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Strictly Country copyright A Northwoods Country Earth Day title




   Her alarm goes off at 4 AM.  Every morning she is up before most people, not because she has to.  It’s because she wants to.  Some people think she’s crazy, nonetheless, those people really don’t know her.  It is in the early morn before man begins to stir, that she finds herself.

   At the back door of her house she dons on her coat, hat and mittens.  Even though it is April, the weather has been unseasonably cold.  She doesn’t mind.  The cool air fills her lungs as she walks outside.  Every morning it is the same ritual, nonetheless, it is a ritual that means the world to her.

   Just outside the door, she pauses.  With a dish filled with shelled peanuts and a bag of crackers, she looks towards the sky… “For the buddies…” she silently says as an offering to the wildlife in her yard. 

   A few feet away, a squirrel patiently waits.  It sits on its hunches with its paws curled towards its chest.  She smiles at the squirrel and then says “Good morning my little friend…” before tossing a couple peanuts towards the critter.  She sets the dish on the deck and then looks up to let her gaze flit over the branches of the silver maple tree in her yard.  She is looking for her Blue Jay friend, one she named ‘Harry.’  He has yet to arrive.  No worries, she knows he’ll visit soon enough.

   She walks over to the south yard and pauses.  She bends down to the earth to place her hands upon the ground.  “Mother Earth, please accept my apology for the damage I have done to you.  Please help me to be mindful of my actions, especially those that will harm you.  I apologize for the garbage I have placed in the garbage bin and I pray the refuse company recycles everything I have placed in the recycle bin…”  It is a prayer she prays each week while asking for forgiveness from Mother Earth on garbage pick-up day.  It is a start, but she knows it’s not enough.

   Her morning tasks bring her to the bird feeders.  This morning is cold so she places more crackers out for her buddies – the winged ones and the fur creatures.  Her morning tasks do not end there.  She checks the bird baths to make sure they are clean and full of water.  Then she walks over to Henry, a Catalpa tree in her yard.  “Good morning Henry…” she says before giving the tree a big hug.  In her mind, there is nothing more sacred than hugging a tree…


   Indigenous cultures believe that what we do today affects the next seven generations.  Take a moment to think about that.  Seven generations from now, our actions at this moment will affect their lives.  Now think back to your ancestors…what they did and the actions they took affected our lives.

   A perfect example of the cause and affects of a generation is found in what has been dubbed as The Greatest Generation – those who lived through the years of World War II.  Men marched off to boot camp and then off to war to fight an evil far greater than they had ever known.  Women were called from their kitchens to work in munitions plants and other jobs that served the war effort.  Even children helped by scrounging for scrap metal, milkweed, and other items to aid in the war effort.  Sure the core of their actions was the war effort, but if you take a closer look you will see the continuing stages of caring for Mother Earth.

   During WWII, Americans were not able to have full access to certain products such as sugar and metal.  Metal was recycled into items for the war like bullets, tanks, airplanes and more.  Most people planted what were called Victory Gardens.  Any available land was turned into vegetable gardens to produce food to eat as most canned food was sent to the soldiers fighting in the war.  If you are lucky enough to see a piece of paper from the era, you will notice it states “Please use both sides and recycle.”

   If we travel deeper into history we will find the Pagans and the Celts.  As much as Christianity would like us to believe that both groups of people were devil worshipers, they weren’t!  In fact, both groups of people were care takers of our planet Earth.  They did so by following the seasons and working with Earth and not claiming ownership as Christians today do.

   So how did we go from caretakers of earth to destructors? 

   We cannot put all the blame on one group of people, but we must put the blame on all of us!

   The generation who survived WWII was a generation that went without.  Prior to WWII our country and much of the world went through the Depression.  Life was difficult and if our society were to go through that again it would be pandemonium.  Gun violence would overtake the natural way of things.  Nonetheless, back prior to WWII people used all they own and then sold it off to someone else to use.  Take for an example an everyday jean jacket.  Back in the 1930’s a person would wear the jean jacket until it had holes in it, then they would sew it up and wear it until they could not mend the jacket any more.  It is then they would sell it off to some less fortunate who would wear it until it literally fell off their backs!  Is this something you would do today?  Chances are – no!

   My generation, two post WWII, grew up with some of the same circumstances passed down from the Greatest Generation. 

  1. Washing machines would recycle the rinse load into a large basin located next to the washer. This water was then used to wash the next load while saving 15 to 30 gallons of water per load.  Why do we not have this type of washing machine in every house hold?  Imagine how much water the average household would save per year? 
  2. We hung our clothes outside to dry instead of using a clothes dryer. In the winter time we hung them up in the basement or on an a-frame wooden clothes dryer.
  3. Gently used clothes were passed down from one child to the other. New clothes were worn for Church or School.  Children would wear worn out school clothes for play or working around the house.  When clothes became so worn out that they could not be used any more they were turned into rags to use to clean the house and other odd jobs.
  4. Children were expected to ride the bus or walk to school. I don’t recall any parent driving their child to school unless they needed to attend some sort of medical or dental appointment.
  5. Car pool was a necessity. You hoped one of your neighbors was in the same after school activities that you wanted to be in so you could car pool.  The same went for attending some school function.
  6. You did not go to the grocery store for one item! No way, that was what neighbors were for – especially if you lived out in the country.  A cup of flour or a couple of eggs, you would call the nearest neighbor to ask and then you would walk or ride your bicycle to retrieve the items in question.
  7. If it was a cold sunny day, you would open the shades to allow the sun in to warm the house. You would also bake on that day to help heat the house.
  8. If it was a hot sunny day, you would close the windows and shades to help keep the house cool. Then at night you would open the windows and if you were lucky, place a fan in the window to help cool the house down.
  9. All summer long you would eat from the garden you planted. In the fall, days were spent harvesting and canning what you could in hope that you had enough to eat for the long winter ahead.  Yes, we had grocery stores, but shopping at one cost lots of money!
  10. You did not eat out at restaurants for every meal! No way!  Not when there is plenty of food at home! Imagine how much refuse would be saved if everyone only ate out once per week?
  11. We returned our soda pop bottles to the grocers for recycling. Back in the day many products like milk, laundry detergent and other containers were returned to the stores.  Some stores had what was called ‘filling stations’ where people would bring their containers in so they could refill them.  Imagine if we could do this today?  If we had filling stations – how much plastic would we save?


   Yes, much of this has since gone the way of the dodo bird.  But there are other things we can still be doing.

  1. Use Green Bags. Many stores we shop at will give you a discount if you bring in your own green bag.  Quit being lazy and keep the bags in your vehicle!
  2. Use mass transit! Teach your children the importance of car pooling or riding the bus.  Whatever your reason is for driving your child to school it does not out weigh the destruction of our planet!  I hear of so many who say “it’s the only time I have with my child.”  Right!  You are driving and your child is texting on their cell phone – time well spent don’t you say?  NOPE!  I’m not buying that excuse!
  3. Walk! Okay you spend how many hundreds of dollars on exercise equipment or a gym membership when all you have to do is walk every where!  I have a neighbor who works two blocks from their home and they drive to work everyday.  Another neighbor who works three blocks away and drives!  Another who will drive two blocks for a single pack of cigarettes! Really?
  4. Only travel when necessary! Make a list of everything you need at the grocers.  If you live in a family, get together as a family one day a week and make this list.  All of the sales sheets are available online so you can see what is on sale for the week.  Type up the list by store, print it out and then set it in a place where if you need to add to the list you can do so prior to shopping.  My spouse works next to the stores we frequent so he tends to the shopping after work.  He calls me at the store just in case I forgot to put something on the list. 
  5. Make all of your appointments on one day! I work from home, nonetheless, I schedule all of my appointments for one day per month.  Sure the day is busy, but I am able tend to everything on one day so I do not have to drive several days per month.  One more hint on that – schedule your appointments for a year.  I have a planner that I purchase each year.  Come November, I schedule all of my hair appointments and chiropractor appointments for the year.  If I need to schedule any annual appointments such as physical, eye or dental appointment then do so as well.  I also schedule my cat’s Vet appointment too!  Not only is this well organized it is efficient as well. 
  6. Save water! Oh we all know about saving water as in taking a shorter shower, flushing the toilet only when needed, turning the facet off when brushing teeth and others – but what about other ways of saving water?  If you are a gardener or even have house plants, put out a rain barrel to collect the rain.  You really don’t need a fancy rain collector when a garbage can or pails will do just as well.  When your rain collector is full you can transfer that water into other containers.  Some of the best containers are the plastic jugs that kitty litter comes in.  If you don’t have a cat, ask a neighbor who does to save the jugs for you!  The best part about using them is that they come with a cap; which will prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water.  Save the water from your dehumidifier.  Again, use the kitty litter jugs to pour the water into.  Most people set up their dehumidifiers to automatically pour down a drain.  What a waste of precious water!
  7. Save a Tree! If you must take down a tree, please plant three in its place.  With out trees – we would not survive!


   DO NOT SPRAY!  I repeat – do not spray, use fertilizer, pesticide or any kind of spray possible!  It takes 13 years for the ground to return to its natural state!  Think about that – 13 years!  If you speak with any herbalist they will inform you that the weeds that are growing in your yard are there for a reason.  A perfect example of this is found in Ground Ivy, also known as Creeping Charlie.  You may consider this plant a nuisance, but in reality it is a benefit to your yard.  If Ground Ivy appears it may mean you have toxic metals in your ground.  Ground Ivy is one of many plants that loves to cleanse the soil of toxins. Everyone thinks dandelions are simply ugly.  In reality the dandelion is quite the beneficial herb for humans.  For the planet, the dandelion is one of the first flowers to provide food for the pollinators such as bees. Bees of all kinds are one of the key elements that allows us to live.

   Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help save our planet is by not – NOT – eating meat, dairy or eggs!  What?  Now you are crazy!  Truth is cows, pigs, and chickens are the leading cause of many of the diseases humans suffer from.  Not only that - RAISING ANIMALS FOR FOOD IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION, SPECIES EXTINCTION, OCEAN DEAD ZONES AND FRESH WATER CONSUMPTION.  10 Million pigs in North Carolina produce the waste equal to 100 Million humans!  Raising one cow for consumption produces more waste and uses more water in one month than one human does in one year!  80% of all pharmaceutical antibiotics made in the USA to animal agriculture! 93% of dioxin exposure comes from eating animal products.  The leading cause of cancer is dairy.  All of these statistics can be found in documentaries not paid for by the food and drug administration or the egg and dairy council.  Learn the truth!


   When the sun goes down to close out another day, she walks back outside to complete another ritual.  This ritual is to give thanks.  “I thank you for this day…I thank you for the beauty of this day…I thank you for the earth I live on…I thank you for the air I breathe…I thank you for the fire that keeps me warm, cooks my food and the fire in my soul…I thank you for the water above, the water below, the water around me and the water within me…” she states while facing the four directions.  It is not a wicca ritual, but a general ritual of gratitude.  With that she gives Henry a hug good night while thanking him for all he has given her…the fresh air she breathes.  Why does she do this?  She is a tender of Mother Earth and all who reside upon her.



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Strictly Country copyright A Northwoods Country Earth Day image

Songs To Celebrate Earth:

A Seed - Billy Dean

Beautiful Night - Bellamy Brothers

Beer Tree - Shawn Byrne

Blue Birds Calling - The Gentlemen of Bluegrass

Bluebird - Alan Jackson

Colors & Crossroads - Sideline

Day Down - Noam Pikelny

Hold Up The Sky - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Little Big Sky - Susan Cattaneo

Modern Day Mountain Man - Bryan Ragsdale

Mountains - Mark Jones & Twenty Paces

Mussell Shell - Shawn Lane & Richard Bennett

Pale Moon - Becky Hobbs

Planet Her - Craig Morgan

Shade Tree Fix-It Man - Merle Haggard

Someday - Clint Black

Stone Soup - Andy May

That's Music To Me - Craig Campbell

That's What God Made Rivers For - Daniel Lee Martin

The Crossing - Pete Huttlinger

The Old Oak Tree - Bobby Osborne

Turn It Off -Eric Durrance

Water -Brad Paisley

Waterfall - Dwight Yoakam

What Did You Do Today - The Boxmasters

What The World Needs - Wynonna

When The Day Is Over - John & Judy Rodman


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