Bottle Trees at Cedar House Inn

Cedar House Inn and Yurts has found a new way to recycle wine bottles. We have created bottle trees and shrubs. In the past we took our glass wine bottles to have them recycled. On television we noticed that a PBS show had a feature on makingbottle trees bottle trees.

Apparently bottle trees originated in Africa. People thought that evil spirits would fly up the neck of the bottle and become trapped. For a complete history about bottle trees visit this web site

We made ours out of fence posts you can purchase at the local lumber yard or Home Depot. We used long nails or gutter spikes to hang the bottles on the trunk.

We try to use wine bottles that guests leave in their room recycling bins. Many of the bottles are from the area local wineries as seen on the labels. Wolf Mountain is a favorite because they do not use paper labels that come off the bottle after being outside on the tree for a period of time. Their label is embossed or etched into the glass.

My wife really gets excited when a guest leave a Reisling bottle since they are always a vivid blue color. One guest years ago was a huge University of Georgia fan and also a graduate. He was excited because he found Bulldog wine in a bulldog red bottle. He shared the wine with us and we all agreed that the wine was not that good but the bottle was great! That bottle still maintains the top position of one of our wine bottle trees.

Bottle trees do need periodic care. Mainly pruning and cleaning. By pruning we replace old dirty bottles with missing labels with new bottles. Those Wolf Mountain bottles with the etched labels are cleaned and put back on the tree.

The great thing about the trees is that the never need watering and are always colorful. The are very pretty in the sunlight and sometimes make a slight ringing sound on windy days.

Bottle trees are a great recycling idea that adds a little art and color to the yard.

For more information on our eco friendly practices visit our green page.

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

This post is about creating a backyard wildlife habitat in your yard.

When we purchased the house that is now the inn there were not many trees oncertified wildlife habitat the property. In fact shrubbery was also missing from the landscape. It looked like a Chernobyl waste site. Not a wildlife habitat!

Semi trucks and cars would actually park in the front yard to make cell phone calls or use our property as a rest stop. One gentleman drove his Cadillac up to the front door to make a cell phone call in his car. I asked him what he was doing and he said just making a phone call. I said this is my yard and he said it did not look like a yard.

I immediately knew what I had to do. Make a yard.

The sad thing was that the property not only lacked trees but also wildlife and birds. No sounds of birds singing in the spring. It was sad.

We immediately started planting well over 200 fast growing trees like hybrid poplars, hollies and silver maples. We also moved white and black pine trees from the woods. Fast growing shrubs were also planted.

Every trip to Home Depot not only meant purchasing what we needed but also a tree. We added bird feeders, bird houses and bird baths. Guess what happened?

The place became alive again with wildlife ranging from deer to all kinds of birds to possums and raccoons. Have not seen a bear yet.

We also decided to quit mowing most of the 3 acres. Now we mow near the entrance signs and house area. Native grasses and pine trees (that we moved) are now taking over and forming a buffer from the main road.

A friend of my wife’s called and expressed concern that we might be falling on hard times since we quit mowing the property. I informed her we were making our property greener.

We also have quit using synthetic fertilizers and herbicides(see other post on liquid gold). We have a natural lawn in the grass areas since we do not use chemicals.

Our property has been certified as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the Natural Wildlife Federation. Certification is free and can be done online. We have a sign at our gate indicating certification. The program was launched in 1973 and has certified over 106,000 yards, farms, schools and urban balconies.

For more information click NWF.

For more information about the green practices at our inn visit green.

Using Urine in the Landscape- Liquid Gold

“There’s Gold in them Thar Hills” is favorite old time saying in the Dahlonega area regarding the prevalence of gold during the early 1800’s Gold Rush.  In this post I am not referring to the precious metal gold but liquid gold. A substance that every human being produces in varying quantities. Also called Urine.

In Sweden they have found that urine is a valuable natural resource and is used as a natural fertilizer in farming. High in nitrogen it is especially good for leafy green vegetables. It is diluted with water in a 8:1 ratio.

They also found in Sweden that it is easier to process human waste more efficiently if the urine is not mixed with the feces. It is also better for the environment. They have even developed urine diverting toilets to separate the liquid gold from solids. It’s also interesting that privy’s or outhouses do not create odors when the solids are separated from the urine.

The innkeepers have used urine for years on the property. Correction: Mary Beth would not donate hers. We both purchased urinals at Wal Mart for collection of the liquid gold. Mary Beth’s was called a “sheurnal” and has never been used if anyone is interested.

We found many great uses for the urine besides serving as a nitrogen fertilizer in a 8:1 ratio mentioned above. It also can be used without dilution on the compost pile as a compost activator and breaks down the pile quicker. It also can be poured around the perimeter of your garden or plants to keep the deer away. We learned that this would work when deer were not a problem when our dog Stu was around marking the property. When Stu passed away we had the deer return so Fred had to mark the property not always using the urinal (don’t try this guys if you live in a neighborhood or the neighbors may talk, using a urinal is safer).

For more information read the book Liquid Gold which can be purchased on Amazon.

For more information on our eco friendly practices visit green page.