Why We Became an Organic Lawn Care Company

Why We Became an Organic Lawn Care CompanyOne question that I am always asked when meeting new customers is, how did we get into organic lawn care. It is not the prettiest or most flattering of stories, but it is what’s true. Hopefully it can be a cautionary tale that doesn’t happen to anyone else.

My passion for organics started in my 20’s with vegetable gardens. I was tired of my tomatoes tasting like miracle grow, so I started learning about organic vegetable gardens. Later in my 30’s I was a typical, naïve homeowner that thought I needed the “perfect” lawn. So I ventured into the local home improvement store and figured if they sold it, then it was safe. But man was I wrong.

I purchased what the man in the orange vest told me to. Went home and connected the sprayer to my hose and proceeded to spray the dandelions in my yard. After using up what was in the initial sprayer bottle I then opened the second bottle of concentrate and poured it into the sprayer bottle. In the process of pouring, some of the concentrate spilled onto my right hand. Without concern I finished spraying my lawn. An hour later I finished up and went into the house and washed my hands where I spilled the concentrate on.

After a few hours, the muscles in my right hand began twitching violently. This continued throughout the next day. By the end of the following day, I had lost all fine motor control in my right hand. Only through physical therapy was I able to regain the ability to open and close my right hand, but the fine motor never returned.

I didn’t realize at the time that this was pesticide poisoning. As a result, I vowed to not only keep chemicals far away from my family but to also educate others on their dangers. My hopes, by starting Billy Goat Lawn Care, is to provide people with alternatives to chemicals on their lawn. Every lawn that we can help convert from chemical to organic is a victory for us and the environment.

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Non-Toxic Flea & Tick Repellent

tick & flea sprayLast spring we got a new puppy. First thing I did after bringing Louie home was head to our local natural pet store, Nature’s Feed. I wanted to make sure that we were getting the best for our Louie.

One thing I really struggled with was a safe alternative to those chemical flea control products. I knew I did not want to use them but also did not want fleas in the house or even worse, my poor puppy getting bite by a tick and getting sick. So I wanted to find something to keep the bugs away while still being safe and chemical free.

What I found was that many different essential oils were great bug repellents. Below is the recipe I use for Louie. It will not only keep away fleas and ticks but also mosquitoes.

Non-Toxic Flea & Tick Repellent

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Lightly spray and rub into coat. Shake well before each use.

The company that I have chosen to order all my essential oils from is Young Living. They do not use any synthetic chemicals or pesticides or herbicides on their plants (they use essential oils to deter pests and pull weeds by hand). They are also 100% therapeutic grade and far higher quality than anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelves.

You can read more about why I chose Young Living for all my essential oils or can check out Drops of EO to learn more about Young Living and essential oils. If you need help ordering the essential oils or would like us to come out and spray for you, just get in touch. We are always here to help.

Natural Spider Repellent

spider repellant I really hate all creepy crawly insects. I recently got the nerve to kill spiders on my own. I just do not like them. The problem is, my daughter is a complete nature nut that loves all things in nature, including insects and bug.

Emma does not want me to kill any spiders or bugs that come in the house. She has small bug houses and tries catching them to keep in her habitat. Watching her pick up spiders with her bare hands just sends shivers up my spine. But I do respect her love for bugs and love her enthusiasm. With that said, I still do not want bugs, especially spiders in my house! The best way not to have a “discussion” with her about what to do with the spider we find crawling around, is just to keep them out of the house. Yes I choose to avoid the situation. So how do you keep spiders away?

spider repellantI make up a natural spider repellent and spray that everywhere! Here is my secret weapon against those 8 legged terrors!

Natural Spider Repellent spider repellent

  • Spray bottle (mine is 1 oz)
  • 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil (where to buy)
  • Water

Fill spray bottle with water and peppermint oil. Then spray around doors, windows and anywhere spiders can get in.

To learn more about essential oils and where to buy check out my post HERE.

Becoming Chemical Free with Essential Oils

essential oils starter kitOver the past few years I have been working diligently to remove as many chemicals and toxins from our house as possible. We obliviously do only organics in our lawn and garden. Getting the chemicals out of our home has been a bit more difficult. It wasn’t something to concur overnight. It could be very pricey to throw out everything and buy new organic, chemical free products. So I did it in steps.

I used up what I had and made the decision to not bring any new chemicals into our home. This gave me time to research safer alternatives. I felt the only way for me to know what was in a product was to make it myself. So I try to cook with organic products as much as possible and make all “clean”meals.

My next step was cleaning out our medicine cabinets and beauty products. Not to forget the cleaning products. I found tons of recipes to make them myself. So I started experimenting. The one thing that a lot of these recipes called for was essential oils. Not only did these oils add better scents and flavors but also contained health benefits. So I had more work to do. I needed to find a good place to get my essential oils.

I have been searching for about a year for a company that I trusted to get essential oils from. It was important to me how the plants were grown and that it was therapeutic grade so could be consumed. This was more difficult then I thought. A lot of companies out there claim to have “pure essential oils”. However, just like those “organic based” lawn companies, that is very misleading because that claim can legally be made if there is as little at just 5% of the actual essential oil from the plant in the bottle. Also there is no regulations so the company can use chemical solvents to extract the oil from the plant. Overwhelmed yet? I sure was. That’s why it took my a year to make my decision.

Why I chose Young Living

Young Living was the only company that I found that had their own farm. So they were in complete control of the process. They use absolutely no herbicides or pesticides on their plants. They pull weeds by hand and use the oils for pest control. Actually I watched a video of their farms in Guatemala showing their Seed to Seal process. These videos are what made my final decision on Young Living.

essential oils

I also love that I was able to sign up as a Wholesale Member and save 24% off. The only requirement was to buy one of their starter kits which was a no brainier since it was such a great deal and contained many of the oils I wanted plus a diffuser.

essential oils

You are not required to purchase anything else. You can simply order as much or as little as you want. However, if you are like me and have a huge shopping list of oils, then they also have an Essential Rewards program. Just spend at least $50 a month and you will receive cash back on your purchase each month.

How to Get Started

1.  Sign-up for a Young Living account.

2.  Check the “Wholesale Member” option to ensure the lower prices. You will save 24% off retail.

3. Be sure the “sponsor ID” and “enroller id” say 2714812

4. Select which starter kit you want to get. My recommendation would be the Premium Starter Kit. Those are the oils that I use almost every single day!

5. You can skip the Essential Rewards part of the sign-up process, unless you know that you’ll be ordering regularly (if you’re going to be purchasing products monthly then it’s a great program that will give you credit back with each order and save you on shipping costs). You do not have to purchase one of the Essential Rewards kits either. You can just start by purchasing your Premium Starter Kit and then go back into your account and sign up for ER and add the products you want.

7. Go through the checkout process.

I am here with any question you may have. I will try to share some of my recipes here, but feel free to get in touch if you would like me to send something to you. If you are one of our local lawn care customers I can even make some up for you.

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Does signing up make me a “distributor”?

Nope! You are not required to sell anything at all to anyone. When you become a wholesale member, you get a special link that you can share with friends and get credit from their purchases, but there are no minimum sales amounts at all. In fact, 90% of the wholesale members in Young Living don’t do the business side at all. They are buying from Young Living because of the quality alone.

Am I required to make a minimum purchase each month?

There are absolutely NO minimum monthly purchase requirements. To remain a wholesale member, you have to make $50 worth of purchases per year to keep your membership. But if there’s a year that you don’t make a $50 purchase, you can reinstate your wholesale membership discount by just placing a $50 order.

If you do find yourself making regular purchases each month, then Young Living has a rewards program (called Essential Rewards) where you can make a nice percentage back in product credit each month on all of your purchases. So that’s a neat program to join if you find that you *want* to purchase regularly (but it’s not a requirement for being a wholesale member).

Why should I buy from Young Living instead of other essential oils companies?

It does seem like a new essential oils company pops up every day, doesn’t it?

I can’t speak to the quality of other companies, but I can say that Young Living was the only company in my research of essential oil companies that could answer all of my questions about purity in a way that was satisfactory to me.

Young Living was the only company that has their own farms (in the regions where the plants should be grown), could absolutely guarantee that no pesticides or herbicides were used in the growing of any of their oils (they use essential oils for pest control and they do all of the weeding by hand), has their own testing equipment (they do both in-house and 3rd party testing, and use many different testing methods not just GC/MS which only tests for certain chemicals, not whether those chemicals are synthetic or not), and only uses the first distillation of oils instead of adding chemicals to get more out of the plant.

Young Living also was the only company that was directly in charge of essential oil farming operations. Every other company I researched goes through some kind of an “oil broker” to buy their oils. They have to trust that the oil broker is telling the truth, who has to trust that the essential oil distilleries are telling the truth, who have to trust that the farmers are telling the truth about what they say they are doing.

With Young Living, you just have to trust one company instead of several.

I feel like it’s a trust step either way (anyone could be lying) but I felt the most comfortable trusting Young Living since they are a full-disclosure company. ANYONE can visit the farms, participate in the harvesting and distillation, view the Young Living labs, and see the entire process. That’s not an option with any other company.

How will I know which oils to use for what?

One of the benefits of getting a starter kit through this promotion is that you also get to join our private Facebook group that’s specifically for questions about essential oils!

Does Young Living only sell essential oils?

The answer to this one was surprising to me when I first got my starter kit! Young Living actually has an entire line of personal care products, supplements, meal replacements, energy drinks, and more! Almost every product incorporates essential oils (for example, frankincense is absolutely wonderful in facial products), but there’s a wide variety of products available.

What if I live outside of the United States?

For those who live in Canada, we will mail the book and labels, but will need to either reduce or remove the gift card to cover the extra shipping charge.

What about overseas US military?

If you are military with an APO/FPO address, you can still receive the same promotion as those in the United States since the address is here in the US.

The links in this post are my personal consultant links. You will be added to my team and be eligible for certain freebies. I will also add you to a bunch of Facebook groups to help you learn how to use your oils. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Organic Pest Control to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garden

organic insecticideBy now I am sure you understand all the benefits of growing an organic vegetable garden. If not, you can check out our post “Why Grow an Organic Vegetable Garden“. In this post we not only discuss the benefits of an organic garden but also talk about how to establish the bed, fertilize and weed control.

What we did not talk about was insecticides. Lets face it, as much as we may want to protect everything in nature, no one wants to share their dinner with bugs. But if you look at any label of those store bought products that are filled with chemicals, they will have warnings on the dangers of ingestion or contact with skin or eyes. Doesn’t sound too safe to spray on something we intend to eat.

So how do we keep the bugs away and still produce fresh and organic vegetables? The answer is pretty simple, take control and make your own with essential oils. Below are some recipes you can use to keep those pests away-

INSECTICIDE Recipes:

Items needed
• Distilled water
• Spray bottle
• Liquid dish soap (biodegradable)
Spearmint essential oil
Citronella essential oil
Lavender essential oil
• Blue tansy essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil

Preparation
• Fill an 8-oz. spray bottle with distilled water
• Add 1 ½ tablespoons of liquid dish soap
• Add 3–4 drops of each essential oil
• Mix and spray generously on plants, fruits, and vegetables

Other Recipes-

•20 drops of Abundance and 20 drops Oregano to 16 ounces of water, 1 drop non toxic dish soap and mist the plants.

Thieves cleaner – in a standard size spray bottle, fill almost full of water and then add enough Thieves Cleaner to color the water.

Did you know?
• Spearmint essential oil can help deter ants, caterpillars, fleas, gnats, moths, spiders and aphids
•Peppermint essential oils can help deter ants, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, fleas, flies, moths, and spiders
• Citronella essential oil can help deter gnats and mosquitoes
• Lavender essential oil can help deter fleas, moths, mosquitoes, ticks and flies
• Blue tansy essential oil can help deter flies
• Cedarwood essential oil can help deter moths, snails and slugs
• Lemon and orange essential oils can help reduce fungi from growing on plants

So you can adjust your recipe to deter what ever bug is attacking your garden. I have done a lot of research on essential oils since getting asked all the time about organic options for bug repellent. The company that I have chosen to order all my essential oils from is Young Living. They do not use any synthetic chemicals or pesticides or herbicides on their plants (they use essential oils to deter pests and pull weeds by hand). They are also 100% therapeutic grade and far higher quality than anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelves.

You can read more about why I chose Young Living for all my essential oils or can check out Drops of EO to learn more about Young Living and essential oils. If you need help ordering the essential oils or would like us to come out and spray for you, just get in touch. We are always here to help.

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The Hidden Dangers of Mulch

organicSpring is the time of year that people like to add fresh mulch to their flower beds. It makes the landscape pop and gives a nice fresh look. It also helps to prevent weeds from growing in the beds. But beware, mulch can also harbor hidden dangers!

Died mulch contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and heavy metals like arsenic and lead. These poisons are added to help slow the rate at which the mulch breaks down as well as to obtain its color. The most dangerous of all mulch colors is red.

Not only can these poisons be toxic to your plants living in the beds but also to members of your family. Both kids and dogs are especially at risk as dogs have a tendency to chew on and eat mulch and young children will put anything in their mouths.

However, by choosing wisely, you can still have a beautiful landscape that is safe for your family and the environment. Just make sure the mulch is natural in color and in its processing. You want to look for mulch that is as close to its natural form as possible. Our favorite mulch to use is called Eco Mulch. It is ecologically friendly for two reasons, it is made from the grindings of tree limbs that are harvested by utility crews and it is not died. It also has a rich dark brown color that our customers really like.

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The Importance of a Fall Clean-Up

fall clean-upThe first sign that fall is coming is the beautiful and colorful leaves on the trees. Eventually those leaves do fall off the trees creating a fun play environment for children and pets. However, it also means hours of work cleaning them up. As labor intense as it may be to clean-up and dispose of all these leaves, it is a necessary evil.

Why do you need to clean-up those leaves?

Leaving the leaves creates several problems for your lawn.

  • Leaves on the lawn deprive grass plants of needed sunlight. This will cause brown patches and/or dead patches in the lawn.
  • Leaves on the lawn suffocate the lawn by depriving the turf of vital oxygen.
  • Leaves on the lawn trap moisture within the turf which can create fungus issues.

Leaf clean-up in just one aspect in assuring that your yard looks its best come next spring. A complete fall clean-up is the key to preparing your landscape for a long winters nap and ensuring that it awakes happy and healthy in the spring. No one likes a cranky yard 🙂

What else is important in a final fall clean-up?

  • The lawn should be mowed shorter than normal (around 3 inches) to prevent fungus problems.
  • Trim and shape hedges and shrubs one last time for a neat winter appearance and to prevent snow and ice damage.
  • Dead wood or cross branches should be pruned to eliminate the chance of pest issues.
  • Remove all leaves, branches, twigs and debris from lawn and planting beds.
  • Perennial flowers should be “dead-headed” to promote growth in the spring.
  • Mulch should be turned and roughed up for a neat appearance and to eliminate any mold that may be setting in.
  • Fall fertilizer high in natural phosphorus should be applied to promote healthy turf growth in the spring.

Putting in the time or money for a proper fall clean-up will not only pay off come spring with a beautiful and healthy yard but will also have things looking great for those Christmas lights and decorations.

fall clean-upBilly Goat Lawn Care does complete fall clean-ups at very reasonable rates.

Benefits of Core Aeration

healthy lawnCompaction is the number one enemy of turf grass, particularly on heavy traffic areas. Compacted soil prevents grass roots from penetrating deep within the soil profile (grass roots grow in the air spaces between soil particles). If the soil is compacted, aeration is required.

What is Core Aeration?

Core aeration is a mechanical process by which small cores/plugs of soil are removed from the lawn. Core aeration reduces compaction of the soil by creating channels which allow oxygen, nutrients and water to get to the root system of the lawn.

Benefits of Core Aeration

  • Loosening of compacted soilcore aeration
  • Enhancing root growth of turf grass
  • Improved water uptake to turf root systems
  • Easier nutrient delivery to turf root system
  • Better oxygenation of soil

All of the above benefits will result in a stronger root system and thicker and more resilient turf grass.

Best Time to Aerate

The best time to aerate is in the spring and/or early fall. During these seasons, weather conditions are milder and lawns are not as stressed. This is also the ideal time to over-seed. By over-seeding after aerating, grass seed will readily collect in the pocks of the soil created by the aerator.  The grass seed will now have a firm hold within the turf allowing better conditions for germination.

 

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3 Ways to Help the Bees

Save the bees

What’s going on?

All across North America, honey bees are disappearing. It was reported last season that 37 million bees died on a single farm. It is a tremendous problem that can devastate our agricultural systems.

Why are bees important for farming?

Worker bees contribute to the natural plant growing process, especially our food farms. Plants including apples, cucumbers, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, and almonds won’t grow without pollination from the bees, leading to a loss of $15 billion worth of crops in North American alone.

Since beekeepers first alerted the country to the problem, an estimated third of all honey bee colonies in the United States have vanished.

Multiple studies have shown that the killer cause is deadly pesticides, called “neonics,” which are manufactured by the Bayer Corporation. These pesticides are sold in almost every large retailer with a lawn and garden section.

What can we do to help the bees?

While the situation is serious, the good news is that, we all can do three basic things to help improve the bee population and save our food production.

Plants

Plants to help save the bees

1.  Add bee-friendly plants to our own yards and gardens.
Adding beautiful plants to our lawns to help boost the bee food supply is an easy way to help. Worried about bees crowding your living space? Plant small quantities along the edge of your property.

2.  Only use organic lawn care and pest control
Scientists now believe the neonic chemicals in pesticides are making the bees sick by introducing them to a new virus and invasive parasitic mites. We at Billy Goat Lawn Care, Inc. know the benefits of going organic reach much farther than bees. Choosing organic care means having a healthier and happier families, pets, and environment.

3.  Get active
We all need to work together to improve the bee crisis, which means getting active in our communities by educating our friends and family about the problem and dangers of pesticide use and signing petitions to remove deadly pesticides from retail shelves.

Here’s a list of what bees pollinate:

Fruits and Nuts

Vegetables

Field Crops

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocadoes
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Citrus
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Loganberries
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums/Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Onions
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Watermelons
  • Alfalfa Hay
  • Alfalfa Seed
  • Cotton Lint
  • Cotton Seed
  • Legume Seed
  • Peanuts
  • Rapeseed
  • Soybeans
  • Sugar Beets
  • Sunflowers

For more information, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council.

photo by: bob in swamp

Is Your Sunscreen Poisoning You?

sunscreenHave you seen all the articles out lately about the dangers of sunscreen? I watched an episode of Dr. Oz last week that addressed the possibility of sunscreens poisoning you and it really got me concerned. If this is the first you are hearing about this controversy, then here is the low down-

Studies have shown that certain chemicals found in sunscreen can interfere with hormone function. Another concern is that some sunscreens even contain DNA-damaging chemicals called “free radicals” which may lead to cancers. The argument against this is that the studies were done on rats and have no link to humans.

What to believe?

I don’t have that answer but here is what I do know-

  • UV light causes skin cancer and prematurely ages the skin.
  • Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  • Mineral sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, sit on the skin surface and blocks UV light.
  • Chemical sunscreen soaks into the skin and finds it’s way into the bloodstream.

After the show I quickly went through my stockpile of sunscreens and found that they all contained some type of chemical. None of them contained the active ingredient zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. This had me very worried.

What should we do?

Honestly, after all the research I did, I still do not know which side is right. What I do know is that I will not stand for any chemicals to be used on my lawn so why would I allow them to be used on my children’s skin to be absorbed into their body? The risk is just not worth it. I will be replacing all the sunscreen in my house with mineral sunscreen that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and suggest that you do the same.

safe sunscreen

I did some research on safer sunscreen and did find a brand that I will be using. I decided to go with The Honest Co. They have a SPF 30 sunscreen made with zinc oxide. Another great summer product to check out is their Bug Spray. It is formulated with only the purest & safest certified organic essentials oils to naturally repel insects.

I just think it is smart to air on the side of caution. Why take the risk of using any type of chemicals when there are safer, natural alternatives?