Green Living

The more things stay the same

  Hello everyone, It’s been quite some time since my last post so here is a little update. The job is going well as management has found out my ability to adapt to different departments is only eclipsed by my knack for customer service. With every day I try to ensure something new is learned about not only product placement, but also specifications. Currently in the Electrical department I feel at home learning how the items placed on the shelf for the public can have an effect on choices made in power consumption and how to cut back on the same.

   My dream is the same, to bring to the public knowledge of the options available to them to reduce their power consumption while enjoying the latest technologies. The notion that this can go hand in hand with an organic lifestyle may give a technorganic feel, but I do believe that nature and technology can exist in a copacetic relationship. As new items present themselves to me across our shelves, research in how they compare to other available items will be made and put forth to you so you can make your own decisions. For is it not the true teacher that presents all the facts without bias allowing the one learning to choose that which they wish to pursue?

   I look forward to future postings, as well as comments from each and everyone of you as to your comments, questions, and criticisms.

Here are a few images that have caught my eye recently:

From CleanTechnica, V3Solar Spin Cells

From ElectronicDesign, organic photocells

Categories: Architecture, Energy, General Topics, Green Living, Solar, Swamp Fox Green, Technology | Leave a comment

Solar dehydrators

I’ve posted on designs for them before, but I’m always looking for different ones to have the chance at tweaking models. Take a look here for yet another design option.

Categories: DIY, Energy, Food, Green Living, Solar, Swamp Fox Green, Tools | Leave a comment

Days of Silence – 06/14/13

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Its 0800 and I’ve been up since 0630. So far this morning I cut grass until gas was gone (half of front yard), and have watered everything.
I’m glad the predicted 70mph winds didn’t come through last night & that highs are forecast to be around 82 today. A very welcome break in the weather as the heat index had us in the triple digits the last few days.
I once heard a fellow say it seemed as though the places on earth that are the most beautiful experience the most severe weather patterns. This came to mind thinking about summer in the southeast. When the sun breaks through the pines and we have moderate temperatures with a light breeze and you are listening to nature exalt in it’s glory? These are a few things that remind you of what holds you into a simple country kind of life.
There are many modern technologies which can be incorporated into this lifestyle which allow us to place a smaller footprint upon this world than our ancestors ever could. The flip side of that coin is there are many lessons their legacy has bestowed upon us we would certainly be foolish to forget or ignore.

Categories: Daily thoughts, Green Living, Swamp Fox Green | Tags: | Leave a comment

Days of Silence: 05/20/13

Well the phone is still off so no calls or texts for two weeks and no internet for just over a week. My prior experience in being in a state of communication blackout prepared me for not having such resources.

Today was the heaviest rainfall of the season and I had to grab the hoe and trenched several locations. I was also able to replenish my water reserve. It was after filling my tanks I began trenching and was astonished to find the rain had only soaked just over 1/4″ into the soil. The soil beneath this depth was literally powder dry.

I have added another garden spot. This one is 10’x10′ .

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This is the only rowed plot I have done. Four rows of Rainbow Glass Gem corn, a row of brussel sprouts, a row of mixed bell peppers, and a row of mixed carrot varieties with a few Bolivian Rainbow pepper plants thrown in.

I have also come across several old tires that I am attempting to grow potatoes in. There are a couple of tree stumps in the backyard and I have placed two around one of them, which brought the top of them and the stump level. I then placed another on top of them and stuffed it with dried out grass (hopefully dead, acting as straw). I then added another tire, stuffing it with grass as well. I shoved grass down around the stump top as well and left a hollow. I placed a few shovelfuls of soil into the hollow and watered it to determine how well it would retain the soil. Seeing no loss I then added six potato cuttings then placed a layer of soil across them. I checked on this after today’s rains and have noticed no obvious loss of soil. My hopes are the decaying grass as well the stump will provide nutrients for the potatoes. Secondary will be the interesting results on the stump’s rate of decay.

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I also came across materials to set up a chicken coop. There is what they were using as a coop which I feel will be deconstructed to add to what I want to end up with. The actual coop will built from a discarded baby crib. There are bars missing on one side which will serve as a doorway. The drop down section on the opposite side’s top will end up being an outside access door to the laying boxes. Raising the crib a foot or so, providing a ramp walkway, placing a wire enclosure for them to feed on and the basic necessities are taken care of. Enclosing the top of the “yard” is another aspect I am looking at exactly on how to proceed.

Many nights lately have been spent awakening more often than sleeping. Several of those nights I had attributed to naps

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during the day yet I find myself awake now at one in the morning after thirty minutes of lying in bed. Saturday I sat back in my chair at three in the afternoon and later moved to the bed to get up Sunday morning at six. Yet Sunday night was basically one of peaceful rest.

This morning finds me listening to the BBC with the frogs and crickets providing background. There is a light fog with an occasional breeze.

Categories: Daily thoughts, DIY, Gardening, Green Living, Plants, Swamp Fox Green | Tags: | Leave a comment

2013 Gardening – Plot Four

I had all intentions of starting this plot and knew it would be a booger once I did.

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Plot 4 Start

I marked off ten by twelve feet for this plot. The main type of grass through my yards is centipede and if you aren’t familiar with it the root system is extensive once it has had a decade to establish itself. I chose to tackle removal with the trusted hoe you see propped up there.  The picture above was taken two hours into the task.

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Combined with the tasks of grass and root removal was the issue of levelness. I went by sight and used a garden rake to come as close to level doing so after hoeing as much out as possible.  High side ended up being dropped three inches. The shot above is five hours of removal and leveling.

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I started this morning around seven, first picture was at nine, second at twelve and the one above six this evening. I planted the eighteen Rainbow Glass Gem corn kernels I set in wet paper towels and placed inside a Ziploc bag Wednesday to have sprouted for planting. I decided to go companion planting in a square foot method.
I varied straight and crook neck squash, peas, beans, eggplant, watermelon in this section and have my fingers crossed.
Tomorrow I’ll jump back into this plot again looking to finish out my RGG corn then on the opposite side begin with sweet corn. I have plenty of bean, squash, watermelon and eggplant seed remaining so it may be another full day. The thoughts of how rewarding all this labor can be already has my mouth watering and everything going well promises to be more than enough to fill my cupboard.

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Natural household cleaners

Looking to move away from harsh ingredients when its time to clean? Vinegar, baking soda and lemon make for excellent cleaning agents. I came across a good article on this over at Earth911

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Shade loving plants

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Not all plants need full sun, and we all mostly have areas around the home which get a less sun as well. Here’s a sampling of plants that can make do with four hours of sun a day.

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Hydroponic Project 001

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Hydroponic 001

Pictured here is my DIY hydroponic initial testing project.
Material list:
1) 1 plastic bin
2) 4ft plastic tubing
3) 1 foot pedal air pump
4) 6 plastic water bottles
5) 6 peat seed starting plugs
6) 1 empty onion mesh bag (cut to size)
7) tape
8) rock (to hold hose in place on bottom of bin)
   You can use other items as replacements for the ones I used; mine were all on hand so that’s why they were chosen.
   I started by choosing my growing medium,  the peat was left over from my attempt last year at seed starting and growing vegetables long after they were out of season. In regard to the water I had started composting in a bucket several weeks back so I used a gallon of it with nine gallons of water. I added crushed eggshell, Osmicote fruit and vegetable food, and a small amount of ash to round out the fluid mixture.
   The bottles were cut just taller than half way with quarter inch wide and an inch a half tall openings from the bottom up. I did four of these cut outs per bottle to allow the roots plenty of area to reach into the water. I always keep the mesh bags when I have eaten store bought fruits or vegetables and this came in handy. I cut sections from the mesh then slid this into the bottle making a suspension net for the seed in the plugs .

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Suspended Medium

I used tape to keep the mesh in place on the bottles. You most likely noticed tape on the side of the bin as well, this is to add support due to pressure of the water (a precaution as I don’t want the bin busting and the compost water all over my porch!).
   The purpose of the pump is to aerate and circulate the water. This promotes microbe growth to give the plants a healthy life. I centered the hose end on the bin bottom then weighted it down with one a rock.
   This unit has three Apollo arugula and three mixed mini bell pepper plants. Always remember to plan whether you want to have your plants to remain in such a unit or if you are only using it to grow seedlings as that determine the strength you need to make your “potting”.
   I look forward to providing updates on this project as I hope you will enjoy them.

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Around the yard.

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I’ve posted showing several of the blossoms around my yard before, but have a few new ones to throw in the mix. See if you recognize any of them.

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Those three pictures are of same plant, with a volunteer growing in combination with it.

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Birdbath

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White Yarrow

Since they aren’t up yet, I’ve included a picture of what has been seeded in the area showing darker around the birdbath’s base. That is jasmine growing behind the bath.

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Companion planting graphic

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The more you know about how to grow in tight spaces and make the plants happy and healthy its a win.

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