Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable living’

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Feb. 5…We’re gone for two days and look what happens…Our 45 year old front yard tree decides to topple.

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it yanked the post clean out of the ground.

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Look at all those branches…I’m going to try out my new battery-powered pole saw.

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I like this saw.

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That little Greenworks 8 inch battery powered pole saw worked fast…It’s quiet with no mixed gas and no emissions.

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While I was looking over all the wind damaged trees, a City of Bandon ‘bucket’ truck drove by, turned around, and stopped. “Looks like you could use some help.” Kevin took care of the leaning eucalyptus tree while Mark started cutting the big one.

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Thank you Mark and Kevin and the City of Bandon utility crew.

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That left the bare straight part and the stump. I figured we could wait for the weekend, but my wife let it be known that it had to be removed ASAP. “The fence is open and Bailey (our old and very deaf dog) could get hit by a car.”

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A rented log splitter did most of the work with the two of us wrestling the sawn rounds onto the splitting plate.

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I love it when the splitter pops the ’round’ all the way through, but it doesn’t happen often enough.

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Load after load gets carried away with our DR Power Wagon. It will carry 800 pounds (362 kg) of anything, but it’s fossil fueled. We want to replace it with a battery-powered version. If anyone has a suggestion, please comment.   Cool hat, Sue.

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That stump was stubborn, but no match for the two of us, even though we’re in our 70’s.

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Carmen is going to miss her climbing tree.

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Sue shows off the latest in log splitting gear.

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…and her mighty stacks of firewood.

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Returning from our morning walk, my wife turns to me, “Pat, the field is looking seedy.  Should we mow it?”  “Yeah, let’s mow it,” I say, wondering if there’s enough gas.  Hmmm, I think I’ll try the new EGO battery mower to see if it’ll work on the thicker grass.  To my surprise it works well.

3513 Pat mowing with EGO, 7-4-16 copy

July 4th…Independence Day. Mowing thick grass with the EGO cordless electric mower. I’m not producing carbon emissions. I’M INDEPENDENT OF FOSSIL FUEL.

We usually mow the field with the big DR Brush cutter.  It’s about 11 hp and uses quite a bit of gas, so I was very impressed that the EGO cordless mower could handle this thicker and taller grass.

3529 Leave some Heal's All, Bird's Foot Trefoil for bees, 7-4-16

Leave some “No Mow Zones” for the bees. Here’s some healsall plants and some yellow Bird’s Foot Trefoil.

3527 Left some tall grass for the deer, 7-4-16

I left some tall grass too, for the deer. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to feed the deer, but there are so many juicy temptations in the garden that they feasted on last year. In a way, I am thanking the deer for not jumping the new deer fence into the garden. Maybe it’s more of a distraction, but so far it works. We’ve been picking up the “June drop” apples along with the mountains of ripe plums and scattering them in an area where we can see them eat (outside the garden, of course.)

3514 Wheelbarrow load of clippings, 7-4-16 copy

We fill several wheelbarrow loads. What are we using the grass clippings for, you ask? For mulch in the garden. We are coming into the dry season. We’re on a shallow well, so we try to conserve on water usage. Mulch cuts down on the need for water. I scatter the lawn clippings out in the sun. I’ll turn them tomorrow morning. It only takes a couple of sunny days to dry them out enough. (I’ve learned my lesson. Years ago I used fresh lawn clippings over newly planted potatoes. I couldn’t figure out why no potatoes were growing. Pulling up the mulch, I realized the grass had burned off the sprouts.)

With the advances in battery technology, it’s exciting to be able to do more and more things without using fossil fuels.  If it’s true what most scientists are saying, then our grandchildren are facing a future of mass starvation, cities underwater, and out of control wildfires.  With that being a possibility, we are very willing to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible.

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July 4…Our grandchildren.

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It took about six months for Seth to build his Alan Scott wood-fired bread oven and the shop that serves as his kitchen. My daily walks would take me by his place.  I watched as he built the roof.  It was meticulously built on the ground with beautiful jointing.  I wondered how he was going to lift it up to the top.  One day, as we walked past, there it was connected to the uprights.  I asked him how he got it up there.  His reply..."one piece at a time."  "I built it on the ground to make sure it was right."

It took about six months for Seth to build his Alan Scott wood-fired bread oven and the shop that serves as his kitchen.
My daily walks would take me by his place. I watched as he built the roof. It was meticulously built on the ground with beautiful jointing. I wondered how he was going to lift it up to the top. One day, as we walked past, there it was connected to the uprights. I asked him how he got it up there. His reply…”one piece at a time.” “I built it on the ground to make sure it was right.”

The small fire was lit on Sunday, the day before ‘bread day.’  Enough heat is stored in the dome to bake 125 to 130 loaves of bread the next day.

Seth scores the dough so moisture will be released and enable the bread to 'bloom.'

Seth scores the dough so moisture will be released and enable the bread to ‘bloom.’

When done, the bread goes onto the cooling rack.

When done, the bread goes onto the cooling rack.

I had breakfast and returned to see the bread all sorted for deliveries.

I had breakfast and returned to see the bread all sorted for deliveries.

At about 9 am, fresh bread gets delivered by bicycle to the natural foods store.

At about 9:30 am, fresh bread gets delivered by bicycle to the natural foods store.

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Rag Rug is almost done.

Rag Rug is almost done.

Do you ever wonder what to do with old table cloths, jeans, or scraps of material?  Recycle them into a very usable rag rug.

Do you ever wonder what to do with old table cloths, jeans, or scraps of material?

First cut the material into strips of cloth about 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) by any length.  Use scraps of equal thickness so the rug will be all the same thickness.

2 Fold the edges in !/4 inch, (6.35 mm)

Then fold the edges in !/4 inch, (6.35 mm)

Fold that in half to one inch (2.54 cm)

Fold that in half to one inch (2.54 cm)

 Sew the edges

Sew the edges and braid three strands of differing lengths.

Stitch the braids

Stitch the braids together to form the size of rug you desire.  We have used cotton thread in the past but are now trying fishing monofilament.  Stitch on the back side of rug only, so it won’t show.

Carmen likes to help

Carmen likes to help

Eddy O. gets his chair back

Eddy O. gets his chair back

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July 10, 2013...Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

July 7, 2013…Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

When we planted  turnips, lettuce and kale in July for our winter garden little did we know we were planting for the bees as well as ourselves.

July 28, 2013...turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides.

July 28, 2013…turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides. Deer netting over pvc hoops.

January 16, 2014...We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed.  We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January.  What a welcome surprise.

January 16, 2014…We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed. We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January. What a welcome surprise.

February 9, 2014...My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up.  I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014…My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up. I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014...Many colors of pollen entering the hive.  In the video you can see the bright yellow from the turnip flowers.  It's possible this is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom

February 9, 2014…Many colors of pollen can be seen entering the hive. In the video you can see the bright yellow pollen from turnip flowers. It’s possible this shot is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom.  The darker orange might be from early gorse.

February 10, 2014...Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January.  Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.

February 10, 2014…Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January. Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.  Second bed is producing greens for our salads.  We can eat them 15 minutes after they are picked…can’t get much fresher than that.  We cover them with plastic film (partially visible on far side) on nights of sub freezing temps.

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Our bicycles are nothing fancy, but they work to get us to the grocery store or post office, a distance of 3 miles round trip.

Our bicycles are nothing fancy, but they work to get us to the grocery store or post office, a distance of about three miles round trip.

Riding a bicycle for errands is a “win, win, win!”  We don’t pollute, we don’t use gasoline, and we get some exercise…gets the cardiovascular circulation going.  Of course we use the bicycle to get groceries and other items like crab shells and coffee grounds, too.  Occasionally I’ll even deliver print jobs from a printer I know.  A few years ago someone on NPR said he was trying to cut down on his carbon footprint by not driving at least one day a week.  We thought that was a great idea, so in 2006 we set out to get at least 51 days without using a car.

The following are the totals  of “Car-free days” per year and rainfall totals.

2006   59/365=16.2%    No rainfall report.

2007   76/365=20.8%  No rainfall report.

2008  134/366=36.6%  No rainfall report.

2009  144/365=39.5% Total rainfall 49.27 inches  (1251 mm)     Avg. rainfall 64.41 inches.

2010  153/365=41.9% Total rainfall 66.1 inches  (1679 mm)     Avg. rainfall 64.43 inches.

2011  186/365=50.1% Total rainfall 39.16 inches (994 mm)     Avg. rainfall 64.91 inches.

2012  162/366=44.3% Total rainfall 54.89 inches (1394 mm)  Avg. rainfall 64.57 inches.

2013  149/365=40.8% Total rainfall 29.5 inches (749 mm)   Avg. rainfall 64.57 inches.  (Footnote:  2013 is driest year on record)

2014  183/365=50%.  HOORAY!! 50% Car-free days, and that’s with 18″ more rainfall this year.              Total rainfall is 47.58 inches (1233 mm)  Avg. rainfall is 64.57 inches.

2015  180/365=49.3%.  I couldn’t quite get my 50% car-free days.  Rainfall for 2015 is 44.89 inches (1140 mm)

As you can see 2011 was our best year at 50.1%.  That works out to be 3.5 car-free days a week.  Rainfall was comparatively low that year, so it was easier to get around.  The next year I started beekeeping so the numbers have dropped a bit since I started attending bee meetings, hanging bait hives, and chasing down swarms.

Yes, I'm proud of my home-made bicycle sign.  I figure if I can make drivers smile, they won't run over me.  I've gotten many comments on this sign, but the best one was from a man who said he dialed the number and his wife answered.

I’m proud of my home-made bicycle sign. I figure if I can make drivers smile, they won’t run over me. I’ve gotten many comments on this sign, but the best one was from a man who said he dialed the number and his wife answered. 🙂

Lumber loaded on bicycle trailer, barely clears ground.

Lumber loaded on bicycle trailer, barely clears ground.

I can’t remember what this lumber was for, but my little Burley Flat Bed trailer was able to get it (and me) home in one piece.

The point of car-free days is to try to limit our carbon footprint.  We live in a small town so it’s easy for us to bicycle.  If we lived in a large city with public transportation, we would use it.  We feel that it’s important to cut down on our energy usage (and pollution) as much as possible.

Just for the record I want to add the totals from my little solar system

12-31-13…..5139 Total Kilowatt hours produced from start up in June 2009

12-31-12…..3915 Total Kilowatt hours produced from start up in June 2009

1224 Kilowatt hours produced Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013

12-31-13…..188.1 Total kilo-amp hours produced from start up in June 2009

12-31-12…..143.2 Total kilo-amp hours produced from start up in June 2009

44.9 Kilo-amp hours produce Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013

1-1-14…..Zero’d out the meter today.

12-31-14…..45.6 Kilo-amp hours produced Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014

12-31-15…..48.6 Kilo-amp hours produced Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015

12-31-15…..1,320 Kilo wt hours produced Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015

12-31-15…..Note to Pat…Did NOT zero out meter…Didn’t remember code. 😦

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This was brought to my attention by Emily Heath, a fellow beekeeper in Great Britain whom I follow. George Menbiot states the situation much better than I. (I’m a printer, not a writer)
Think about this the next time you are tempted to buy that useless gift.
Before you leave the house to go shopping, take a re-usable cloth bag. Don’t buy plastic gifts that will end up in the garbage in a few days. RECYCLE AND RE-USE as much as possible.

naïve to cultured

Ah humans. So superior to the Mother Earth which puts up with us.

Photographer Chris Jordan is doing a fantastic work on Midway Island in the Pacific. It’s so easy to consume something in a plastic container, throw it in the trash can, put it out for collection, and COMPLETELY FORGET ABOUT IT FOR FOREVER.

Meanwhile, this plastic can’t be easily disposed of. So it’s thrown in the ocean by bad businesses and governments and collects mainly in the Pacific where it is creating quite a disgusting and embarrassing problem. We should be very embarrassed. We should be apologizing profusely. But who we are really hurting are animals who can’t call out to us, who can’t hurt us, who we don’t even think about EVER.

Please do your part. RECYCLE and REUSE when you have to buy plastic, but do NOT buy PLASTIC if not necessary!!

Please see Chris’ documentary…

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