Automatic Dishwasher (and Car) Detergent

The recipe for a cheap, environmentally safe, effective automatic dishwashing soap is really simple.

Mix equal measures of Borax (Twenty Mule Team or not) and Washing Soda (most likely Arm and Hammer) together. Label your container. It is environmentally friendly. That doesn’t mean that you want to eat it.

Use two tablespoons per load in the dishwasher. We keep a plastic spoon in the container and put two teaspoons in the closing dispenser and two in the open one.

Use white vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser. It is much cheaper than brand name rinse aids and it does just as good a job.

Yesterday, I used this combination to wash our cars. I used one tablespoon of the Borax/Soda mix with a few drops of Ivory dish soap in a bucket of water. I scrubbed the cars with that. Then I put some white vinegar in a used Pepsi bottle; attached it to the TerraCycle sprayer instead of the bottle of worm poop, and gave the cars a spot-free rinse.

Homemade Laundry Soap – Save green by going green.

This simple recipe will help you eliminate toxic chemicals from your wash cycle and waste water. It will also save loads of money. For a cost of less than a penny a load you can make your own effective, liquid, concentrated, HE, laundry soap that won’t harm your septic system or the fish downstream.

1 bar bath soap, grated (Ivory or Fels Naptha work well, but you can use your favorite)
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda)
1/2 cup borax (20 Mule Team or not)
Hot Water (tap water hot, not boiling)


  1. Place grated Soap in a saucepan or pot.
  2. Add about 6 cups water and simmer over medium heat until all the soap is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour into five gallon bucket.
  4. Add Washing Soda and Borax.
  5. Add enough Hot Water to fill the bucket to quarter full.
  6. Stir. Use a long enough implement to thoroughly mix everything up from the bottom.
  7. Let it sit overnight to gel. (Keep it in a place that is safely away from children or pets.)
  8. Stir again to assure consistency of the gel and break up any lumps.
  9. Use 1/4 cup for top loaders or 2 Tablespoons for front loaders, just like the commercial stuff.

You can pour this into an old detergent container or any safe, sealable container. You could put the quarter you save with each load into your solar water heater fund.

St. Joseph of Arimathea

St. Joseph of Arimathea
St. Joseph of Arimathea

July 31st 
The Noble Joseph having taken your Most Pure Body down from the Cross, wrapped it in a clean shroud and anointed it with fragrant spices and laid it in a new tomb. 
But on the third day You arose, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.

Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council of the Jews). He was a secret believer after visiting Jesus by night with Nicodemus. (John 3) The two of them removed Christ’s body from the Cross and laid it in Joseph’s new tomb. (Matt. 27:57; John 19:38) For this public act of faith, the Jews fettered him and put him in prison. The resurrected Lord appeared to him there to confirm and encourage his faith. The Jews released Joseph, but banished him from Judea, driving him out. St. Joseph travelled to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel. He spent some time with Apostle Philip in Europe, then he went to England. There, he was exiled to an island, where he fell asleep in the Lord after a long and fruitful ministry. He is depicted here with the burial cloth or epitaphios draped over his shoulder and arm.

St. Joseph is my patron saint. It was at Lamentations Matins of Great Friday that each myself, my wife and our four daughters each were drawn to the Holy Orthodox Church. It was over the course of several years, but particularly that service. I dare you to come and see if you don’t become Orthodox.

This icon is by the hand of Ilya Baladvadzhe. It belongs to C. Joseph Coulter, the owner of “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art and this blog. The inscription is in Georgian. 

Copyrighted icon courtesy of “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art,

Make Room for 4,000,000,000 More People

Demographers predict that by the year 2050 there will be more than 10 billion people on earth. It is time that we start making room for them. A good place to begin would to make sure all the people who are here now are fed, housed, employed, respected and cared for.

This is what I intend this blog to discuss. It will be heavy on green issues, as these impact everyone at every stage of life and future generations. Economic inequities affect people in a given time. Using up resources that occur once in the lifecycle of the planet for the ease of a portion of three or four generations, while leaving toxic waste and a damaged global ecosystem to all future generations is an abomination.

I will not just rail against the current situation and powers that be. I will report on hopeful breakthroughs and suggest positive, doable actions. There will be people’s stories. Most people can’t really get their minds around caring for unseen, teeming masses, while they are just trying to see to their own families. I hope that we will start to recognize that we are all family.