Monday, May 25, 2009

Getting Greener

My Goodness, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done any blogging! So much to say, so little space. :-)

I have been quite busy around here – both dealing with little boys and with our home. We’ve been doing our part for the economy, that’s for sure, as we had all new windows installed in our home. This was our big energy saving move for the year. Our house had many single pane windows and the double pane windows were from the 80’s and you could still feel a chill through them.

It’s amazing how new windows really change your home, both inside and out. Not only do they look nice, but the noise reduction is amazing. And we can feel the difference in the temperature in here as the drafts are not there anymore. It’s a good time to be doing things like this as there are so many incentives. Not only do we have the government rebates from our energy audit, but there was a rebate from the manufacturer and there is now also a tax rebate on home improvements between $1000 and $10,000 for people in British Columbia. This will give us an overall rebate of almost $2000 on the windows, which were discounted some from the manufacturer in the first place. So we will save both money and energy now!

I’ve been doing lots of little things around here. I’ll list a few that I can think of at the moment.

  • Bought a composter – still have to set it up, but now I’ve made a spot for it and it should go in this week.
  • On nice dry days I’ve been hanging out a load of laundry. Our line is a small umbrella style, but I load up as much as I can on it. Since I’ve been doing laundry one load a day as needed, it’s easier to hang it as there is only one load to do.
  • I wash just about everything in cold water – except diapers which get hot. But diapers never go in the dryer except for an air tumble to soften them once they are dry and that only takes a few minutes
  • I started a vegetable garden – so far the radishes have come up – only one lettuce started but I’ll just plant some more – same with the carrots that haven’t really come up either. I’ll just try again. We now have also got tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, as well as the strawberries, rhubarb and raspberries I had already. I will plant a row of peas this week, too. My little garden butts up to the side of a shed, which is getting siding put on it (recycled from a friend), so I can’t plant along the edge just yet. I think there will be some zucchini and some more peas as soon as I can plant them. We also have one bean – named Bean – which is my son’s pet plant.
  • We had a garage sale, which passes things to others, then I shared most of the leftovers by donating them, putting them out on Fullcircles and I sold a few things on Craigslist. Since everything was in good condition I only threw away a few things that were broken when we set up/packed up. That cleared a huge area of our garage.
  • I’ve been gifted things from FullCircles – an old bench seat that I put in our garden, my strawberry plants and raspberry plants and some irises, cloth diapers for my son and more.
  • All of my garden waste has been put into the yard waste bin or the paper bags for it and left out for pickup after which it is sent off to be turned into compost.
  • I recycle all our eggshells around the plants that slugs like - it seems to help keep them away.

That’s everything I can think of right now.

Most of our time is now spent in the garden. Having a big yard is a lot of work but I find I’m enjoying it. I’ve decided not to stress out over the weeds. I just pick a spot and work it a little at a time. Since I don’t know what’s a weed and what’s not in many cases, I’m sure I’m cultivating a few! But that’s ok. I’ll learn as I go. In the meantime, I’m having fun with it all. I did buy weed-killer – it’s finally available in Canada and is made from a highly acidic vinegar. It kills whatever it touches, but if you spray it where you need it, it’s great. And it works well, although the big established weeds take a few applications. We’ve got a whole side of the house covered in them and I sprayed right at their base with it. After a while it got to be tiring doing that – so instead I covered a huge section of them with a big tarp which I will leave on all summer to hopefully bake them off enough to deal with them. I’m using the spray for those that I can’t dig out – like the ones that think cracks in the sidewalk are good places to grow.

Hopefully our little veggie patch will grow, our composter will compost and my time in the garden will be rewarded with some yummy treats. With the good weather finally here, it’s so nice to be outside – and I figure what could be greener than growing?


Maisie said...

Glad to see things are coming together for you now.

We did a carboot sale yesterday and cleared a few bits, and like you had a few bits of broken plastic to throw out.

We have put the remainder back into the second shed as there are now carboot sales organised nearly every weekend during the summer.
We are going to clear through each room seeing if there is anything we don't want and go from there.

Tom said...

Thanks for helping to make the world a better place. I am also glad that you are one of the many homeowners that is beginning to see the benefit of replacing their windows.

In fact there is an excellent e-book on the subject.

Susan in SC said...

Enjoy your new windows, they will make a big difference! My goodness, you have been busy. Your garden sounds delightful!