Saturday, September 25, 2010

Break It Up You Guys

This is what comes from not thinning carrot seedlings. My seeds always go into the ground at the correct intervals, yet seem to stray once planted. Perhaps it is the over-exuberant watering.

I have a problem with thinning and I suspect I am not alone in this. Choosing one seedling over another is like Sophie's Choice to me. I love my seedlings like a doting mother. Picking the stronger over the weaker is so arbitrary a thing anyway. Who is to say which will be the stronger in the long run? Plants are like people in so many ways.

A good part of this day was spent using up the perishables before they went to waste. I made grape juice from grapes that were not going to be eaten. Applesauce and a pie from the remainder of the apples and another coleslaw from a red cabbage that needed to be harvested. Between these tasks I spent hours on the Internet researching sustainable energy sources and reading up on the exploits of other gardeners and urban farmers who are making strides toward self sufficiency. I'm starting to become absolutely militant about front yard edible gardens. Grass is a water hog, a time waster to keep and an expense that doesn't feed anybody. It's a waste of land. There are some very beautiful front yard vegetable gardens out there. We have to rethink what true beauty is in home design.

The recent salmonella egg outbreak (half a billion eggs recalled!!) is one reason why. Our food source has become so industrialized that these contamination episodes are going to continue. It's a wake up call for everyone to start taking charge of their own food. I think we have to do this for energy too. The grid is taxed and we are gobbling up energy like there is no tomorrow. So many people are much farther ahead of me on this, but I am determined to catch up, and to spread the word that we all need to do the same. My garden is entirely solar lit, but that commitment to solar power needs to go inside as well.

After living in California for over 20 years and watching a manipulated energy crisis nearly bankrupt the state (and consumers) I knew that solar and wind power was not just a wise eco-choice, but a sound financial one. Now, as I read about more and more off-the-grid pioneers, I am starting to wonder if we'll all be living the Amish lifestyle in the end as a means to survival. For many years I had $800 DWP bills. That's just plain unsustainable. I stopped heating the pool, using the jacuzzi, turned off lights constantly, unplugged all appliances that weren't in use and cut back my other energy use drastically and still the energy bills increased. I knew there had to be another way. So now I'm learning about bio-diesel generators, inverters, turbines and copper coils. The prospect of creating one's own personal power plant is invigorating.

This Sustainable House offers an online virtual tour of an experimental home room by room. The basement is worth a look. I found it interesting to learn about how they are recapturing heat from showers, laundry and dishwashers to preheat water in the water heater.

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