Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update on my pursuit of green living

My red worms are still alive. This is news because they did not seem to be eating and I was not sure I had many of them left. However, the worm sign is still there, they try to escape when the cat poo disappears and there are no funky smells coming from the composting unit. While the worms are not consuming the quantity of my cats' poop as I had hoped, I am glad I have not killed them. The ability to consume can be supplemented with additional purchased red worms. However, the frugal option is to let nature take its course and let the worms reproduce at their own pace. The Pet Poo Converter is not the resounding success I was hoping for (i.e., no more plastic bags!), but it is still functioning. I can only hope that time will tell if I have a really expensive plastic box in my basement or a viable alternative to flushing cat poop down the toilet.

Another green step I have taken--my single rain barrel will soon have a twin. The same organization from which I purchased my first rain barrel (with installation) I have now purchased a second. Since the rain water diverter allows me to have tandem barrels, I wanted to install a second barrel. With three trees planted for less than two years and several plantings around the house plus a small vegetable garden, I can use all the rain water I can store. The most frugal part of this second rain barrel installation: I will be doing it myself. My dad gave me the four cinder blocks required, I will purchase the length of hose to divert the water to the barrel and in just 30 minutes, I can store 110 gallons of water rather than 55 gallons.

I have been doing a lot of weed pulling. While I try to be green and mostly organic, for the truly difficult and stubborn weeds, I have a small spray bottle of Roundup (my full disclosure statement). I have noticed that spring is a really good time for removing weeds since the freeze/thaw of the ground plus warm weather is just starting means it is easier to remove unwanted plants. I will still have to spend additional time this spring, summer and fall staying ahead of the weeds, but more preventative work now means less work later.

I have not purchased plants, seeds, soil amendments or trees for my property yet, but that is on my list of things to do. My outdoor composter has not progressed much, but more items are added every week and with the warmer weather, the possibility I might have self-generated compost grows. I have decided to skip the corn gluten treatment for my lawn this spring, but have not gotten around to the soil aeration. This project may be pushed into May or June, depending how the possible rain gardens shape up. I need to select and order the native plants for my front yard and for my planned rain gardens. This is all new to me so I may be taking on more than I can handle.

This weekend may not be too green. While I hope to reuse the trim taken from my front window, the first one to be replaced on my house, the chemicals involved in stripping the finish from the wood are distinctly unfriendly. Still, I am interested in trying to strip and refinish my first bits of wood, and if that works, two wood tables (one solid, one veneer) are next on my list.

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