Archive for the ‘The First Step’ Category

Field Trip to a Sustainable Community

February 13, 2009

We actually had a chance to take a quick field trip to Pringle Creek Community.  It’s a planned sustainable community.  I was actually pleasantly surprised.  The last “sustainable” community I visited boasted 3 bedroom, 3k sq ft houses on half acre lots (lame).  This community is obviously attempting to make small houses in small spaces with large open spaces all around it (which are, incidentally, beautiful).  It’s completely tree enclosed, which makes it feel hidden, which I thought was very appealing.  In all honesty, I suspect they will have a hard sell as most people that I know who espouse the “green” “sustainable” philosophy seem to believe they shouldn’t have to actually live what they believe.  In any case, this isn’t a political post, this is a picture post.  Check out the community pics:

Here is the landscaping.  While it isn’t edible (darn it!!), it IS local and will not require tons of resources to keep it alive year round. 

            

The roads are made from recycled materials that apparently filter water as it goes back into the local creek (NICE!)

    

Here is the totally EMPTY greenhouse.  I sent them an email and apparently they are planning to fill it soon and I might be able to help with that!  Very cool!  They will be growing lettuces and attempting some miniature citrus trees.  The choices that were suggested in the email suggested to me that they are truly attempting to make this a self-supporting community.

      

Frankly, if the idea of a self-supporting community is feasible anywhere, here, where we have a our fairly moderate climate (maritime, if you’re a Steve Solomon fan), is the place.  So, while I know most of my readers would never be able to consider such a thing, if you are interested, please contact:  mckenzie@pringlecreek.com.  It should be a fun experiment and I’ll cheerfully pass along information as I get it on this idea.

As a side note, the adorable boys in the picture will NOT be included with any housing purchase and that should make the community that much more sustainable.

Another Cool Blog to Read

February 10, 2009

Look, if you’re into backpacking, you should really have this blog linked.  Also, if you’re REALLY into cooking, you should have this blog linked because it is (IMHO) the definitive cooking blog in the area of campfire-type cooking. 

We love to backpack, hike and generally goof around in the woods.  I typically find myself making minute rice and canned chili, or canned spaghetti sauce and noodles.  It’s absolutely wonderful to find all these awesome ideas!!

http://onepanwonders.com/

Cool Blog Review

December 5, 2008

In case you didn’t realize that I’m stark, raving mad, here’s my mandatory post to prove my level of insanity.  I am an avid believer in food, not lawns.  This is a teeny, tiny group of people who have decided that lawns are irrational.  Two years ago, I had an epiphany while I was paying my water bill.  I suddenly wondered why I would be paying money to water my lawn.  I have two young kids, so I totally understand the benefit of having soft, run grass to romp on.  Yet, when there is a woman in Haiti watching her child slowly starve, is it really a fair use of resources to pay for something so, um, superficial?  I hate to bring up starving kids, since there seem to be so many of them and so little we can do to impact it, but if I profess to care for the poor, I feel hypocritical not living a life in keeping with my beliefs.  So, I decided to start a garden in my yard and start making  donations to World Vision (subliminal messaging, “Go to worldvision.org, you are feeling very sleepy, make a donation and then take a nap…”)  We have also decided to make the attempt to live smaller.  We are going to try and grow thirty percent of our food intake in our yard and try to sell our extras to begin a one family campaign to help enslaved children in Haiti. 

Thus, I have found a really cool blog that goes in that vein:  http://www.growinggroceries.com

I actually found it while I was searching for information on these cool seeds I just bought called cassabanana seeds.  It seems I have no real chance of growing them, rofl.  I chuckle because last year when no one around me got a ripe tomato, I filled seventeen quart jars of tomato related products.  Yet, when everyone said it was so stinking easy to get a lettuce garden going, I had a spectacular failure, sigh.  So, if you have a few extra minutes, take a second and read this cool blog!!  It rocks!

This Week’s Experiment

November 11, 2008

This week I’m going to try another object lesson for myself.  Lately I’ve been taking meals to alot of folks at my church who are sick or having babies or adopting.  When I take a meal to someone, I usually make a casserole of some kind and take a bag of homemade salad from my garden and a bit of dessert.  I usually buy a couple of disposable aluminum pans to use.  I have learned that if you take someone one of your cherished cake/casseroles during a time of stress for them, you often will never see the pan again.  I do have friends who insist they are experts at getting their pans back, but I can only assume that requires some version of collections.  I suspect that a person going through a tough time probably doesn’t need someone hounding them for metalware on top of everything else they’re dealing with.  Herein lies the problem, why buy something disposable if I can get something used instead?  I’m going to start looking at thrift stores for some used cookie sheets and cake pans.  Then, I plan to set up a fair size store of these to give away.  If I can find these inexpensively enough, I might try to throw in a bottle of martinelli’s to the folks having babies and adopting.

If you have a better way of doing this, I’d love to hear your ideas.

Give Me Five Minutes

November 3, 2008

I know, this qualifies as a downer, but hear me out.  Did you know that around seventy percent of garlic sold in the US comes from China?  According to this blog http://pacetua.blogspot.com/2007/06/death-knell-for-gilroy-garlic.html and some other research I’ve done,   “The Chinese are shipping fresh garlic into the U.S. at a cost of $12 to $16 per 30-pound box. It costs U.S. growers and packers $25 to $30 per 30-pound box.”  Ordinarily, I love a bargain, don’t you?  But, how do you suppose China can sell garlic so cheap?  I mean, aren’t the Chinese mandating small families because they can’t feed their own people?  OK hotshots, the answer is obvious, and everyone knows it, China uses slave labor.  Oh, of course, silly me, I meant to say prison laborers.  Of course, one of the more prevalent reasons you can go to jail is if you are a Christian.  So, frankly, if you are a Christian, you should NEVER purchase another bulb of garlic from China.  If you’re a greenie, errr…environmentalist, doesn’t it bother you at all that a nation a zillion miles away is shipping food to your plate?  And because most of us are too freaking lazy to find out where our food comes from, we are participating in the systematic enslavement of the Chinese people.  Of course, it’s not always easy to figure out where your store got their garlic, is it?  I mean, they attempt to repackage it to sell it to you, and there are usually no signs above it, are there? 

Here’s my five minute solution!  Find a place around your home or apartment that gets some sunshine.  Buy a lovely planter, or make one (lots of instructions on the gardenweb forum on how to make these cheap or free) and put some potting soil (make your own if you’re always broke, like I am, again, try gardenweb).  Then, purchase some honest to heaven US grown garlic bulbs at a garden store.  I have tons of pals on gardenweb (Granny, see her blog to the side) who just plant the stuff they got at the store.  Then pull off the cloves and plant them in the dirt (more instructions here:  http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2007/06/how-why-guide-to-growing-garlic-at-home.html).  Your one-time purchase of garlic will provide all the cloves you need for your first harvest and that harvest will provide all the garlic you need for the second harvest, ad infinituum.  If you water these faithfully, and mulch them, they should look like this pretty soon:

http://i376.photobucket.com/albums/oo203/carolynp_garden/garlic.jpg

As I understand it, I will get small bulbs in Spring and large ones in the fall.  Because we use an enormous about of garlic, I have three square feet of garden space plus a planter for these.  I’m planning to plant a couple more in the spring.  How easy was that?  Good bye China.  So, instead of pie in the sky, I wish, I would, nonsense.  Go right now and get started!  After all, you are only five minutes away from a healthier, better existence.