... just wrote a page describing how to make a kitchen scrap compost container which keeps flies and smells out which costs less than $5.
... just wrote a page describing how to make a kitchen scrap compost container which keeps flies and smells out which costs less than $5.
A few months ago I wrote about my plan for working out and getting healthy. It's been about 2 monhts and I thought that I'd give you all an update about whether it's been working or not.
First let me say that I've not followed my own advice that well. In fact I'd estimate that I only lived up to about 70% of what I called for in my workout, eating and living plan.
However, the one thing that I have done 100% well is allowed myself the freedom to not live up to my plan 100%. This has kept me involved, encouraged and continuing in my effort for progress.
Along with these stats I'd also like to report that for a period of 3 weeks I went to Costa Rica and didn't purposefully excercise one time. Also my non-fish meat consumption has dropped from 5 meals a week to <2 per week. The prevalance of whole grain rice has increased greatly and so has the amount of legumes. Butter intake has increased and other dairy decreased.
So there you have it... I've lost about 15 pounds, have decreased stress but also have lost a bit of productivity which is likely due to my higher contentment with life. Does my plan work? I think it works for me.
What would you do if our first rate sewage system was destroyed in some apocalyptic disaster?
I'm sure that few of us ever really stop think, "Where does all that poo go anyway".
Can you imagine what your neighborhood would start to smell like?
Luckily, nature has provided yet another simple solution... human waste composting! While the stuff you flush down the toilet is toxic and should not ever again see the light of day, when properly seperated, mixed with carbanaceous material like shredded junk mail the aerobic bacteria naturally found in poo will cause it to decompose into that well known substance... soil!
To learn more, read this comprehensive online guide to human waste composting.
A major part of a healthy lifestyle is excersize. But for every active and healthy person there is at least one excersize and diet philosophy. I thought I'd contribute my healthy and 'green' lifestyle and exercise ideas as well for any who might be interested.
Over the years I've done many different types of workouts. I've spent hours in the weight room (oh come on, we all wanted humongo pecs at at the age of 15 right?), to hours at the dojo and quite a few team and singular sports including football, soccer and basketball. However, the most effective work-out simply is:
First things first...
Proper excersize will not be possible without a good diet. Again let's keep it simple and natural. I recommend that the following diet be implimented immediately:
A workout guide
As with my guide to eating right let's try to keep the workout philosophy simple too.
When we listen to what our bodies want we will often be surprised by its desire for good things. Working out and eating are no exception. We were made to desire the good things of the earth and to enjoy recreation and liesure. Go ahead... enjoy the good food, excercize and activities that God intended for you!
It's been a few weeks since last greentheo had something to post. Yep... been kind of busy working in the garden. So far I've had all the lettuce come in along with the Spinach.. so delicious. The peas are forming their little pods, the squash are flowering and starting to form their little bulbous fruits, and the green beans are climbing the mammoth sunflowers as hoped.
But perhaps most importantly, Christmas has come early this year. Colorado now allows rain harvesting!
Finally, my law breaking lifestyle has come to an end and I can legally use the water collected from my roof.
I bet grey-water systems will be up next for review.
Happy Gardening and summer fun to you all!
With all the economic mayhem happening these days you might be wondering... "where can I put my money so that it will":
The idea most people have in regard to savings and investment is to develop a security blanket.
So I came across this article which says to put your money in:
But I disagree... let's look at the options.
A diversified and broad selection of US stocks from the S&P 500 (the 500 largest companies in America) is a very safe and prosperous bet over the long term. American companies have been and will continue to be some of the most innovative companies on the planet. While some industries wane, others will wax. Furthermore, the NYSE, NASDAQ and other trading arenas have some of the highest traffic, nearly guaranteeing a buyer for every seller. My recommendation is to definitely put money in US stocks by purchasing index funds like the S&P 500 index.
The main advantages of US stocks is:
To this I'd also like to add that European stock indexes are overall quite similar in advantage to the US. Essentially, if the US and Europe can't make it... nobody can.
Long Term Treasury Bonds
These are also very safe investments in the near and far term. They are extremely safe (if the govt defaults on it's loans then cashing out your bonds will be the least of your worries), and dependable.
But they have 2 very serious downsides.
Money Markets and 'Cash'
Cash and money markets are extremely liquid. They are not much more than a savings account with a low interest rate. And even though they are extremely safe, like treasury bills they:
Perhaps the most misleading of investment vehicles is Gold. It is a widely held belief that in times of great disaster gold or precious metals would be the only 'super-sovereign' currency. The belief is supported by the thought that humans assign inherent worth to gold. They don't!
Furthermore, it is believed that gold hedges against inflation. Because of the first assumption, that gold is inherently worth something, we think that gold must track with inflation on a nearly 1:1 basis.... it doesn't!
Thus gold has the following drawbacks:
Gold is perhaps one of the most worthless investments in the market unless you know something about the supply and demand cycle of Gold.
So What's Left?
The following is a list of investments that I believe have the highest safety, return and hedge against inflation and Chaos. It's difficult to say what the % of your portfolio should be in each area... so no percent is given.
There you have it, the Greentheo plan to fail proof investments that do grow over time.
After recently completing my Solar heater, it was time to embark on a new project... rain collection and redistribution for my garden.
Colorado is a wonderful place to live, but it can also be quite arid and moisture free. Thus, to grow many of the vegetables we know and love to eat, plenty of outside water is commonly used. But it sure can get expensive! Last summer my bill averaged $50-$75/month just for water!
So how much water can you collect from rain and snow anyway?
For every 1000 sq. ft of roof on your house one can collect:
On average, Boulder, Colorado get's about 19 inches of moisture... and thus my 1000 sq. ft roof can collect with it's pre existing gutter, about 11,000 gallons of water.
How much is practical to store for your garden?
While this depends on your particular garden, the answer is that it's practical to store as much wat as you'll reasonably use over a week's time. For a more practical calculation consider the rule of thumb that your plants want to get about 1 inch of rain per week.
My garden is 150 sq. ft (and growing) so I want to have 150*144*1*.004 = 86 gallons available on demand. Luckily I happen to have 3X55 gallon drums on hand giving me 165 gallons, 82.5 for watering... and 82.5 for storing for the next week.
So the rule of thumb turns out to be: 1/2 gallon per square foot of garden = 1 inch of water/week.
Other design considerations
I currently am cultivating ~150 sq. ft. But I'd like to add another 50-100 sq. ft. so I'd also like to be able to store my rain holding capacity appropriately. By the above calculation I know that every 50 sq. ft is properly served by a 55 gallon drum. Therefore the design of the rain storage and redistribution system should accomodate the adding of future drums.
Total: as little as $15, as much as $95
The finished design
Here we have 3 food grade 55 gallon plastic drums. The black pipe runing between the three barrels (all the way to the bottom of either barrel) is for auto-siphoning between the barrels. When the barrel at the end of the spout fills, the water is automatically siphoned to the the second barrel... when both are full, the water siphons to the third.. etc. Furthermore, once the whole system is full, any change in level in one barrel is distributed evenly to all the rest provided that the siphon is not broken.
Step 1 - Site the area for storage and collection
Take a look around your proposed garden and water storing area. The best areas are ones that:
Step 2 - Put a bung in the barrel
Drill a one inch hole in the last barrel near the bottom. Water leaves the system here.
Step 3 - Insert the male threaded PVC bung
Step 4 - Using silicon caulk, make a bead around the outside of the bung and let it dry. Make sure that the femail pvc thread to garden hose thread can screw on first.
Step 5 - Screw on the female PVC to garden hose adapter.. the silicon caulk should act like a custom molded washer or gasket preventing leaking.
Step 6 - Screw in the stop valve, the male to male adapter and the water meter (if you'd like)
Step 7 - Screw on the drip line or drip hose.
Step 8 - Drill 1 inch hole on the both sides near the top of any of the intermediate barrels. Should be near the top, but not at the top. An auto-siphon only works when the level of the water threatens to rise above the siphon point.
Step 9 - Drill 1, 1 inch hole at the top of the entrance and exit barrels.
Step 10 - Move barrels to site.
Step 11 - Insert auto-siphon tubes between barrels. Make sure it goes down as far as possible into each barrel.
Step 12 - Attach entrance barrel to gutter and wait for rain!
A rain barrel is a great addition to any garden. Not only do they lower the cost of gardening but they also help out your municipal water district by lowering the demand for water. They can be cheap and easy to build in such a way that they mostly act autonomously, distributing water slowly to your garden at a preset drip rate.
Now if only it would rain or snow around here!
From the Times in Brittain:
An analysis of bin contents from 2,000 homes in 11 local authority areas has shown that a mountain of wasted fruit and vegetables is being created across Britain.
Full results of the survey are to be published next month, but its initial findings show that food waste accounts for 40 per cent of all household rubbish.
Besides apples, households are also dumping 5.1 million potatoes a day, 2.8 million tomatoes, 1.6 million bananas, and 1.2 million oranges. These were not scraps or peelings but whole items in good condition.
Wrap revealed before Christmas that about 6.7 million tonnes of food a year is dumped in bins. This represents a third of all food bought for consumption at home and is worth a total of £8 billion, or an average £400 for every household.
However, by preventing this scale of food waste about 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year would be saved, the equivalent of taking one in five cars off the roads.
As I said yesterday... composting (or even better eating what you buy) can save the world!
My friend once asked me what the word sustainable meant in the context of society and humanity. My reply was that it was:
"The ability for an organism or organization to perpetuate itself and it's progeny over time"
But how to accomplish such a large goal without breaking the bank?
Below are my top 5 cheapest and most effective goals towards becoming a more sustainable society and person.
Enjoy your cheap sustainable life!
The debate over genetically modified organisms, usually in reference to food almost always centers around whether or not GMO foods are healthy, will cause environmental collapse or become the answer to the world's hunger problems.
But the debate almost always overlooks 3 key topics that must be addressed before we really begin pushing GMO foods:
It is taken for granted in the Western world that property is privatizeable. If I can fence it in I can own it. If I can invent it, document it and get to the patent office first... I can own it. If I can describe it (without inventing it) and be the first one to the patent office... I can own even the idea of it
Unfortunately under US law, the same applies not only to inventions and intellectual property like software, poetry, and etc... but now also to living organisms, DNA and otherwise genetic material. If you can describe the genetic code, you can own it (except for humans, for now). Several companies are rushing to patent every possible living organism, including giraffes, birds and trees.
But perhaps the most frightening aspect is that in addition to patenting any organism, one can patent relatives of the organism as well. Since the patents cover genetic code and genetic code transfers when the organism reproduces, then if I can show that the offspring of my patented organism contains enough of the original genetic code I can retain rights to the offspring as well.
In practice it is already becoming an issue. Companies like Monsanto who are determined to own all of creation are enforcing property rights with small farmers who may be unwittingly using their genetic material. In this case, a Canadian canola farmer claims that a neighbor's GMO crops cross polinated with his strain of canola. The non-GMO crops set seed, were collected and then reused the next year. Companies like Monsanto don't hesitate for a moment to collect their due from these little guys who go around 'stealing' their intellectual property.
It's not hard to see that if left unchecked, GMO genetic material could make it's way into every crop, every plant and eventually into every living animal. By law then, they could demand 'rights' to every bit of agriculture in the US, and perhaps the world.
And that's why I say no to GMO. It's simply too tempting for a company like Monsanto to try and gain a monopoly on agriculture. If they succeed it truly could be disastrous for the country and the world's food supply.