You guys probably already know this, but you can buy Ivy Extract at most nutritional supplements stores. Apparently a bunch of studies have been done that show that it's a fantastic cough expectorant, better at relieving bronchitis symptoms than many prescription medications. I imagine you'd want to dilute this solution to use it on your scab, but might be easier for the purposes of experimenting than making it yourself:
So nobody has these? In researching them on the web, the ones I found were enormously expensive. Sun-Mar's non-electric unit goes for $1500. The Biolet ones are north of $2100. The Blooloo are so expensive I can't find a price. There's got to be a better way to do this!
Check out this excellent story about a family that decided to build their own solar hot water heater. The entire project cost about $160 in materials.
Now, it should be noted that the project was completed in Florida, and as such, the system has no way to make sure the pipes don't freeze, but I can't imagine that would be too difficult to design into this straight-forward system.
Some tips from a great MotherEarth.com article on the subject:
Older shovels and hoes are often stronger than modern versions because they were forged from one piece of solid metal. Where can you buy used tools? Flea markets, garage sales, auctions, estate sales, barn sales and second-hand stores are good places to start. The prices can vary, but you can usually buy common tools for less than $15.
The trick to buying secondhand garden tools is to look for solid construction on any welded points and pay special attention to where the metal attaches to the handle. If a tool has parts that are supposed to move, make sure they do. Another thing to look for on metal is heavy pitting and flaking, which weakens the metal so the tool might be better suited for decoration than garden work.
When shopping for edge tools like hoes or shovels, take along a file to test the quality of the steel. If the file cuts rapidly with minimal pressure, the blade is made of soft metal that won't stand much use.
Check that the handle is securely attached and be sure that it is not badly cracked or splintered. Inspect for cracks, past repairs and rotting. Watch out of handles and metal parts that have been repainted - the paint may be covering up cheap construction or damage.
It's a 30 year plan for restoring Seattle's canopy. There is a lot of detail in there about how they want to get there.
One of the interesting stats: 18% of the current trees are hosted on single family residential properties. They have a plan to double this. Also an interesting breakdown of what kinds of trees are most frequently found in the city.
Single family residential property is where the most deforestation has occurred. Apparently to help turn this around they are going to do things like more public services around leaf sweeping, incentives for private tree preservation, and give coupons to nurseries to make it cheap to plant new trees. They'll also have an "exceptional tree" program you can register for.
It will be interesting to see if it can make a difference...
Environmental Manager J.R. Simplot Company Moses Lake, WA US Full Time Mid Level Mar 27, 2008 Under the direction the Plant Manager and the Corporate Regulatory Affairs, this position is responsible for the Simplot Sustainable Environmental Management System, Risk Management Program, wastewater treatment operations, air permitting and reporting, EPCRA reporting, storm water pollution prevention, spill prevention controls and countermeasures, and hazardous waste. This position is responsible for contributing to a safe work place and ensuring environmental compliance. ==================================== Core and Adjunct Faculty members The Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) Bainbridge Island, WA United States
Skill Level: Senior Level Job Status: Full Time Category: Education
Job Description: The Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), www.bgiedu.org, is a six-year-old institution committed to "preparing students from diverse backgrounds to build enterprises that are financially successful, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable" through both MBA and Certificate programs in Sustainable Business. ===================================================
Alchemy Goods is a Seattle based company which produces messenger bags, hand bags, and wallets from recycled materials. We manufacture all our products locally with a focus on sustainability and quality service. We are seeking motivated help to assist with production of our one-of-a-kind bags. This job is a gateway to unleashing your creative potential, gaining new responsibility, and growing with our burgeoning company. Contact us to set up an interview.
Work Description - Process recycled materials - Manufacture bag components - Work with local businesses to procure materials - Work 40 hrs/week - Advance to gain new responsibility and increased pay ========================================= Title: REGION DIRECTORS (2) Employer: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Location: Northwest Region Director - Burlington, Washington Southwest Region Director - Olympia, Washington POSITION PROFILE:
* Reporting to the Deputy Director, the Region Director manages and directs the daily operation of a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s regional area. The Region Directors are innovative thinkers and proactive leaders in the supervision, administration, maintenance, resource stewardship, public relations and law enforcement activities.
* Northwest Region is comprised of 25 state parks organized into 16 park areas serving approximately 11 million visitor days and collecting approximately $3.2 million in state revenue per fiscal year. The region consists of more than 27,000 acres of public lands in seven counties including former military forts, historic lighthouses, environmental learning centers, and marine state parks. * Southwest Region is comprised of 28 state parks organized into 11 park areas serving approximately 14.9 million visitor days and collecting approximately $4.5 million in state revenue per fiscal year. More than 60 miles of Pacific Ocean Beach are overseen by this region, and the parks feature former military forts, historic lighthouses and environmental learning centers.
* As a member of the agency’s Senior Management Team, the Region Director is expected to contribute significantly to the overall development of agency business and management policies, rules, and regulations effecting the long term management and operation of Washington’s statewide system of public parks and recreation programs. ============================================ WATERSHED STEWARD (PUBLIC WORKS - PART TIME/PROJECT ENDING 12/31/2010) $26.973 - $32.799 (1/2 time) PER HOUR PLUS BENEFITS
Snohomish County's Surface Water Management Division seeks a qualified, experienced professional with a solid background in watershed resource management to be part of our stewardship program. This program fosters community supported stewardship actions and landowner best management practices related to water quality, aquatic habitat and flood hazard management. This person will be a focal point for two grant-funded projects in the Stillaguamish River watershed. Responsibilities include identification of water resource problems and restoration opportunities, working with landowners, providing technical assistance, project management, watershed plan implementation, and community outreach. =========================================
If you're into making a statement about climate change and the need to conserve energy, why not join many people across the world for Earth Hour tonight? From 8-9pm this evening, many of us will be shutting off our lights, our electrical devices, and everything else drawing power in our homes and making a statement about how we can do more with less...
Have any of you ever seen that Mythbusters where they play music and speech to a number of plants that they are growing? The control group had no music or speech played to them. Every batch of plants that had some sort of music or speech grew more than the control, but death metal did the best!
Some scientists in South Korea did a similar experiment with similar results, and also noticed that certain plant genes become more productive at different frequency of vibration:
This poor forum doesn't really see much action, does it?
As I look enviously at pictures of different gardens online, I am thinking quite a lot lately about garden aesthetics. It seems the most elegant gardens have a blend of utility and beauty. For example, I love the permaculture recommendation that herbs be grown close to the kitchen so it's efficient to use them. But I also love the concept of the French Potager where flowers and vegetables have grown side-by-side. Gorgeous!
How do you find ways to balance function with form in your garden or farm?
In this pic: swiss chard side by side with Dahlias.
We have two baby potted Arbequinas that are doing quite well. We got them about two years ago, and they were about 18" tall. Now they are about four feet tall, and healthy with minimal care. They live out on Western-exposure apartment balcony.
Both of them produced fruit for the first time this winter. As ALJ pointed out, the olives didn't taste great on their own, so we pressing them for oil. The trees being so small, it only produced a small amount, but it was good and had a really buttery/nutty flavor.
I would love to try Kalamatas as well. Our friends in West Seattle have a great Kalamata Olive tree. It doesn't fruit often, but when it does it's spectacular...
This is cool. The article says that it generates 46 microwatts, which isn't that much power. I wonder if there's a way to wire them such that you can aggregate the power to something significant. That would make sense if they are lined across the superstructure of skyscraper and harvesting power from the building's natural vibrations.
30% of the overall kinetic energy is harvested. That's pretty dang good for any generator, much less a micro one.
My friend Beth recently posted on her fabulous blog that she had a less-than-ideal experience with her plastic compost tumbler. My question to those of you expert-composters here is what she could have done, if anything to improve the experience she had. Or perhaps her experience is exactly right, and worm-based composting is the way to go?
An excerpt from her article which you can read in full here:
Inspired by Life Less Plastic's excellent Step By Step Composting Guide and info about her Compost Tumbler, and also after many questions from readers about my experiences composting with my Urban Compost Tumbler, I thought I'd post a quick update.
Back in August I wrote a detailed post about the various composting options for someone in an urban environment without access to a yard: Compost Tumbler: a solution to the potting soil problem? So I won't rehash every option and the reasons why I chose a compost tumbler instead of worms or bokashi. But I will reiterate that I ultimately chose the Urban Compost Tumbler over other tumblers because it is made from 100% recycled plastic rather than new plastic. And I had heard about rust issues with metal compost tumblers.
I've now been using this one for over 7 months, and I've found it's not as wonderful as I'd hoped. It's a little over half full now, and because of the shape and the way it tumbles end over end, it has become extremely heavy and difficult to flip. I can no longer do it myself, and I assure you, I have really, really tried. Fortunately, I live with a very strong Michael. But if I lived alone, I'd have to stop using it.
Another issue is the importance of making sure to have enough brown material in there. My experience has been that with a traditional composter that sits on the ground, making sure the green/brown/water mix is perfect isn't as important as with a tumbler where the materials are sealed in and don't have access to elements and helpful critters like worms. Let me give you an example.
Before we bought the Urban Compost Tumbler, we had a traditional plastic composter (non-tumbling) on our roof. We managed to do that by putting down a sheet of black plastic and then a wooden pallet that the composter sat on. The composter had a bottom with holes in it so air could get through from the bottom. And it had some tiny holes in the top so rain could get in. For the first couple of months, I was diligent about adding the proper amounts of greens (food scraps & plant clippings) and browns (mostly shredded newspaper) and water. But I never turned the compost. And then over time, I became less diligent about the ratio of greens to browns, and when winter came, I gave up altogether and just let it sit.
When I opened it up in the Spring, I was surprised to find beautiful, sweet-smelling soil that was full of fat earth worms. They must have gotten in when I added some dry leaves from the sidewalk. The compost was beautiful. So why did we give up this system and opt for the tumbler? Because I was worried about the roof. As I've said before, we are renters. And I was worried about what was happening to the roof under the wet plastic. It was yucky under there. And I thought having a system where the composter doesn't touch the roof would be better for us.
But you can't accidentally get fat juicy earthworms in a compost tumbler. If you do, they'll die from the tumbling. And you don't get natural air flow, which is the reason you have to tumble it to begin with. So my compost is not developing as beautifully as I would have liked. Right now, I've stopped adding green material and am only adding shredded newspaper because the compost had started to smell bad, an indication of too much nitrogen and not enough carbon. Fortunately, we have a "green bin" system in Oakland, and our food and yard waste are picked up curbside and taken to a commercial composting facility. So I'm not wasting my food scraps. I'm putting them in the green bin and sending them away instead of using them myself right now.
My recommendation is that if you have a patch of ground where you could put a traditional composter, you should go that route before considering a tumbler. It's easier AND those composters cost a lot less. I don't have that option.
If I were more diligent about composting, I'd probably get a worm bin. But I'm not, and I just don't want to have to worry about letting worms die. Worms, unlike kitties, don't pounce on you and bit your nose and cry to let you know they're hungry. Also, I don't have any shaded place to put it, so they'd probably fry in the summertime.
I still wouldn't buy a composter made from virgin plastic. So at this point, I'm not sure what I would try if I weren't using this one. Overall, it's fine for someone who is strong or who lives with someone who is strong and willing to turn it periodically. I'll write another update when I finally take the compost out and show you the finished product.
As you guys may know, one of the biggest problems with modern construction techniques is windows. Over 30% of the energy used to heat and cool a home or building gets leeched out the windows.
In the past, super-insulating windows made of precious metals have been available, but these are ridiculously expensive. Researchers at Guardian Industries have figured out how to make a thin, cheap window with a vacuum layer in the middle that gives the window an R12-R13 insulation rating, which is incredible for glass.
What this means? Windows might be capable of storing and trapping heat instead of losing it. That's a big shift in the way we think about building construction.
You've all heard of devices that capture kinetic energy to power themselves. Wind-up radios, cranked computers, etc. all fall into this category.
In theory, there's another way to trap micro-energy like this, which is to capture thermal energy and turn it back into electricity. If we could do this, the applications would be endless: capture your body heat in your winter coat and charge your cell phone. Tap the tailpipe of you car and reroute it to charge your car battery. It brings us closer to closed-loop energy systems.
But scientists haven't been able to figure out how to do it. The problem is that you need a temperature differential of hot and cold to tap the heat energy, but anything that conducts electricity also conducts heat, making it difficult to tap the power.
MIT researchers have just figured out how to use cheap nanotechnology to create micro-cooling stations to make this possible. The applications are endless, and you could even see this technology paired with the super-insulating windows above. The heat your home generates could get trapped by the windows, and flow back into your grid. Nice and efficient.
The last couple of years I've tried to get Rosemary to grow from a seed and failed. Twice it never sprouted. Once it grew a little, and then just browned and died.
Rosemary is supposed to be pretty hardy, but it's difficult to get going. I use it so frequently in dishes, I'd love to have my own at home. Any tips on how to make my rosemary go? How much to water, etc.?
BTW, I am growing it inside, in a Southern facing window, potted environment.
I found out that South Seattle Community College is doing a 6-day workshop this summer on converting your car to electric. And some lucky student will have their car converted during the course of the workshop. The $800 sign-up fee is stiff, but it looks like it might be worth it.
Looking for an intense, but awesome summer project that will be fun and good for the Earth? Want to be the envy of all of your eco-friends? Look no further.
Starting June 16th, South Seattle Community College is offering a 6-day workshop that will give its students the knowledge necessary to convert any car to an electric one.
Mornings will be spent with the book learning. In the afternoons, some lucky student's donor car will have the opportunity to be worked-on by the class.
The final vehicles are supposed to be pretty decent: 60mpg and capable of highway speeds.
If you're curious whether it's worth the cost, why not go to the free information session April 23rd to learn more about the 6 day course? Sign up for it at the South Seattle Community College website.
I've heard it a bazillion times. The "appropriate" amount to water your lawn is one inch of water weekly. Landscapers, sales people, even my local nursery says this is the case.
Then I do the math: 52 inches of water a year for a lawn? In natural conditions, it only rains 36 inches a year in Seattle. Even if I back out the water naturally produced by rain, this is a lot of water to feed the lawn. Does a lawn really need subtropical conditions in order to thrive?
Clearly it doesn't. Over watering makes plants lazy and gives them weak root systems. The grass comes to depend on the excess water and can even become unhealthy.
So what's the *right* amount to water? What's the right time? Day or night?
* The grass will start to curl before it turns brown. When it starts to curl, that is the best time to water. Anything after that is time for "intensive care watering" (water half an inch, wait three hours and water an inch).
* Take a shovel and stick it into the soil about six inches. Keep the sun to your left or to your right when you do this. Push the handle forward. If you can see any moisture, wait. If it's all dry, water. If you can't get your shovel to go into the soil this deep, you need more soil.
Is it really ideal to wait until the grass is almost brown though? Is this too risky? What if we forget and then lose the grass? There has to be some kind of happy medium...
Lol. I'm laughing at the mental image you just gave me of worms sitting around in little berets, sipping a cup of Joe. And then getting wildly strung out after they've drunk 30 of them.
That's such a great tip that you can get used grounds from Starbucks. What a great, cheap way to recycle their stuff and get it on your lawn.
I have heard that coffee grounds are a bit weak as organic fertilizers go, so as such you need to use a lot of it. Like a cubic yard per 1000 sq feet. Which would be like 1/3 of an inch of coffee spread all over your lawn. At those concentrations, I wonder if you'd actually be able to smell the coffee aroma when you were outside.
Chris, I think it takes like three weeks for the coffee to have an impact? Check back in and let us know how it's going!
Green Building Technical Director The primary focus of this role is technical leadership and mentorship across all areas of technical capability and skill as it relates to client consultancy and internal skills calibration and development. Paladino and Company, Inc. Seattle, WA US Full Time Senior Level Mar 14, 2008 ==================================================== Senior Project Architect HDR, Inc. Bellevue, WA US Full Time Senior Level Mar 12, 2008 The position is involved with the production, coordination, and management of architectural projects while establishing client relations by participating in marketing, contractual, design and production meetings. It also involves conducting schematic, design development and contract document work sessions at project sites in conjunction with Project Managers, Project Architects and other disciplines. Responsibilities include coordinating the workload of a project team through the entire project development to complete documents on schedule. ================================================= Energy Analyst Global Energy Concepts Lowell, MA; Seattle, WA US Full Time Mid Level Mar 11, 2008 This position focuses on analyzing wind resource and other data to develop energy estimates for commercial wind energy projects. Potential work includes data validation, conducting modeling studies, estimating wind project output, selecting appropriate turbine models, designing turbine layouts, estimating energy losses, developing photo simulations, and performing other tasks in support of GEC's consulting work. The successful candidate must be detail oriented and possess good communication skills. ==============================================
Field Technician Global Energy Concepts Lowell, MA; Seattle, WA US Full Time Mid Level Mar 11, 2008 Field technicians work with project engineers and project managers to design, install, and maintain meteorological and engineering data acquisition systems for our clients on megawatt-scale wind projects throughout the U.S., Canada, and abroad. As a group, the technicians work with a wide variety of hardware and software and are regularly asked to develop systems that include unfamiliar sensor signals, new data acquisition systems, and communications protocols.ﾠ ==================================
Sierra Club Volunteer The world's scientists agree: Global warming is real, here, and happening faster than anyone predicted. But scientists also say we can curb global warming and its consequences -- if we take bold, comprehensive action now that adds up to an 80 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050, or 2 percent a year. To build a cleaner, smarter and safer energy future that will meet and overcome the most urgent challenge facing us today — and protect everyone's children — we must all be part of the solution http://www.jobsthatmatter.org ======================================
Wind Power Project Engineer Global Energy Concepts Lowell, MA; Seattle, WA US Full Time Mid Level Mar 11, 2008
Walking around a Wal-Mart the other day (believe me, I don't often shop there, but they sell cheap CFLs), I noticed that they sell really inexpensive seeds. Their house brand was $.10-$.30 and equivalent quantities would go for much higher in other locations I've purchased seeds before.
Anybody ever used these seeds? Do you think there's something wrong with them that they come this cheap? Or are these just economies of scale at work?
Thought this was a pretty interesting idea for home building...
Basically, what this guy is doing is using wood as his master insulator to store heat. Apparently solid wood is masterful at capturing heat during the day and releasing it at night. But the construction must be just so. The houses this guy builds have no additional insulation in the walls, and apparently are much more efficient at retaining and venting heat than the average home.
So instead of needing to install a heat pump or heat exchanger, the house itself *is* a heat pump. Could this really work?
I ran across this online today, and thought it was worth passing along in this thread:
"Algarid is a non-toxic environmentally safe mold and mildew removal chemical. It is primarily used in the pressure washing industry. It is a spray on wash off application. You could use a pump up sprayer and then wipe off with a rag. It is about $30 per gallon and can be diluted 1:4. I do not recomend diluting it any more than 1:1 or just use it straight."
It looks like a magnetic water treatment. I can see how that would get rid of the mold. It's basically the same treatment that they apply to swimming pool water in "eco-pools" to make sure that the algae never grows.
With these kinds of things, the EPA says that it's harmful to bacteria, viruses, and fungis, but not to humans or animals. I wonder though...
This is a fantastic tool that lets you plug in your location and then will tell you the wind and solar potential in that area. It will also tell you if there are any incentives for wind or solar in your area and give you some vague costing on a starter project.
Unfortunately, it tells me that wind and solar are both not great alternatives for my area. Still, I'm thinking of continuing down the solar avenue, at least for hot water heating. What does it say for your area?
I know of a bunch of places in California that do this on a large scale, but none up here.
It might be worth checking with SEVA (Seattle Electric Vehicle Association) to see if they know anybody who'll take on those kinds of projects locally. Their conversion page on their website has a few links to local people who have performed conversions, but they all seem to be one-offs.
Is the moss really so lodged that it needs Tide? The best answer is to just get up there and remove the moss with a broom and a garden hose, and then sweep the roof of debris every once in a while to prevent it from growing again. Or call a pressure washer and have them do a gentle sweep.
Many people swear by zinc strips or galvanized flashing, but I've gotta imagine that the zinc flowing into the local water supply is going to be worse than Tide.
When attacking mold inside, I use diluted australian tea tree oil (a broad-spectrum fungicide that is often used medicinally) or vinegar. Perhaps a solution of these would be good for the roof?
In this one, they washed 12 place settings, or 140 items. The average hand washer used 63 litres of water (9 medium sized bowls, or 16 gallons). Obviously most of us can do better than that. In fact, in the study, the Germans averaged 46 liters (and the least amount of time washing up. Gotta give it up for German efficiency...)
Look at the graph for how energy use goes up in manual washing as the volume increases, though. You can easily beat the dishwasher with 3-4 place settings, but then you wouldn't be running the dishwasher full.
In my leanest attempts to clean a *full* dishwasher load, between sudsing and rinsing, I ended up filling the sink to the 3/4 mark by the end. I have a ten gallon sink, so that's 28 liters. Trying to be super careful with the water made it take about an hour. My dishwasher uses 15 liters and took me 5 minutes to load.
But maybe I just don't have Paul's fantastic technique. 2 quarts is definitely remarkable. I think a YouTube video might be needed!
Yikes! If it's an apartment, I hope you're involving the landlord! Termites could be a serious issue for their property over the long term, and they might want to do something about the overall issue...
Chiming in a bit late, but I've heard of treating termites with a microscopic worm called a nematode. I believe you can purchase them, or many pest control places will know how to get their hands on them.
Heat, freezing, and electrical treatments, in combination with boric products (as per Paul's suggestion) would also be a good way to go, but only if they are dry wood termites.
And make sure once they are gone that you take preventative measures to make sure they don't come back! Get your wood off the ground, dry out the area, make sure wood chips aren't near the house, etc.
We don't worry as much about water in the Pacific Northwest. Especially here in King County, even factoring in climate change and population growth, the ecology department has announced that our water supply is secure for the next 50 years.
But the reality is that much of the US, and the world, is in a record-breaking drought-state. And climate change threatens to only make it worse. We should want to conserve water so that we can share our embarrassment of H2O riches down the line sometime.
One small way in which we can do this is by not washing our cars with water. Traditional car washes use toxic chemicals, heavy phosphorus mixes, and are not efficient with the water that they use. If you wash your own car, you can be even more wasteful with the water.
There's a new line of products on the market called Eco-Touch that use natural, biodegradable, phosphate-free ingredients such that you don't have to use water at all. Just a rag and a few sprays of this stuff and your car will look nice for weeks. Seems like a better alternative if you must have your car sparkly.
Of course, my ultimate question is: does it really matter if your car is dirty? In some places, like Florida, it's a crucial step to minimize rust-damage. But in the PacNw? Maybe it's just okay if our cars are dirty...