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Mind KEY / Sustainability
Make your own yogurt

Make your own homemade yogurt (in a cooler!)

by Karen Talbot, Wild Gardener When I was a young hippie mom in the early 1970’s, I looked for frugal ways to cut expenses and feed my family. Cooking from scratch, making clothes, baking bread, and growing vegetables are some examples. I wanted to learn to make your own yogurt, since my family liked it so much. It is a healthy fermented food that could even be strained to make a simple cheese. Everything I read at the time seemed to describe a finicky process and required a special thermometer to maintain the temperature. Product pages in the back of magazines advertised an electric yogurt machine with little plastic cups that did everything for you, but it was an expense I couldn’t afford. The good news...

fall garden prep

Your fall checklist for winter garden prep

By Danielle Rose Summer is officially over, and although the changing leaves are stunning to watch, as they drop we’re left with a growing to-do list in the garden. First frost is generally a good guideline for completing any unfinished fall garden prep (and some can even wait until after), but the more that can be completed beforehand, the better. Our autumn checklist of items that absolutely need to be done before the first hard freeze, courtesy of Glenwild Garden Center, will help create a yard that’s beautiful and healthy come the spring thaw.  Overwintering container gardens If your houseplants or tropicals are still outside, now is the time to bring them in if you want to save them (and haven’t already done so). First, deadhead the flowers...

how to prepare

PREPARE for winter with The Daily Key

by Cris McCullough PREPARE, the title of this month’s issue, is predicated on the hidden power of expectation/anticipation for an event, and our very human need to retain a modicum of control over the unknown. As we welcome a change of seasons, and the changes that inevitably face us as we move into the future, The Daily Key offers insights on how to prepare for those changes.  Preparing for the ebb and flow of change The seasons are part of a Universal “tide.” We go inward, and then move outward. There is a flow to everything. When humans find their flow within their own life, everyone around them benefits. We harvest what we have planted… be that an idea, a piece of art, money, food, or investments of time,...

Solar power choices

The energy of the Sun; solar power is a choice

Intro by Cris McCullough As a culture, we have become dependent on fossil fuels. We need to heat and cool our homes, along with powering our vehicles and supportive devices too. But now, since we’re faced with supply chain issues and other disruptions we cannot control, many are seeking alternative solutions. Among the possibilities, solar power seems like a no brainer. However, solar power isn’t a cut-and-dry option. Two common solar power choices for the everyday consumer are solar panels (such as those installed on a roof), or solar farms where consumers “buy in” to a solar-powered cooperative to run their homes. When you start exploring the options, buying into a solar farm or investing in solar panels, the information shared on websites can be confusing....

Replenish yourself in the Hudson Valley, NY

Replenish yourself with things to do in the Hudson Valley

By Joseph Gonzalez The summer is generally known for relaxation, and it seems many of us need to relax more than ever nowadays According to a survey done by Princess Cruises, many Americans only spend an hour a day relaxing, which seems miniscule compared to the amount of work we put into our jobs, family life, and other things. If we plan on living our lives happily and with as little stress as possible, then it would help to have at least one method of relaxation; I can tell you first-hand that this is possible in the Hudson Valley. The Daily Key has covered cool things to do in the Hudson Valley before, but this time, we’ll look at some places that’ll require minimum effort to...

Edible milkweed for butterflies

Milkweed: A Source of Nourishment for Pollinators, Monarchs, and Humans

By: Karen Talbot, The Wild Gardener Botanical Sanctuary Gardeners and foragers like me have been encouraged to plant milkweed if they have space. Why? Not only is this plant phenomenal for hosting bees and other pollinating insects, but also because it’s the only source of food for the lovely monarch butterflies. And did you know that milkweed is also edible? According to the American Botanical Council (Mader, p.38), Native American tribes have valued this plant for food, medicine, and fiber. There are over 100 plants in this family, the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the one I’m talking about here and it’s indigenous to the eastern U.S. where I live. Edible milkweed for butterflies is not hard to grow at all, and I’ve been doing it...

Healthy and all-natural sunscreen

Healthy and all-natural sunscreen options

We all understand the importance of sun protection. From avoiding painful (and embarrassing) burns, to preventing cancer in ourselves and our children, sunscreen is an important part of healthy skin, healthy aging and healthy living. But with the concern raised over chemicals, nanoparticles and other ingredients found in commonly purchased sunscreens, many wonder if there is a way to protect our skin from both the sun and the sun protectants we put on it. Thankfully, there is more than one healthy and all-natural sunscreen out there that not only work, but are also safe for you and the environment. From sun-worshiping to sun-careful by Cris McCullough In the 50’s, we grew up as sun worshipers! We played outside from dawn to dusk, chasing the ice cream truck and...

Building a summer reading habit

Summer reading: Nourishment for mind and soul

by Josephine Belliveau Whether you’re a student, a parent, or an employee, things tend to slow down the longer the sun stays in the sky. It’s the break we all need! While we relax and plan beach trips, we’re nourishing our bodies with joy and rest. Just as important as our bodies, our mind and souls need fulfillment too. Summer reading can easily accommodate both of those things. Maybe you’re already an avid reader that already has a list of good books at the ready. If not, don’t give up on this chapter yet. You’re not alone. According to the Washington Post, a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans read for pleasure 30% less since 2004. In this multimedia world, it’s hard...

easy curbside composting in RI

Clean Ocean Access’s mission helps both land and sea with natural remedies

By Danielle Rose Newport, Rhode Island, “The City by the Sea,” has a history that is inexorably tied to Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Clean Ocean Access (COA) is an environmental organization with a mission to educate local communities to engage in more environmentally responsible habits. They bring awareness to how our actions on land affect our waterways. The link between the health of land and the health of the sea begins with people; easy curbside composting in RI is the key to helping the environment. Through a concerted plan of action, COA is bringing awareness to our community. Compost: from garbage to garden, a zero waste initiative Compost is decayed or rotting organic material (such as plants) that returns nutrients back to the soil for plants...

homemade rose cream recipe

Roses in bloom: A cramp-busting rose magnesium cream

By: Karen Talbot, Wild Gardener Magnesium deficiencies can cause a number of health concerns such as cramps, muscle aches and pains, restless leg syndrome, trouble sleeping, migraines and more. Because magnesium is important for the metabolization of Vitamin D, magnesium deficiencies can also result in symptoms of Vitamin D deficiencies. According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), up to 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This recipe for a rose-based magnesium cream can help ease muscle aches, migraines and more. This all-natural homemade rose cream recipe uses dried rose petals, water, magnesium chloride flakes and oils. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”- Abraham Lincoln Roses for cramps, aches and pains One of my favorite times of...

Save the Bay is for the children

Save the Bay’s Exploratorium has a lifelong impact

By Cris McCullough Save the Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium located at Easton’s Beach in Newport, RI, has been teaching visitors about the abundance and variety of sea life found in Narragansett Bay since 2006. The mission of the Exploration Center is to impart an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of sea life and how the health of our oceans affects our own wellbeing on shore. Through its many outreach programs, Save the Bay invites citizens to participate in the work to protect and improve the Bay. Most of those visitors are children, whose first encounter touching a sand shark or horseshoe crab at the Aquarium’s touch tank has often blossomed into a lifelong dedication to supporting the environmental health of the Bay; from this, we...

The Farm at Ketchikan

The Farm at Ketchikan is changing the face of local food

By Danielle Rose The Farm at Ketchikan is designed to grow and supply healthy, locally raised vegetables and produce to the local Alaskan community. Because Ketchikan is located in a food desert, owner Dr. Kevin Hall wanted to create a place where locals could find and purchase fresh, clean, and affordable locally-grown produce and vegetables that are both conscious and grown utilizing green energy. Food deserts are areas where residents have limited access to fresh, healthy food.  About The Farm at Ketchikan  The Farm at Ketchikan is housed at a 1914 farmhouse that was originally a bunkhouse for summer cannery workers. The 4600 square foot building is surrounded by 17 and a half acres. Dr. Hall particularly loves the tin architecture, and how spacious and sturdy the building...

What is a food desert?

Food desert explained: What are they and how are they created?

by Danielle Rose What is a food desert? There are many contributing factors to food deserts. They are places where residents have limited access to food, either because there are not many food stores available, or because the distance one must travel to reach food stores is significant. Food deserts are commonly found among low population areas, particularly those with a high rate of abandoned or vacant homes, low income, minimal education and high rates of unemployment. Although there is no sin­gle cause that creates a food desert, there are sev­er­al con­tribut­ing factors to food insecurity in America, including  income, transportation (like vehicle availability or access to public transportation) and education. These factors added to the rising cost of healthy eating make it hard for lower-income...

Next stage of personal growth

BLOOM: The Spring 2022 issue

by The Mind Key Editorial Team Flowers require an incredible amount of energy to bloom, and so does the process of blossoming as humans. Sometimes, when this is literally all we have energy for, other projects must be tabled until the next stage of personal growth is fully entered. In this issue, we will delve into this growth as we tackle topics on health, happiness and success. Blooming in this context could mean being spontaneous and branching into unknown places. In this issue we hope to offer insights for business and career growth, and how to bloom creatively. We share how to grow past health plateaus, and build better relationships with ourself and with others. We’ll also share our favorite suggestions for helping Mamma Earth bloom...

Celebrating Beltaine and trees

Beltaine and Arbor Day: Celebration of Earth in bloom

By Cris McCullough Beltaine. May Day. Many of us associate mid-spring with the quaint traditions of dancing around a May Pole or the crowning of the May Queen. This is a time of exchange with nature, a time to celebrate renewal in all its forms. Buds begin to form on the trees, encouraging us to slow down and pay attention. Celebrating Beltaine and trees is an ancient tradition, one that translates contemporarily to a sweet stop in the woods. Anyone who has placed a hand on a tree to intuitively “listen” to the sap beginning to flow can agree. Even exchange: Celebrating Beltaine and trees Beltaine is an ancient Celtic festival of renewal and fertility dating from Roman times. Entire villages would gather and sleep under the stars,...

enjoy the great outdoors for renewal

Use nature to combat covid stress syndrome

The National Institutes of Health identified COVID stress syndrome as a legitimate disorder which has made a debilitating impact on our children especially. Hippocrates said, “Nature itself is the best physician,” as Joann Ayuso, a fitness trainer and health coach from Providence, RI, well knows. In 2018, she founded Movement Education Outdoors to provide opportunities for all children, especially those of color and with limited resources, to enjoy the great outdoors for renewal, and begin to recover themselves and, hopefully, regain a sense of normalcy. See why time in nature is not only a balm to the soul, but also an important key to our on-going physical, emotional, and mental well-being and just maybe a way to save and inspire the next generation. R.I. Programs Explore...

Post-covid reintegration

Hacks for reintegrating into a post-covid world

By Cris McCullough, MA, Holistic Counselor Post-covid reintegration  It’s been a challenging two years! But here we are, gazing into what has been described as, “the new normal.” We all have made sacrifices of one kind or another, and now we are faced with the challenge of reintegrating and finding our personal rhythm that helps us be and stay healthy. There are many ways to find healing that can assist us in embracing the new normal. The Daily Key editorial team asked some of our trusted colleagues from various disciplines the question: “What are your suggestions/tips/hacks to help folks recover, renew, and master the act of post-covid reintegration?” Reintegrating with New York State therapist James M.:  How can isolation affect a person’s well being? For many, at the start of the...

nature as an ecosystem versus machine

Your body is nature: a guide to connecting with nature wherever you live

Our bodies reflect the patterns of nature. Each of us has an innate rhythm that responds to the time of day, the flow of seasons and the ecosystems we inhabit. Herbalism treats both the human body and nature as an ecosystem versus machine that resonates with the environment it inhabits, utilizing energetics to manage these connections. This article by herbalist, Sajah Poplum, discusses the role of energetics in herbalism and suggests techniques to more deeply connect with nature no matter where you live. By Sajah Poplum, School of Evolutionary Herbalism The body can be understood as either an ecosystem or as a machine.  The more you understand that your body is but a mirror to the natural world, the more you see the elemental and energetic cornerstones that form...

support your adrenals

Support your adrenals to combat stress

It would not be an understatement to say that a majority of us have lived with some form of stress over the last two years. As Dr. Gary Kracoff notes in his article on how renew with adrenal support, short term stress is ok. Our “fight or flight” response kicks in; we handle what faces us and generally move on. But long term, constant stress is another story. It takes a toll on our emotional and physical bodies to our overall detriment. With this issue focusing on Renewal, it’s crucial to have methods available to combat stress, especially if they’re methods you’ve never even heard of. In this article from Natural Awakenings Boston, Dr. Kracoff offers tips for recovering our overall health through the support...

Things to do in the Hudson Valley

Things to do in the Hudson Valley

By Joseph Gonzalez The Hudson Valley (where I’ve lived for my whole life) is home to a myriad of activities, whether you’re looking for a break from city life, or if you’re generally looking for new experiences. They can give you an opportunity to find ways to renew yourself going into the spring. Things to do in the Hudson Valley As the northeast comes out of this brutal winter into warm weather, we remember that spring goes hand in hand with making a refreshing change for yourself. Now that the sun actually stays up past 5 PM, you have endless possibilities in regard to trying new things. If this is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. The things to...

Take a breath: Walking the labyrinth for stress reduction

We have managed to thrive during the tumult that is the holiday season. As we enter a New Year, filled with both hope and uncertainty, we may need a gentle prompt to reclaim mindfulness. The action of walking the labyrinth can be seen as a metaphorical journey. It gets us out of our heads and into our hearts, from the stress of the day-to-day grind and into a state of peace. Walking the labyrinth for stress reduction is as easy as breathing in and breathing out. It is perfect for maintaining peace of mind. Walking the Labyrinth for Stress Reduction A labyrinth is a walking meditation that centers our mind and brings us calm. At first glance it may seem like a puzzling and confusing pathway of...

Clean ocean access supports local artists

Artists Supporting Clean Ocean Access opening reception

by Danielle Rose Clean Ocean Access [COA] is opening their office doors for a reception from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Thursday, March 31. Instead of business as usual, Clean Ocean Access supports local artists with a full display of artwork. "Creations for the Ocean: Artists Supporting Clean Ocean Access" is centered around various media works inspired by the power of the local environment. The belief is that storytelling in all forms is essential to our sharing and understanding of the natural world. “We look forward to sharing our first artist-focused event around our vision of a clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all,” according to COA. Attendees will have light refreshments and an opportunity to meet and chat with the artists. The original works will...

Spring renewal for health and success

RENEWAL Issue of The Daily Key

by The Mind Key Editorial Team Spring is invariably coupled with the idea of this issue’s theme of Renewal. Each spring, harbingers of growth and birth appear across the earth, and ecology grabs our attention. We renew promises to ourselves to stick with the diet, or get out and exercise more or make other improvements in our bodies and our environment as a whole. Our issue’s theme of spring renewal for health and success means it’s never too late to start fresh and make major, or even minor changes in your life. Renewing yourself can be as simple as trying something new or visiting new places; the main idea is to prioritize your well being. These little actions can become bigger steps in growth and renewal...


Make eco-friendly and sustainable choices this holiday season

By Sandra Yeyati Several holiday traditions, while bringing joy to people, can also cause harm to the environment. The endless amount of paper used for wrappings, certain gifts being made of non-renewable material, and decorations that use a lot of electricity all can be detrimental to Earth in the long run. Strategic action is necessary in order to help this issue. Thankfully, advancements in technology have given us the opportunity to be able to celebrate the holidays while maintaining harm reduction. This Natural Awakenings article by Sandra Yeyati shows how you can engage in sustainable choices during the holidays, which includes eco-friendly decorating and responsible gifting. Greening the Holidays: How to Celebrate Sustainably With every record-setting storm and catastrophic fire, more people are realizing that we are embroiled...

digestive bitters are a natural upset stomach cure

Preempt holiday indulgences with a bottle of bitters

Bitters are an essential addition to my holiday survival toolkit. I will stash a bottle into my smallest purse rather than brave a dinner party without it. This article from Nature’s Goodness in Newport Rhode Island gives an overview this natural upset stomach cure, discussing the history of bitters as a cocktail ingredient, how they work, and where they can be found in foods. by Patty Lenz Bovie for Nature's Goodness Bitters are alcohol-based extracts of bark, roots, berries, leaves, or flowers of bitter-tasting plants. Known for the essential role they play in signature cocktails, they burst with a range of aromatic flavors such as zesty orange, tarragon spice, and nutty coffee. But taste is not their only perk. Research has shown that bitters may also be...

DIY cold and flu remedy made from pine

A Warming Elixir for surviving the Winter Blues

by Karen Talbot, wild gardener The fragrance wafting up from my hot cup of tea conjures up favorite evergreen memories as I write. I can still smell the balsam firs where we camped in New Hampshire years ago; discovering a magnificent blue spruce on a South County RI trail; and the pleasure of harvesting pine needles for this cup of tea outside my door. Pines are also my medicine for preventing and easing the symptoms of a cold and cough, building  the immune system, and especially preventing the flu. This DIY pine cough and flu remedy is a great herbal solution to survive winter and can be made with almost any evergreen available to you. Pine: It’s not just about holiday memories Evergreen needles are the main ingredient...

Winter healing with white pine

White pine medicine: Not just holiday magic

by Artemis Body & Soul Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) of the family Pinaceae is ideal for winter healing, predominately, because it can be gathered anytime of the year. Often branches of white pine are felled during winter storms, and as long as the needles are still green, it’s good to use. Plus, their medicinal and spiritual uses in boosting immunity and battling congestion and coughs while supporting the lungs comes in handy during the holiday and cold/flu season. So does its spiritual abilities to help the body move through grief, sadness and situations that require a peacemaker. Identifying the winter healer  Identifying white pine starts with recognizing the long bluish-green needles. Look closer, the needles are long and “flowy.” At an even closer look, you should notice...

Seasonal tips to thrive this holiday

Thriving through the holidays: Tips for a well-balanced holiday season

by Cris McCullough & the Mind Key Editor Team We have all survived a year filled with challenges and now another challenge looms...

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