Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Farm Friends

White Japanese Bantams

I cannot resist chicks. These two are especially irresistible. I received them from the gracious folks at the local zoo and I am hoping to merge them with the gang already inhabiting the coop. I understand that sometimes chickens aren't too understanding when it comes to newbies, but I'll try to teach the older ones some good manners. They are about a week old in this photo, and are still petite. I am hoping that I have a rooster and a hen.

Susan, (the zoo poultry manager), told me she will make sure I get a pair, so we'll see if I need to expand my new bantam flock in the near future.

A Brighter Planet

I was scrounging around the internet and saw this web site and wonder if anyone has information or experiences you can share about this group. I am in the Green Revolution in my mind and in the beginning stages at our farm and would like to know how to best get moving.

What do you do to to deal with your "carbon footprint?"
What do you do to be green?

We do the following:

  • recycle paper, glass, tin
  • raise meat chickens
  • raise egg chickens
  • have a small herb garden
  • raise vegetables; tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, pumpkins, zucchini, green beans, eggplant, (mostly enough for summer consumption)
  • carpool to work in the fall (Ruth gets 38 MPG, I get 20) OK, it's my farm truck!
  • Home AC only when it is unbearable, and then the thermostat is at 76 F
  • Whole house attic fan at night to instantly cool home to outside temperature and create breezes
  • Slowed down our driving at least 5 mph
  • can jellies, jams and syrups last year I did 120 jars total (all have been given away or consumed).
  • burn wood in high efficiency wood stove every night during cold weather
  • have a 90 percent efficient gas furnace
  • well insulated home with new windows

OK, I hope we do more than this.

I want to hear what you do.

I want to be better at this!


Anet said...

HI Don, Hope you and Ruth had a great 4th!
The chicks are just too cute! That was nice of the zoo to share with you! My daughter did the teen zookeeper program there for several years and her favorite place to work was in the farm area with the chickens and the goats! She sure smelled bad when she got home!
Greening at my home includes;
curb recycling, switch to low energy bulbs, bought energy star computer and Television, small garden, shopping at local farmers market, switching to hand washing the dishes, yuck! use cloth grocerey bags, shopping at thrift stores, making my teenagers ride the city bus more. I wish we could have chickens for the eggs, but Lansing frowns on that idea!
I love to peek in at your blog now -n- then. Always something to make me smile!

Sandy said...

OH SO CUTE!! New chicks to love.


Sandy said...

oh, we have done the lightbulbs, we recycle (as best as you can with others in the house who don't quite do it yet), we don't run our air until close to bedtime to cool the bedrooms down. There is so much more that I need to do and will in time. I abhor styrofoam when we order take out. I'm trying to figure that one out..

Carole said...

The chicks are too cute!

I don't consider myself "going green" but here is what goes on at my house:
1. Temperature on thermometer is always 78 in summer and 72 in winter.
2. Raise chickens and the benefit is enjoyment and eggs.
3. Grow vegetables because I like the thrill of bringing in a crop.

Sharon said...

I think I am mostly green in my mind. In reality we:

*recycle tin, newspaper, plastic and reuse most glass.....
*use all compact fluorescent light bulbs
*Heat only with wood in a new efficient stove
*use green detergents

Things I would like to do but am conflicted about:

*have a garden (which would require thinning the forest in order to find the sun)
*compost-can't because of the bears but we do save our compost in the winter and feed it to the deer (a real no-no around here)
*I really really want to get chickens but I'm such big baby I don't think I can use them for meat! :(
Have you done that yet?
Did you have trouble with it?

laura said...

Those chicks are irresistible--so sweet.
What do I do? Hmm. Recycle, of course (or sort trash as I've heard it called since, in many places and often, that's all it really amounts to). I'm a hopeless, lazy gardener so I buy produce, but I try to buy local and eat only things in season. I'm not much of a meat eater, but I like to eat fish when I catch it. I work at home, so no commuting; and I don't have an air conditioner: I just sweat. In winter: I freeze--the thermostat's at 66. (This is cheapness more than greenness, though, I'm afraid.) If I can ever afford it, I'd like to go solar at least for my water heater. I don't run water--Navy showers for me!; I don't have a dishwasher. I want to start collecting rainwater for my tomatoes.I don't drink water from individual, throwaway plastic bottles (if only they still sold beer like they did when my parents were kids: go to the corner bar with your bucket and get it filled!). I use green cleaning products (though I suspect this is a scam) and bring my own bags to the grocery and other stores. I ride my bike to the PO, library, local deli etc. I pick up other people's trash. Lots of it. I right-end overturned horseshoe crabs. I paint on both sides of the paper.

laura said...

Hmm. I feel bad that my last post sounds defensive; it's a fraught issue: it sometimes feels that being green is for the middle and upper classes ... As a member of the hand-to-mouth class, who once aspired to middle-classness, I feel guilty and helpless!

Katy said...

Most of my "green" choices are out of necessity but I dont have a car so I pretty much ride my bike everywhere, no ac either, i eat very little meat, I recycle, and i try not to buy individually packaged items.

Emily @ Brighter Planet said...

Don, you found us! Or rather, I found you. Brighter Planet is a start-up company from Vermont and we did the 350 Challenge to get bloggers on board - thinking about climate change, ways to get involved in the green movement and to support carbon offsets as one way to bring more clean energy onto the national energy grid.

You may have seen our main site, - where we promote our flagship product, the Brighter Planet Visa. We partnered with Visa to launch an affinity card that supports renewable energy projects instead of giving the cardholder frequent flier miles, cashback, etc. If you've got questions, please be in touch! I'm glad you found us, and it was a pleasure reading your blog. I'm actually headed to Michigan in September for 2 months!

Loring Wirbel said...

I'd say your list is pretty comprehensive, and matches mine, except we obviously have no chicks, and I brew beer. Remember, even if your list doesn't seem like enough (and it never does), it's something, and every effort counts!

Isadora said...

:) They are cute, hope you will get more.

Stiggy said...

Very cute chicks you have there Don! And very nice of the zoo to let you have them - i wonder how big a flock you'll have in a few years. :D

Well, we don't do a lot at this house except the usual plastic and glass, but our new place we'll have a very energy efficient house, grow our own veg, have chickens for eggs, recycle lots of stuff - and we plan to have solar panels eventually, ones for heating the water and ones for generating electricity.


Ginnie said...

First of all, the chicks are adorable, Don. I hope they fend for themselves with the older ones!

You and Ruth are really ahead of many of us in what you do that's Green. I'm so proud of you! When I take a shower, I first rinse off and then shut off the water when I soap up and/or shampoo my hair. Then I turn the water on again to rinse off. It's hard in the winter when it's cold but I do believe it's worth it.

Bob Johnson said...

Don cute chicks, You guys put us to shame, mind you I do drive my bike to work on Tuesdays and we have changed most of our lights over to cfls

Hey but I am in charge of the city's largest mall's green program, we have hired waste, energy and air quality consultants to make recommendations on how to save energy so as to be certified green by BOMA and make the world a greener place, does that count?lol.

Don said...

Anet: It sounds like you are a very pretty shade of green! Your daughter working in the farm area of the zoo sounds like she has a little farmer in her. I need to change all of our bulbs over to the cfl bulbs. I have been changing them as they burn out.

We have a nice and growing collection of reusable grocery bags too. I even got the insulated ones from Trader Joe's

Don said...

Sandy: I agree about the styrofoam. It seems to be everywhere and I'm sure it takes a long time to break down, if ever!

Don said...

Carole: You are probably already green! I want to raise more of my own food.


Sharon: I would like to hear more about your heating only with wood. Do you have a whole house furnace that moves the heated air around?

The "fat boys" as I dubbed them went to an Amish farmer 2 weeks ago at 7 1/2 weeks old. They averaged 6 pounds each. I didn't have any problems with this as I didn't do the processing. The Amish charged me $1.50 per bird to do everything, even cutting them up and putting them in freezer bags. I will do this again as it was pretty easy and I controlled what they ate and also I provided them with a roomy airy and clean place to live. Next time, I wm going to get them to go outside more.


Laura: You do quite a lot. I would say you are a greenie. I like the idea of eating the fish I catch. I live in the middle of some of the best fishing in the world and I haven't done it for a long time.

Bucket O' Beer. That sounds like a tradition we need to get back to!


Sharon said...

No Don it's just a large efficient stove. The house has an open floor plan so that the kitchen, eating area, and living room are all one big room. The downstairs bathroom stays a little chillier but not enough to be a problem. The balcony, bedrooms, and upstairs bath all stay super warm because the heat rises. I do supplement my studio with a small propane space heater when I'm in there but the windows and skylights help warm it when the sun is out. So in short it works because our friends who built the house made smart floor plan decisions.

I don't think I'd mind if someone else would process the's just the idea of having to do it myself that bugs me.

Farm Chick Paula said...

What cuties! Have you named them yet, Don?
As far as being green, I'm not doing nearly enough... I am trying to recycle more... I only go out once a week, and when I do, I run all my errands so I won't have to go out again and burn gas! (That's really more economic than green, though...)

Farm Chick Paula said...

What cuties! Have you named them yet, Don?
As far as being green, I'm not doing nearly enough... I am trying to recycle more... I only go out once a week, and when I do, I run all my errands so I won't have to go out again and burn gas! (That's really more economic than green, though...)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Don, great query...I have tried to be green for so long that I can't think any other way.. a back-to-the-lander from the seventies...and it is fun and a challenge to see what can be saved and reused again...sort of like badges on your sleeve...

here's some of my brag list.. although it is just our way of life... and commonsense I hope:

...sort all garbage, for recycling, which ends up not amounting to very much..

reuse almost everything else in some way or other,

compost all kitchen waste..

Work at home so we don't have to travel everyday, anywhere. sometimes don't head to the city for over 2 weeks..

grow veggie & fruit gardens, including lots of potatoes for the winter..

wash laundry with cold water only and hang on clothesline..

heat with wood in efficient woodstove .. gravity flows it throughout...doesn't take much wood to heat the place..

designed house, orienting it to the south to make use of passive solar heat gain . our insulated concrete slab/floor acts as a heat sink for the passive solar and the woodstove and radiates the stored heat back to the room long after the fire is out and the sun has gone down.. really works and is warm on the feet.

did super-insulation in our attic... 3 layers of 6" batts, layered alternately...

used Eastern White cedar shingles on the exterior walls of our house and left them to weather naturally ... low to no maintenance, ever, no paint or stain needed..

installed double glazed insulated windows throughout

kept tons of things from landfill by using them to build our house and so never needed to buy new of many things... old doors; window, door & floor trim; stair treads, railings, wainscotting; light fixtures; recycled stainless restaurant counters re-cut to fit our counters; old farm doors cut down for kitchen cupboard doors... old tin ceiling covering sides of kitchen island...

shop at second hand stores, yard sales, flea markets when we need clothes or furniture... almost everything we have, had a life before it came here..even our 4 dogs..

took back the SUV and now drive a Honda Fit... i highly recommend it, very efficent and we are going to keep it till it dies..

used 120 tons of rock from the village wharf renovation to build all the rock-walls ...

built our greenhouse from 14 windows from the roadside garbage clean-up day

made our bed from an old door and scrap steel

installed dimmers on all the light switches..

built a tower that creates great air flow through the whole house.. never will need a air conditioner..yes canada does get hot too and many people use AC.. I never have .. (it was 87 deg F. the other day)

never flown on an airplane and never will

cook from scratch

saved 2 old structures on the property

never owned a cell phones

planted perennials to bloom in succession in the gardens (that we divided from other plants) .. no annuals.. no sprays or poisons..

etc. etc. and on and on... I love it!!
I am so glad to see people starting to come to this way of thinking.. so much can be done to make things better, if we are careful and think first.. it will be second nature in no time...


Hey don't forget that you saved your old barn ( instead of tearing it down for new and improved!!

Thanks for asking!! gwen

Don said...

Sharon: I really like the idea of using wood to heat our homes. I think the carbon we put into the air is simply carbon that was already in the environment and we are putting it back into circulation.

I rented a hydraulic wood splitter yesterday and worked for about 6 hours splitting up the large maple that had fallen (the one from a previous post) and maybe have enough wood for the entire winter stacked in the corn crib.

The meat chickens definitely are much easier if you don't butcher them yourself. A blogger friend from Maine has a husband who is the son of a butcher and does it without thinking. I have done it, but am really really really glad I have this Amish man who will process them so cheaply.

Don said...

Paula: I haven't named them yet. I am thinking about something from the mini series Shogun.Anjin-San for the roo and Mariko for the hen?

Sometimes I find that being forced to think about the way I do things is a good motivator, like you combining errands, etc.

Sharon said...

Hey Don!
It is my understanding that heating with wood is carbon neutral but there are other considerations. Last winter before we replaced our stove with a more efficient one we debated whether or not we should switch to another source as our primary heat. We decided to stay with the wood because our only other options were coal (not something we would do), electricity, and propane. We can't really afford to heat with or commit to propane exclusively and feared similar issues with electricity. Plus, we would run the risk of freezing all winter as it can be bitterly cold here. Any ways, my point is that there is lots of info out there about the health side effects (cancer potentially) of heating with wood and they are all pretty scary. It wouldn't work for you in Michigan or for us but I would love to be able to convert to solar.

Don said...

Katy: Hey! Nice to hear from you. I'll bet riding your bike around Holland, MI is actually quite enjoyable. It is a small enough town for you to get to just about everything you need without getting a great workout Every time you go somewhere. I like how you are making good and healthy food choices too!

Don said...

Emily: Thanks for your visit. I am going to read your web site and see what I can learn! I can see from my blogger friends that I have a lot more I can do.

Don said...

Isadora: Thank you for visiting and for your coment. I went and looked at your wonderful photos of Budapest. It looks like you are having wonderful experiences there.


Stiggy: I hope to have some Stiggy offspring in the next few years. I'll keep you posted on that front.

I like the idea of solar as well, but Michigan is pretty cloudy. Ruth just heard of a Frenchman who invented a $600.00 wind generator that is fairly unobtrusive and productive. I am going to look into that too.

Your new place is beautiful and I think you and Jo will enjoy growing into a new life there.


Ginnie: You have been green for as long as I have known you, (1976). I think there are lots of water related ways we can work on. I want to collect rainwater off the barn and store it for garden use. I imagine the thousands of gallons that pour off that large area every year!

Don said...

Loring: I have often thought about brewing suds. The Green Barn Brew.
Hmm. I really don't drink that much beer, but maybe others would come out and sit around and drink to all of our health.

Don said...

Laura: What is a NAVY SHOWER?

Don said...

Bob: Sure that counts! I think businesses getting on board with environmental issues is in some ways more important.

Ford Motor Company has been turning many of their large factory roofs into green space complete with grass and trees. That sounds kinda heavy.

Don said...

Gwen: I love how you and John have chosen to live your lives. You have discovered your loves and have created ways to do them and survive financially. Way to go!

Your list is a great read. Several things jump out at me: buying clothing at resale shops is a great idea. Ruth has several in our area where she has bought many items that she can mix and match and no one would ever guess that they are "used." Your use of air flow to cool your house is great. Your tower is like our whole house fan. It reminds me of Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) where he had tunnels put in that drew air through them, cooling it as it passed through, thus cooling his home.

Great minds think alike!

Don said...

Sharon: Since reading what you said about health issues and wood-burning, I did a little internet reading. It seems that there is some research out there about this, but it seems that it is more prevelant in areas where there is concentrated smoke from a whole neighborhood burning wood, rather than a single wood stove like you and i have. Unless your stove or mine is leaking a lot of smoke or fumes inside, I don't think we have an issue. What do you think about that?

Sharon said...

Hi Don!
I sincerely hope you are right about that. It's been a while since I was researching this so I can't remember which sites I visited that led me to that conclusion. I just did a very search and found the American Lung Association to be discouraging wood stove use. Their link is here:

Do you remember where you read that individual is less of a concern? If you do I'm interested in visiting it.

I do know that our new Jotul really seems to put out very little particulate matter compared to our older unit.
Thanks! ~Sharon

Sharon said...

That was supposed to read
very "quick" search! :)

Don said...

We have the Jotul 602 and I love it. It seems to burn very efficiently, but there are better ones. Which one do you have? is a group trying to get people's attention about wood smoke. However a lot of their info seems to refer to studies that looked at women who spent their lives cooking over an open fire in their home. That seems a little scare-oriented.

Read the last paragraph at the link below, especially about the newer stoves.

I'm glad you shared this issue, I was not that conscientious about smoke. It's too bad it smells so good!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Don, I thought I would join in ... we use Jotul woodstoves too.. We used to use a 602 in our kitchen but because of where it was located (under a stairway) the heat all wanted to float upstairs.. We changed it to a Jotul Oslo ( a demo model which we got on sale, lucky)... I think that is the kind that Sharon uses too... that provides a much more controlled, even burn and heats the main kitchen and the floor above and some drifts through the next room too..
In the main portion of the house we use the Jotul 600 Firelight CB... really great too..They both hold the heat so well..

These two stoves each have a secondary burn chamber and it is like getting extra heat from the same piece of wood... They sort of burn the smoke again... They don't send much particulate up the chimney and the airtightness of them does not allow much smoke of any kind into the living area... of course the chimney needs to be an appropriate height for proper draft and draw...

nothing is perfect but these are pretty darn good...

Don said...

The models you describe that have multiple burning chambers are way better both for the heat and for the destruction of the dangerous micro particles. Our little Jotul has a tube at the top of the chamber that has little jets of blue flame coming out of many little holes when the stove is burning efficiently.

In the winter evenings, we crank up the wood stove in our sitting room where we hang out and it can get half the downstairs in the mid seventies or higher, but a doorway keeps the airflow from going to the other sections of the house. We're actually OK with that as our bedroom is in that section and we like it to be in the low 60's for sleeping.

We actually received an extra $35.00 bill from our propane company because we didn't use enough gas last winter! I comoplained, but it is in the contract. Hmmm, that's a real encouragement for trying to save energy.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Unreal, Don!!! I think big business are going to be the last ones to get on board to try to make this world a better's always about money.. there just doesn't seem to any rhyme or reason...

Sharon said...

Hey Don,
Gwen is right, ours is an Oslo. I remember reading that epa article that you referenced a while back and that last paragraph was pretty much the conclusion we came as careful and clean as possible. It's hard once your used to the warmth of wood heat to revert to costlier, cooler, and more polluting alternatives. We heat (and warmly) 1400 square feet for under $500 a year and that's taking into consideration a 9 month heating season with one or two months of bitter temps. But then wood here is plentiful and we've been able to use wood that has fallen over the winter (like you) or that others are removing for their own reasons.

Wind power would be a great alternative. I read that you need sustained winds of 14mph and my little wind gauge rarely registers above 7 at the windiest of times. Gwen's house looks like it's in the perfect setting for that though.

Don said...

Gwen: I wonder if this money driven, capitalistic American way of thinking is slowly changing back to a smaller, more village-oriented way of life. I hear more and more about people bartering, buying locally grown and made things, etc.

Sharon: If I could feasibly get off the electric grid, I definitely would! A combo of wind and solar would be ideal. I need to get a wind gauge, that sounds like a cool little instrument. Do you have one of those little weather stations?

Sharon said...

Yeah we do. Weather becomes such a big part of our lives in the winter, determining how much wood and kindling to have on hand, whether or not we need to bring the geese in the house, let the water drip, or if we'll make it to town or not for groceries. Plus the locals like to keep track of how many feet of snow we get each year (we average 131" a year). Maybe it's just something to do to keep from going stir crazy in January! :)

chickengirl said...

Aaaaw those chicks are SO cute! I'd love some Japanese bantams. They are just beautiful. I hope you get a pair!

It's so good that you're doing that for the enviroment. Our family is trying our best to help out some!

Don said...

Sharon: 131" per year is 3X what we get here in Mid-Michigan! Marquette MI gets about as much as you do. What do you do to NOT go stir crazy?

Chickengirl: Hey I haven't heard from you in a while. You must have gone to camp, vacation, or you're just plain busy.

What kinds of eco-friendly things do you and your family do around your place?

Gwen Buchanan said...

I would really love to have access to a little wind measurement device... Where would you find one???

Sharon said...

Hey Gwen,
Just Google anemometer and you'll find sites with instructions for home made ones. Amazon sells them too. :)

Mrs. M. said...

I wish we didn't have to run our a/c, or had another alternative! There are actually some houses in Sarasota (bungalows) that were designed to utilize the cross breezes of the Gulf and didn't have any air conditioning!

I support local farmers at the weekly market, have an herb garden, and try to make as many cooking items from scratch as possible. We actually grill a lot.

Oh, and I stopped using a can-a-week of Aqua Net since college days. That's gotta help the ozone, right?!!

Don said...

Sharon: What kind of weather station do you have? Are there things you wish it could do? etc

Gwen: When are you getting a wind generator? It could become a landmark on the Bay.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don, When the price comes down, we would love to have a wind generator..Our well is about 200 ft deep and I would like to find a pump that would bring the water up the well by using wind or a photovoltatic system.. I had solar collectors back in the 80's and they work so well... Just haven't had the time and money to install them here yet...

Don said...

mrs. m: Weren't the eighties something for the hairdo? I still see some of those poofy bangs around.

What do you grow in your herb garden? We have the usual suspects: basil, thyme, rosemary, fennel, chives, mint, chocolate mint, and a few other tidbits.

Don said...

Gwen: I like what T. Boone Pickens is proposing with the wind generators in South Dakota. Maybe that initiative will spur businesses to create affordable ones for you and me. I Have a huge barn roof that would be ideal for photovoltaic, but it would cost so much to purchase. Spending tons of money to save pounds of money isn't too appealing.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Don, found some interesting articles on this fellow and his ideas.. Thanks for the tip.. I am looking forward to what may come of it and hope we in Canada can benefit from it too..

Mrs. M. said...

basil, lemon balm, mint, thyme, parsley, chives, oregano, cilantro, rosemary...

i'm going to try and find the chocolate mint down here!

Don said...

Gwen: Me Too!

Mrs. M: I have many little chocolate mint plants in our herb bed. i wonder if I could mail some to you? I'll give it a try. What have we got to lose? The plants are originally from the Michigan State Univ. Children's Garden, so that's really cool!

chickengirl said...

Yeah, we have been pretty busy. Especially with the duck drama, I haven't really had time!

Well, we raise egg chickens and grow a garden (of course!) and we also have an herb garden, and we also use a product called 'Mellaluca' (I don't know how to spell it), which is all natural cleaners, soap, vitamins, etc. I'm trying to start doing more, and you've certainly inspired me!

lesleyanne said...

nice post!!! i love thinking about my carbon footprint, altho i think mine is so small considering i don't even drive a car! living in a large city makes it easy.

(my list is really long, so watch out)

*take electric train to work every day
*stopped getting newspaper; read all my news online
*all bills are paperless!
*recycle anything i can (i even take bottles home from work so that i know they get recycled)
*bring my own bag everywhere! or just carry my purchases, so as not to consume plastic bags
*use an aluminum water bottle instead of buying water
*use a ceramic mug at work for coffee instead of paper or styrofoam cups

goodness, i wish there was more. like, i wish i didn't have to fly in an airplane and use all that fuel, but it is necessary to see the people i love!

get ready for a design soon!! (you know what i'm talking about...)

Don said...

chickengirl: We have some of those products in our home. Ruth's sister is a distributor. I love the essential oil and the bar soap!

LesleyAnne: I heard some radio heads talking about mass transit today and the "in the know guy" said that none of the top twenty cities in the USA have profitable mass transit. All of them are subsidized by taxes. Hmmm. However, he also added that with gasoline at $4.00+ more people will begin to use it, so that will offset the losses.

I like your drawings of the proposed arbor.

Anonymous said...

This was interesting reading. We here in Maine are very dependent on oil for heat, unfortunately. This year with a contract, our max price will be $5.14! That's almost double what my highest delivery price was last year. We keep the heat at 66°F when we are home, 58°F when we are not, and burn about 850 gallons a year. Our furnace is well maintained but old, we will need to replace the furnace in a few years and I hope will be able to find an much more efficient system, maybe even geothermal.

As for green, lots of what we do at Henbogle is also just plain thrifty. Our list:
*recycle everything we can
*compost everything we can
*raise laying hens
*have an organic veggie/herb garden
*preserve as much of the harvest as we can and work to increase that
*support local farmers through local food purchasing
*Supermarket purchases are organic, I choose low-packaging bulk foods when possible
*Bring my own bags
*I carpool, Dan is hoping for a carpool partner this year --he's had no takers in the past
*successfully urged my employer to support carpoolers with ride board, reserved parking spaces, recognition
*am on the green campus committee
*buy used when possible --clothing, furniture, household items,
*use environmentally friendly products --baking soda is my cleaning friend!
*Have rain barrels and am researching graywater recycling for watering

Keep in mind, I've been adding to this list for years I didn't start doing this all at once! Being green and being a thrifty Mainer are two sides of the same coin :-)
Ali in Maine

Robinson said...

I like reading everyone's ideas. I've been trying to be more green, but it's sometimes hard with teenagers who have places they need to be ALL THE TIME. We do a lot of the same things other people have listed. I've been taking decidedly cooler showers, only wash clothes in cold water with "earth friendly" detergent, use very few cleaning products (both because I don't clean much and I don't like that chemical smell), bulbs are being replaced with the "good" ones, etc.

I'm mostly posting because I want to point out to Sharon that she can raise lots of food without much disruption to her forest. Look into edible forest gardens. You can raise a lot of food without resorting to a traditional, annual vegetable patch. I have plans to transform and rehab several areas of our property into edible forests that provide us with fruit from trees, bushes, canes and vines as well as plenty of asparagus and lettuce. We also have nut trees that I plan to learn to harvest and use.