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Welcome to Cambree Notes,

I have officially moved! Please visit me at www.cambreenotes.com Join me at my new place for more neat post relating to health, beauty, and living.

Thanks for the visit.

– Cambree Elise

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Dragon Fruit Farm

The first time I found out about the dragon fruit was about two summers ago. I was talking to P, who had just came back from a biking trip across Vietnam. He kept talking about how much he enjoyed eating fresh dragonfruit or pitaya. I had never heard of such a fruit and wasn’t sure how it should look. All I can imagine was something with scales maybe? Then I saw pictures of the fruits and was immediately intrigued by how beautiful and strange it looked. There are three types of dragonfruit – red flesh, red fruit with white flesh and yellow fruit with white flesh.

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The photo above of dragonfruit farm taken by tk yeoh of flickr. Notice how the fruits are wrapped in bags. Possibly to protect them from birds, bats, and other natural elements. Dragonfruit farming has been very popular in Asia, from the Philippines to Malaysia. They seem to grow pretty easy and are also grown in San Diego greenhouses. The plants are also available for purchase from Florida. Some day I like to make a trip to these farm and see the real fruit tree. Preferably at harvesting time!

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Agave in Landscaping

Agave isn’t just grown for it’s syrup. It’s actually a very pretty ornamental succulent that could liven up any yard. Especially yards in in the South West or Western part of the U.S. I came across these great photos of different varieties of agave used in landscaping in California from Sunset magazine. I aspire to have a dessert garden someday.

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“The light green leaves of a colony of A. attenuata contrast in this combo with the nearly black rosettes of Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’.” – Sunset Magazine. I like the contrast of green and deep purple in this garden.
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Lawn Alternative: Naturescaping

This year California may be facing a severe drought. Our heavy rain season starts around autumn and continues through spring. I can say this year’s rainy season was not so good. I think we had some cloudy winters, but not much rain. Mostly fog in parts of northern California.

nscapeConcerned homeowners and avid gardeners may want to look into finding ways to conserve water. But I have mostly desert plants that are in pots, so it won’t be much of a problem for me. My mom said she may cut down on what she will be planting this year too. The latest idea suggest replacing the common lawn and yards with native plants. This idea is termed “naturescaping”. These two front yards are good examples of naturescaping. Photos were taken by City Steward of Portland, Oregon.

There are many benefits for naturescaping and to growing native plants. A great landscape design practice also located in Portland, Oregon named Plant Native gave us 6 good reasons. They are listed below:

1. Low Maintenance – Native plants evolved to grow in local conditions and to predictable sizes. They do not require watering (except during establishment), chemical pesticides and fertilizers, or frequent cutting.

2. Public Health (lowers cancer rates) – Traditional landscaping uses large amounts of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, some of which are suspected carcinogens. During rains, these chemicals often run off into public water supplies. Traditional landscaping also contributes to air and noise pollution.

3. Saves you Money – The cost of maintaining a naturescape is dramatically less than that of a traditional landscape because a naturescape essentially takes care of itself. Naturescapes also save you time – and how valuable is your time?

4. Water – In the West, 60% of consumed water goes to lawns; in the East, 30%. This water diversion harms the environment, kills fish, and returns polluted water to our streams and rivers. It also costs you – on irrigation system installation and maintenance, and on your water bill.
5. Song Birds – Our song bird populations having dropped steadily – 5-10%, per year!, depending on the species – for the last several decades, and there is no end in sight. The loss is primarily due to habitat loss. Adopting naturescaping is critical if song birds are to remain.
6. Enhances Livability – An ecologically functional landscape offers so much more than a sterile, static landscape. It offers imagination to our children, and color, sound and wonder to all of us. It is cleaner, quieter and healthier, and may increase property values.

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$100 Free at Washington Mutual Bank

I’ve gotten several offers from Washington Mutual bank to open an account and receive $100 free. You can do this online, on the phone, or at the bank. But you have to have a designated code which can only be used once.

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Photo: Cute piggy bank from Marie Claire Publications.

I finally decided to sign up with them last week. It was very easy and the bank representative was very friendly. In order to get the $100, you have to deposit $100 first and keep your account open and active for 3 months. There are some really neat things offered by WAMU that I did not know of before.

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Cat Hotel in France

If you live in the south of France and need to find a cat hotel, you can go to Le Jardin des Chats. The hotel is located between Nimes and Montpellierare. The over night stay is $12 (U.S.) per cat. First time clients receive a 20% discount. There are other services such as grooming and an animal taxi service. You can also watch your cat while on vacation with webcams. It’s been noticed that the cats seem to enjoy their time at the hotel so much they don’t even want to leave.

Le Jardin des Chats was born out of necessity by Amandine and Arnaud. When they needed to travel, they didn’t want to put their cats in small caged kennels surrounded with barking dogs. That just wouldn’t be very comforting to cats. Amandine also didn’t like the ideas of asking friends or relatives to check on their cat too often.

These cats are from the homepage of Le Jardin des Chats. The one in the middle looks just like my cat!

The process took them five years to put together. They had to get permissions to build the cat hotel in their back garden.

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Laundry with Soap Nuts

The last time I was in a health food store in Palo Alto (California) I saw a box of Maggie’s Soap Nuts. They were $10 for 4.5 oz box. I would try it if it was a bit cheaper. But better if they had free samples for customers to try first. At the moment I’ve been using commercial Arm & Hammer Essentials for my laundry and just add some borax for extra cleaning power.

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Photo of dried soap nuts from ECO-CAN news.

I’ve never even heard much about soap nuts and decided find out more about them. A few nuts can be placed in a cotton drawstring bag, then add to your wash. It can even be reused several times. Soap nuts are safe for washing silk, woolens and other delicate fabrics. Anything soap related to me is fun, especially ones that grow naturally on trees.

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