Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I know this might sound sappy but I try to live like every day is Earth Day. But there are many more things I could do of course. Here's what I'm doing regularly now:

  • I just set up an appointment to upgrade the insulation in my attic. They'll come out and give me an estimate tomorrow.

  • Except for occasional fish or shellfish, I don't eat meat. Getting that prime rib to your butcher uses up lots of water, land, and fuel. Admittedly, I quit eating meat for other reasons but getting out of that energy consuming cycle is a plus.

  • I bundle car trips and try to accomplish as many things as I can on one outing.

  • Reusable grocery bags are part of my life now. It took awhile to remember to take them into the store but I'm used to them now. If I do forget, I use paper and recycle.

  • got rainbarrels and use that water on my plants.

  • use non-phosphate laundry soap and use cold water on most loads.

  • compost with worms plus the compost pile out back.

Here's what I want to do in the near future:

  • Follow thru on the attic insulation.

  • Get dual flush toilets.

  • Install Solar panels ($$$).

  • Replace my roof turbines with wind turbines and generate electricity on windy days.

  • Continue xeriscaping the yards - front and back.

  • Work from home more often.

  • Get a large water tank to save even more water.

  • Buy locally grown produce.

But I also want to keep in mind that it's the journey; not the destination. It should be fun and as guilt-free is possible.

Here are some links that might be of interest:

Repower America

Yahoo Green

Home Power Magazine

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can you see me?

I saw some movement, grabbed my camera and ran outside. At first I just saw the ivy...

but as I got a little closer..

I saw this guy. Here's some good info about anoles.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A river runs thru it or, good day to be snail

I took the day off work to go to a vegetation survey training at the Wildflower Center. It was to begin at two and go ‘til six but it turned out to be a very rainy day. The last I heard, they were going ahead with the training but I opted out today and, weather willing, will attend tomorrow’s session. I battled the crankiness that comes with having dashed expectations but was snapped out of it by a growing pool of water just beyond and encroaching on the patio. The back yard is on a slope so rainwater funnels down the yard and out a gap under the gate – if there isn’t too much water. One of the new rain barrels – all of which are full by the way – has dammed up the flow. I went out in the rain and dug a trench so the water could flow out. It took awhile but here’s a picture of our little river. Isn’t it amazing how you can see how the soil separates? I looked at that and imagined a tiny canyon forming and I guess that’s how canyons would look if you were high above the earth. As I write, the rain has let up, at least for a bit. All in all, it’s a good day to be a snail.

Thoughts of rainwater - and new native plants

My rain barrels are full and I've been toying with the idea of getting a 300 gallon storage barrel. I think I need to chill out and recognize that I can't hoard every drop of water that falls on my property. But I do want one. I should get my attic insulated instead. That would be better for the planet probably.

OK, last Friday - yes, it's been a week - I went to the members-only plant sale at the Wildflower Center. It was jam packed with people. I was all abuzz and just grabbed plants willy nilly. Here's a picture of what $50 will buy you at the plant sale.

And check out this picture of a budding prickly pear. I didn't even see the bug until I cropped this picture!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Baby praying mantis and other yard news

I found this little guy on one of my potted plants out front. He's quite small but I hope he eats lots of other bugs and gets really big. It's a beautiful day here in Central TX. The sun is shining, lots of things are blooming, a northern flicker was on the tree out front - just one of those storybook days here. Oh, and the wrens might have hatched a baby or two because they are spending a lot of time flying in and out of the wren house.

This afternoon I'm going to get a trellis or two and put out the morning glory seedlings that I started last week. I have been watering my plants with rain water AND I created a really low budget pond. Stay tuned for pictures of the pond when it's completed. That will be in a day or two. I used a number 3 washtub, filled it with rain water, and built it up with rocks. I had a pot in the shape of a fish so I drilled a hole in the fish mouth and put the tubing thru that so he spits out water. But before I can take a picture I need to spiff it up a little. I bought an inexpensive electric pump but I want to get a solar pump for the outdoor pond and I'll use the electric pump for a yet-to-be-created house pond.

Tomorrow is the plant sale at the Wildflower Center so check back to see what I bought.