Posted on August 09, 2015 by
The sun is the number one under-used renewable source of energy. It’s in the sky every morning when you wake up and it is a necessity for survival. More people are gearing towards being environmentally conscious and looking to make an active step towards making it better for our future children. But, with the technological advancements that are being made, why aren’t we taking advantage of this green energy? In this age of digital and electronic communications, we can use it to heat our homes, greenhouses, garages, schools, and provide electricity for our favorite electronics.
Posted on March 22, 2015 by
One bonuses of participating in any CSA is the availability and access to seeds that are not genetically modified or altered. Thus, I have been seeding some of the bounty from my CSA. So far I have two types of tomato (above), yellow watermelon, honeydew melon, and a couple different types of squash and peppers. All were locally and organically grown here in New Hampshire. I also have all the seeds I ordered earlier this year but didn’t plant because of The Move to Boston.
Seeding the vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to preserve harvests, genetic diversity, and to save some money.
To seed a vegetable isn’t particularly difficult. Most times all one has to do is put seeds aside — making sure each seed is devoid of any vegetable matter — when cutting one open. Tomatoes, however, can pose a particular challenge for first time seeders. It took me a while to learn the process. I share it with you my fellow Greenists because I’m awesome (and contrite =)
First, cut open the tomato(es) and scoop out the seeds. Pull as much of the goo away from the seeds as possible. Then take the seeds and put them in a glass jar (plastic would work but then you get the plastic chemicals leeching problem…) with some water. Let the seeds sit in the sun for a week or two until the goo pulls away from the seeds and the seeds sink to the bottom. Go ahead and agitate the jar on occasion. Once the seeds have separated from the goo, carefully pour out the water and place the seeds on a towel to dry out. Once dry, put them in a bag for the next year after labeling the seeds. If you have more than one variety you are seeding this is very important unless you like surprises.
Knowing Wolf and I are moving from our beloved Howling Hill to the urban jungle makes my soul cringe. I am not a city person but I will adapt as I have to other changes. I am, after all, human. And humans adapt. And so do plants. We all adapt quite well, actually. I assume that’s why we (plants, animals, and everything else) are alive today: because we adapted to the changes and made the best of present conditions. To bring part of my CSA with me is a comfort. To know I can grow some of the lushness of the food I ate this summer is a fantastic way to bring Howling Hill to Boston. It connects me to the land, connects me to Mother Earth, and connects me to the CSA.
On a completely unrelated note, our well went dry. Follow our waterless journey at Howling Hill.
Posted on March 22, 2015 by
While walking through our apartment complex this morning coming back from a meeting, I made a point of counting all the open windows I saw. It was easy: zero. And no, I wasn’t casing the joint, making notes about which units contained flat-screen TVs and would be easiest to break into (for which reason I’ll exclude all the bottom-floor dwellers from the following discussion.) My interest instead was a result of the perfect open-window weather, 70 and sunny. This is the time of year in this part of the country to air things out, after the pollen has fallen and before the melting heat of summer sets in. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 60s, with daytime highs in the low 80s, and there’s no better time to save some money on your utility bill, which is why it irks me a bit to hear the air conditioners rattling away as I type this.
It may be true that a programmable thermostat is a great way to save energy, but we shouldn’t forsake logic for the “set it and forget it” mentality (apologies to Ronco.) If you can get your pleasantly cool air straight from the atmosphere around you rather than forcing it through the energy-hogging middleman of the AC, then you should. Open a window and put up a fan. Better still, open windows on two or more sides and let a breeze blow through. I realize that most people are not going to sweat it out like me just to prove a point (especially here in Hotlanta) but surely we can all try and tough it out with no AC in the benign month of May.
Which brings me to another point: Why, in Atlanta, Georgia of all places, do we build dwellings with windows only on one side that open only from the bottom with no regard to the orientation of the building in relation to the sun? The answer, of course, is air conditioning. Before the advent of AC, homes in warm climes were built with high ceilings, large, abundant windows, and big, friendly porches, the better to take advantage of a passing breeze. Trees were left standing for shade, especially along the south side, and tea was iced. The tea is still iced around here (and instant-cavity sweet) but someone like me is forced to get pretty creative when trying to keep a cave-like apartment cool in the summer, sans AC.
I realize most people are not going to tough it out when the mercury starts climbing, growing more determined as the pool of their own salty sweat expands around them, but for those of you who want to give it a try or at least get by with the thermostat set as high as you dare, I posted some tips on this site for staying comfortable in the heat a while back. And if you have any of your own that you’d like to share, let’s see them in the comments.