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Harvesting Your Spring Crop – The Results Show!

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After a long, hot summer of watering, fighting off insects, and pulling weeds it’s now time to enjoy the fruits of your hard labors. Literally. I have been watching our apple tree all summer. Technically, it’s a 30- or 40-year-old mongrel that grew wild from a sapling. We didn’t spray or treat it with anything. The last few weeks have been hot and dry and helped concentrate the sugars. These are delicious — like eating pie right off the branch.

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So, we picked just a few. We hope to get to pick some more.

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I have also been watching our tomatoes and peppers all summer. Tomatoes have been growing nicely for most of the summer. More than once, I went out into the sunshine to snack on the yellow salad tomatoes right off the vine. Warm, juicy… aaahhhh! We keep a chili pepper plant in a pot by the back door. When we want to sauté a fresh one, it’s only a few steps away.

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With late summer comes canning season. Here, my wife is blanching them to remove their skins for canning whole or in pieces.  We grow about 6 or 7 varieties, including Amana Orange and Jeanne Flamme. Ever have yellow spaghetti sauce?

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Take a gander at some of our sweet bell peppers, Bloody Butcher corn (for grinding into meal), an eggplant, and a couple of squash (one was a volunteer). Don’t all those fall colors just make you hungry?

Did you have any success harvesting your spring crop? If so, please share any links or images you might have to your produce! 

redesignrevolution:

DIY Terrariums! (via DIY Thursday: 8 Fall Interior Decor Tutorials | Redesign Revolution)

So yeah - this idea for a DIY terrarium is kinda fantastic. They add colors to your home, make the air more breathable by removing CO2, and can be constructed in most any size of glass jar (as I’m personally partial to a good Mason jar). Moreover, it should be rather simple to vary the plants being grown according to season.

redesignrevolution:

DIY Terrariums! (via DIY Thursday: 8 Fall Interior Decor Tutorials | Redesign Revolution)

So yeah - this idea for a DIY terrarium is kinda fantastic. They add colors to your home, make the air more breathable by removing CO2, and can be constructed in most any size of glass jar (as I’m personally partial to a good Mason jar). Moreover, it should be rather simple to vary the plants being grown according to season.

Four Ways to Go Green with New Green Technology

Between the concern over the changing climate, food production, endangered species, and other environmental dilemmas, a growing number of people had expressed an interested in “going green” in their everyday lives. Fortunately, the rapidly developing green technology sector is churning out inventions that help people adopt this new standard of living at an ever increasing pace. From green cleaners to low emission automobiles, people who want to go green are finding it easier and more cost efficient with each passing year. Here are some of the latest examples of green technology, from home improvements to fresh water, that people will be able to slowly incorporate into their lives to help them achieve green living standards in their homes.

1. Improving Household Heating and Cooling Efficiency

Many people do not realize the enormous amount of energy wasted around the home. This is especially true regarding the escape of hot and cold air through cracks and crevices that you might not even be able to see with your naked eye. Some estimate that up to 30 percent of your average energy bill could result directly from the leaks around a home. Home builders have increasingly become interested in making sure that newly built homes are properly sealed to prevent leaks and the subsequent unnecessary use of energy. Unfortunately, outside of visual inspection and the handy use of a caulking gun, there was little that could be done.

However, new heating and cooling efficiency technology being developed by the Western Cooling Efficiency Center aims to change our ability to detect and fix leaks. The technology uses compressed nitrogen to push sealants wherever air is flowing in or out of a home. It has experienced some real world testing on Habitat for Humanity homes, and this is expected to continue in preparation for use by the general public. The company hopes to continue to improve the technology until the leaks from homes are zero, and then develop a system to allow for adequate ventilation for health reasons.

2. Air2Water

Most people try to keep humidity out of their homes at all costs. Low humidity keeps the home comfortable and prevents common problems, such as mold. To remove this moisture from our home air, some folks even run dehumidifiers to help remove the excess water, dumping the results often right down the drain. But thanks to one entrepreneur from Puerto Rico, the Air2Water technology takes this excess atmospheric water and purifies it into drinking water right in the home.

While the cost of the machines may be a little expensive for most homeowners right now, there is a great deal of promise about the capacity of the technology. Successful implementation of the Air2Water device in your home could increase the motivation to eliminate bottled water, reduce the strain on general utilities, and combine the need for dehumidifiers with the basic human requirement of water into an efficient, self-sustaining system. Those who live in areas where humidity is seasonal will be happy to hear that the models can also tap into the regular water supply when needed. The company has also developed models to pull in water from the air outside, which it advertises as a potentially solution for the global water crisis.

3. Bambooee Towels

With their capacity to wipe up spills and participate in general household maintenance, paper towels are incredibly handy. Unfortunately, they require the continual cutting of trees for the manufacturing process, and the towels themselves are responsible for an estimated 3,000 tons of waste per day.

Lucky for you, Bambooee towels seek to answer the green living dilemma that is the paper towel. These towels have been made from organic rayon bamboo and are machine washable, good for an estimated 100 uses. They are described as being extremely versatile, super absorbent, stronger, and more durable than standard paper towels. By opting to use these towels over the traditional paper option, you will quickly reduce your carbon footprint as fewer trees will be chopped down on your behalf. Bambooee towels can also help save money since you won’t have to purchase new paper towels all year long.

4. ‘Green’ Makeup

As consumers have become increasingly conscientious about the chemicals that have been added to their food, they have also begun to take notice of what is added to their makeup and body care products. A company known as Australian Scent has worked to develop a line of products for people interested in green living. The products have been designed using all natural ingredients such as rich oils and cocoa butter to keep skin and hair healthy. Australian Scent also sells items like as mosquito repellant that also shy away from potentially dangerous chemicals like DEET. You will feel confident that your beauty has been sustained using safe and natural ways that are better for the environment. Additionally, you will be glad that the products you’re using on your body does not pose safety risks to your health like more traditional beauty products can cause.

As green technology continues to improve, people across the world increasingly can access more efficient and safer products. Going green can touch every aspect of your life if you let it, from the car you drive and how your house is built to how food and water you consume are developed and purified. We’ve only provided four of the more intriguing bits of green technology that have been released recently – there are so many more available on the market, if you know where to look. Going green in 2013 has never been more exciting and open to more people.

redesignrevolution:

(via Upcycle This! 8 Ways to Embrace Eco-Couture (NY Fashion Week Edition))

In honor of New York Fashion Week, here are 8 creative ideas for upcycling a variety of materials to create inventive dresses and accessories. I personally like the clutch made from candy wrappers, the hobo bag made from computer keys, and the storybook gown made fromGolde Books.
What are your thoughts on the “eco-couture?”

redesignrevolution:

(via Upcycle This! 8 Ways to Embrace Eco-Couture (NY Fashion Week Edition))

In honor of New York Fashion Week, here are 8 creative ideas for upcycling a variety of materials to create inventive dresses and accessories. I personally like the clutch made from candy wrappers, the hobo bag made from computer keys, and the storybook gown made fromGolde Books.

What are your thoughts on the “eco-couture?”

mothernaturenetwork:

30 things you should never compost or recycleThough recycling and composting are two of the most important green practices, there are some items that are bad for the environment. Follow these guidelines for best practices.

While some folks might quibble with certain of the “do not compost” items, this list does represent a good guide regarding certain items that you shouldn’t try to compost and/or recycle. Most of these qualifications concern how a given product is made or processed. In general, we recommend that you do your own research into the restrictions in your area before you decide what you should and should not send to the compost pile or recycling bin.

mothernaturenetwork:

30 things you should never compost or recycle
Though recycling and composting are two of the most important green practices, there are some items that are bad for the environment. Follow these guidelines for best practices.

While some folks might quibble with certain of the “do not compost” items, this list does represent a good guide regarding certain items that you shouldn’t try to compost and/or recycle. Most of these qualifications concern how a given product is made or processed. In general, we recommend that you do your own research into the restrictions in your area before you decide what you should and should not send to the compost pile or recycling bin.

Four New Smartphone Apps to Help You Go Green

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Going green is a growing popular movement that can touch nearly every aspect of your everyday life. Green living practices can help you save money on your electricity bills, as it encourages you to adopt attitudes and practices that are friendly towards the environment. Given that smartphone technology and the apps that drive them have also increasingly come to influence the lives of people across the county, it is natural that people look for ways to have these two areas intersect. Lo and behold, a wide variety of apps exists to help people interested in green living. Here are a few of the latest and greatest smartphone apps to help you go green.

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1. Good Guide

This app is essential for green conscious shoppers. Users can download the app on their iPhone to scan the food or other products they are interested in purchasing. They will receive information about the nutritional content of the item, as well as the environmental footprint for cultivating that product. Users can personalize the app so that the issues that matter most to them – whether they are human rights issues, animal cruelty, safe ingredients, or climate change – will appear on screen if the product meets their specific criteria.

You can also create personalized shopping lists, share your recommendations on social media, and more. The app contains the information for over 170,000 products available throughout the United States, including food, pet food, baby and child care products, household cleaners, and other common household products. It has been featured in a number of publications, including NewsWeek and TechCrunch. While it is compatible with most iPhone and iPod Touch products with iOS 5.0 or later, it has been optimized for iPhone 5.

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2. Seafood Watch

If you combine your love of quality seafood with concern for the environment, you probably worry a bit about the pollutant content of the fish you’re consuming as well as how sustainably it is being raised. Some seafood has been found to contain excessively high levels of potentially dangerous pollutants, such as mercury, which can be very harmful to people in large doses, pregnant women, and small children. Furthermore, there are also fish populations which are overfished and becoming increasingly endangered. To help people sort through the various fish available in conjunction with green living practices, this app will help to create personalized recommendations based on geographic location.

In addition to standard seafood found in restaurants or supermarkets, the app is also designed to help those who prefer their seafood raw and wrapped in rice and seaweed. Users can search for seafood based on their traditional Japanese names so that you make the best green choice when you’re enjoying sushi. You can also access lists that organize the available food options by “Best Choice”, “Good Alternative”, and “Avoid,” as well as receive recommendations for those that fall on the ‘Avoid” list. The app is compatible with most Android devices.

3. iRecycle

Recycling has been an important green living practice ever since the birth of the modern environmental movement. Our ability to reuse items means that manufacturers do not need to demand as much from the environment and the world around them. Since many items, such as plastics, are not biodegradable, recycling also reduces the different types of products that wind up in landfills. Earth911, a company dedicated to providing information and resources for those looking to live lifestyles more compatible with the environment, developed this app to help people learn about how to recycle in their own areas.

Users are given information about how to recycle over 350 different types of materials whether they are at home or out and about. The app advertises over 1.5 million ways to recycle, as well as offering a social and news connection for people to stay up to date with those with a similar mindset. You can search for ways to recycle the products used in your daily life, and the ease of the application means that finding the perfect way to recycle has never been simpler. This app is available for iOS, iPad, and Android.

4. Dirty Dozen

Just about anyone who is interested in green living has heard of the “Dirty Dozen” (no, not the movie) – a list that describes a group of fruits and vegetables who have been found to contain the highest amounts of dangerous chemicals. This list is created by the Environmental Working Group to help customers navigate buying foods in conventional supermarkets while limiting their exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

This app is designed to help shoppers go even a step further by providing helpful information about some genetically modified ingredients that shoppers might encounter as well as additional foods associated with pesticides. It is a wonderful app for those looking to balance shopping conventionally with being mindful about how their food was prepared. This app is compatible with most Android and Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Going green requires people to make radical changes in their lifestyles that affect what they do with garbage to what types of food they eat. As people go green, they often realize how much of an impact they can have on the planet just going about their day. Fortunately, green living technology is catching up to make the lifestyle changes easier, and smartphone apps for going green are a part of the puzzle. The apps we’ve introduced today can help you adopt more green living practices, as you seek to help make the world a better place.

virginiaenergysense:

This post is the second in our series featuring ways to reduce consumption and save money in your home’s most used rooms.

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While the best meals often involve secret family recipes, the perfect recipe for saving money by keeping your kitchen energy efficient is well-known. The kitchen…

It’s always a good idea to think of ways you can be more energy efficient in the kitchen, especially since so much heat can be wasted in that room. We concur with concepts like replacing old appliances with Energy Star rated new ones - the money you save on your electricity bills by using less electricity each month will easily offset the purchase of those new appliances within a couple of years.

Since this is part II of the series, we’re looking forward to Part III.

innovativegreenliving:

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1. Use water-based paints. Rinse paint brushes and other equipment in an interior drain only. Reduce smog (low level ozone) by painting when temperatures are under 90 degrees.

2. Bike or walk instead of driving (Every 25 miles you don’t drive prevents a pound of pollution)

This is a fantastic collection of 50 tips to help you increase your green living. The basic thrust of these concepts:

  1. Look for ways that you can reduce and reuse before you recycle.
  2. Recycle everything else and don’t create waste.

innovativegreenliving:

Windows let more than light in and out.

Pleasant as windows might be, they form one of the places where a great deal of heat is lost during the winter, and where heat comes in during the summer. Double-glazing is the obvious way to improve their insulation properties, but it is a relatively expensive investment. There are other…

Don’t have the available funds to replace all of your windows with high-tech Energy Star models? Try these 5 easy, low-cost alternatives to improve the energy efficiency of your windows and help lower your energy costs.