Spring and Summer Trail Running Tips

Technical Off-Road Workouts Offer Shade, Require Special Gear

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith; © 2022

Seabrook, TX running and hiking trails
Seabrook, TX running and hiking trails
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

When you consider running in the summer heat and humidity here in South Texas, it makes sense to leave the pavement behind and hit the softer trails. If you are running as part of a weight loss program, you can’t just take up an intermittent fasting diet and bail on your workouts, but you can make it more comfortable.

If you can find a shady area, and stay properly hydrated, you’ll have a much more satisfying workout for a short run or a weekly long run. If you’re not yet a trail running aficionado, know that there is a slight but interesting learning curve when coming from a road or track background. Here’s a few handy trail running tips.



Be alert! Pay close attention to the trail surface, even on a seemingly-benign crushed rock trail. Things like exposed tree roots, partially-embedded rocks, and pesky gravel on steep declines can sideline you in a flash. I’m not saying you have to constantly stare at your flying feet; rather, pay attention to what’s coming up. Anticipation is the name of the game. Then you can make adjustments as you go along. I generally scan about ten feet ahead with short glances as needed.

Run Softly and Carry a Big Stick

The unsung running stick is an important tool if your trail is at all wooded, like parts of the Seabrook Hike and Bike Trail. So what’s the purpose? Spider web control. They spin their webs across the trail, presumably because that’s where the bugs fly. You’ll find most of them in the morning and in shaded areas.


Amazon

Bigger webs means a bigger bug harvest for a hungry spider. I can’t think of many things to get less excited about than a mouth full of viscous spider innards or a web clinging to my sweaty body. That stuff just won’t let go. Running with a group? In theory only the lead runner needs a stick. What kind of stick works best? I like one with a “Y” shape on one end, similar to a dowsing rod. Hold it up in front of you keeping the “Y” at face level. That won’t help your legs too much, but most of the webs are higher anyway, torso and face, specifically.

Use an Insect Repellant

Keep a small spray bottle of insect repellant in your water belt. Mosquitoes are attracted to trails just like runners are. The incubation period after a recent rain is seven days. They’re not a big problem while you are in motion, but they’ll be on you like white on rice when you pause to climb over a log or take a break.

Use Trail-Running Gear

If your trail is at all technical, trail shoes are a good investment. I run in Kahtoola running gaiters“>Kahtoola INSTAgaiters. They are easy to use and effective since they offer an offset locking zipper and a top drawstring.

Obviously, have fun! It’s no surprise that running trails are dirtier than city streets by nature Well, unless you are running the streets of San Francisco. Then you have to avoid random junkie’s used needles and piles of fecal matter. Getting dirty on the trails is unavoidable if you’re doing it right, so just go with the flow. Mud puddles? Not so much flow but go ahead and enjoy them like your inner kid wants you to.

These are just a few spring and summer trail running tips to bring trail nubes up to speed. There’s a great selection of trails in Texas and elsewhere, so take advantage of them and catch some shade.


Lawrence Taylor - CBD Oil & Pain Relief Cream Bundle - 45% OFF

Further Reading

Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

Considered Opinions Forum

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Full-Spectrum CBD, Delta 8 THC, HHC

Federal Law Now Allows the Sale and Use of THC-Infused Industrial Grade Hemp — a Product Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith; © 2022

Hemp plant flowering
Hemp plant flowering
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

No matter where you turn today it is CBD this and CBD that. Rub it! Wear it! Eat it! Be it! So what, pray tell, is this hemp, this miraculous, salubrious thing? Are the claims of its great efficacy in treating ills of the body and mind real or simply the hand wave of well-compensated mountebanks of all stripes?

The current popularity of the CBD industry is linked to the rise of medicinal cannabis, or medicinal marijuana, as a therapeutic approach to cure what ails us. This approach to medical care has received some rather less-than esemplastic official opinions.

Medicinal cannabis, or medicinal marijuana, is a therapy that has garnered much national attention in recent years. Controversies surrounding legal, ethical, and societal implications associated with use; safe administration, packaging, and dispensing; adverse health consequences and deaths attributed to marijuana intoxication; and therapeutic indications based on limited clinical data represent some of the complexities associated with this treatment1 (Bridgeman, 2017).

Deaths attributed to marijuana intoxication? As opposed to alcohol intoxication? I must call foul; my entire life must be anecdotal because I have never seen or heard of this deadly result. Can an individual OD on cannabis? That would be somewhat ironic given the number of U.S. states that have greenlighted its medical use. Indeed, it was time for the federal government to step up with some clarification. At some point, the federal Supreme Court will likely be called into play.



The 2018 Farm Bill

December, 2018 — the 2018 Farm Bill2 is signed into law. Its result was to remove hemp, which is defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), and derivatives of cannabis with comparatively low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis), from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This separated the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

It was the “0.3 percent THC” that opened the door for commercial companies to begin production of recreational hemp products in the form of edibles (gummies, candies, caramels), vapes, tinctures, and even THC and HHC-infused flower buds.

Helpful Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD Definitions

  • CBD. This is the product that gets the most press. It is mostly marketed for pain relief for people and pets. Harvard Medical School says, “CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory. One of hundreds of components in marijuana, CBD does not cause a ‘high’ by itself.4
  • THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of more than 100 cannabinoids encountered in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are this plant’s active compounds. As an analogy, ponder about how caffeine is one of the desired, active compounds in the coffee bean.
  • Full Spectrum CBD. This formulation retains all of the compounds found in fresh, unprocessed hemp plants. It is considered by most enthusiasts to be the most effective because it offers the compounds and effects of the natural hemp flower. Its use results in what is known as the Entourage Effect (the idea is that all these compounds function with maximum efficacy when present together). Be advised that for those folks who are sensitive to THC, or who are looking at a prospective drug test in the near future for employment or another reason, the presence of even minimum amounts of THC can be problematic.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD. This is the same product as full spectrum CBD, minus any trace amounts of THC remaining. You will still get a number of the beneficial effects associated with whole-plant extracts, but without any risk of testing positive for THC. This might also be a good option for pets, children, or anyone else who needs to avoid THC.
  • Delta 9. Delta 9 THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid associated with the cannabis plant. However, it isn’t found in raw cannabis. To produce it, a process called decarboxylation (heating the cannabis flower) is utilized. The existing THCa experiences a chemical reaction and morphs into Delta 9 THC.
  • THC-O. This is a newer derivative. It is considered stronger than Delta 9.
  • Delta 8. According to leafly.com, “Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to delta-9 THC, the main compound in cannabis that gets you high, causing euphoria, happiness, sedation, symptom relief, and much more. Delta-8 will get you high, albeit not as high as common delta-9 THC.”3 Some conditions delta-8 can help with include pain relief, insomnia, anxiety, and nausea. Is it legal? The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed a new rule to indirectly classify delta-8 THC as a Schedule I controlled substance. This would make it illegal on a federal level. But, to date, that rule is not yet final.
  • HHC. American chemist Roger Adams added hydrogen molecules to Delta-9 THC first in 1944. This process, which is called hydrogenation, converts THC to hexahydrocannabinol (HHC). If the term hydrogenation sounds familiar, it is because it is used to transform vegetable oil into margarine. Viola! Since it’s not technically a THC compound, it may not be flagged in drug tests, but the jury is still out so don’t take that as gospel.

Discover your buzz with Delta-8 THC vapes!

Will These Hemp Products Get You High?

Everybody’s favorite question, right? Asking for a friend. Well, other than CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD, the formulations listed above are mood/perception/cognition altering. Many producers and marketers do not use the actual term high for obvious reasons, but instead might tout euphoria or relaxing. A rose by any other name… but I digress. Semantics aside, it seems that the federal law is gradually setting the stage for a type of marijuana legalization, traditionally a purview of state government.

Typical Hemp Products

For the purpose of this article, your humble blogger took it upon himself to try various products. This is what I found, but keep in mind that since all effects are closely tied to individual body chemistry, results may vary.

Vida Optima Hemp Products

I found these Delta 8 THC Gummies to be tasty and effective. No chemically-tinged taste. The 10mg serving was just right.

Delta 8 THC Hard Candies are slow-dissolving and delicious. At 50mg, they are more euphoric than the gummies. These are also available in 10mg and 25mg.

Delta 8 THC Oil is a liquid that comes with an eyedropper so you can administer it directly by mouth or add it to your favorite beverage.

Gorilla Glue Delta 8 THC Hybrid Flower is a premium product, a hand-trimmed CBD Flower, directly sprayed with Delta 8-THC distillate for a completely new experience for cannabis users. This item is especially suited to traditionalists who enjoy trimming up a big bud and indulging in the earthy smell.


July 4th Sale Discover your buzz with Delta-8 THC gummies, vapes and oils!

Dharma Hemp Products

Hemp Flower Strains are one of their main products. At this time, 14 strains are offered, each providing a unique experience. These buds are similar to the Gorilla Glue version detailed above.

HCC Caramels are large, chewy, and offer a pleasant euphoric experience at 20mg per treat.

Delta 8 THC Nano Caramels (and other products with Nano in the name) have, “undergone our proprietary nanotechnology process in order to break down the compounds to the nanometer level in order to arrive at the final product which is both water soluble (dissolvable in water) while also being more bioavailable in the body.5″

The Dharma Delta 8 Nano Water Soluble THC Tincture is similar in effect to the Vida Optima THC Oil covered above. The first obvious difference is that it is milk-colored as opposed to a light copper color. The viscosity is comparable. Another difference is that even when I sampled a dose in a 10-oz. tumbler of water, fruit juice, or iced tea (unsweetened, thank you very much), it left a slight burning sensation in the back of my throat which manifested for about 45 seconds. Not overly unpleasant.

The Dharma Delta 8 Pre-Rolled Joints offer the same traditional smoking tradition as the Flower Strains without the bother of cleaning the buds and rolling one up. They come nicely packaged in a sealed plastic tube to prevent damage by wayward delivery folks. (No, far be it for your humble blogger to hold a grudge, but I still remember my crushed and soaking wet coffee bean delivery, UPS dude or dudette.)



The goal of this product review of various full-spectrum CBD, Delta 8 THC, and HCC hemp products was twofold. Firstly, I wanted to showcase and set out impressions and findings like any of my product reviews. Secondly, I wanted to test the waters about this almost stealth societal shift regarding the ethics and legality of using hemp attitude-adjusting products.

Further Reading

Endnotes

  1. From the article, “Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting,” in The National Library of Medicine, by Mary Barna Bridge, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, et al. (PubMed Central, 2017), Introduction
  2. From Section 297A <> DEFINITIONS, H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 115th Congress (2017-2018), https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2/text
  3. From the article, “What is delta-8?,” in Leafly, by Leafly Staff
  4. From the article, Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t, in Harvard Health School, by Peter Grinspoon, MD
  5. From the webpage Delta 8 THC, DHARMAD8, https://dharmad8.com/shop/delta-8-thc

Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

Considered Opinions Forum

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Organic Foliar Feeding with Garrett Juice

Spray Fertilization Will Take the Health and Yield of Your Garden to the Next Level

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith © 2022

Lemon balm and tomato plant
Lemon balm and tomato plant
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

Many gardeners unknowingly miss half of their fertilization schedule because they focus on the ground, which is understandable. Roots, right?. But, foliar feeding with a product such as Medina Hasta Grow Plant Food will increase your harvest. Why? Because plants also uptake nutrients through their leaves.

Medina Hasta Grow is one of the best sprays on the market, but perhaps you might be the DIY sort? In that case, Garret Juice is your answer. In addition to stimulating plant growth, this organic concoction will also protect against some garden pests. Why add foliar feeding to your schedule when you already fertilize on a regular basis? Because it offers yet another, safer avenue to getting nutrition into your vegetable garden, fruit trees, and rose bushes rather than using chemicals and neurotoxins.



If you have chosen backyard homesteading and self-sufficiency, or prepping as a lifestyle, or just want to get a better return on your labor and investment, then organic foliar feeding with Garrett Juice is a given. Enjoying better, healthier yields relies on this type of horticultural strategy.

Basic Garrett Juice Ingredients

Be sure to use organic ingredients and methods whenever possible.



Additives for Pest and Insect Control

Want to boost it up for insect control? Add 1/4 cup garlic tea/pepper spray. To make this, use a blender. Liquefy 1 clove of peeled garlic, 1 quartered habanero pepper, and 16 ounces of water. Everyone, but especially those wearing contact lenses, needs to wear disposable gloves when cutting the habanero or when you take your lenses out for the night, you’ll never be able to use them again. Been there, done that. Great balls of fire!

You’ll need to strain the solids out of the resulting liquid. Since the particles are so small, you’ll need a very fine strainer so you won’t clog up your spray tip. A good choice is the small fuel strainer for Coleman lanterns and camping stoves. You will have some leftover but you can save it for spot treatments later with a hand bottle sprayer. For spot treatment, mix it with 3 parts water.

Foliar Feeding Procedure

Add all ingredients to a pump-up garden sprayer and mix well by shaking. The molasses is a very thick liquid so give it a little extra shake than you normally would. Pump up your sprayer and adjust the tip to a wide mist, not a jet spray. Just lightly coat the leaves; a little goes a long way. If you have any left over, go ahead and use it up on your ornamentals. I always make enough to spray my magnolia tree, for example. For tall trees like these, you will need to adjust the sprayer tip to a stronger stream in order to reach the higher leaves. Or, conversely, drag out that ladder.

Using Garrett Juice for foliar feeding on a monthly basis will give your plants and trees a new zest for life. And of course, your vegetable garden will put more on your table.



Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

Considered Opinions Forum

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

How to Use a Barometer

Using Atmospheric Pressure and Short-Term Changes for Weather Prediction

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

An aneroid barometer
An aneroid barometer
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

Getting the weather forecast or current conditions these days is easier than ever and we have become somewhat complacent about it (yawn, yawn). Just check one of the many sites on the internet. One hour from now, no problem. 10 days from now, likewise. If you want conditions and a forecast for a very specific area, such as your home or neighborhood, go with a personal weather station (PWS).

In the old days, tools like the barometer had to be used to anticipate rain or storms in the near future. Your PWS, in fact, has barometric functionality. Electronic pressure sensors measure pressure utilizing a force collector which measures the strain resulting from an applied force over an area. Changes in electrical resistivity of a semiconductor or metal are measured when a mechanical strain is applied. The resulting voltage output may be analog, which can be converted to digital.



What is Atmospheric Pressure?

First, a little conceptual science. Atmospheric pressure (barometric pressure) is just the weight of air at ground level. Consider the concept of water pressure as an analogy. The deeper you get in the water, the more the pressure increases because as you go down, the built-up weight of the water above you increases.

Consider land as being the bottom of your atmospheric sea. Air is actually not weightless although in daily life it seems so. Atmospheric pressure is the weight of the air from the top of the atmosphere straight down to you; a column, if you will. As you might imagine, pressure is lower as you get higher in elevation because there’s less air on top of you.

This pressure measurement is usually made in hectopascals which is in effect a measure of pounds per square inch. On any modern consumer barometer, the measurement will be indicated in either inches or millibars.

Forecasting the Weather With a Barometer

If you have an aneroid device, you’ll need to manually calibrate it. It’s easy; all this entails is adjusting a small screw on the back to set the hand, like on a clock, to match the current barometric pressure where you are. weather.gov is very comprehensive by zip code. Once you’ve done that, it’s all set. Digital barometers do this step for you.

Barometer measurements are either in inches or millibars. Your readings will usually be between 28 and 31 inches, generally measured to the hundredth decimal. However, the number itself isn’t going to help you much. The thing to focus on is which direction the numbers are moving. You’re looking for the change in barometric pressure to forecast the weather. What does this mean? The static numbers that exhibit no indication of rising or falling aren’t very useful. So, you need to keep up with the change.

Aneroid barometers have two hands. One shows the barometric pressure reading The other one is a manual dial that you align with the pressure reading at the time that you take a measurement. This way you can quickly and easily see which direction and how far the needle has moved between your readings.

Digital barometers usually have indications of “rising” or “falling,” and some models even display a graph called a barograph showing earlier readings and trends. This is more helpful and accurate for you, the amateur meteorologist. Instead of having to write down or memorize previous readings, your device does it for you.



A wind/barometer table
A wind/barometer table

Those are the basics of using a barometer. The more you use it, the more adept you will become at understanding weather patterns in your location. Other than just doing it as a hobby, knowing how conditions are changing is very useful for work and outdoor recreational activities.


Trending Articles


Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ambient Smart Wi-Fi Weather Station

Model WS-2902C WiFi Product Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Ambient WS-2902C Wi-Fi Weather Station
Ambient WS-2902C Wi-Fi Weather Station
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

So, this Ambient Weather Wi-Fi Smart Weather Station is my latest project. I’ve always been interested in weather conditions and here in South Texas it’s always a good thing to stay informed of. I do a lot of running and dog-walking so knowing how to dress before venturing outside is always a good idea. It gives me a bit more freedom as I go about my day.

I bought it from Amazon.com. Yes, Walmart sells small sensor units, of which I have had one for years. It was just time to ramp up my game. This model is mid-range in price for Ambient stations, but it does everything I need it to do. For example, knowing how barometric pressure works is imperative; I do live in a hurricane zone.



Weather Station Installation

Right out of the box, putting this gadget together is a simple task. Just a few basic assembly steps and viola! You will need to procure and put up a mounting pole. I used:

  • A 10′ length of electrical conduit, about $10 at Home Depot.
  • A post-hole digger.
  • About 4 cups of Quikrete. No mixing, just pour it into the hole and pour water over it. This is definitely DIY concrete, mixing not required.

Ambient Features

  • It comes with the unit and a tablet-sized display console suitable for setting on your desk or table or mounting on the wall.
  • Solar-powered.
  • Wireless all-in-one integrated sensor array measures wind speed/direction, temperature (indoor/outdoor), humidity (indoor/outdoor), rainfall, UV and solar radiation, barometric pressure, time and date.
  • Supports both imperial and metric units of measure with calibration available.
  • Enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity option that enables your station to transmit its data wirelessly to the world’s largest personal weather station network.


Predicting weather with the barometer
Predicting weather with the barometer

Do I recommend this Ambient Weather Smart Weather Station? Yes, I do. For my purposes the data reported is all that I could ask for. Assembly was easy, about an hour and a half including installing the pole mount. Finally (for a very rare occurrence with today’s products), the instruction booklet is comprehensive and detailed.


More Trending Content and Product Reviews


Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Lemon Balm: Uses, Benefits, Growing

A Medicinal Herb That Does Double-Duty as a Pest Control

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Lemon balm next to a tomato plant
Lemon balm next to a tomato plant
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.


Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the mint family. It is a perennial and its leaves have a light lemon fragrance. The herb is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, but it’s cultivated around the world today. As with many popular herbs, it is highly regarded for its medicinal qualities. But don’t worry, you won’t need a shaman to administer it. Keeping a plant in your garden provides a steady supply of tea.

Here’s another important use — it doesn’t just have to be relegated to your herb garden, it can be planted anywhere because it offers a fringe benefit. In addition to its health properties, it acts as pest control because it repels mosquitos. Hello, outdoor barbeque!

Benefits of Lemon Balm

  • Stress Relief. Lemon balm is said to soothe symptoms of stress, boost your mood, and help you to relax. Just the thing after a day of dealing with proponents of Critical Race Theory. In a study, the National Library of Medicine found that, “The results showed that the 600-mg dose of Melissa ameliorated the negative mood effects of the DISS, with significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness.”1
  • Treating Insomnia. Combining lemon balm with valerian may help alliviate restlessness and sleep disorders such as insomnia. In addition, drinking lemon balm tea can help with disturbing dreams such as Corona Virus dreams.
  • It May Boost Cognitive Function. MDPI.com published a study that concluded, “active lemon balm treatments were generally associated with improvements in mood and/or cognitive performance, though there were some behavioral “costs” at other doses and these effects depended to some degree on the delivery matrix. The results indicate that Lemon balm delivered in foodstuffs can have positive behavioural effects which may be used in applied health settings.”2

  • Healing Cold Sores. According to WebMD.com, “Lemon balm ointments have been found to help heal cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).”3 Using lemon balm cream may help prolong the intervals between cold sore outbreaks.
  • Soothing Digestive Problems. Compounds in lemon balm may help with gastrointestinal problems like bloating and indigestion. Try adding 1 teaspoon (tsp) of lemon balm powder to a bowl of ice cream or smoothie.
  • Help With Menstrual Cramps. A study reported in the US National Library of Medicine concluded that, “the results of the current study showed that M. officinalis capsules were effective to reduce the intensity of PMS symptoms.”4


Health Risks

Although lemon balm is considered safe; the American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook lists lemon balm as a “class 1” herbal product. Some sources recommend limiting it to 3 weeks use, 1 week off. Here are some interactions:

  • HIV Medication. Lemon balm may interact with HIV medications, but sufficient studies have not been conducted.
  • Sedatives and Thyroid Medication. There may be some interaction; consult with your doctor.
  • Glaucoma. Some reports say that lemon balm may increase eye pressure, impacting glaucoma.

Growing Lemon Balm

Plant lemon balm during the warm weather of late spring, once all chances of frost have passed. Space plants 20 to 24 inches apart in an area with partial shade and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. I only have one plant so spacing is not an issue.

Begin by mixing several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil. Check your soil moisture every few days and water when the top inch becomes dry. You’ll be doing your garden a favor if you install and use a foliar feeding with compost juice or Medina Hasta Gro. Harvest the leaves once your plant is 6 to 8 inches tall; avoid harvesting any more than one-third of the plant at a time.

Lemon balm is a must-have plant in your herb garden (in my opinion). For a small purchase price, you will reap a wealth of health benefits. It is so easy to grow, like other members of the mint family, that not green thumb is necessary.

Trending Content


Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

References

  1. David O. Kennedy, Wendy Little, Andrew B. Scholey, National Library of Medicine, Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in humans after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15272110/
  2. Andrew Scholey, et al., MDPI, Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/11/4805/htm
  3. WebMD.com, Health Benefits of Lemon Balm, https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-lemon-balm#1
  4. Marzieh Akbarzadeh, US National Library of Medicine, Effect of Melissa officinalis Capsule on the Intensity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms in High School Girl Students, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557408/

6 Plants That Repel Mosquitos

How to Design Your Garden and Landscaping to Get Rid of Pests

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Lemon balm in the garden
Lemon balm in the garden
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

Here in South Texas, mosquitos are just a fact of life. They are bad for people; they’re bad for pet dogs and cats, and they’re just pests. Dennis Prager once said when he gets to heaven he’s going to ask God, “Why?” Good point. But, while we have to live with them, we will talk about 6 plants that do a good job of repelling mosquitos whether you are having a barbeque or just enjoying your backyard deck. For best results, stick with an organic feeding program.

  • Lemon balm. As you can see in the picture above, this is a fine-looking plant. This is a member of the mint family that gets its distinct scent from citronellal. This is an oil that has some of the same properties as citronella, one of which is the ability to repel mosquitoes. It’s an easy species to grow. Lemon balm is a perennial (more bang for your buck) that, like mint, can become invasive and take over your whole flower bed or vegetable garden. It likes full sun to part shade and adequate water. The leaves can be used as a tea.
  • Citronella grass. The active ingredient here is the essential oil that’s used to make insect-repellent candles. Be sure you’re planting the tall spiky grass Cymbopogon nardus, and not “citronella plant” (Pelargonium citrosum), which is a kind of geranium that smells similar but doesn’t offer the same mosquito-repelling oils. It likes partial sun and moist, loamy dirt, so water it every day, especially if you’re growing it as a container species. It’s a perennial in tropical climates but it still can be grown as an annual in colder places.


  • Basil. The anecdotal evidence says it helps control mosquitoes but the studies are on-going. If you like pesto but veer away from grocery store prices, keep several basil plants in your garden and prune them regularly to keep them from going to seed. Also, why not whip up some Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken? Basil thrives in full sun and moist soil.
  • Catnip. The active ingredient here is nepetalactone, the essential oil that gives catnip its smell. It’s also a member of the mint family and grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, but will tolerate partial sun and almost any type of soil if that’s what you are working with.


  • Lavender. Who doesn’t love lavender? Anecdotal evidence and tests on lavender essential oil indicate that mosquitoes shun this plant. Some people dry the flowers and make or buy lavender and cedar sachets to ward off mosquitos and moths. Grow it in full sun and drier soil. You only need to water it once or twice weekly in the growing season. It is a perennial species, so expect it to come back yearly.
  • Peppermint. Yet another member of the wonderful mint family. It’s the essential oil that works the mosquito magic. It is related to the lemon balm and has essentially the same care requirements. It likes lots of sun and water. It does well in a pot; in your flower bed, it will want to take over. I like it in tea and add it to my freshly-ground coffee. What a way to start the day!

So there you have it; 6 plants that repel mosquitos, look good, and serve other purposes. They won’t eliminate these outdoor pests completely but you can certainly cut down on those toxic insecticides.

Further Reading


Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Valentine’s Day Outdoor Space Ideas

Romantic Gestures That Keep on Giving (Unlike Cut Flowers)


Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Lilies blooming in the flower bed
Lilies blooming in the flower bed
index sitemap advanced

This post was updated on 01/19/22.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site.

Valentine’s Day is a perfect example of a holiday that inspires us to redesign spaces inside and outside our homes. Designing an outdoor space for a Valentine’s Day gift or parties and celebrations can be a lasting surprise for someone that you care about pleasing. Many gardeners remind us that Valentine’s Day is the time to trim our rose bushes so that choice makes perfect sense.

Any climate-appropriate plants are a great way to improve the look of your yard, flower bed, garden, or outdoor living space. Here are a few plant, seating, and lighting ideas that can help you design the space of your dreams at this time of year when nature is just busting out. Just think of it as the opportunity to tackle that list of new year’s DIY projects!

Choosing the Perfect Flower

Almost every woman that I’ve ever met loves to get flowers on Valentine’s Day, and some would far rather receive something living that will bloom on more than just that one day. After all, why limit yourself to a wilting bouquet when you can have cut flowers on a regular basis?



Many of us don’t mind caring for the flower or floral arrangement minimally, either, especially during the mild spring and fall months. Annuals, such as the coriopsis below, are very hardy and come back year after year once established. Our bird friends help to distribute the thistle seeds so keep those bird feeders full.

Coriopsis flowers in full bloom
Coriopsis flowers in full bloom

It goes without saying that the perfect flower species should be designed to suit your climate, sunlight requirements, and of course, soil conditions. If you are unsure of this type of information, talk to someone in a garden center, nursery, or plant retailer for more details. If your community is lucky enough to have a Master Gardener group, they are very knowledgeable about local plants and are generally very free with their information. Most even conduct indigenous plant and tree sales in the spring.

One useful tip is to find out her favorite color, and keep in mind how much time and energy will need to be devoted to caring for the plant. Design your outdoor Valentine’s Day surprise with this basic information in mind, so that you can be sure that your significant other will appreciate what you have created.

Find accents and accessories for the space in the favorite color if you cannot find in-season plants that are blooming for this special occasion, such as lighting, flags, decorations, water features (ponds, fountains), and similar items designed for outdoor use. These all are animal-friendly and count towards your nature-conservation efforts.

Choosing Outdoor Seating Arrangements

If the space is large enough, why not consider adding seating to your outdoor space to create the romantic environment this day is known for inspiring.

A great garden bench is a wonderful idea, so that two can sit comfortably, but be sure that any seating arrangement you choose is intended for use outdoors, including fabric choices. Marketing claims are not always what they seem. If you have a homeowners association, check to ensure that your project falls under their (often unreasonable) guidelines. A garden bench with storage such as the one shown below, doubles as a spot to keep your gardening tools.

High-quality and functional furniture will ensure that your gift lasts much longer, and the durable and beautiful addition will add monetary and aesthetic value to your home. We can’t say enough about home equity, can we?

Your seating needs to strike a balance; make it comfortable without presenting health risks. Select fabrics that are specifically designed and treated for outdoor use, so that the fabric does not mildew or mold after the first hint of condensation or dew.



Choosing Exterior Lighting

You may or may not be spending a significant amount of time in your space outdoors after the sun sets, but adding exterior lighting changes that parameter and gives you that opportunity should you desire to sit, entertain, and relax after the sun has gone down. A simple lantern, LED spotlight, or a couple of Tiki torches for the space is ideal for most arrangements.

The right combination and choice of illumination will add that perfect touch of light for a romantic rendezvous, this Valentine’s Day and into the foreseeable future. Certain lighting resembles candlelight, which is the most popular lighting for romance, so you can’t go wrong with a hint of light that doesn’t cost you an abundance of time, energy, or money to purchase or install.

Finally, if you really want to go big when you consider Valentine’s Day outdoor space ideas, think about a relaxing backyard deck. Springtime and income tax returns are coming; hint, hint.



Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Homemade Dog Food Recipe

How to Give Up on the Kibbles and Bits Dog Diet and Embrace Nutrition

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Homemade dog food ready to serve
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, which helps support the site.

I guess there’s no sugar-coating it; I do dote on my dogs. Which is not such a bad thing. Heck, I like dogs more than I like most humans. Cats? Not so much. But dogs? Yep. I am always looking for ways to make things better. Already I have gotten away from store-bought treats an make them chicken jerky in my food dehydrator.

So the next step? Well, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed read an article about all the bad stuff that goes into your favorite Kibbles-n-Bits type of commercial dog food. It’s pretty crazy. What the heck is a meat by-product anyway? If it is not meat, just say so. Well, long story short, a bit of research and imagination got me to this first stab at a homemade dog food recipe.

Homemade Dog Food Ingredients

This is my first take at the recipe and it is subject to change according to my ever-changing whims. Note however, there was nary a complaint when I served it up!

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 lbs. broccoli, carrots, cauliflower (in a frozen bag or regular produce, your choice)
  • one chunk of ginger, grated, about as big as your thumb.
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken livers
  • omega 3 source, I just threw in a few capsules
  • pumpkin seeds, about 30 or so

Preparation

This is simple. Just put your very large sauce pan or Dutch oven on the stove and cook everything together. The dogs really don’t care but the meat should be well-done.



I hope you and your dogs will enjoy this homemade dog food recipe. As with all my culinary concoctions, feel free to adapt and make substitutions. Life is good. Appreciate the pups.

Further Reading



Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Grow Your Own Orange Tree, Harvest Citrus Fruit

When Life Gives You Oranges, Make Orange Juice!

by Kelly R. Smith

Making fresh orange juice
Making fresh orange juice
index sitemap advanced

This article was updated on 12/31/20.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, which helps support the site.

When my daughter Shannon was very young, she had an appetite for oranges that the local grocery store markets as “cuties.” In reality, they are a type of Mandarin orange. Just easy to peel. This caused me to embark on a journey to plant one fruit tree each year. Year one was that Mandarin orange tree, planted in the back yard.

The next year it was a Republic of Texas orange tree (pictured below). In the photo above, you might notice that the rinds darkened a bit from a slight freeze, but the insides remain fine. This tree bears fruit in the summer and by early December it’s ready for picking. No rush though; the fruit will hang there in suspended animation for months.



Choosing Your Fruit Trees

Many people make the mistake of seeing a tree at Walmart, Home Depot, or some other big box store, buying it, planting it, and then wondering why they never get any fruit. Well, it’s because these trees are sold irrespective of customer location. What works in upstate New York does not work here in south Texas. It is all about the growing zone — how freeze-tolerant the tree is. For example, consider the avocado tree. It is a southern tree but some species do well in moderate freezes.

Republic of Texas orange tree
Republic of Texas orange tree

The best bet is to go to a local nursery, after you do your initial research. They have a vested interest in the community and will likely want to keep a customer base. There are other resources to consider. Here, we have Randy Lemon, graduate of Texas A&M, who does a local radio show. I’ve listened to his weekend show for years and I have to admit, I wasn’t totally onboard initially because he poo-pooed organic, but now that his advertisers have began offering organic products, it’s all good. Imagine.

The bottom line here (I know you’ve been waiting for it) is that it is always a good time to put in your own fruit trees. You might be a prepper or not. You might trust organic produce at the grocery store or not. You might just want to save money. Regardless, there is a lot to be said for self-sufficiency. And, if you’ve got the real estate, why not?

You Might Also Enjoy:


Looking for more great content? Visit our main site I Can Fix Up My Home or our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!



Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 





Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

close

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email
Twitter
Follow Me
Tweet
Pinterest
Pinterest
Pinterest
Instagram
LinkedIn
Share