Saturday, November 24, 2007

Living green

My excursion into living green seems to have come hand-in-hand with purchasing my home. I have described some of my plans for native plantings in an earlier entry, but this is not my only avenue to pursue sustainability.

The lists of suggestions for going green and saving a bit as well have been documented in many other posts like this. I practice most of these 42 points including being in the first year of my three plan to replace all my single-pane windows with double paned ones. It is not an inexpensive proposition even in my 836 square feet home, but with the lack of trees around my home for shading in the summer and the amount of cold that infiltrates in the winter, the energy efficiency can only improve.

Recently my green efforts have included bringing my own bags when I go grocery shopping. I always get the brown paper bags and I have more than I can use for a long time. Just in the last couple months, I have brought back my own bags and the baggers have been amenable to using them. I have a small cotton bag that I take with me for quick grocery store runs or for trips to the thrift store. It replaces at least one plastic bag, is more comfortable to carry and folds up nicely in my purse. Future plans include buying some recycled cotton bags for groceries and produce and using those instead of paper or plastic.

I feel a bit like the odd one in my neighborhood as I not only hang out my laundry in warmer weather but I have a composting bin and a rain barrel (currently stored for winter). I use all my fallen leaves for mulch around my home (and supplemented the quantity by raiding piles of leaves from neighbor's curbs). My lawn is treated twice yearly with corn gluten meal and mowed with an electric mower. I attempted to grow a garden in the raised bed on the property this year. Turns out my poor growth was due to a lack of nitrogen so I will have to heavily supplement my growing attempts next spring.

My plans for 2008 include purchasing a second rain barrel, installing two rain gardens and finish landscaping the area in the front of my house using native plants. I may also add to the raised garden bed space to grow more food, and have a company come in and aerate my lawn. The poor thing has been neglected for a long time, hence the greater crop of dandelions than my neighbors' lawns. I look forward to having less lawn to mow--not one of my favorite jobs as a homeowner.

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