Racking My Brain

May 20, 2012

Clematis from my former front yard.

I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to come up with a topic for The Once A Week Page and here it is, the end of the week, and I have nothing. So what am I going to do? I’m going to cheat.

Instead of giving you a helpful suggestion for something you can do to live a more sustainable life I’m going to post photos I’ve taken. Some are of my work, some from my own garden, and some from a recent trip. Since these are all photos I’ve taken myself I ask that you let me know if you use them for more than just personal use. Thank you.

Containers for a condo building in Brooklyn

This is a blow hole along the coast in Kauai. Amazing to witness.

Client backyard. I did the design and my crew and I installed new plants, the stonework and pergola. I trained two neglected grape vines to grow up the pergola .   As part of the second stage an alternative turf lawn of Herniaria glabra will be installed where the mulch currently is.

This is simply a close up of the patio highlighting the natural colors of the stone and the pattern I designed.

Close up of a Brooklyn front yard I designed and installed where I mixed ornamentals and edibles. In with the Marigolds, Salvias, Alyssum and Lillies are Sage, Thyme, Summer Savory and, earlier in the year some colorful greens. Out of view is a tangle of Clematis jackmanii and Scarlett Runner Beans.

I took this at the Na’ Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kauai, Hawaii. I love the texture of the leaf and the way the leaf comes together in the middle.

Many people plant the large bulb Fritillaria imperialis but there is another group of Fritillaria, the dwarf group. This is a photo of Fritillaria michailovsky ‘Multiflora’ from my own garden. It is not the best photograph but I wanted to include it just to let people know these bulbs exist. There Brent and Becky’s is a good source for them and others of the small Fritillaria category.

Euphorbia and Artichoke planted together. Just one more way to try to include edibles in my flower beds.

This is a drystack stone wall we did for a client using only bluestone we found buried in the backyard.

So as to not bore you I am going to limit my posting of photos. But I did have fun sharing my photo adventures so perhaps I’ll do this again in the future.

cause.it

May 11, 2012

This topic isn’t exactly the kind of thing I usually write about but I was so impressed by the concept I couldn’t resist.

A new smart phone app called cause.it lets businesses, people and non-profits come together in a unique way.

Here is how it works. Businesses partner with non-profits. People volunteer for these non-profits and in exchange get discounts to use at the businesses the non-profits are partnered with.

Right now cause.it is only available in a few cities but the company is growing quickly.

There is a very good video on the web site that explains things in full detail.

Earth Day at Whole Foods 4.22.08 010

Earth Day at Whole Foods 4.22.08 010 (Photo credit: lsgcp)

As with produce and meat there is a lot of jargon that gets thrown around when it comes to seafood.

Just this past Earth Day Whole Foods stopped selling red-rated fish. What is red-rated fish you ask?

Whole Foods has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Blue Ocean Institute. These two institutions have created a color-coded sustainability rating system to tell you how sustainably certain kinds of seafood are harvested. Green is best, then yellow, and last red. Whole Foods is no longer selling any red-rated seafood.

If, like me, you could eat sushi day and night (which I did for a week in Tokyo once) go to The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sushi guide. And you can download a sushi specific green, yellow, red pocket guide for the next time you are at your favorite sushi place. Go here and look for the link on the bottom right.

According to an article in Good written by Andrew Price there is a company, ecoATM, that will give you cash or store credit to trade up to a newer cell phone.

You take your old phone to a kiosk which will visually or electronically inspect it and decide what its value is. You can then get cash or store credit for a new phone.

You can find a location here.

Find A Place To Compost

April 4, 2012

A picture of compost soil

A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have stuff to compost but no actual place to compost? Go to FindAComposter.com, enter your location and compost centers will magically appear on your computer screen.

As for keeping the stuff to compost until you get to the compost site you have a couple of options. As we don’t have much counter or under the sink space I put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. But if you have a bigger kitchen there are all kinds of small, kitchen top and under the counter compost pails with charcoal and other kinds of filters that work well.

Retirement

Retirement (Photo credit: scottwills)

Okay, so that title doesn’t REALLY make sense, but hopefully it caught your attention.

Since it is the end of March and getting close to tax day, I’m sure many of us are thinking about IRAs and SEPs and college funds.

This year you might think about investing in a “green” fund. There are several companies out there that have IRAs, mutual funds, money markets, college funds, etc, that invest in companies engaging in sustainable practices.

You have to do your research, just like with any investment, but many of these will give you just as good a return on your money as investing in non-sustainable companies. And these will give you a warm fuzzy feeling with your dividend.

Some companies that have sustainable investment options are:

Green Century Funds

ING

Community Capitol Management

Genetically modified organism(s) - GMO

Genetically modified organism(s) - GMO (Photo credit: Miran Rijavec)

For this week’s Once A Week Page there is one really simple thing you can do. Go to Just Label It, fill out the info on the right hand side of the page and click send message.

There is a pre-written message that will get sent to the FDA asking that they comply with the legal petition which has been filed requesting the FDA label genetically engineered food.

That’s all you have to do. Easy peasy.

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