We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow the earth from our
-Native American Proverb
We have been treating the Earth like we don't live on it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh, Monday

I really don't feel like posting today but, damn it, I have things I want to share! I love writing here, it is so therapeutic and helps me make decisions. So here it goes.

First off, Robin at A Little Greener Everyday is having a July Challenge. Unlike other blog challengers she is giving you a choice, she is so nice. I think she is challenging herself and doesn't want to be alone, ha ha. So she has 5 challenges to choose from. Here is the ultra-short list: beverages, A/C, lights, showers and journal. You'll have to visit to get details and to challenge yourself. I chose showers. I'll keep you posted.

We went away for the weekend on a non-green mini trip. We went to California's Great America on Sunday. We did everything non-green: ate horrid theme park food, wasted so much energy riding rides, wasted water on water slides, drove there at 70 miles an hour, wore regular sunscreen and bought non-organic towels because I forgot our towels at home. And then when we got home I realized the A/C was not turned off! Green Yikes!!! We did do some things green. We reused any cups and bottles by refilling them, I refused to by souvenirs (the towels were necessities), we only bought what we could completely finish eating. I can't say it was my eco-shining moment but with 2 kids and no real vacation plans this summer how can I resist the theme park experience? I feel I need to punish myself by doing some extreme green penance. Does anyone have any ideas?

I did have my new hemp flip-flops on all day Sunday and they we horrid! First off, why didn't anyone tell me hemp shrinks and hardens after it gets wet? The top part of the thong gave me blisters after getting off the first water ride at 11 AM. I have to keep the brown pair I wore all day but the black pair is going back. Back to the drawing board. Does anyone know where I can get organic, recycled material flip-flops?

I am trying to make my first loaf of bread today. And hopefully using my Foodsaver for the first time. Wish me luck.

Be Green.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meet Chef John

I don't like to cook. But I must if I want to be green. All my cookbooks have pictures. It is a must. I have to know what the end product should look like. When I found Chef John I was speechless. I watch the food network all the time to watch how the real chefs do it. But to have Chef John available whenever I want and how often I want is a blessing.

Chef John hosts Food Wishes Video Recipes. OMG! He is making cheese, right there. And I can watch it over and over! I read about making cheese in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and on other blogs and sites but I have never seen it done. It really doesn't look hard. Everyone that has made it says it was easy and I didn't believe them, now I do. This doesn't mean I will run out and make cheese. I still haven't conquered making homemade bread and I have a breadmaker, for gosh sakes! But some day I will and Chef John will help.

How to Make Your Own Cheese - Fromage Blanc from Foodwishes on Vimeo.

I love the way Chef John teaches you how to cook. He has a nice voice and a great sense of humor. He seems to enjoy what he does and that makes a great teacher.

Friday, June 27, 2008

EcoSearch It

Move over Google, EcoSearch has come to town. EcoSearch, with the help of Google, is saving the environment one search at a time. When you search with EcoSearch you get the same exact results as you would with Google. And Google gives to environmentally friendly organizations for it by sharing its advertising revenue. Everybody wins!! Check out more at Big Green Purse.
And if you have Hotmail or Windows Live Messenger you need to sign up for the IM Initiative. Microsoft will give part of its advertising revenue to a great charity you choose from their list. See my post here to get more details.
Be Green.


I have a feeling I will be writing about zucchini a lot this summer. Growing it, eating it, cooking it, baking it, grilling it, freezing it, daydreaming about it. But today I will talk about baking it.

Last night I baked Zucchini Bread and it was good. The recipe made 2 loafs but as you can see from this mornings photo 75% is gone. I used my mother-in-law's recipe. It was funny when my husband asked if she ever gave it to me (she passed a few years ago) and I told him I don't know but if she didn't I could just use the one from Betty Crocker and triple the cinnamon. (The joke here is that her "swedish family recipes" were really Betty Crocker's recipes. She would just add A LOT more cinnamon.) But this time she fooled me and had her own recipe.

3 eggs beaten until fluffy
2 cups of sugar
1 cup veggie oil
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla

Those go in a large bowl and combined.
In a seperate bowl combine:

3 cups flour
3 tablespoons cinnamon (yes tablespoons, trust me it's good)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Add to egg mixture. Pour into loaf pans. Bake in greased loaf pans for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Makes 2 loaves.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Slightly Greener

Well, pat my back and call me a slightly darker shade of green. I am excited to share my green finds, buys and actions with you.

-My A/C was fixed on Monday by a very nice and local HVAC company. I am so happy to give a local guy my business. He is not only local but his kids go to school with mine. And he came recommended by 3 of my friends. I love to keep it local. (Ok, that wasn't green but he was local.)
-We have managed to keep the A/C off until about 30 minutes ago. We hovered around 92 degrees today and at the end of the day the house absorbed all the heat. My husband got home from work and wanted cool air after refusing to turn the A/C on in his truck to try and save gas.

-My garden, specifically the zucchini, is growing. I now have 8 bean plants now and every time I take a zucchini off the plant another one is there to replace it the next day. Wow! Zucchini bread for everyone!

-Because of the plethora of zucchini I am prompted to purchase a Foodsaver. I cleaned out my large freezer today and found some of my meats are starting to look rather unsavory. This year I want to start freezing more of my local finds to eat them over the non-growing season and hopefully the Foodsaver will keep my pretties well until I devour them.

-My new toothbrush is green, well actually pink but green. I found it at Trader Joe's. It is called the Preserve toothbrush. The handle is made from yogurt cups. And get this, when you are finished with the toothbrush you can send it back to the company in their pre-paid envelope to be made into park benches. Check it our at Recycline.com

-Meet my laundery team: Trader Joe's Laundry Detergent, Borax and Baking Soda. TJ's Laundry Detergent says it has no harsh or petro chemicals and is pH balanced. I did a little research on Borax and Baking Soda and they are better for the environment than the harsh alternatives. The detergent and Borax keep my clothes clean and the baking soda makes them soft. I do plan on trying to make my own detergent to keep my plastic use down but for now TJ's will do. And I only use 2 tablespoons per load because I have a High Efficient machine. Here are some other things Borax does. And baking soda.

-I finally hung my towels outside to dry. I usually only hang my delicates but the heat was calling to the towels. They were a little crunchy so I cheated a little and put them in the dryer for 5 minutes to soften them, that is better than the hour they would have been in before.

-As you have guessed I love Trader Joe's. They have great organic cottage cheese, the best, I mean best hummus and they always have samples. Anyway, I found some great dish sponges there. They are made from vegetable cellulose. No chemicals or synthetic stuff there. The only drawback is they are made in France. Boy is that a LONG way to travel but until I find a good alternative I will use these. They are firm and hold soap well for washing dishes and there is no smell.

-I have been trying to be more organic and fair labor in my clothing choices but that is a very hard place to go. Organic is expensive. I did manage to buy flip-flops for $25 a pair. I got them from Simple Shoes. They boast recycled this, vegan that. Just check em out for yourself. If you like flip-flops like I do and wear them even in the rain (on warmer days, of course) then you will like these. They are cushy.

-I found an awesome book at the library called Stocking Up by Carol Hupping. She writes about everything from freezing to canning to making fruit leathers. It is a great book and has helped me, the complete novice, learn so much about what to do with your fresh zucchini. I was also shown another book on Beth's site called Putting Food By. The only reason I don't have that book in my possession is the library didn't carry it! Can you believe it? So I will buy it from Amazon used.
I can smell the zucchini bread, gotta go.....
I apologize if the page loaded slower because of the pictures. I love pictures. I am not an eloquent writer and the pictures help to tell my story.

I would love some feedback from you guys. Please be honest, just not brutal. Does anyone have a Foodsaver? Do you like it? Any simple zucchini recipes? Do you have a green store you like?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Local Summer Week #4

Last week I didn't post my OLS meal because I didn't have one that was pure local. I have been feasting on local fruits and veggies but I didn't create one meal that was all local.

This week we had Mount Diablo Chicken Thighs w/ Grilled Veggies and Grilled Apricots drizzled with local honey for dessert.

The chicken thighs are from locally owned Brentwood Fine Meats and they get their chicken from the Fulton Valley, about 95 miles from here. The chicken is free range and hormone free. The marinade on the chicken consists of garlic, soy sauce, bell pepper and brown sugar. It was scrumptious on the grill!
The veggies are all local and they were flavored by my garden fresh thyme and oregano.

The apricots were freshly picked by me about 2 hours before grilling for about 12 minutes and drizzled with honey.
Mmm, good eats.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Signs from Mother Nature?

OK. Mother Nature is sending me signs that she wants me to be green. I can't ignore these signs

  • Mom Nature was happy with me. Friday night we went on a local farm tour and it was great! It was hot but great. My kids and I joined a group of mostly girl scouts and homeschoolers to learn a lot about two of our local farmers and their farms. We learned how corn grows, how it is processed, picked apricots for $.50/lb, made homemade ice cream, ate the freshest corn (it was like candy!), learned that farmers today only earn $.07 on the $1 (unlike 100 years ago that number was $.40 on the $1, support your local farmer), saw farm equipment and so much more. I loved it and we ate all the fresh veggies and fruits along the way.

  • Mother Nature wants me to be hot. Saturday our air conditioning went out. You are thinking that is a good thing. It can be good but not with temps in the high 90's. I am very frugal with the A/C and rarely run it unless it is miserably hot. Well, last night it was. Mother Nature wants my A/C off and not back. I know she is sabotaging my summer. She was the one that took out my A/C.

  • Mother Nature likes my garden. She is giving me a glorious garden. All our veggies seem to be growing great and we should see some edible zucchini next week! Woo Hoo!

  • Mom Nature doesn't want me to travel. All around me are fires. They aren't threatening my home or anything like that. They are all around me. They are in South SF, Napa and Santa Clara Valley. West, North and South of me. I won't be traveling anywhere. Not to mention the air smells of smoke, like a huge campfire, so I won't be outside today. Oh, I forgot I have to leave my windows open because my A/C is out.

  • Mother Nature hates my boat. (Yes, we have a boat. Please don't ostracize me out of the green club. We have had the boat for 3 years now, before my greener days. And now we don't want to get rid of it. It is a small 18 foot boat and falls under more strict guidelines for CA emissions than others. We use it wisely and it brings our family together. So please keep my in your green clubs and just call me "light green" if you must. If you have been reading my blog you know everything else I do I find a greener way.) Yesterday we decide to take our boat out to the Sacramento Delta and it broke down. So not only did my A/C go out, my boat is broken. I guess it is appropriate, those are the two non-green evils in my life. (I did manage to snap a few photos. Below is Mount Diablo from a southern point in the delta.)

In reviewing all the clues Mother Nature has sent me I think I need to be greener. Whether she is sabotaging my summer or just helping me out, I think I should heed the signs. And listen to my mother.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Anyone Want $10,000,000?

(I am just hearing this story so I apologize if this is old news. I never said I was a news geek or up to date on things. Just read the post!)

Can you build a car that gets 100 mpg? If you can you can, enter the Automotive X Prize sponsored by The X Prize Foundation and Progressive Auto Insurance to win $10 million (in prizes).

I have been trying to catch up on my More Hip Than Hippie Podcasts, which I might say I have been doing horrible because I listen in my car and I am never in my car anymore (damn green ways). So I am all the way back to the March 26, 2008 where the gals talk about a contest where teams from all over the world can win $10 million (in prizes) if they "design, build and sell super-efficient cars that people want to buy." The key there is "that people want to buy". This can't be a concept car or an experimental model and it must follow all the laws that govern cars on the road such as having seatbelts, brakes, bumpers, etc. In 2009-2010 the teams will race their cars and a winner will be declared. All the details are here. So some time in 2011 or so some of us will be driving the best fuel economy car out there. I will definitely keep posted on the progress of this car.

I love contests like this. Why wait for big industry and governments to help change the world. Like I always say, vote with your dollar and it will come. Shop local, eat local, buy organic, buy enviro-friendly and they will come more and more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Green Friday

I woke this morning to the heat. It is suppose to be 97 degrees outside today. Ohhhhh. And I am trying desperately not to turn on the A/C. So far so good at noon. But the heat really comes around 3 pm. But at that time, I am so excited, I am going on a farm tour sponsored by Contra Costa Resource Conservation District (RCD).

The tour's main focus is to educate children on where our food comes from, what it takes to produce it and what is done with it once it is processed. I am so excited to have this resource available. The kids will learn about soil, organics, seasons, food, farm machinery and storage of food. We will be visiting 2 farms, Simmoni-Massoni and Farmer's Daughter, for you bay area dwellers to come and visit our little u-pick and farm heaven.

But back to this morning. I actually did some gardening! (Now everything will die by the touch of my brown thumb.) I am on a green bean quest! I need green beans. They are the only thing out there I can grow from seed (organic of course) and, damn it, I will grow more! So I moved the watermelon plants we thought were not going to make it but are, to the back of the yard. And replaced them with green bean seeds. Then I decided to give up on growing NATURAL CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWERS (ya, I can't even grow native stuff!) and replace those with, drum roll, green beans. If everything goes as planned I will have 11 green bean plants, hopefully enough for freezing. I don't know, this is my first time growing veggies. Technically it is my husband's garden, I just water it. And now fertilize it. I use Dr. Earth and so far so good. But if you have a dog beware, they like to eat it and dig for it in your garden.


Our zucchini is coming along splendidly! The top picture (below) is from June 9th and below it from June 19th. They grow really fast. This city girl had no clue to this phenomenon. But I like it because the veggie grows fast also. (My husband's size 10's are hidden in the 2nd picture.) The 3rd picture is our little baby zucchini. (Can you tell this fascinates me?)

Baby Zucchini

And we finally gave up on 1 of our 3 tomato plants. It just looks ill. No water starting today. And I may replace him with.......a green bean seed!
Pathetic tomato plant
Have a green weekend.
P.S. Mama and daddy mocking bird are still keeping their chicks safe. Yesterday my neighbor found out that there are 2 chicks. Those birds are working hard.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good Green Food Advocate

I was reading a post at Arduous blog called "What the Eff is Going On With Our God Damned Food?" And I wondered if there is a Organic and/or Local Food Advocate? The United States has the USDA and the FDA. But that is not the type of organization I am refering to. I'm talking grass roots. For the people. A group like Sierra Club who lobbies for our environment. Or Greenpeace who uses dingies to save whales. (Those guys are crazy but they helped save thousands of whales form going extinct.)

Does it exist? If it does, where is it? And if it does exist then should it advertise a little girl spraying pesticides directly into her mouth to get the point across? Should there be commercials of dying children that can't breathe because their asthma is so severe? Scenes like that worked to get money to starving Africans during drought times. Can an organization actually get their point across to Twinkie-eaters? What would it take to wake people up and realize that what you put in your mouth-food, water, drinks, air, toys (for children)-is killing you? Oh ya, Hostess and McDonalds are United States, no, World institutions that can't be touched.

I do know that it is going to have to be BIG. Bigger than Discovery Green Channel. Bigger than Ed Begley or Leo DiCaprio. Bigger than local farmer's markets. Bigger than the Environmental Working Group.

It will take a lot of money, education, people power, media releases, product placement, a little brainwashing (hey, we have to play like the big boys) and good old fashion word of mouth.

Who is going to do this?

Can it be done? Will people ignore the messages? Is there too much going on in the world (Iraq, the upcoming election, Brangelina) to pay attention?

Birds and the Bee

This morning I went outside for my daily "water my garden but still kill it" ritual. (I have a brown thumb, everything I have been growing seems to be dying. Or just not growing from seed.) And I was in for a small treat.
As I watered the watermelon plants I noticed a bee still in the flower. Cool! What a great photo opportunity! I haven't been catching the pollination in action this year. But then I noticed the bee was not moving. He was slowly dying. How sad. Well, he died doing what he loves.

Then I noticed my dog, Maggy, watching a mockingbird. The bird was yapping and squawking so much I had to see what the issue was. I looked into my neighbor's yard and there it was-a baby mocking bird. And as I did that my neighbor's dog, Ty, attacked it. My neighbor was outside also so we stopped him and checked on the little fellow. (The picture is to the left.) I will get an update later from my neighbor if the chick is fine.

Last year at this time, my dog was next door visiting her buddy, Ty, when she found and proceeded to half mutilate a baby mocking bird. My neighbor had to place it in a plastic zip look to put it out of its misery. So this year we have been on high alert for mockingbird chicks. Apparently, the mockingbird chicks fall out of the nest when they are ready to fly making it so much easier for ground predators, i.e. Ty and Maggy, to catch the babies. The perps are seen in a picture to the left. They look innocent but they true deviants when it comes to chicks.

On another note. Back on Earth Day I wrote about the city of San Jose, CA welcoming 3 peregrine falcons chicks to their city hall roof. Sadly on June 17th one of the falcon chicks, Cielo, was found dead. Apparently the bird ran into a building. There are still 2 other falcon chicks, Meyye and Mercury, that seem to be doing well and ready to leave the nest some time this summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Papertowels Update


My paper towels are still hiding in the laundry room. When I do laundry I almost feel bad for them, all alone. I bet they miss the banana holder (which I have given up also because of food miles) and the fruit basket. They sat there for years. Now I have exiled them to the laundry table next to perpetually unfolded clothes. They look lonely. No more juice spills or messy faces.

I know the June Eco Challenge has been over for a week now but I don't want to stop. I will try my hardest to not use paper towels but when friends come over and eat ribs what do I do? I don't think they will understand my greener ways and want a paper towel for the sauce on their faces.

Thanks for the challenge and the great blog.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Funny Video

(I really need to get my butt off this chair and do laundry or something productive. But I need to catch up on all my favorite blogs first.)

I was at Green and Clean Mom and she diverted me to DesignHER Momma who had the FUNNIEST video. I hope I never become this dad, poor Atticus, but I do catch myself thinking this way.
Now wasn't that much better than my dry post on CFL's?

CFL's: Good or Bad?

My friend (who is a democrat but not eco-minded) just sent me this video and it got me wondering if Compact Florescent Light Bulbs or CFL's are worth the effort. I am not saying I agree or disagree with the congressman. He just got my brain cranking. But I can say, I rarely trust republicans in matters of the environment.

We all agree CFL's save us money because over its life time it is more energy efficient than its counterpart, the incandescent bulb. We can also agree that in being more efficient they save greenhouse gas emissions from being emitted to our air. And not to mention, they are less effort to have in your house because you replace them less frequently. Therefore less driving to the store to buy them, thus even more saved greenhouse emissions.

BUT, they are made with mercury. If the bulb is broken it can leak mercury. Do you know what mercury does to a human if exposed? It is a neurotoxin that can affect babies and young children's memory, language and attention. (Not to mention what it can do to animals.) The glass that encompassed that mercury can have lead in it. Do you know what lead does to humans? It also can also cause neurological problems. That is why, when a CFL breaks, you MUST take special precautions to dispose of it.
And when the light burns out are you able to recycle it? Some locations do not offer this service or worse yet there are many people who don't care to recycle so that lead and mercury ends up in our land fills. And then into our soil, our air and waterways. Yummy, I didn't know mercury was a seasoning for fish. This is a HUGE concern of mine. Most people I know do not recycle CFL's, they don't care to or don't know how. (Yes, I let them know how, but that is all I can do.) What scares me also is the U.S. is looking to ban incandescent bulbs like Australia and Canada have already done. I am ok with that so long as EVERYONE recycles them. Oh, I forgot, most people don't do that.

So what do us Greenies and health conscience people do?
  • Education. Do your homework. I know everyone reading eco-blogs, eco-websites, eco-books and eco-mags are doing their part. We need to help spread the word to recycle the bulbs the best way you know how.

  • Buy the bulbs that boast less mercury and lead. Turolight and Philips both boast less mercury in their CFL's.

  • Recycle them. Earth911.org can help you.

  • Start a recycle drive. At school. At work. With your non-profit. Any group can help collect and recycle.

  • Take them to IKEA.

  • Contact your local government to find out if they are recycling. Call, email or look in yellow pages. If they don't recycle CFL's try to change their mind.

  • You can also keep them until there is a hazardous drop off in your area or until better recycling of CFL is available.

Oh, did I mention most CLF's are made in China? The same country that poisoned our pets with contaminated pet food. The same country that makes most of our toys, made with lead. And then , of course, there was the toothpaste dilemma. Does China follow good human and environmental policies? We all know the answer to that. Is it worth it to contaminate China (and us for that matter) with coal (in manufacturing the bulbs), lead and mercury?

Just wondering....

What is your take?

Other Sources:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One Local Summer: Week #2

I managed to stay away from eggs for dinner, barely. I found pork sausage from Lodi at the Thursday Antioch Farmer's Market. I emailed the most local ranch that sells beef and they have not returned the gesture. I will not give up my search for local meat.

My meals are simple, I usually don't like to cook and frankly I would eat cereal and local fruit all day if I lived alone. (I have a hubby and 2 kids.) This challenge is not only for the earth, it is for my health. It keeps me cookin'.

We had:

-Grilled Five Pepper Pork Sausage-Lodi, 44 miles
-Slightly steamed corn-Brentwood, 1 mile
-Slightly steamed broccoli and zuchini-farmers market, not sure how far but no more than 50 miles
The meal was perfect because we are now easily hitting over 85-90 degrees outside everyday. Gotta keep meals light and short for our summers.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Green Toons

Over at BurbanMom she is featuring an eco friendly cartoon called Heartwood USA. The kids are gonna love it! (There's a farting cow.) Now we can get them more involved without "nagging" them to do the right green thing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Natural Facial Soap

I finally ran out of Noxzema. It was a little bitter sweet because I have been washing my face with it it for over 20 years, since I was a tween, you do the math. But my new found green calling has lead me to try more natural personal products. I was at the farmer's market yesterday and found Delta Moon Soapworks. The bar is made with the "Cold Press Method" with Aloe and Oatmeal and says it is "great as a facial bar." The woman selling the bath bars claims that everything is natural with no artificial colors, no phthalates and no parabens. I asked her if the soap was organic. Her answer perplexed me. She said, "There is organic and then there is natural. My bars are natural. I can't afford to make them organic. The bars would be $10." Isn't organic also natural? She made it sound like you had to choose one or the other.

Anyway, I did buy the bar because it is better than Noxzema, natural and local. Here is what's in it:
  • Olive Oil

  • Coconut Oil

  • Goat Milk

  • Glycerine (also spelled Glycerin)

  • Aloe

  • Ground Oatmeal

  • Vitamin E

The only ingredient I questioned was glycerine. Off to Google I went. Google did not help. Wikipedia justs gives the facts, not if it is good or bad. (Unless you are a chemical scientist of some sort you can understand all the scientific names.) Treehugger, Alternative Consumer and The Environmental Working Group barely had anything to mention about glycerine. Does that mean if it is in my soap glycerine is ok? I also checked Burt's Bees and Kiss My Face to see if they noticeably excluded it as an ingredient, they did not. And lastly, I did google "organic, natural soap" to see if organic natural soaps exclude it. I stopped at 3 sites and none of them excluded glycerine. But they did boast their bath bars were "cold pressed" which made me feel better about how my bath bar is made.

So I will start tonight to wash my face with it. I will give it, say, a week to report back my findings.

I'm Like Bono

This post is only 20% green but I found it funny.

I have a Dogster page for my dog. Yes, for my dog. It is cute. I love animals and she is my favorite one. Anyway, I took a "test" about what kind of dog are you and I am a Golden Retriever. They are great dogs and I couldn't be more proud to be called Golden Retriever.

But, guess who else is a Golden Retriever? Joe Montana (my all time fav football player!), Julia Roberts (great actres), Robert Redford (Sundance Film and environmentalist) and Bono (do I even need to tell you his accomplishments?). I am in awesome company!! Can you tell I am excited?

So the only green part of my post was mentioning Redford and Bono. I think it could still qualify as green.

Frugality Keeps Me From Going Green

My green quest is in full swing now and I still have non-green STUFF IN MY HOUSE! Why? I can't waste it! Things like canned chili, Tide, paper towels, Teflon pans, my scrubby gloves for the shower, nail polish, Pantene, regular sugar, my carpet (which I want to change for other than green reasons), and so much more, you get the picture. Someone told me to freecycle or just give away the toxic cleaners but I can't because I know I will use them and dispose of them in a more earth friendly way. Some things are still good like my scrubby gloves. Oh, how I want to buy a natural loofah. I know I can give away the canned goods to a food bank but then what if there is an earthquake and I need food, I do live in the Bay Area and earthquakes happen here. The Tide is easy, I'll just replace that out whe it is gone. But I bought it at Costco so it takes literally 6 months to get through the huge amount.

This has become frustrating to me. I have made huge strides by buying used books, taking my own shopping bags, buying Sigg bottles, no phosphate dish soap in a recyclable container, buying local and organic foods, riding my bike more. I read other blogs and get jealous that they get to make their own shampoo, I am still waiting to use the rest of mine because somewhere in the green blogosphere someone said it is greener to wash your hair less often, so I do! Now I have this shampoo I don't want to use!

I can still do more. I will make my own bread. Yes, bread. That has been my goal for a while but I have been lazy, busy and a little scared. But I will go for it. Then I know I can get rid of more plastic from my life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nectarines Don't Belong In Your Backpack

I rode my bike with the kids today to u-pick nectarines. The trees were overflowing with fruit so much I wanted to grab all of them and take them home. But we only took 5 pounds worth because they were going in my backpack, I was riding my bike home and we were stopping for u-pick cherries next.

These very sweet, perfectly soft nectarines DON'T BELONG IN A BACKPACK. Withing 2 minutes they were leaking through my Acme Bag into my backpack. Now I know why they are called NECTARines. Luckly I bought a really good backpack so my shirt and back never got sticky and wet. Next time we will bring a hard plastic container.

That's not the end, but it is the worst. We get to the cherry stand and no more cherries for the season. WHAT? They just came into season, like, 3 weeks ago! What is with that? Or better yet WTF?
Get out there and get your fresh food. You never know when Mother Nature will turn on you. Ha Ha.
(The picture above is not mine, I forgot my camera today. Bummer.)

The Local Short List

'Tis the season to eat local. Summer is the easiest time to start eating local. What does eating local mean? There are many variations but generally to eat the food grown in your community.
And why eat local? Here is an abbreviated list to help you start. And below the list are the resources you can reference for more details.
  1. More nutritious

  2. Tastes better

  3. Saves the earth

  4. Keeps family farms in business

  5. Preserves open space

  6. Keeps money local

  7. Supports good old fashion pride in your community

  8. Teaches where food comes from

  9. It is fun

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Carbon Free Dad's Day

When I made a search for "Green Father's Day" I found the results a little disturbing. Even the greenest sites were getting you to buy something for dad. Though be it an eco-kayak or solar powered charger for his cell phone, it is still a purchase of something that might have taken non-renewable materials and energy to make. And may not be recyclable or reusable. I am not saying don't buy anything for dad, if he needs it, get it. What I am saying is do your homework before you buy. Be sure the product is earth friendly. Renewable, Reusable, Recyclable. Remember: being green is about being frugal too. The less you buy, the less ends up in the garbage heaps.

Here are some alternatives:

  • Donate to his favorite non-profit

  • Plant a tree in his name

  • Name a star after him

  • Check his tire pressure, oil and fluids for him

  • Give him a neck massage

  • Send him to cooking or bar-b-q classes

  • Make him a locally grown meal

  • Go on a bike ride with him

  • Do what he says-from turning off the lights to emptying the dishwasher

  • If you must buy, buy vintage. Golfer? Find some old wooden golf clubs. Sports fan? Find old memorabilia.

  • LOVE him. Show him you love him, that is the best gift.

Happy Green Father's Day!

Update on Challenges

I have 2 challenges this summer, no paper towels and eat one meal local every week.

I have been doing excellent at keeping the paper towels at bay. But my family is going through withdrawals. My husband asked where the paper towels were the other day and I told him flat out that I hid them. He just sat there quiet thinking, "well give them to me." I happily showed him the stack of rags he can use instead. He did and went on his merry way. My daughter actually started to grab a napkin (I can't break them of wiping their mouths with napkins or shirts for that matter) to clean her milk spill. And I directed her to the dish rag. I think I can get through eventually.

And I am finally mentioned in someone else's blog!!! But it wasn't for my witty writing or my outrageously interesting blog (ha ha), it was for a challenge. I am on the Farm to Philly blog under California for the One Local Summer Challenge. Scroll down and you will find me under California then Allison. Anyway, since then I realized that the meal does not need to be dinner, it can be lunch or breakfast. So yesterday I had scrambled eggs from Shelly's Garden with just salt and pepper for breakfast. (Sorry no picture of that meal, ya all know what scrambled eggs look like.)

So there, I am satisfied with meeting my challenges! Happy Green Day!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One Local Summer Week #1

This summer I took on the "One Local Summer Challenge" at Farm To Philly's blog. I assumed it would be easy here where much of the land surrounding my town is still farmed. And it would be. Except my husband put a wrench in my efforts. He didn't do it on purpose, he doesn't even know that I am in the challenge.

What happen was he wanted meat this weekend. And to top it off he was willing to cook it. How could I not accept his offer? So Saturday we had steak and tonight we are having chicken, both on the grill. Well, I still have not been able to find a local meat producer. I found veggies, fruits, nuts, honey olive oil and eggs but no meat. I have to confess, the meat is from the supermarket. But it was on sale, I couldn't resist that either.

Yet all is not lost on our meals with non-local meat. The sides and marinades are mostly local, right down to the olive oil used to baste the bird. The chicken was grilled with a marinade of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and oregano (the last 3 from our garden.) And we are having baked potatoes from the farmer's market. Yesterday our grilled veggies were corn, zuchini, onion, garlic and herbs all locally grown. I did buy the red bell pepper from the market. It was left over from this week and I needed to eat it. And may I add (just so I don't get in trouble too much by breaking Farm to Philly's rules) the cherries, oranges and nectarines my daughter and I have been munching on today for snacks are all local, I even rode my bike to get the cherries.

My daughter enjoying her cherries just a little too much.

So I am sorry that the whole meal is not local. I do plan on making more than one meal a week local. I just had to learn a hard lesson-don't make the meal on the weekend when my husband wants meat.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Old Plastic Bag

My friend sells nutritional suppliments. Not long ago I bought some from her and she gave me some plastic bags with my order inside. At the time I was just starting to rid my life of plastic and/or not throwing it away. So I kept the plastic bag with all the others I don't want to throw away waiting for the day I may need them. That day came yesterday.

Summer is here and we camp. Which means we use coolers. Everytime we leave for the campground we have to make a last minute stop for ice at the convenience store. I hate this. Why pay for ice when I can make it at home for cheap and we have an outside freezer. (I know, very ungreen. But this year it will be full of frozen local fruits and veggies.) So I am starting to stockpile it. And in all those darn plastic bags I have left over. Hence the picture above.

I honestly can't think of any other way to store small ice except for in plastic. If there was no plastic I guess we would have to buy large blocks of ice and break it down. Great when you need to let off steam but bad when you are tired or in a hurry.

How do you "recycle" your old plastic bags?

Friday, June 6, 2008


Right now I am happy to be growing my own tomatoes, even though I am only getting 1 or 2 a day. The Center for Disease Control has found Salmonella in some varieties of raw tomatoes in as many as 11 states. When last year's outbreak occurred I just didn't eat any leafy greens. But this time around I am so happy to have my own supply!

Above is a picture of my overgrown cherry tomatoes. I like to grow cherry tomatoes so I can just rinse and pop them in my mouth. When we bought this variety, the "Husky Cherry", I didn't realize they were a HUGE cherry tomato. I would say their diameter is about 1.5 inches. They are good to eat but a little messier because I have to bite them like fruit. And you know, I love the smell of the tomato leaves on my hands after I pick the fruit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Green Person

Yesterday my girl scouts and I planted terrarium gardens. I had the girls bring in clean jars and I supplied the rest. I wanted them to grow herbs and then after the summer break hopefully use the herbs to make a meal, maybe using veggies from local farmers will be used. I'll try. Here is my daughter's terrarium of chives. We planted the simpliest herbs-chives, basil, parsley and oregano. Now the girls are only in 2nd grade so I hope they remember to water their mini gardens. I am hopeful.
At the same meeting we finished using our cookie money. This last Sunday we celebrated our earnings at a place called Libby Lu's where the girls get all dressed up and have a fashion show, it was quite cute. Well, we still had some left over money so I suggested we adopt an animal from the Lindsey Wildlife Museum. They were very excited about it. We voted on the Great Horned Owl. We will have to visit our buddy next year.
I am not telling my Girl Scout story to pat myself on the back. I am telling my story because I want people to know that one person can make a difference. I hear a lot of people say that what could one person going green possibly help? Well, you can be an example, especially to the next generation. I don't force my green ways onto the girls or their parents. I teach a little about respect and conservation of nature and hopefully they can take this knowledge with them in life.
Hopefully growing basil from seed will want her to grow a garden. Or adopting and visiting an owl will make her think twice about littering where that animal lives.

Green Pot

I bought green pot! Get your mind out of your crazy teenage years. It was for my flowers. We recently bought a gazebo cover for our back patio and to liven up the patio with color I bought some pretty pink flowers (I couldn't find organic ones). So when searching for pots to put them in I wanted the most environmentally friendly. Earlier this spring we went with wood for our tomatoes and orange tree. But this time I was thinking more on the terms of recycled plastic or clay. I don't know much about clay except for the ones made in Mexico start to dissolve after a couple of years and leave rings on the surface beneath it. I have to admit I did not do my green research before I shopped so unfortunately I was ready to go home with whatever I found. But lucky for me I ran into this great sale! And better yet the pots were from Terracycle. But unfortunately the remaining pots were greatly discounted meaning Home Depot might stop carrying them. The pots are pretty and they look like the painted ceramic pots but when you pick them up they are a fraction of the weight. They are made from the plastic of computers and other business equipment. And hand painted by urban artists.