Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Green am I?

This weeks blog is about me and how my green life is going. Been getting progressively greener since March. My organic veggie, earth friendly roommate moved out beginning of July, so I'm living alone again. We won't be laughing, dancing and singing round the house together anymore. Sniff, sniff. I thank her for getting me on board with a greener way of life.

Town Square, photo by LightI live in a very small community of about 4,000 mostly elderly  folks. We've got a beauty salon, senior center, doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, realtor, small clothing store, restaurant  and post office all in our little town square. It's so cute. The  photo left is of the square. Across the street is an 18 hole golf course with clubhouse and restaurant.  Don't know the meaning of the words healthy food. Look at you like you've got 2 heads when you ask for a veggie anything. Say what???

Anyway, I walk to the Post Office everyday. It's about 1/2 mile from my house. The nearest grocery store is about 10 miles via interstate. There's no public transportation and because there are no back roads bicycling is out. Weird I know. 'Sides I don't have a working bicycle. Have a 1997 Honda Civic hatchback which gets about 40 mpg most of the time. Feel fortunate. Keep tires inflated and only drive when necessary. I've cut trips into town down to about once or twice a month. Would like to go more... feelin' a bit deprived.

When I go in for a shop, I buy water in bulk too. Have 5 gallon bottles. Cost is only $1 for 5 gallons. Won't drink the tap water, would if I could but, it tastes bad and is full of minerals and other unmentionables. It's called aggressive water cause of how fast it builds up like rock formations on everything it touches.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Still using locally grown or organic produce and eggs mostly. Grow many of my own herbs. The photo right is sage in my garden. Buy rice, beans, grains, flours, oatmeal, salt, sugar and spices in bulk. Store them in quart or 1/2 gallon canning jars. Use organic dairy products including milk, butter, cream cheese and yogurt. But cheese is a different story. Started baking and making lots of food from scratch including bread. Have a bread machine that looks like R2D2. Makes terrific bread. Bake my own cookies too. That way I know what's in 'em. Taste better, cost less and there's less packaging to deal with. 

Never ate much meat but now it's a flavoring agent, because I like the taste, instead of the the main ingredient. Mostly I cook vegetarian. Been trying recipes from around the world like Pad Thai and curried coconut veggies. And I'm eating lots of fresh organic salads with greens, shredded beets and carrots, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and lemon juice. Never thought I'd say I love salad... but I do now. The food tastes different, fresher and more alive. But the odd thing is I'm not wanting to cook and eat very often. I just noticed I was hungry and thought 'Is it time to eat again already?' What's up with that?

I'm still using eco-friendly dish liquid. Right now it's Bio Pak Ultra with tea tree and aloe, Green Apple scent. Works great, but don't like the smell much. Will try a different green kind next time. Or might buy the Dishmate Almond, I liked it. I've noticed my hands like these products better too. They aren't rough and dry any more. And my dish sponge still smells nice. I do the dishes by hand, don't have an automatic dishwasher. But I think I run the water too much. More then is frugal. So I'm not perfect... humph.

Haven't noticed a change in my electric bill since my roommate left. But we'd already cut way back. I'm cooking a bit more and I've got an old 2001 Dell with a big fat monitor that's on at least 6 hours a day so I can keep blogging. Wondering about that. Sure, it's EnergyStar rated, but I know it sucks power. And it's slowing down real bad and making growlin' noises too. Materializin' a new laptop. Visualizing myself using one, concentrating, focusin' every day... poof... new laptop. Poof... old computer gone, in that order please. Thank you. Whole bunch of poofin', no materializin'. Sigh, what's that 'Secret'? 

Keep blinds closed and ceiling fans on. Air conditioners off except when it gets really hot a couple hours in the afternoon. Have switched off the power strips mostly. I forget once in a while. The old TV, VCR and DVD players are unplugged all the time cause I don't ever watch them. The clock on my stove doesn't work. Don't own a coffee pot. Drink tea with milk mostly. Heat a mug full of water in my electric teapot. The microwave has a clock. It's the only one in the kitchen. Don't have a cell phone or power charger. Think I'm doing pretty good with all this stuff generally. Conserving, doing what I can. Writing about it and telling my friends too.

Now we're all on board the green train to conscious change.

Oh yeah a P.S.... ants invaded my house again. Did a cinnamon treatment inside and out. Worked great for all rooms except my bedroom closet. I must have missed a spot or something. Those buggers invaded my laundry basket and chewed holes in two of my favorite tee shirts and a pair of undies. Now they look like Swiss cheese. Rotten ants. Had to get out the artillery... big guns. Read about cornmeal killing ants. So I put some out. They took it back to the nest and I haven't seen 'em since. Not very compassionate. Pppppffffftttttt!!! Good riddance!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gas Guzzling Gaffe solutions?

Well first off I want to say that I'm no expert. Just an average gal who cares, like I said before. But I'm learning, opening and grasping lots of new ideas. Then sharing with you all this great stuff I learnt and liked. So hope you don't mind this blog being a sharing rather than a teaching.

That said, seems I'm suppose to continue with the transport subject again. 'Cause all this week I've surfed and heard about more and more. So I stand corrected. Looks like there are lots of great minds worldwide thinking on this subject.

Here's one great change making incentive... "Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize (PAXP), is a $10 million contest that wants to eliminate our oil addiction and stop global warming." Jay Leno did the opening to the event announcement that Progressive Insurance is the name sponsor of Automotive X PRIZE. Jay also took delivery of the the 1st production model Tesla Roadster July 2008 and he talks about it at Jay's garage.

Watched Neil Young interviewed by Charlie Rose on Thursday 7-17. Seems Neil is working with Jonathan Goodwin, owner of H-Line conversions to turn his hotrod 1959 Lincoln Continental into a 100mpg green machine and more. And he plans to enter it in the PAXP. 'Live to ride, ride my green machine!' Neil's dream is ridin' green.

Heard a talk by Al Gore on Thursday 7-17 that was so motivating. About changing the way electricity is made with solar, wind, water, etc. instead of coal or fossil fuel. Gave us a goal of 10 years to make the change. Changes the scope, potential and feasibility of electric cars and their long term environmental impact. Timely... you're blazing the trail Al... go, go, go!

Went to APS' website, our local electric company. They offer Green Choice Rates, electricity made from wind, water and solar power. Maybe your electric company offers green rates too?

On 7-23 came across articles about a Minnesota dairy farmer who is using methane from his cows to power his car, farm and 70 homes in the area. And a California dairy farmer too. Dang! Phoot phoouel of the phoouture is a reality!

So here's more cool green innovative transport ideas.

A few more electric cars...

Phoenix Motorcars, Inc. - electric SUV & SUT

phoenix-sutsm Phoenix Motorcars, Inc, Ontario, CA is releasing 2 new all electric vehicles a truck and an SUV. 100% electric. 0-60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Top Speed 95mph. Range 130 miles. Charge time with on-Board Charger 5 to 6 hours. With off-Board High-Power Charger under 10 min. to 95% SOC. Base price: $45,000. Release date mid 2008. Later in 2008 will have extended-range battery option for 250 miles.

Aptera Motors - Super-MPG Electric Typ-1e aptera typ-1

Aptera Motors, Carlsbad, CA initially sales of the Typ-1e will be limited to California residents only. 100% electric vehicle, 120 mile range. Top speed 85 mph. 0-60 in under 10 seconds. 3 wheels, 2 seats. Base price: $30,000 or less. Hybrid also available 600 mile range. Read more about it at Popular Mechanics.

Here's a webpage that lists 30 electric cars available now.

And folks across the globe are getting on board too. Here's one example: US-Based Company Helps Denmark and Israel Get Behind the Wheel of Electric Cars the idea is called Project Better Place introduction expected 2010.

Air powered car???

Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM) - Air Car concept

citycat-blue First air powered car will be produced in the U.S. by Zero Pollution Motors New Paltz, NY. ZMP is the U.S. licensee for MDI France who developed the Air Car. The CityCat (model shown) hybrid can travel 1,000 miles on a fill up. Top speed 96 mph. Zero to low C02 emissions. Seats six. Base price $17,800. Introduction to U.S. expected in late 2009 or early 2010.  Read more about it at Popular Mechanics.

Engineair Pty Ltd, - rotary air engineairengine

Angelo Di Pietro is the designer of a unique rotary piston engine that is powered by compressed air, called the Engineair. His company Engineair Pty Ltd is located in Brooklyn, Australia. He says it emits zero pollution, uses no petrol or batteries, takes minutes to recharge and has many applications like powering a car, boat, motor cycle and more.

Here's a video about air powered cars talks about Air Car by MDI and Di Pietro's unique engineair.

Water as a fuel continued???

HHO a new clean fuel alternative?

Water (H2O) turned into HHO gas through low voltage, something scientists once thought impossible is safe, cost-effective, and eco-friendly according to Denny Klein owner of Hydrogen Technology Applications, Inc. Clearwater, Florida. Aquygen™ HTA's name for HHO is a combustible gas made through their Aquygen generator. The internet is buzzing everywhere with talk of HHO, other inventors and applications like Hydrogen on Demand as a fuel for vehicles. Amazing concept!

So many cool and interesting new technologies. So much energy. So much happening. It's just plain excitin'. Goin' green and savin' the planet. Yahoo!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gas Guzzling Gaffe

Gas just keeps going up and up. It's crazy! What can we do? Grin and bear it? Eat less food to fill the tank? Not bloody likely. Won't go hungry to feed that monster. Go to town less. Cut trips to once a month. Do everythin' at once. A Band-Aid is all. Sure it'll cut costs some. And cut pollution a little. But it's short term. My little car already gets about 40mpg. Gotta find a better way to this Gas Guzzling Gaffe!

All of it got me thinkin'. I've heard folks say, 'That's a scary thought... she's been thinkin' again, ah oh!' Well, pppffffttt and raspberries to ya. Anyway we got a crisis as I see it. Ya'd think the great minds of the world who can split atoms, create starwars, go to the moon and back... for cripes sakes... could come up with an efficient, clean runnin' engin'. That doesn't use fossil fuels in any part of the process.

Just read 'bout hydrogen fuel cells. Sure sounds good. Till ya find out that fossil fuels are used to make hydrogen, mostly. So we use fossil fuels (which we're trying to moving away from) to make another potentially skyhigh fuel which runs clean. Got pollution in the makin' and maybe a higher cost to boot. Don't see a fix there. But fuel cells can run on any fuel even methane. There's an idea! Refine and bottle cattle phoots. Recycle and reduce pollution too. Imagine the commercials for a new phootmobile. MG's new FART - Fast Affordable Reliable Transportation. Runs on Phoots, the clean burning, recycled phoouel of the phoouture.

Sure it's funny but most methane is obtained from fossil fuel not cattle. So don't think that's a solution. Sigh! If there's pollutin' anywhere in the process it won't work. Can't use it to power anythin'. Or if there's a limited amount and it's not renewable or adds pollution. Can't use it. Like oil, coal, natural gas. What if it takes land to produce that could grow food to help feed the hungry around the world. Is that a solution? It's a quandary. We gotta think of all consequences.... long term.

But what about right now? Been doin' some surfing on transport. Found some interesting stuff. Short term... better fuel economy is a start. Small gasoline or hybrids for better gas mileage. But GAWD why isn't the mpg higher. Here's the top two fuel savers...

smart  smartcar

smart, a member of Mercedes-Benz Cars is produced in France. smart ForTwo, 3-cylinder, 1-liter gasoline powered engine is currently rated as the highest mileage car in the US. It is classified as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). Ratings: top speed 90mph, 33-40 mpg city, 41-45 mpg highway. Base Price: $12,235. A 100% electric smart is currently being tested in the UK.

Toyota Motors2008-Prius-Hybrid-9 Hybrid

Toyota Prius (hybrid-electric) is currently rated as the highest mileage gasoline/electric hybrid. It is classified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (ATPZEV). Ratings: 48 mpg highway, 45 mpg city. Base Price: $21,500.

Just heard that Toyota is having trouble keeping up with demand for their hybrid. Well that good, but it still pollutes and uses fossil fuel so how about a more eco-friendly solution?

Maybe electric? There are some in the works. Here are two...

Tesla Motors Electric carteslaroadster

Now in production in USA at Tesla motors a 100% electric sports car. Fast 0-60 in 3.9 seconds,  Zero emissions, 220 miles per charge, 2-3.5 hour charge. Base price: $109,000. There is a waiting list for this car.

Just read in the July 21 issue of Newsweek that Elon Musk cofounder of Tesla Motors said "Our second product is a sedan that is about half the price and will be produced in late 2010. We think we could either directly or in partnership with a major auto company actually get to a car that is under $30,000 in four years."

Th!nk Global Think-cityElectric Car - a green machine

Now in production in Norway and coming to the US. The Th!nk City is a 100% electric vehicle, designed for city driving. Zero emissions, 95% recyclable, made of recycled materials. It can travel up to 110 miles in city driving, top speed 65mph. Th!nk City will be sold in Europe in late 2008 and in US 2009. US price expected to be sub $25,000.

If we go all electric it's good. But how is that electricity produced at the plant? Does it burn fossil fuel or coal? Even atomic power plants have serious long term pollution issues. If all transportation is plug in (electric) it means higher electric demand. Many power plants can't keep up with demand now. With brown or black outs happenin' on real hot or cold days... all over. What happens if we add transportation to the mix? Seems this mode of electric power transportation is only a short term solution at best... with lots of limitations.

Unless perhaps the electricity to power the vehicle is self generated somehow. Through solar or water or something other. Here is a water powered concept car with interesting potential...

Genepax Co, Ltd.  Water Energy System (WES) concept vehicle.WES water car

Genpax a Japanese firm has developed a system that extracts electricity from water, Zero emissions. The H2O Power concept car (WES in Reva, shown) runs on water. Genepax hopes to partner with an automaker to produce WES powered vehicles. If interested here is a website on how it works.

Pie in the sky or the next motorized carriage???

How about a magnetic motor? Two Australian Inventors have developed a generator which they claim will run for years on it's own power and make 5 times the energy it uses.  Can even power a car they say with zero pollution. The video is amazing and interesting. Such potential.

There are a lot of ideas for free energy or zero point energy machines on the Living Web. Are they true? Don't know, but sure are interesting and have great potential.

The sky's the limit... it's only limited now by what we can imagine. Let's do great things, ask lots of questions and make this happen for the betterment of ourselves, our children and the planet!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cattle Cutting Cheese Catastrophe

Cattle cutting cheese? What's up with that? Most living creatures phoot. Why is that newsworthy? Just heard that cattle phooting is the second largest contributor to global warming.  Higher then transportation. It's inconceivable!

Massive numbers of 'em stockpiled. Force fed corn or soy. Hard to digest. Stomachs made for grass, so there's massive upset. Creating voluminous gas. Now this isn't just any phoot. It's methane. It's flammable. More toxic then CO2. And being released in incredible quantities. Ever driven by a stockyard? It's a smelly mess for miles.

The average American eats half a pound of meat a day. Twice as much as USDA recommends. So meat producers pack 'em in even more. 10,000,000,000 animals a year to feed our need. Which means more and more stinkin' phoots pollutin' the air. It's a Cattle Cutting Cheese Catastrophe.

But there's more...

Mark Bittman a food critic, discusses the current state of our food. Too much meat, too few plants and too much fast food is putting our lives and the planet at risk. Watch this entertaining and enlightening video to find out how. It's funny, fascinating and firey.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

TED: Ideas worth spreading:

July 2, 2008 - BBC reports that higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, cereals and less red meat, plus more olive oil are a healthier diet. More...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Outrageous Organic Ostracism

I'm in this clique of 'health nuts' now. Put there by friends and family. How nice of them! Say I'm a ravin', 'save the planet', 'organic vegetable eatin', liberal. Not at all who everyone thought I WAS! Humph! Never thought I'd see THAT day. The neat little slot I'm filed in contains others with the same 'strange thinking'. Not who I am of course. I care some. About myself. About my health. About my impact on 'everyone' and 'everything'. And visa versa too. So I'm chastised for it. I'm an outcast livin' in Outrageous Organic Ostracism hell.

And the other side is even stranger. I'm 'rich & famous' 'cause I eat organic. Put you in this slot 'cause everyone who eats organic must be wealthy'. Right? This is an exclusive club only some can afford... 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous'. A bloody marketing ploy. Was having a conversation with a couple of guys the other day. One said, "Having a pre-lunch carbo load of organic fruit loops." Another replied, "First of all, there are organic Fruit Loops? And second, they have carbs? The mind boggles." They first guy replied, "Whole foods sells organic fruit loops. Sure, they're $30 a box, but so good." I retorted, "Our local health food store has 'em for $5 bucks a box. You be getting ripped off son."  Healthier food doesn't have too cost a lot. Geez. He actually got mad and stomped off. I'm baffled. Must have blown his image or somethin'. Outrageous Organic Ostracism.

I'm just an average kinda gal, don't come near to rich. But gawd, the thought of livin', breathin' and eatin' 24/7/365 in a cesspool of toxic chemicals and pollution hit me like a ton of bricks. Gotta do something. So I'm livin' this organic, more conscious lifestyle, now. Right? And thinkin' I've got to deprive myself. Organic means healthy food. So have to stay away from of all the things I love. Like chocolate chip cookies. Ooohhh, I just love chocolate chip cookies... darn!!!

My roommate's birthday was coming up and I asked her what she wanted. She said, "Chocolate chip, pecan cookies. My favorite. I'd love that." I replied, "We're organic, can't make chocolate chip cookies." She said, "Yes you can. Organic doesn't mean health food it means naturally grown without added chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. You just use organic ingredients." Wow, I hadn't considered that. That's Right! Like my grandmother.ccpcookies

Made a big batch of organic chocolate chip pecan cookies. Same recipe I always used only organic ingredients, plus ground flax.  Organic is every bit as decadent and delicious. In fact I'd have to say they tasted even better.

Told a high school friend about the organic birthday cookies. He said, "Ah, organic dessert? Boy, I don't know. If you are going to eat dessert, 'ya gotta eat real stuff." I replied, "Organic, the new buzzword. Organic just means back to basics. The way my Gran Gran did things in her garden with manure, compost, worms... al Natural." I handed him a cookie. He took a bite, groaned and said, "Geez these are good. Gimme another!"

Birthday cookies gone. Everyone is pounding fists, stamping feet, shouting, "More, more, more. Make some more!!!" Need crowd control.

Here's my riotous recipe for your tasting pleasure:

Chocolate chip, pecan cookies

1 cup organic unbleached flour
1/3 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter (1 stick softened)
1/2 cup organic unbleached cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar pure vanilla extract
1 large organic egg
1 cup Fair Trade chocolate chips
1/2 cup local pecans (or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients. In mixer, cream butter with white, brown sugar and vanilla. Add egg. when thoroughly mixed add chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 375 F, 9 - 11 minutes. Cool slightly. Dig in!!!

I'm happy. My stomach is happy... cookies! Yea! The earth is happy too. Another people/planet friendly solution.

If your grocery or health food market doesn't carry any of the ingredients request them. Ours will special order and stock it if enough folks ask. A source for Fair Trade chocolate online is New American Dream

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Santa is Seriously Soggy

Was surfing the web looking at other folks pages. Following links. Came upon Al at Gore that is. Watched his new video. Looks like he's been talking to more of them scientists about that climate crisis.

It's worse then we thought. Santa's losin' his home! Oh it's not foreclosure or anything like that. Seems the ground is melting right out from under him. The North Pole is melting!!! Can you imagine! In 5 years Santa home will sink under water. Never to return. Oh there'll still be skim ice over winter. But the real deep hard stuff will be gone.

Emergency!!! We gotta' save Santa! And what about the reindeer? Where will they live? And all the elves? That means no more toys for Christmas. What about the children? They'll be no more presents. This is a crisis I tell you!!! A real CRISIS!

But Al says there's something we can do. 'Take action' he says, "Don't just change light bulbs. Change consciousness. Become active. Talk, write, communicate. Be proactive." Ok, Al  I'm proactivatin'.

Holding air mic, singin' (to the song 'Grandma got run over by a reindeer' by Elmo & Patsy)...

Santa won't be commin' with his reindeer
Landin' on your house on Christmas Eve
'Cause Santa lost his house when North Pole melted
Now he and Mrs. Clause live on the street.

Save Santa's home. Proactivate. Help stop the melt!

Al Gore's new thinking on the climate crisis.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

Permafrost Threatened by Rapid Retreat of Arctic Sea Ice, NCAR/NSIDC Study Finds

Newsweek reported in the July 7-14, 2008 issue Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year’s Extreme Weather