Laundry Hacks – Natural Solutions

Laundry happens, all day every day! Throw in a few kids and your pile will double if not triple! That pile of laundry is full of dirt and germs that need to be conquered before it gets out hand! Get it done quickly, easily, and with these sustainable tips!


Don’t Be Afraid of Cold Water

By washing your laundry with cold water, you are not only saving yourself money, but saving your threads! Cold water will keep colors bright, reduce wrinkling, and also aids in fighting stains! By choosing the cold water option, you are also giving your hot water heater a break in turn giving your energy bill a break!

Keep The Dirty Clothes Separated

By setting up a 3 hamper system you will save yourself tons of time and stress when it comes to getting the laundry done! Separate the clothes into whites, colors, and delicates as you go!

Stop Buying Bleach

Bleach is harmful and is not necessary to clean your whites! Instead, you can try a few different options. Try using a 1/2 cup of lemon vinegar (white vinegar with lemon peels soaked for a few days). For a really tough stain, apply a small dab of our Grammy’s Sweet Lemon Laundry Sauce for an extra all natural boost.

Wash Full Loads

Make sure that you are filling your loads. This will decrease the amount of energy used to wash your laundry and give you a break on your power bill. When you wash small loads, this still takes an incredible amount of energy to wash and dry! Think about how long those machines have to run!

Clean Your Machines

Taking good care of your washer and dryer will ensure that you are fully utilizing each cycle. Make sure that you regularly check your gaskets and clean around the edges of the machines! Mold can grow in places you cannot see which can contribute mold and mildew in the laundry. Try our all natural Multi-Purpose cleaner and check those hard to reach areas around the top of the wash bin and the gasket around your dryer door.

Clean your dryer’s lint filter after each load!

Ditch the Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are not eco-friendly and most are very toxic. Do yourself a favor and invest in a few wool dryer balls or tennis balls can do the trick as well. Throw them into your dryer with wet loads to help circulate air and reduce dry time.  The best part is that these balls work as a fabric softener and reduce static!

Dry Outside

If it’s warm outside, hang a dry line and invest in some clothes pins! Your clothes will thank you for it! It takes a bit longer, but you will drastically reduce your energy bill by just hanging your wet clothes up outside!


The January Gardener Blues

Gardening in January

January can be a slow and cold month. Many people find this time of year to be dreary, but what we find is it is a great month to start planning ahead to get over those gray day blues. Seed catalogs are showing up in the mail, so why not start daydreaming about the months ahead!

In Oregon, we are blessed to have access to the OSU Extension office. They are always a wonderful resource for information if you are looking for what crops would be good to start planting now!

Order Seeds

The first thing that we recommend is drawing out your garden on a piece of paper. Create a diagram! This tip will save you time and money in the long run!

The Last Frost

As tempting as it is to get your seeds in the ground. It is important to wait until the last frost of the year. This date will vary by your location and can vary a bit year to year. Figuring out this date is the most important thing you can do during January.  Everything you want to do in the spring and summer will depend on it!

Crops to Start in January

You will want to start most of your seed indoors. In general, you will be planting the cold loving crops that take a long time to grow, but that you can move outside later in the season.

Vegetables and Herbs To Start in January

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Cilantro

The last frost date for our area in the Umpqua Valley in Oregon is May 15th. So if you are from a different area, double check your frost dates and adjust the planting schedule accordingly. These crops can be planted in the ground once it is warm, but if you are looking at more frost in your area covering your crops would be recommended.


Soil preparation is a hugely important part of any garden. January is a great time to work with your dirt. As long as it isn’t frozen, this is a great time to start turning it. This will expose insect eggs and larvae for the birds to take care of.

If you are rearranging the structure of your garden or building new beds, January is a perfect time to work on it!


Seedlings that are started indoors don’t really need a lot of fertilizing. When they grow a few inches, they can benefit from a diluted application of fish emulsion, or another organic fertilizer.


Turn to your compost pile! Then turn it again and maybe one more time for good measure. Begin adding the composted organic material to your beds!

So, if you are feeling down and wish you could get started in the garden now, fret not. You can! Just bundle up and get to work!

Pallet Garden Blunders –

At first glance, the pallet garden idea seems great. It is easy on top of simple, with convenient spacing and rows, right? We thought so last spring and were more than a little disappointed by fall! It just didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. After dumping out dirt and restructuring the garden this week, we felt the need to advise other gardeners looking for new methods against using this one!

Here is what we found out:

  • Wooden pallets are susceptible to vermin and insects infestations.
  • Soil compaction leads to smaller crops and difficult tending.
  • If a pallet has gone across a border, they require fumigation – which is often performed with methyl bromide, a highly toxic, ozone-depleting chemical. Scary!
  • Shipping pallets contain e. coli and Listeria, and are prone to mold growth when left out in the elements. Not ideal for a gardening in Oregon.
  • Contamination from chemicals used to treat the wooden pallets can leach out onto whatever is placed on them or into the air. Which can also compromise soil quality!
  • Wood pallets made with “engineered wood” components contain urea formaldehyde – a known carcinogen.

We are all about using recycling materials where possible, but we now strongly advise against using pallets in the garden, as tempting as it may be! It looks nice, but is not worth the risk or time spent on a system that can only lead to small crops.

So I am including a short list of articles found online – both pros and cons – to let you make your own informed choice about whether or not you’ll use pallets in your garden.
Are pallets safe to reuse?
Don’t reuse wood pallets.
Recycling wood pallets and packaging.

What are your thoughts on reusing pallets in the garden or as furniture?  Have you done it already?  And will you do it again?

Cleaning Up Your Life in 5 Steps!


Create a clean & pure life in 5 Easy Steps!

Have you become more grossly aware of how toxic common household cleaners are, but feel like there really aren’t any better options? If you are someone who wants to take some control over this situation there are some easy steps to help you get to a cleaner home, with no harmful toxins.  To me, being clean means getting rid of the man made, toxic chemicals in your house and body. There are many variations and degrees of cleanliness- from using vinegar as a cleaner to eating only organic produce. The one thing that we can all agree on is that developing clean habits is much easier when you don’t feel judged! We don’t mind what other people are doing…. to each their own, but we love educating people.  If you are ready to take the steps to living more purely, let’s do it together! Seriously, nobody is perfect!

The 5 Steps to a Pure Home

Step 1

Let go of any feelings of judgement or guilt. Who has time for it? We have cleaning to do! The first step is the hardest to take! It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, today is a fresh start!

Step 2

Take charge of your decisions! Lay out a plan and get your spouse or housemates on board!

Step 3

Make a new choice! Start with either pure cleaning or your diet. I suggest cleaning, it’s the easiest. What do you need? Start with these two staples!

become crunchy

#1: Vinegar– it’s a great all-purpose cleaner. Vinegar has a pH of 2.4 so it really cleans well. Buy a spray bottle, or reuse an old one and fill it half with water and half with vinegar. You’ve just made an all-purpose cleaner! Add about 30 drops of lemon, tea tree or lavender essential oil for a more desirable smell! You can clean anything with it- stove tops, counters, sinks, toilets, walls, doorknobs, etc.

#2 Castile Soap is a real soap made of 100% olive oil.This means it can be diluted with water a great deal and last you a long time. This saves money! We use castile soap for our dish soap and purpose cleaner!

Most people like the smell of a clean and disinfected home, but that common idea and the “smell of clean” you associate with it usually comes chocked full of toxic chemicals!

Unintended Farms Dish It Up! Liquid Dish Soap

Step 4

Take baby steps! Don’t try to change everything because it will be too overwhelming. Plus if you try to change it all at once, the odds are that your household will freak out. Take on one major change and then when that feels comfortable, take the next step. Do what what feels natural when it feels right. We started with our laundry detergent first!

Step 5

CommitStop buying junk! Slowly start getting rid of products that you just aren’t comfortable with. Particularly the ones with giant warning labels! Stop using it and buying it! Discard it and feel better doing so! Use the Environmental Working Group‘s website to check out products in your home that you aren’t comfortable with and start from there. Do this gradually and over time you will have really changed into a clean and eco-friendly person that you are proud to be! Voting with your dollars by making wise and informed decisions will help make our entire world a cleaner place!

What have you changed in your life so far? What do you still want to change?



Did you know that bleach has chlorine in it and has been linked to cancer? Eek!

According to the National Poison Control Center website, 43,518 calls concerning bleach were reported in 2016. Using all purpose cleaners that contain bleach, or sodium hypochlorite are almost always dispensed in a spray bottle. Sodium hypochlorite poses many health risks including asthma and respiratory concerns, skin allergies and irritation, cancer, and environmental risks.

There is a specific risk when bleach is put into a machine such as a dishwasher or washing machine where the bleach is heated and then released as a gas when the machine is opened in the home!



Unintended Farms spent a few years developing a safe, yet effective bleach free All Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Utilizing the power of Tea Tree essential oil and castile soap, it is perfect for cleaning surfaces in your home: kitchen tables and counters, floors, bathroom sinks and counters, granite, tile, handles, knobs and beyond…

This handmade all natural, non-toxic cleaner is anti-bacterial and works hard on grease, dirt, and grime. Use on any non-porous surface and wipe with a soft cloth. This also works great on stainless steel, granite counters, and our microfiber couch!


Unintended Farms shall not be held responsible for any damages to property or for any adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm) caused by improper use of a product.


Bring a friend! Unwind from the holiday stress!

Join us to create your own non-toxic, all natural laundry detergent to take home, enjoy a glass of wine with us and learn :

– Where to locate non-toxic ingredients in Douglas County
– How to customize a recipe to your specific needs
– How much to add per load
– How to naturally remove stains
– How to increase the longevity of your clothing




What is Borax and is it safe?

The question of what Borax is and also whether it’s safe comes up a lot online and at the market. It is a main ingredient in our Grammy’s Sweet Lemon Laundry Sauce as well as our Dishwasher Detergent and Dish It Up Soap. We absolutely love it! However, like everyone else we wanted to dig into the nitty-gritty and find out what the fuss is all about?

Borax is sodium tetraborate or sodium borate. Many people confuse this with boric acid, hydrogen borate. Borax is actually a salt of boric acid and does not have the same chemical characteristics.  If you have ever googled articles about the dangers of Borax and have read articles in opposition to Borax  typically they are referring to boric acid please take them with a grain of salt, literally. They are comparing apples and oranges.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral. The product safety data on Borax combines borax and boric acid cautions, and it is unclear which substance the various warnings pertain to. The most extreme warnings about borax mention skin contact, eye contact or eaten in high doses. There are everyday items in our kitchen such as vinegar, essential oils and even organic pepper can have these same effects. That does not make these things unsafe but just that they must be used correctly and in moderation. Borax is alkaline and when it is not diluted it can cause irritation.

Here’s the full material data safety sheet if you want some light reading.

That data sheet does give borax a safety rating of “1” which is the same as baking soda and salt. (I wouldn’t recommend putting those in your eye or rubbing large amounts on the skin constantly or ingesting large amounts daily either)

The Environmental Working Group lists Borax as a safety rating of 5-6, though again, the studies used contained both borax and boric acid and the warnings referred to ingestion, eye contact or prolonged undiluted use.

So Is Borax Safe?

We did not find any evidence  that was compelling enough for us to avoid using Borax in our cleaners. We do not recommend that you eat it or rub it on your skin without first diluting it.All of our products use a safe, diluted amount and are not recommended for uses other than cleaning.

Consider the warning labels on major box store brands and then weigh the risks for yourself! Borax is an effective natural cleaner and a safer alternative either way you cut it. Yes it can be used as a pesticide, but it’s a natural one.We mix it with a bit of sugar and leave it out for the ants when we see them!

Our favorite brand is Mule Team Borax and it is considered pure and natural.

Please let us know! Do you use Borax? Do you consider it safe?


As many of you know, in addition to Unintended Farms, I also run a small graphic design studio out of the farm during the week! This week it has been exceptionally hard to watch the Facebook feeds from the pipeline protest. People being held in cages like animals, given numbers reminding us of concentration camps, shot with rubber bullets,  and the protectors were sprayed with pepper spray repeatedly. This is not an issue we can ignore. These are not protesters they are peaceful water protectors! While many are headed to North Dakota to help, many of us cannot leave our homes given our current situations. That does not mean that the longing to help isn’t there! We want you to take a stand from where you are by helping us send support! I have created this design to represent the Great Spirit that took the form of a buffalo heard showing up last week!
The Dakota access pipeline is slated to run through the Missouri and Cannon Ball Rivers and poses a serious threat to the water supply of the Native American tribes along with 18 million residents that live along it’s path. In Lakota Mni Wiconi means Water is Life. Last week our water protectors were hit hard with harder hits sure to come. Help us support and sponsor the Water Protectors and sponsor a few friends headed that way to stand on the front lines!
When you buy this shirt you are supporting those who are protecting our future and our water. All proceeds will be distributed between existing Standing Rock camp/supply gofundme sites as well as 2 $100 sponsorships for those leaving in late November/December for North Dakota immediately after the campaign ends.
Take a stand. Protect our water from where you are. It’s time to save our mother!
With no clean water, there are no veggies, no herbs, no health and no future. When will we learn that we cannot drink oil? There is no amount of money worth this kind of destruction. It’s 2016 and with new green technologies it seems that we can find a better way.
Please buy one a shirt if you can and share the design with your friends!
~Erin & Rich

Pacific Northwest Chicken Noodle Soup

Upon getting sick, often I turn to finding ways to distract myself while finding comfort where possible. The Universe took me down with a sinus infection this week, but fortunately we were asked to contribute a few recipes for an upcoming Farm to Fork article in our local paper. What I came up with was the traditional chicken noodle soup my Mom used to make me whenever I fell ill as a child, but with a Pacific Northwest twist.

Most of the ingredients needed you can find at your local farmer’s market! We encourage everyone to shop locally for produce! This last weekend I came home with a bag of Chanterelle mushrooms that were calling to be put in something special! They added great a great flavor and texture to Mom’s recipe!

This chicken noodle soup is bold, with a kick! We love garlic and spices in this house, so we never hold back! It helped give me back some energy while providing a warm, nutritious meal for our family on a chilly November day!

Give it a try and tell us what you think!

  • 4 TBSP of Butter of Ghee
  • 1 Large thick  diced onion
  • 5 Celery stalks with their leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups of sliced carrots
  • 1 Full Ear of Garlic, peeled and diced – Yes, that much!
  • 1 lb of diced chicken (local, free range chicken is always best if you can find it!)
  • 1 TSP Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Parsley
  • 4 or 5 Rosemary leaves, crushed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Carton of diced Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • 7 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup of Egg Noodles – For other options try rice or hemp seeds!


  1. First add butter or ghee to a stockpot and melt over medium high heat. Immediately add in carrots, celery, and onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until carrots are softer and onions are opaque.
  2. Add in 2 olive oil, diced chicken and garlic, thyme, parsley, rosemary, salt & pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the Chanterelle mushrooms and continue to stir and saute for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add in water and simmer on medium high for an hour.
  5. Add in noodles 15 minutes before you are ready to serve!
  6. Enjoy!




Unintended Farms Stands with Standing Rock #NoDAPL

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. Denis McDonough
The White House
Chief of Staff to the President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.

Ms. Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310

Dear President Obama,
Dear Mr. McDonough and Assistant Secretary Darcy,

We submit this letter to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. We stand in solidarity and support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other communities in their fight against this dangerous and destructive pipeline. Oil pipelines break, spill and leak—it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of where and when. In fact, a route close to Bismarck was deemed not viable due to its proximity to Bismarck, and the fact that the route crossed through or in close proximity to several wellhead source water protection areas, including areas that contribute water to municipal water supply wells. Yet despite these real consequences, the Army Corps of Engineers (“Army Corps”) never took a hard look at the impacts of an oil spill on the Tribe, as the law requires. No explanation has been provided as to why the health of, and protection of water resources on which, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members depend are any less significant or vital as those of the City of Bismarck.

Instead, now the pipeline is set to run through land that is sacred to the Tribe. Federal
law requires that sacred places be protected in consultation with the Tribe, but the Corps has not complied with that requirement, either. We ask that the Administration take a step back and slow down its consideration of the Dakota Access Pipeline—the Corps must carefully consider all of the impacts to the Tribe before issuing any approvals. The Dakota Access pipeline does not have the easement from the Corps of Engineers to cross Lake Oahe. As the trustee to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all tribes, do not grant the final easement until further review of the project is guaranteed.146678-1 Your Administration has a treaty and trust responsibility to protect all Indian nations’ water resources and must take action now to ensure the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s rights are recognized and resources are safeguarded for future generations.

Rich and Erin Keller, Owners, Unintended Farms


(Submitted October 31, 2016)

Please join us in solidarity with the water protectors in North Dakota. We stand with Standing Rock! #NoDAPL #WaterisLife #SaveourFuture #DrMrPresident