Coastal Living: Cleaning and Caring

This post was sponsored by Dawn® in celebration of its 40th year of helping save wildlife affected by oil. As always, the stories, words and photos are my own. Any images showing West and/or the pups were taken while they interacted in their own, natural ways.

Both Adam and I grew up in Florida— he was raised in Miami, while I was in the Gainesville area. My husband and I have chatted at length about how growing up on the peninsula impacted our habits as children, and how they’ve carried through to our adulthood. In the 80s, our families and friends always cut up those plastic 6-ring can holders for fear of them getting wrapped around animals, and we would never, ever conceive of leaving trash anywhere but in a bin. We’ve read about or watched oil spills with heartache and horror. A deep love of the beach, marine life and coastal birds was innate with us, which is presumably why the two of us ended up here in Venice along its ocean-fed canals. While we were each separately drawn to Los Angeles for different reasons, we’ve both always felt the instinct to live near the water. 

 Left - Photos from my neighborhood in Florida (from a book by photographer and friend  Mac Stone ). Right - West on my lap as we picnic here by the Pacific and watch dolphins in the waves.

Left - Photos from my neighborhood in Florida (from a book by photographer and friend Mac Stone). Right - West on my lap as we picnic here by the Pacific and watch dolphins in the waves.

Despite the fact that we live in car-crowded LA, our lives on the Westside are surprisingly filled with wildlife. This week alone, our son, West, ran behind mallards and coots at the park, watched herons and egrets catch fish in the canals, saw dolphins swimming close to the shoreline at the beach, laughed at sea lions who propelled themselves from the water in the marina up to the boat docks to sunbathe, and observed as a pelican swooped under a bridge on the waterways and flew towards to Pacific. I suspect that our child will grow up with an admiration of marine life and birds that echoes the feelings of his parents— these things have a magical way of living on between generations.

 Left - The prairie in Florida on which I grew up. Right- West running with a duck along the Venice Canals here by the Cottage.

Left - The prairie in Florida on which I grew up. Right- West running with a duck along the Venice Canals here by the Cottage.

Not only have I held close the lessons my parents shared with me regarding respect for wildlife, but I’ve also carried a countless number of their lifestyle and household habits with me. These issues intersect with our mutual use of Dawn, which is currently celebrating its 40th year of helping to save wildlife. I can distinctly remember my mom and dad using Dawn in our home on the prairie, because— as they said then and now— “it actually works.” Plus we were all aware of Dawn’s reputation among wildlife experts, who use it to clean oiled animals. (And we’ve since learned that more than 75,000 birds and marine animals have been helped with Dawn, and were released back into the wild after their rehabilitation. Thousands of  bottles of their dish liquid have been donated to clean animals directly affected by oil pollution.)

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Here at home, we use Dawn for 3 specific tasks that are a bit out-of-the-ordinary. (So much so that I actually store this bottle of dish soap with our tire pump, where I use it most often…)  

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Cleaning the Tires of Our “Company Car” - We use our cargo bike more than we use our car. Its tires and rims get dirty quickly after rumbling over worn LA roads and through scattered sand on the beach bike path, so we use Dawn and a soft toothbrush (or a standard scrub brush) to get the wheels looking shiny and new again. (Instructions here.)

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Cleaning our Wooden Cabinetry - Our kitchen is a mixed of exposed and closed shelving, and we don’t have a range hood. As such, the nearby surfaces get covered in grease. The cabinet covers in the bathroom and on the right side of our couch also get extra wear from busy fingers, as do parts of our pocket doors. We use Dawn and a natural sponge to clean them all. (Instructions here.)

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Cleaning the White Porcelain Sink in our Lil’ Kitchen - Our white sink in the kitchen is an under-mount, which we love, but it gets dirty around the upper rim, and the basin shows every spot quite clearly. We use Dawn to return the sink to its original, gorgeous, sparkling bright white. (Instructions here.)

Happy 40 years of helping save wildlife, Dawn! 

 Left - The old handmade Morris birdhouse on the prairie where I grew up. Right - Ducks on the Canals by our tiny home in Venice.

Left - The old handmade Morris birdhouse on the prairie where I grew up. Right - Ducks on the Canals by our tiny home in Venice.