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Green Living Tribe - Part II - Page 20

post #381 of 752

I'm committed to buy all Energy Star appliances.

I am actively pestering dh to buy a Honda Civic because I don't need the damn van for around town trips. (he's going on about costs, I want to keep the van for skiing and pulling the boat.)
Buying efficient light bulbs except in the Livingroom, Diningroom, and bedrooms because they still bother my eyes.

I just switched to grass fed organic milk and organic free range eggs.
post #382 of 752
Wouldn't burying the pet waste be best? a Compoop pile?
post #383 of 752
i've read different things about the pet waste. apparently it can leach into the ground water? i dunno. why that's worse than putting it in the landfill is beyond me. we flush occasionally, although it's a pretty gross job. we just let a lot of it lie and decompose in our yard naturally, which is probably gross, too, but it's in areas where the kids don't play. we have a very wooded yard. which kinda brings me to my next question...

we really have a very very very wooded yard. it's in the middle of town, but our town loves trees and not necessarily lawns, although there are plenty of those, too. anyway, i don't want to cut down trees, but i long to have a real garden. we've been in this house about 10 years and i've tried different patches of ground that get dappled sunlight with not much success. it's really like we live in the woods. we have no grass, but plenty of english ivy, curse you former homeowners. i have had pots on the deck and that seems to work just barely okay. we get a few tomatoes and some lettuce and maybe a pepper or two, but if i had my dream sunny quarter acre i would have so much stuff i'd have to cancel our CSA! so should we sacrifice some trees for some sun and growing our own food? none of the trees are gorgeous specimens, but they are all soaking up CO2 and giving us good O2. should we just move? we've talked about it, but we've got a lot of fixing up to finish, before we could sell. we might like to move to the mountains (3.5/4 hrs from here, but no job prospects and the thought of moving really makes me take a deep deep breath.) should i just suck it up and continue with the measley potted garden onthe deck? i think i'm doomed under any scenario. not sure we get enough sun anywhere w/o really clearing out some trees and i'm not sure the soil is good enough anyway boo-hoo .
post #384 of 752
Originally Posted by Scrubsjm View Post
Has anyone had experience hanging a clothesline against HOA regulations? I know it all depends on how strict your HOA is and if they check up on you or neighbors complain I'm just curious if anyone else has gotten away with it. I'm currently using an umbrella line against the rules so I just put it up in the morning and once the clothes are dry I take it down and put it in the house again, I've only been doing it for the past week but so far so good. I really don't want to put a line in the house, because when we did it in the past it drove dh bonkers, plus I appreciate the suns affect in bleaching the diapers and stains out of my messy toddlers clothes!
I'll let you know if we get into trouble..

The way I see it, we own the place so they can't evict us without warning. It's 105 outside, and when we run the drier it's 110 inside! There is no way around it! I do put sheets in the drier since our balcony is too small for them.
post #385 of 752
So for the dog poo thing, they do sell a thingy that you burry in the ground and you put the poo in it with this enzyme stuff and it breaks it all down and then leaches it out into the ground. It's supposed to be safe and all that we had one when I was growing up and I seem to remember it working well. I'm going to try to find a link for one. I also remember reading somewhere that you are not supposed to flush dog doo. I don't know why and can't even remember right now where I read that.

Beanma, as far as your trees go, if you are planning on staying a while I might choose to sacrifice a bit of the trees if you can find a good spot for a little garden. If you're worried about not having good enough soil then I would say just do some raised beds and bring in some great soil to fill the beds. Your veggies will absorb some CO2 and produce some lovely O2 plus nourishment for your tummy too.

Off to look for a link to the dog poo disposal.

O.K. I found a link, this is what I was talking about.
post #386 of 752
okay, got another question for y'all. i'm thinking of painting my cabinets and want to do it in the greenest way i can. see my thread here and help me out -- http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=700735 .

post #387 of 752
New to this thread... drawn in by the doggie dooley conversation.

We've been talking about getting one of those, but Alaska doesn't seem like the ideal place for it.

Grr... just found this quote on the site: "These units may not function properly when ground temperature reaches 40 degrees or less. You can extend the use time by adding warm water and using our Liquid Super Dijest-It Septic System Digester."

I've never lived anywhere where it DOESN'T get waaaaaay below 40 degrees for at least a few months. Ah well.
post #388 of 752

Oh, I know their gonna pull my treehugger card for saying this but... just cut down the #@!% trees! : I never thought that would come from me!

Really though, pick the two or so trees that would make the biggest difference (probably the southernmost ones) and cut them down. Make some beautiful furniture out of the wood (oh! maybe even kitchen cabinet doors!) or chop it up and compost it. If you still feel too guilty donate some money or time to a tree planting project in a low-income neighborhood or close to a freeway where they really need trees. Then, use the new sunny space you've made very wisely. Check out vertical gardening or urban gardening techniques. Someone else said raised planter beds to deal w/ the poor soil... I agree but in the meantime be adding compost to your soil to build it up where it needs to be.

It sounds like you're planning on being in the house for awhile w/ all your remodeling plans so don't feel guilty making it work for you! Think about all the *very* locally grown organic produce you can feed your family! Maybe you can even make covered planting beds and grow all year!

BTW... English Ivy was considered a panacaea in Medieval England... so don't curse it too much... just use it, it's good for your skin... and try to keep it off the house!

I don't know what to tell you about the cabinets. You're just looking for a quick fix and not for too long of a time period anyhow so I would just paint them. Do a quick sanding first to rough up the surface. I don't think you're going to have a problem. Personally, I paint over everything, I've never had anything bubble or flake off like people tell me it will.

Good Luck!
post #389 of 752
thanks, delfuego (like dan zanes, btw?). i'm not even sure which trees i would need to cut, but it's good to know that you wouldn't turn me into the green police if i did axe a few.

thanks for the feedback on the cabinets, too. i think i might give it a whirl with one door and see if it looks like it's going to work before i do the whole shebang.
post #390 of 752
well, i had actually never heard of dan zanes... so i had to go look him up. it's funny i was just at the library yesterday getting a bunch of music for ds. he's really into music so i thought he might appreciate having some of his own cd's. of course there's alot of crappy kids music out there so i just stuck w/ the classics. i got some pete seeger, woody guthrie, ella jenkins and of course... "not for kids only". i'll have to check out dan zanes when i go back. any more suggestions?
post #391 of 752
Dan Zanes is our absolute favorite!!!
Ds likes Laurie Berkner but I don;t care for much of her stuff-love her colorful clothes though
post #392 of 752
oh yes-love love love the compilations "For the Kids" and "For the Kids, Too"
post #393 of 752
well dan is definitely worth checking out. don't know if you looked at his bio, but in paragraph 3 you might see what led me to ask the question...
post #394 of 752
www.davidgrover.com - very much in the Pete Seeger/Ella Jenkins/Woody Guthrie vein, but in an updated way.
post #395 of 752
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
okay, got another question for y'all. i'm thinking of painting my cabinets and want to do it in the greenest way i can. see my thread here and help me out -- http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=700735 .

If you're looking to cut back on the amount of paint you use, you might consider routing out the innner square of some of the cabinets and inserting glass. We did this with our cabinets and it really brightens things up. Glass is pretty inexpensive, the drawback is that you need the right tools to do the cutting, but you can probably rent them. If you don't like the insides of your cabinets you can use a frosted or ribbed glass.
post #396 of 752
mama kalena, i would like to do glass in one cabinet that hangs over a penninsula counter, but not sure if we can do what you suggest since they're so cheap. they're pressboard (aka fake wood). i'm not sure they would hold a router cut or might just crumble. maybe we could replace just those doors with real wood, or maybe we'll work something else out. dh likes how having the doors off both sides of those penninsula cabinets lets in light from our patio doors. i'm afraid i'll knock a glass all the way through the open side .

i did paint one of the worst doors yesterday with white no VOC Sherwin Williams Harmony as a primer. it already looks tons better. i think it's going to work okay. it seemed to stick fine. i was worried about the fake wood finish on the pressboard not holding onto the paint, but i washed and sanded a little and i think it did fine. really, just about anything is going to look better than what we had.

on music, dan zanes, laurie berkner (my 3 yr old's fave), billy jonas, jimmy magoo, ralph's world, farmer jason, jamie broza, wee hairy beasties, taj mahal (in the pete seeger, woody guthrie vein), the woody guthrie compilation Daddy O Daddy, the terrible twos, elizabeth mitchell (solo), and lisa loeb and elizabeth mitchell, justin roberts, baron von rumblebuss, i think i could add a few more, too, but that should get you started. check your library and see if they have any of these.
post #397 of 752
oh, btw, arismommy, see you're in NC, too. did you know dan zanes has shows in greensboro and charlotte next month? check out his site...
post #398 of 752
1) On NatGeos...yes lots of stuff is available on Google but a significant proportion of stuff posted online is questionable, if not outright crap. Kids need to learn to consult and cite multiple sources. My husband was a university professor until recently and was not impressed with students who just cut-and-paste from the top three Google search hits for a given subject...aside from the flagrant plagiarism, the lack of diversity in sources is unappealing at best in an academic context.

So if you have room, save them. Worst comes to worst they're a beautiful photo collection, and part of how we teach our children to love and respect the earth and other cultures is by showing them that kind of beauty.

As an aside...I went to university for anthropology and journalism thinking I'd then go write for NatGeo. Within days of starting classes I learned that NatGeo is considered the tabloid of the anthropological world! In fact, I also learned at the time (this was early 90s) that they were no longer hiring writers, but simply hiring freelance photographers and buying field notes and then paying someone in NYC to write up the notes as articles. So it's lovely, but it's a pop culture rendering of anthropological science.

Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
1. are you a loud outspoken advocate for green topics in general? i want to tell everyone i know and especially my family all about the things i'm learning and implementing in our lives but i also don't want to be obnoxious.
I am blunt and outspoken about it all the time. I don't go out of my way to be a jerk about it but neither do I sugar coat. I try primarily to lead by example. For instance, when I've worked in places where people were prone to throwing away recyclables, I would make a point of moving them to the recycle bin. I didn't say anything, I just did it. Or if recycling wasn't available, I would politely offer to take people's recyclables home with me to put in my recycling there. Some people thought I was a looney (I probably am). Others appreciated it, especially folks here in Vegas who live in apartments and thus do not have recycling access short of driving it to the depot in person.

If I make a point of doing the eco-thing and others don't and they feel bad about it, that's their problem, and their choice/opportunity to change their behaviour. If they don't feel bad, then they weren't going to make the eco-choice anyway.

With things like cloth diapers, I make a point of stating that we use them every chance I get. If anyone asks, I give them gobs of reasons why it rocks, but I'm also honest about the downsides. I've long wanted to do a huge page on my site about the pros and cons, the tips and tricks we've learned, etc, but I haven't had time.

Smashing people over the head with any ideology rarely works. The best way is to show how good something works for you. If I hear someone complain about the price of diapers or formula, I don't snark them with, "Well it's your own fault for not using cloth or breastfeeding," but I simply say, "Oh, that's too bad, I haven't had that problem because I use cloth or I breastfeed."

The only time I get snarky is when it comes to discussions of public figures, or other general groups. For instance, if someone talks about people who don't recycle, I'll happily snark that. If a politician does/says something that is eco-unfriendly, I'll loudly decry that (and I'm non-partisan about it, which is easy, since most of them are pretty bad on environmental issues).

Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
3. i've been getting rid of a lot of plastic. i know it's better to freecycle or goodwill it, which is what i have done, but at the same time i feel bad doing that, knowing what i know about the hazardous chemicals in plastic.
The danger of plastics in day-to-day, non-heated use is vastly overstated. I recently asked my brother in law, who holds a doctorate in chemistry with a focus on polymers and works for a waste management company in that regard in Australia, if it's true that one shouldn't reuse water bottles because of chemical leakage.

He confirmed what I'd otherwise read: most common plastics do not leak chemicals unless you do something to them so drastic that you're going to wreck the object anyway. So in the case of water bottles, anything that you do that would release the plasticizer (which is what holds the chemicals together) would destroy the bottle.

However, he did say that he never reuses water bottles because of bacteria buildup...he said anything you can do to clean that type of plastic thoroughly would also destroy the bottle.

In general, it's probably not a good idea to microwave food inside of plastic, because while it's considered safe on a small scale, repeated microwavings do break down the plasticizers and that could lead to chemical transfer. You can tell by the way some of those plastics get brittle the more you microwave them.

But reusing plastic in safe ways is perfectly acceptable. Ideally, less plastic in the first place would be better in terms of overall reduction. But if the reused plastic slows production of something that isn't likely to be made in a non-plastic form, go for it.

I actually tried to find a freecycle or fairly priced reused potty for my toddler, but had no luck and had to resort to buying new. It wasn't that we couldn't afford it, but I wanted to use less plastic, and we didn't want to spend a fortune on a wooden one. If more people had put their used potties out there, we would have reused instead and that would have been one less new plastic item in the stream.

So I would encourage reusing/recycling plastic items, as long as they're in good condition and have been used safely and properly.

Originally Posted by Scrubsjm View Post
Has anyone had experience hanging a clothesline against HOA regulations?
Gahhhhh...HOA evilness....

Ours won't let us hang laundry in any way that's viewable by anyone. So even if it's below the fence line, if a neighbour can see it from a second-story window, we could get cited for it. We are considerably unhappy with this...living in Las Vegas, clothes would dry very quickly outside, albeit stiff as a board, but then we could do a light fluff in the dryer instead of running it all of the time.

I recently put out one of those fold-away rack things and hung the cloth diapers on it, mostly for a good sun-bleaching (which totally works!). Nobody noticed, so nobody complained, but if I did it often enough someone surely would.

I am drafting a letter to the local water authority at the moment to complain about our HOA making us replant dead grass in the summer. It's dead because we follow the water restrictions...our neighbours who do not follow the restrictions have lush lawns. We can't afford to xerascape the yard, and the water authority's rebate for doing it only applies to a certain size and up, which is bigger than our entire yard. So I'm writing to them to complain and demand that either they restrict all HOAs in terms of requiring us to do water-wasteful things (such as planting new grass in June), and/or increase the scope of the rebate to include small yards, and/or significantly raise the cost of higher water use thresholds to be deeply punishing.

If our water usage even with cloth diapers can be below Threshold 4 all the time (unless we have a leak, which we immediately fix), then surely the cost for that threshold should be punitive.

HOAs need to be held to account to be in line with environmental laws. If they want to tell me I can't hang laundry in my front yard, fine, but my backyard is my private space and I ought to be able to hang what I want there so long as it doesn't directly impact a neighbour (ie hang over their space).

But HOAs are lucrative and politically powerful so don't count on change happening any time soon. Lawns are more important than the environment, dontchaknow... :
post #399 of 752
hey y'all,

just thought i'd bop by and put a two green s up for Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. it's a memoir of their experience living off local food. i'm halfway through and already i've learned that apparently making your own cheese isn't too hard(!) and you can just use local milk from your grocery store/co-op/farmer's mkt. you don't have to have your own cow . anyway, lots of good inspiration for folks who want to eat locally and seasonally and reduce fuel consumption and packaging by not buying apples from new zealand and a buncha stuff in boxes. easy, but thought provoking read.
post #400 of 752
Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
2. what are your thoughts on building houses new instead of buying an exsisting home? we are nowhere near owning a home, but we remain hopeful that someday our debt will paid off or atleast down enough that we can buy and i debate a lot with my husband about building a new home not being a very envionmentally responsible.... any thoughts?
Well, I am not a believer in running out to the countryside and building a house unless you plan to be a farmer. But I am a believer in buying an empty lot in an already well established neighborhood.

We have greened our current house about as well as we can with super efficient appliances, CFL bulbs, completely reinsulated, efficient heating system, new windows or storm windows, removed a lot of lawn and planted more sustainably, etc. But now an opportunity has come where we could buy an infill lot in the suburb where we live now (a 1st ring 'burb). It is a beautiful, wooded lakeshore lot that has never been developed. Now my heart would break if a builder had bought that lot, stripped it bare and put up a McMansion. So instead we bought it, plan to build a LEED certified home (I'm aiming for platinum certification), plan to remove all the buckthorn, protect the large trees and end up with no lawn. We plan to install geothermal heating/cooling and use insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. I figure that has got to be "greener" than letting the typical builder get their hands on it!
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