Bottle Trees at Cedar House Inn


Cedar House Inn 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 making bottle trees.

Apparently bottle trees originated in Africa. People thought that evil spirits would fly up the neck of the bottle and become trapped.

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

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.

What a great recycling idea that adds a little art and color to the yard.

Backyard Wildlife Habitat


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

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.

There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills- Liquid Gold


The title of this entry is a favorite old time saying in the Dahlonega area regarding the prevalence of gold during the early 1800’s Gold Rush.

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.

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

Composting Toilets at the Inn


Many guests that stay in one of our yurts find the composting toilets interesting. We decided to have them in the yurts since we did not have water or septic to the area. We also wanted to give yurt guests the convenience of not having to go to the bathhouse in the middle of the night to use the toilet.

The composting toilets are made by Sun Mar in Canada. They require no water, septic and have no odor. A fan in the toilet pulls air through the toilet and is vented to the outside. The air also helps dry out the liquids. Liquids also go to the bottom of the toilet in an enclosed drying area with a heater.

Solids and toilet paper stay in the bio drum chamber and compost over time. Bacteria is added to the unit occasionally to help eat the toilet paper. When the bio drum starts to fill we remove some of the contents into the finishing drawer where the substance finishes composting.

The finished compost is placed in our flower gardens and around the trees.

This is one of the ways Cedar House Inn and Yurts is using composting.

Air Conditioned Beds?


There is a new product out that is very interesting, the air conditioned bed. The bed is made in the Netherlands and is being used at eco resorts in sub tropical climates. The bed is a canopy bed design with the air conditioned air coming from the canopy portion. This allows the user to keep the room at regular temperature but have the bed air conditioned with cooler air saving electricity that is normally needed to cool the entire room.

The product is called Evening Breeze. For more information visit their site.Web Site.

We do not plan to offer these beds at the inn but thought they were an interesting eco friendly product.

Food Composting at the Inn


At the inn we compost just about everything from raw food scraps from breakfast preparation to cooked food the guests do not consume. Fortunately Mary Beth’s breakfasts are well received and most guest’s plates are cleaned of food.

For the cooked food that most people throw in the trash can or garbage disposal we use the Green Cone Cooked Food Composter. All kinds of cooked food from pasta to meat can go in the cone and it is gone forever. No odors have been noticed in the 5 plus years we have used ours. It also does not seem to attract animals or flies. All the contents is contained underground.

For all other food scraps we have a compost bin near the garden.

What To Do With That Awful Styrofoam

At Cedar House Inn we recycle everything we can to reduce the trash we take to the landfill and to help the environment and reduce our impact on the Earth. For years we have been mindful to purchase items with limited packaging or in containers that can be recycled or composted (for example choose glass, 1 &2 plastics).

Unfortunately styrofoam sometimes appears with something we have ordered online (those darn packing peanuts) or guests leave us styrofoam coffee cups or fast food take out containers in the trashcan that cannot be recycled. Styrofoam in the landfill can last for many years and never decomposes.

Fortunately you can now take styrofoam egg cartons and meat trays to Publix for recycling.

Now there is a solution I recently found. Unfortunately it is not available in our area. The process is called Styrosolve and involves crushing the used styrofoam into small pieces to be mixed with a recycled solvent that breaks down the styrofoam into polystyrene. The polystyrene is then sold to companies to make cell phones and television cabinets for example. What a great idea!

The company that has created this product is Blue Earth Solutions Inc. in Florida. They are a publicly owned company that will sell the technology to recyclers and municipalities through the country. Imagine making money recycling all of that styrofoam that now sits in the landfill for thousands of years.

Eat Vegetarian- Even Part Time- Helps the Planet

Did you know that going meat free helps the Earth?

The meat industry is a top source for greenhouse gas methane according to a 2006 United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization report. In fact meat and dairy production create more carbon emissions than all the cars and trucks on the highways.

Reason why is that cows emit methane which traps 21 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Their solid waste produces nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than CO2.

Try going meat free for one day with the Great American Meatout on March 20th.

We are not advocating that everyone should go vegetarian. Just cut back on the amount and frequency that you eat meat.