all about Oregon! And for probably the only time this year, when you hear the words "green Christmas" it's not about environmentalism. It's about our literal green-ness here in the Willamette Valley!

I will admit, we did get a dusting of snow last night (it melted by 9 am) and more is expected tonight. But in general, rain is more the norm and we get lots of it. Normally by this time of year, we've received 11 inches of rain from Sept-present. This year we've received a measly 4 inches or so.

Everything has greened up nicely with the rain we've gotten: the grass is growing (mowed last week, will mow again next week), the Douglas Fir trees make the hills around town perenially green, and most of our bushes are still leafy. It's beautiful and it's no wonder the settlers called it the "Emerald Valley". I'm sure for them, after the dusty trek across Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and eastern Oregon, the sight of trees and grasses as far as they eye could see was refreshing and amazing.

What's Christmas like where YOU live? Warm & sunny? Cold and snowy? Are you decorating palm trees, douglas firs, or prickly pines (like we did growing up in Missouri)?

December 11, 2008

Ammonia issues

As most everyone cloth diapering a toddler can tell you, sometimes ammonia is an issue. A BIG issue. The morning cloth diapers of an 18+ month old can stink up a house. Usually, this can be traced to detergent or washing issues and thus fixed. But some kids, due to their drinking habits and the chemistry of their urine, make those morning diapers a tough problem to solve.

My daughter is one of these kids. We've had ammonia issues for about 1 year now (she's 3 1/2 years). I've tried lots of ideas. Some work better than others but none have solved the problem. I'd settled on 1/4 cup of bleach in every wash load, but I soon found out that this dissolves PUL (so don't try that at home!).

However, I think we finally have it. Bac-Out. I'd heard it was amazing and I finally bought a bottle to try. The first day I squirted it on every diaper and both sides of every insert. That took way too much Bac-Out, though. (I've since heard to cut it 50/50 with water and spray it on) Now I'm adding 1/3 cup to my final rinse cycle.

The 1/3 cup doesn't have any real science. It's the only size measuring cup I could spare out of my baking drawer. But it works. Would 1/4 cup work as well? Maybe. I'll try it next time I do diapers!

I've now washed diapers 4 times with Country Save detergent and 1/3 cup Bac-Out. Her morning dipes still smell slightly of ammonia, but you pretty much have to stick your nose way closer than you normally ever would.

I do carry Country Save detergent (as well as Planet, Vaska, and Allen's) but you'll soon see Bac-Out available in my stores. Until then, you can often find it at natural groceries or sometimes in the laundry aisle at your favorite store.