Tag Archives: Bainbridge Island

A Real Quack Up: Raising Ducks

Spring is springing up in most places this time of year. That means that flowers are poking out of the earth, best viagra for sale baby animals are being born (check out our new chicks), and bees are starting to buzz around. While you may think “bees” just means “honeybees”, there are many other insects out and about performing the very critical task of pollinating flowering trees, vegetable gardens and flowers. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have food.

Mason Bees, or Orchard Bees, are insect pollinators that are native to North America. These bees are different from the traditional honeybee and an important part of your local food and garden system. Besides being native to the U.S. and assumingly more prepared to deal with our climates and environments, they also do not require the same amount of care. They are also more efficient pollinators that other insects including honeybees!

Why mason bees?

  1. They are great pollinators and do wonders for your gardens
  2. They are easy to care for
  3. They don’t sting unless really, really, really threatened (which is great for people that are allergic to honeybee stings)

Read more to learn about Mason Bees or click to watch a quick video.

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Picking up Chicks: For your Backyard Flock

As someone that can and will eat practicially anything, best viagra tadalafil I can’t imagine how hard it is to live with a food allergen or intolerance.  Unfortunately, best cialis there is a growing number of people that do have dietary restrictions and are thusly precluded in enjoying some of life’s food pleasures.  Thankfully with a little knowledge and substitution, you can create fabulous recipes that they too can enjoy.

I developed this Dairy-Free Cranberry Citrus Scone recipe for a friend of mine who struggled to find something to pair with his morning coffee.  These scones are filled with bright jewel-colored dried fruit that are dairy-free but full of taste.  I also used sustainable ingredients where I could.

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New Year’s Resolution: Our Carbon Diet for No Impact

Tis the season for celebration and as with many cultures, tadalafil site  we typically (and joyfully) include some holiday libations.  As we get ready to celebrate the New Year, our attention on sustainable living focused on the liquor cabinet and making sure it was stocked with choices that have a better impact on the environment and local economy.  So the theme of drinking responsibly takes on a dual meaning.

The good news is that these days it is not hard to find choices that are better for the environment.  Sustainably grown and harvested wines are more accessable and affordable.  This includes the New Year’s Bubbly too! Continue reading

Drink Responsibly – Sustainable Drinks for New Years

The intention of this year’s Thanksgiving was to focus our sustainable living efforts towards the use of local ingredients. The greater powers-that-be apparently thought that was too easy and decided to challenge us further by hitting us with a doozy of a winter storm that knocked out the power for three days.

So not only were we challenged with making our favorite dishes with some new techniques and ingredients (aka homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup and a local Heritage Turkey), cialis sale there we also had to cook everything without and oven or conventional range stove. We were not going to let this act of nature stop us from celebrating and eating our Thanksgiving meal.

So here is how we faired not only cooking a sustainably sourced Thanksgiving meal but how we prepared it “off-the-grid”.

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Meet Tom – Our Thanksgiving Turkey

Reducing waste is something humankind is starting to think more about – but in a “them” not “me” sort of way.

I recently watched “Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage” and was mortified to learn that in the U.S. alone we produce 250 million tons of garbage a year – that is enough to cover the state of Texas twice!

You may have even heard about this “landmass” of plastic floating out in the Pacific and for a brief moment you think, viagra sales see “Yuck! We have to do something about this!”. But then life happens and you find yourself lugging packed trash bins to the end of the driveway every week as your donation to the garbage collection Gods and don’t think much about it.

Habits like weekly trash take-out are hard to break. This was most likely one of the first chores you had as a kid.

“You can’t watch cartoons until you take out the trash”, viagra canada cheap was a common phrase around our house. Given the direct association with something much more enjoyable, like watching cartoons, this chore was done as quickly as possible and didn’t involve much thought or time. Just stuff the sack full and pull it to the end of the driveway. Done! Time for “Bugs Bunny”!

But the hard truth is all this “habit” is staring to stack up. Sure there are holes to dumb it into and it will just disappears, right? Out of sight, out of mind, right? If we don’t see it, it is not really there. It is like an advanced version of peek-a-boo for all of humanity.

So what can you do?

First thing I suggest is take a month off from the weekly “take out the trash” ritual. Go ahead; I grant you permission to just let it pile up in your garage, cans and bins. Just think, a whole month of not worrying about this chore.

Now, at the end of the month take a look. Still think you are not part of the problem?

Don’t forget to multiply by 12 (for the months in the year) and then by 77.9 (life expectancy of an average Middle class American) and then subtract zero.

Yep- subtract zero because garbage in a landfill takes roughly 100-150 years to breakdown one quarter of the way (depending on composition and landfill environment). Okay you math majors and engineers, it is probably is not “zero” but I am not mathematically motivated to try to calculate this. It is close enough to demonstrate the fact that we are producing more garbage in a lifetime that will be reduced in one.

So now what?

Now start a household challenge. Take one trash can (32 gallon) and that is all you can fill over a course of the month. Recycled items don’t count against this quota, so get a recycling bin for this. Sound impossible to just use the one can for garbage? It is easier than you think.

When we moved to Camp 4 we had no idea how much we were throwing away. After putting our trash can out one Monday for collection, we learned when it was not magically collected that it was not a free service on our island. We researched and found out that it would cost us $30 a month for curbside pick up or we could just run it down the road to the landfill for $4 a can/bag.

So with me being the perpetual cheap skate, I insisted that we would save this money and just take the garbage the 3.2 miles (round trip) to the dump. After all, we would breakeven if we only had 6 bags of garbage a month and there was no way a family of two was going to produce that much garbage, right?

Wrong! First month we hauled 10 bags to the dump and that was with the recycle bins also overflowing. I was shocked! We had to reduce this.

So then we started super-sorting our recyclables. We posted a chart of all the things that could be recycled and put it near the kitchen garbage can. Anything that could be recycled was sorted. It took a while to learn what was “in” and “out”. I spent a few moments daily quizzing my husband, “Is this recycling or garbage?”

We are lucky to live in area where the are markets for many different recyclable materials so that easier to recycle materials. Believe it or not, most items can be recycled but many waste management companies won’t bother if they can find a market for the materials. They are a business after all that need to make money and if they can’t sell the post-consumer waste, they won’t bother with the sorting and processing and it will be garbage too.

After a month of this new ritualistic Q&A behavior over the trash can, we were still in the 5-bag-a-month-club.

So then we started looking closer to what was going in the trash. Scarily a lot of the waste was food and paper and the rest was made up cat litter (from our three cats), un-recyclable plastics (plastic Ziploc bags, grocery bags, plastic films from food containers) and other things we didn’t think had a home beyond the landfill. And of course the items that my husband called “lazy trash” which would be me not following the rules and just being lazy and throwing it away.

After a few months of research, awareness building, and husband induced “spouse-pressure”, we got to some simple house rules to reduce our waste (listed in order of easiest to more challenging).
1) Call it what it is: Put a sign on your garbage can that says “landfill” – makes you think twice about what goes in that can.

2) Recycling Center: Set up an at-home recycling center with sorting instructions. You can easily find out what is accepted at you local waste management facility by getting on their website or calling them. You want an eye opening family trip, see if they offer tours!
3) Get a second life: things that you may think of as single-use can be multiple-use. For example, we wash out and reuse all plastic tubs (cottage cheese, yogurt), glass jars and plastic bags (like zip-loc). Even one more usage can help reduce.
4) Lose the paper towels and napkins: This is so easy to do – just use cloth! We have cloth napkins for eating with- not just for fine dining any more! Every family member has their own that they use all week and a personal napkin ring to avoid confusion. Also, keep a collection of rags and wash cloths for general clean up. I promise this doesn’t add that much laundry!

5) Create a grocery shopping kit: Keep reusable grocery bags, produce bags (cloth or re-use the plastic ones), and an assortment of reusable containers for other bulk foods. Keep this in the car that you take shopping (or one in each car).
6) Buy smart: Pay attention to your purchases and evaluate if you could buy in bulk or buy a product that uses recyclable materials for packaging. Remember “garbage in = garbage out”; if you don’t bring it in your house, you won’t have to throw it out.
7) Don’t feed the garbage can: food scraps can have a second life too.. Here are some potential ways to dispose of food items:
- meat and dairy or food with oils and sauces- your four-legged carnivores; will happily help but always in moderation. Also make sure that it is not toxic.This is good food and feeding Fido or Felix (or if you have a pig or two) a portion of table scraps IN MODERATION is something you can do. Just make sure to help them manage their diets (or I will have hundreds of angry veterinarians posting notes to me).

- vegetable, fruit, grain based food- compost or worm bins (or if you have them, chickens can process the vegetable and grains)
8) Find it a home: you have heard “that one man’s trash is another’s treasure”, it is true! Donate to local second hand stores, have a rummage sale, post it on Craig’s List. Here are some resources for your use:
9) Up-cycle: this is a fancy word for turning something into something else with another use. I have turned old ripped clothes into cleaning rags or braided rugs. Paper bags can be decorated as easy gift bags. Just Google “item + second use” and you will get lots of ideas of what that items next life could look like.

We are now to a point were we take only 1 bag to the dump. And this is mostly cat litter as I have yet to find a litter the cats will use and that controls odors. But the search continues.

It may seem like a lot of work and perhaps it does take longer than just throwing it into the abyss of the landfill, but start with # 1 and then move to #2 and then through the list and see the impact. I bet you won’t even notice until you take that one small bag to the curb and realize you don’t need to make multiple trips to get it done.

Reducing waste is something humankind is starting to think more about – but in a “them” not “me” sort of way.

I recently watched “Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage” and was mortified to learn that in the U.S. alone we produce 250 million tons of garbage a year – that is enough to cover the state of Texas twice!

You may have even heard about this “landmass” of plastic floating out in the Pacific and for a brief moment you think, viagra canada store “Yuck! We have to do something about this!”. But then life happens and you find yourself lugging packed trash bins to the end of the driveway every week as your donation to the garbage collection Gods and don’t think much about it.

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