Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I try to donate or pass on anything we possibly can. Toilet tissue rolls and egg cartons go to the daycare for crafts. Cardboard boxes from home and my office get passed onto Carmae Office Products, Inc , a business who reuses them for their deliveries. Clothes and toys we are no longer using go to friends and family or The Closet, Inc., a local thrift store which supports local projects for battered women, homeless shelter and parks. What they can't sell will go to another charity in the Appalachia which doesn't get as many donations. Our old books get passed on to American Indian education charities (like the Red Cloud Indian School) or to the American troupes over seas. We are even passing on our old trees that had to come down. They will be recycling as firewood, gardening containers, etc by friends, family and neighbors. Our garbage gets divide between the wildlife (birds, squirrels, etc), the garden (compost), and the trash. If something can’t be reused only then does it go into the recycle bin or the trash.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Recently my sister gave me another wonderful gift which complements my little tea pot. It’s a tea bag pincher. My first thoughts were I have spoons and this going to take more space in my little kitchen. Those thoughts didn’t come back after the first time I used it. No more burnt fingers. It gets used so much that it hasn’t had to go into a draw yet it.
Since my current favorite tea Trader Joe’s Spiced Tea comes in tea bags complete with staples I have to do a little work to make this a “green” drink. Yes, tea bags cost much less in fuel etc to ship to my local store then bottled drinks but I still have a used bag when I’m done. Since I don’t want staples in my compost I separate the labels which go into the paper recycling bin (w/ staples), the used leaves get dropped into the compost bin and finally the bag gets tossed into the trash. At least it is 1/3 the trash. If I was sure what the bag was made of something biodegradable I would just remove the last staple and toss the whole bag leaves and all into the compost.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The 1954 penny in the photograph is one of the treasures found from digging out the new walkway. So far our treasures total 2 pennies, a nickel, a yellow pencil sharpener with a rusty blade, several springs, and an assortment of plastic parts.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. -W. Beran Wolfe
Friday, September 14, 2007
Several years ago I was introduced to Volksmarching and I love the one I went on. It was held at a local winery on a beautiful day. We strolled through the vineyard and adjacent woods and then enjoyed a barbeque afterwards. The winery was also offering wine tours and samplings.
According to Wickipedia, Volksmarching is from the German word Volksmarsch which means “people’s march”. The Volksports events are people taking walks together. Most of the walks are about 6 miles long and can be on going self guided walks or special events.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The story of Manny Howard in Brooklyn is about a man who had the aspiration to turn his yard into a farm. I have no plans of going this far but it is interesting.
My Empire of Dirt by Manny Howard
Yes, they have seen Star Wars, the first one. I was concerned about the trash monster and a few other scenes but none of them seemed to bug them. They love it and keep asking to see it. I believe it was the “movie of the month” for August. William calls it either “big little” for the big space station and the little spaceships or “good guy bad guy”.
Tim even found Spud Wars on You Tube which the kids love. A search for “spud wars” will get you over 50 videos of their saga. Some of them are quite smashing.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I stitched into the night to make sure all three jesters had costumes for this past weekend. Only to awake to find two willing jesters and one bug. My husband and daughter quite happily donned their jester costumes. My husband’s is an assortment of things he has gathered over the years. Hers is her brother’s hand-me-down from the 2005 Balticon Masquerade. He turned down his new one and wanted to wear his bug towel costume. Well it’s not period but why not. Several faire goers congratulated my husband for taming the beast. Others said he had slain a dragon. Whenever the little guy got one of those what is he looks I responded with a warning: "Watch out for the evil wizard. He turned the boy into a bug. Who knows what he’ll turn you into." This usually got a smile, giggle or a “Oh, my”.
The kids seemed to enjoy walking around checking out all of the people and sites. I believe their favorite two were the Aerial Angeles and the pirate ship at the kids’ playground. We did have to drag them way from the pub when the Pyrates Royale were performing. If we weren’t off to meet folks the kids could have easily stayed in one spot to listen to them sing and ‘rrr’ like pyrates often do.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Last Friday the Garden Guy, Mike McGrath, from WTOP mentioned you can plant garlic from organic garlic in your grocery store. It has to be organic since some of the others have been treated not to grow. Just separate the cloves and poke them into the ground. The garlic should be ready to harvest next June. We decided give it a try and I planted a row from two heads of garlic. One was clearly labeled organic from Trader Joes and one we aren’t sure of from Safeway. Now we just need to wait and see what happens.
The rest of the bed was planted with the seeds I picked up from the garden center: Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Detroit Red Beets, and Purple & White Vienna Kohlrabi.
Friday, September 7, 2007
The reports are out and once again the Metropolitan Washington DC area has rated as on of the worst areas for traffic. Considering just Fairfax County has over 1 million people there is no surprise the roads get a bit congested as we all try to get to and from work, school, shopping and visiting. Rush hour is not known for going very fast. BUT if you are prepared you can get around relatively easily. Most employers who can have flexible schedules so you can avoid the ‘rush’ and even have a life outside of working and commuting. Whether you have this option or not there are ways of getting around some congested areas or avoiding backups from accidents and who knows what else.
- WTOP News radio has traffic reports on the ‘8’ as well as information on their website
Cell phone options – (best to have your navigator handle some of this for you)
- 511 SEND free traffic updates
- Tellme - call 1-800-555-TELL (8355), and say, "Driving directions."
- Google Mobile - text GOOGLE (466453), enter your starting address, then to, then your destination, and get free directions via text messaging.
- Google traffic maps - Google maps can be downloaded to your phone or PDA. Having it on my PDA makes it very easy to check where there is congestion on the way to my car.
- Map My Run - Hey if you can map out a good run you can possibly map out a back road route to the office.
Of course if you can there is always public transportation. It may not be the best in the world but the Metro trains and buses can get you most places you want to go.
This week I’ve experience this same type of customer service at Merrifield Garden Center. I’ve always had pleasant experiences at their stores. Every person has been wonderful and very helpful but this week they went over the top. I check the store closest to me for some seeds to plant this fall and only found a few options. Considering I live in Metropolitan Washington DC this doesn’t surprise me. Most of the yards are solid grass or ornamental plants. The farms land has been all turned into a development of one kind or another. What was surprising was when I checked their website and called them the type of service I received for just 4 packs of seeds. Heather took my call with a smile and was so great. I was treated like I was spending hundreds or thousands in stead of $5. She checked the other store to see if the seeds were in stock and then she checked with their garden specialist to see if it was too late to plant them. She called me back with answers the same business day apologizing that she didn’t call back sooner. She set the seeds aside for me and they were waiting for me this morning as promised. The cashier and staff I spoke to this morning were all equally helpful in answering other questions and helping me check out with my handful of seeds. I have to say if I’m every having a bad morning I’m considering stopping by just to say hello and if I ever need anything else for the garden I’m definitely starting there.
In this world where stores have determined that you can find what you need on your own and check yourself out it seems places like the Ritz and Merrifield Garden Center are numbered or at least found a very pleasant niche in their markets.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Rachel Ray has posted a recipe for Candied Sushi that is wheat-free and could be fun to take to a party. Her recipe is a variation of a crisp rice treat with licorice and dried fruit leather. The photos on her site make it look easy to make and very tasty.
Candied Sushi is actually how I was introduced to NotMartha.com. She has a section of faux foods which includes candied sushi and links to many variations. The one I tried was from USA Rice and called for sushi rice, coconut milk, water, sugar and crystallized ginger. I left off the toasted coconut because of personal preferences. It takes a little practice to make beautiful rolls but no one had any problems helping to eat the messy pieces. This tasty treat can be made a head of time but needs to be eaten within 2 days. If you have sushi lovers with a sweet tooth around this will not be a problem.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The Green Life by the Sierra Club posted yesterday some information about the cross-country road trip heading to Farm Aid 2007 which is promoting eating local eco-friendly foods. They had a pie contest in
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I filled the first box with layers of dirt and fermenting grass trimmings (PEW!). Once it was with in about 2 inches of the top we planted the pansies in the corners and I planted 3 kinds of seeds: Bok Choy, Chinese cabbage and
I lined the second box with a thick layer of news paper to smother the existing weeds and grass. This layer should turn in to wonderful compost after it has done its initial job. I then layered the top soil and clay I’m need moved to install a walkway with more fermented grass trimmings (if you live near a farm that still spreads the fields in the spring you know the smell). While at Home Depot for the additional mulch I picked up bags of play sand which we mixed into the top two layers of soil. The kids thought mixing in the sand was the best part of the project. This bed was completed by pretty pink flowers the kids picked for the corners and 3 packets of carrot seeds. The seeds were sent as fundraisers and are from 2004, 2005, and 2006. I’ve kept them in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how successful they will be. We may have a few carrots for ourselves or we may be taking them to every potluck we go to this fall and winter.
The third box is in position and will probably be next weekend’s project. I may see about getting new seeds for something different or planting more lettuce and cabbage.
I did a little research on fall crops this weekend trying to plan what to put into the new raised beds I’m building. I came across some good news. Pumpkins are a fall crop. (Yes, I’m not a farmer and I’m learning as I go.) I was concerned that I had gotten my little pumpkin sprouts into their garden bed too late and it appears I got them in at the perfect time. So we have a chance of one of these beautiful blossoms turning into a delicious pumpkin.
Last week after testing the watermelons almost daily to see if one would let go of the vine, the kids were thrilled when one came right off in their hands. The look of surprise was followed by wanting to know if that is what it was suppose to do or if they were in trouble. It is just what the little refrigerator size melon was supposed to do. I am glad to report that it was worth waiting for and worth picking the seeds out. It was a wonderfully tasty and juicy melon.