Posts Tagged ‘Green Living’

The idea behind Prairie Fest is to celebrate our connection to the natural world, by bringing together local food, music, green living proponents, vendors and artists. They did a great job of advertising this year, and really had a big turnout. I went with my mom Virgo, and took Water Boy in our little red wagon. (Help me think of a name for our Radio Flyer Wagon!)

First, we were starving, so we grabbed some soft tacos from Fuzzy’s Taco Shop booth. We sat on the grass listening to the live music while we ate. Then we were off to explore!

Wow, there were so many things there, I couldn’t possibly list them all. Our friends from the Cowtown Farmer’s Market had a booth there (Buy Local! Eat Fresh!), and we got to chat with Gwin from Artisan Baking Company. The Festival really went all out for the kids, with crafts and plays and storytelling, not to mention, the festival was held in a park next to a playground.

Virgo was so excited to find out about the Tarrant County Archaeological Society, being an anthropology major herself. She told me that the reason she fell in love with anthro was because of a flint knapping demonstration by one of her professors.

I was personally thrilled to find an Urban Gardener program through Elizabeth Anna’s Old World Garden, a Master Naturalist program through the Cross Timbers Naturalists Chapter, and a Master Composter class through the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. I really want to do all of these and more! Other booths included the Sierra Club, where I picked up yet another reusable cloth bag, Whole Foods, and the brand new Edible Dallas & Fort Worth magazine.

We bought a pound of raw local honey from Batsmith Creek Beeyard, which also had a live hive on display. Water Boy was absolutely fascinated, and so was I. If you haven’t heard by now, raw local honey is (supposedly) very good for combating allergies. As an allergy sufferer, I thought I’d try it, and plus, honey is good!

Then it was break time. I bought some hummus and pita bread from the Chadra Mezza & Grill booth, and we again sat on the grass and listened to music while we ate. I really wanted to hit up the Rahr Brewery booth, but managed to restrain myself. We walked down the last row, and saw booths for the Fort Worth Vegetarian Society and Vermicomposting. The FW Vegetarians really went all out, as you can see.

By the end of the day, we were tired, sweaty, and sunburned, but it was so worth it. I found a lot of great things to do in Fort Worth, saw some great green exhibits (including Smart Cars!), and spent the day with my mom and son. What more could a girl ask for?


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Earth Hour

This is a scheduled post. I’m sitting in the dark right now, making a vote for a greener Earth. At your local 8:30pm, March 28th, I hope you are too. Earth Hour is an initiative spanning the globe and the global community, to make a choice. Turn off your lights for one hour. Talk, read, go outside and play (although it’s FREEZING here!), listen to the sounds of your neighborhood or your backyard, your city or your country road.

For once, let the stars be brighter than the cities. Go to Earth Hour to learn more. This is our second year participating, and I’m so glad we do. We’ve really begun to make the effort this year to change how we do things. Everything is turned off when we leave the house, including our power strips and the AC/Heat. All of our lights are off if we aren’t in the room. We use Green Mountain Energy for our electricity company. (Texas is a “choose your own” state.)

I’m just so hopeful for the future. Aren’t you?

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I have a notoriously brown thumb. Stillmog shivers in horror every time I bring another victim home. But honestly, I can’t help myself! I grew up with my mom’s garden, and a house full of plants. It’s not my fault I can’t keep them alive to…well…save my life. Or theirs. So I just keep trying, and hoping. Hoping that some day, there will be some lucky plant I can’t kill. (I’ve even killed cactus because I forgot to water it. How sad is that?!)

Water Boy and I made the drive over to my mom Virgo’s house this morning to pick her up. Then off we went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens’ Annual Spring Plant Sale. Too bad it felt like the middle of winter! It was about 38 degrees, with a wind chill factor of Holy Shiate It’s COLD! But I came prepared. Water Boy was in three layers, with a hat, and I bundled him up in his favorite quilt in our little red wagon. I of course forgot to factor in that the plant sale is over a series of Hills and that wagon is hard to pull with thirty pounds of toddler and Stuff in it. But we managed.

I didn’t get much, under the cautious assumption that I might kill things if I tried too many plants this time around. So I picked up three pepper plants, some elfin thyme (which is adorable!) and some catmint. We currently have four cats, so I felt it was necessary. I still have a mint plant that I haven’t put in a pot yet, from our weekly Co-Op. I was strongly tempted by the key lime trees they had for $20, but expense and experience (two dead citrus trees last year) deterred me.

On the way out, Water Boy decided he’d had enough of the wagon, and demanded he be let out. Then I’m guessing he decided we were Going Too Slow and took things into his own hands, dragging us along behind him as he pulled the wagon to the car. I love a man who will take charge like that.

After the plant sale, we went to try out a new cafe in town. Stillmog and I have had terrible luck with local coffee shops, they keep closing on us! Panther City Coffee closed last year, then this January, EuroTazza closed. We spent the majority of my pregnancy with Water Boy at Panther City, playing Magic the Gathering and drinking hot chocolate until late at night. So when my friends at Artisan Baking Company told me about some new clients of theirs, the Gallery Art Cafe, I knew we had to try them out.

Two thumbs way, way up, as Siskel and Ebert would say. They not only serve your standard espresso drinks, but hot food, too. Virgo and I both had their traditional breakfast, two eggs, sausage or bacon, fried potatoes, and wheat toast. We added two large hot chocolates to help us thaw out from our trek across the Frozen Tundra earlier that morning. And yum, it was good. They’ve just extended their evening hours, so I’m hoping to take Stillmog there some evening very soon. Unfortunately, they aren’t that close to our house, about 15 minutes or more away, but if we like them, I feel it will be worth it. This morning, of the five occupied tables, four of them had kids, a very positive sign for Water Boy. The owners were very friendly, too.

The added bonus is that they aren’t called Gallery Art Cafe for kicks. They display the work of local artists on their beautiful brick walls as well as the standard coffee menu. So now I can feel like I’m soaking up culture at the same time I’m soaking up caffeine. Wonderful!

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I discovered a new love tonight.

I’ve known about it for quite a while, but have always kind of poo-poo’d it, thinking, why, that’s what libraries are for! I’m talking, of course, about Paper Back Swap. Being the tremendous book lover I am, (for those who haven’t noticed), I’m always looking for ways to get my hands on more books to Slobber Over. By slobber I do mean read.

I’m also cheap, or at least, trying to be. I’d give my wallet to Barnes & Noble if I didn’t need it so much myself, and Half-Price Books holds a special place in my heart, because they make things affordable, and you never know what you’ll find. (This can also be a downside!) I love my local library dearly, as I’ve stated in other posts. And their Inter Library Loan feature is to die for, seriously. But still, I sometimes find them lacking, and at the end of the day, (or two weeks), the book must go back, especially the popular novels that have a waiting list of people behind me.

Well, I’ve found the solution! Affordable books, an easy way to find, or request, what you want, and no need to return it if you don’t want to! List the books you don’t want or need anymore, gain “credits” by mailing them off to those who request them, then ask for what you want. This is dependent on someone posting that book, but you can add books to your wish list and be notified immediately when your book becomes available. And the books are yours to keep! There are no fees (currently) to use the website, and you pay a small mailing fee, about as much as an old paperback from Half-Price, to send your book off at the local post office.

I think this a great compromise between the free library and the cheap Half-Price. I’ve already ordered two books using credits I received for listing my first ten books, and I’ve already had four of my books requested by other people. I didn’t know I had such great taste!

One of the parts I’m most excited about is the opportunity to write more reviews. I’ve joined two local book clubs as a way to broaden my reading horizons. That’s where Eat, Pray, Love and Revolutionary Road came from, two books I never would have chosen for myself. But with two books clubs, one of which meets two or three times a month, that’s four books a month, a tab which can run up quickly. (Pillars of the Earth is 7.99 for the new Mass Market Paperback.) Now I can get them from Paper Back Swap and pay next to nothing! And it’s green living, reusing what others no longer want, cheaply. I may be in heaven.

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I’m excited to announce my participation in a handcrafted handkerchief exchange! Called Swap-CHOO (for obvious reasons) it was started by Peggy at Skip the Chips and I can’t wait to get started! What this means, is that I will receive someone’s name and address, and vice versa, and we’ll each make a handkerchief and mail them off to the lucky lady on the other side.

The last time I hand stitched anything, though, I think I was about 9. I have three weeks, though, so there’s plenty of time for mistakes and mess-ups. I’ll make a trek over to Jo-Ann’s tomorrow and pick up some fabric. I think I’ll get a couple different pieces so I can practice.

They also ask for a handlettered poem to be included with your handkerchief contribution, in honor of April being Poetry Month, and I already have some ideas of where to get my poem.

The thing I love about this, besides making blogger connections, is the green living aspect. We haven’t bought paper towels for about three months now, we’re using cloth napkins, and now I’d loved to get rid of our kleenex habit. I really need to break out the sewing machine I received for Christmas, but I’m nervous that I’ll suck with it.

I’ve been wanting to make cloth baby wipes, so we can stop buying processed ones. Maybe this little swap will help me get my crafty face on!

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I’m a member of a co-op, which means I own a share of the farmer’s crop and am entitled to a percentage of each harvest. What this really means, is that each week I go and pick up a box of locally grown veges and get to gloat over my produce without actually having to grow or pick it myself. Seems almost illegal, doesn’t it?

Now that Spring has sprung in Texas, or at least, almost, our boxes have been stuffed full of green leafy vegetables and sprouts. Everything in this salad came from my co-op, minus the eggs and tomatoes. Several kinds of lettuce, spinach, green onions, and sprouts.

Aren’t you jealous? I got to eat this for lunch, sharing with Water Boy, of course. He’s a salad fiend.

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I joined the Health Source Co-op, a co-op in my area, and I’m really excited about it. The whole process of living greenly and with nature and natural products is so foreign to me. It sort of feels like I’m doing something extreme and daring by joining this mysterious vegetable/fruit coalition.

I’ve been trying to go green for some time now, but it’s hard because Stillmog and I are such hard-wired consumers, even when we don’t want to be. When I think about helping the planet and my family by living more closely with the earth(I sound like a hippie), I think about what I need to buy.

Like, I bought those nifty CFL light bulbs that are so controversial now. They contain a little mercury, but it’s less mercury then what’s in a thermometer, you wouldn’t even see it with your naked eye. So just remember to dispose of them carefully, through a licensed hazardous waste recycling facility. Or you can put them in a plastic baggie and throw them away in your household trash.

I want to cloth diaper, although I would have to change the way I do laundry. We live in an apartment with no washer/dryer in it. We have to go down to our little laundry room and pay $1.25 for each load. So laundry is a hassle, so we don’t do it until we run out of underwear. 😀 Cloth diapering, on the other hand, would at least require washing every other day, probably.

Composting is another neat trick I’d like to try, actually the vermicomposting trick. We throw away so much stuff in our house! And there are only three of us! I could turn all that vegetable and fruit detritus into awesome black dirt. Or really, let the worms turn it into dirt for me. But what would I use it on? Answer below.

Container gardening is also something I’d like to pick up. Grow my own herbs, at least. We don’t live in one of those cool, inner city type apartments where you have a roof and a little garden up there. No, we have more of a motel set-up, with an itty-bitty courtyard that is sort of communal but not in a sharing way. More, sure, you can sit there, just don’t touch the flower beds. Therefore, container gardening would be great for us, maybe. At least I would have somewhere to put all my good black dirt.

Using green housecleaning products is another goal. Toilet paper, dishwasher liquid, dish soap, cleaning spray, paper towels, soap, deodorant, shampoo. Other stuff I can’t think of right now. I want to replace it all with either homemade concoctions or something like Seventh Generation products. I also heard about using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper? I don’t know if I’d be up for that. It sounds good on the one hand, but I know I’d be the one washing them, so not too fair to me.

Oh yeah, and feminine hygiene products. I’ve seen several different evolutions. There is the recycled paper tampon. There’s the same for pads. There’s cloth pads. And then there’s the Diva Cup, or Moon Cup. The first three, it’s easy to tell what they are, I mean, duh. But the Moon Cup is actually a little platex, plastic cup, that you, well…insert. And it catches the flow, and when it’s full, you remove it and rinse it out, and re-insert it. I don’t know if I’m up for being that green yet. I might be okay with cloth, I’ve seen a couple models that actually look pretty comfortable, and that time of the month is all about comfort.

But I’ve gotten completely off-track here. Back on topic: My co-op. Every other Tuesday, I pay 25 dollars and get 15lbs. of seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables. I can also order meat, dairy, eggs, grains, and other organic foodstuffs through the co-op. I really really want some local honey. I’m just so excited to see what we get for our first pick-up. It could be anything! It’s like an early Christmas! I think our pick-up is this coming Tuesday, December 4th. I’m going to put on here everything we get and what we plan to do with it.

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