Community Supported Agriculture: More Green Stuff

We took our second delivery today from One Straw Farm, the farm supplying the produce in our CSA (or however you describe that relationship), and this one consisted entirely of green stuff.

This week’s haul:

  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Collard greens
  • Garlic scapes
  • Chard
  • Green leaf
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens

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Community Supported Agriculture: Our First Delivery

This year, my lovely wife and I joined a local CSA – the fancy acronym for community supported agriculture. Joining a CSA is one of the ways we’ve considered going green while saving green and this was the first year we’ve done it. We went with One Straw Farm, a CSA located in Maryland with a drop point just a few miles from our house. Our goal in doing this is to eat better, both in the quality/diversity of our food and in lowering the impact we have on our environment, and learn how to cook more. It’s a bonus that we can support a local business.

Today, I picked up our first delivery which consisted of:

  • One pint of strawberries
  • One bunch of rainbow chard
  • One bunch of beets
  • One bunch of Swiss chard
  • One bunch of garlic sprouts
  • One bunch of broccoli
  • One bunch of kale
  • One head of lettuce

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 Personal Finance 

How to Be Removed From Catalog Lists

Phone BooksWe get a lot of catalogs in the mail, probably around one a week, but I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a product from a catalog before (at least as far back as I can remember). 99.9% of the time, the catalog makes a one way trip into our recycling bin and the only one who benefits is the USPS. The other fraction of the a percent covers the times I flip through the little booklet and then I recycle it. I do most of my shopping online, where I can do a quick search for products I need, rather than browse for products I don’t need but might buy because they’re fun or cool.

That said, there’s really no reason to waste the paper and the shipping when I won’t even use it, so I’ve been slowly removing myself from catalog mailing lists. Some companies make it easier than others but these tips should help you get it done quickly.

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New Exotic Eco-Friendly Cars

BentleyWho said Tesla Motors had the lock on exotic eco-friendly cars? While The Tesla S Roadster is probably one of the most well known all electric vehicles, a lot of luxury car manufacturers are getting into the game and offering their own eco-friendly models. CNN Money took a peek at the prototypes from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin (who technically cheated, more on that in a second) at the Geneva Motor Show.

Ferrari has their 599 HY-KERS, Lamborghini has the Sesto Elemento, Porsche debuted the Panamera Hybrid four-door and showed off the 918 Spyder, while Bentley displayed a flex-fuel Continental GT coupe. You also had the Rolls-Royce 102EX, a plugin-in Phantom, as well as Aston Martin’s Cygnet. The one that looked out of place was Aston Martin’s Cygnet, because it’s just the Toyota/Scion iQ bathed in all the luxuries of Aston Martin. While I love the idea of subcompact tiny smart cars, I have trouble with driving such a small vehicle in the land of 80mph trucks and SUVs. Plus, if you’re thinking about starting a family… those don’t look car-seat friendly.

I’ll take one of each. 🙂

(Photo: crystal666)

 Frugal Living 

Thermostat Hacks That Save You Money

Programmable ThermostatFor many homes, ours included, one of the biggest monthly costs is our electricity bill. The largest portion of our monthly electrical bill is the bit consumed by our central heating and cooling HVAC system. While I don’t know what percentage of the bill it actually comes out to, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it’s probably the largest percentage when compared to lighting, appliances, water heater, computers, and other electrical consumers in our home.

So, if you want to reduce your electricity bill, the first place you should go is the biggest consumer right? Our HVAC system is, like many, controlled by a programmable thermostat and with a few little tips and tricks, we hope to drop our electricity bill by a little bit (or at least stop it’s rocketing rise) this winter.

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 The Home 

Are Solar Panels On Your House Worth It?

Installing Solar PanelsThis summer, on our trip to Lake Tahoe, we spent a night at my father-in-law’s childhood friend’s house. They had a pool that was heated using a series of black tubes put on top of their lattice patio cover. The tubes gave the patio shade from the sun, the sun heated the tubes, and the water inside the tubes went into the pool to give it a nice bath water temperature. The all powerful sun was used to heat the pool in a most novel of ways (only to me, I’m sure plenty of pools are heated this way, especially in California).

That made me wonder about solar panels and I quickly learned that they were expensive, a pain to keep clean (and maintain their efficiency), and generally more hassle than they were worth. I’m more of a long term planner than a short term one, I’m OK with it taking several years to pay off, so I wanted to calculate how long it would take to pay off the panels.

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 Personal Finance 

Ten Ways to Greenify Your Home Right Now

Green Historic HomeWhen you look at the U.S. Green Building Council’s checklist for what makes a Green Home, you see a lot of things you can’t change after you’ve bought a home. Location? Can’t really move your house very easily, now can you? Size? Sorry, that’s pretty much set for us. And building design? It is what it is and unless you’re willing to do some major renovations, your design is set too.

However, there are plenty of things you can do right now to make your home a little nicer on the environment and cheaper on your wallet. They don’t require huge renovations or wholesale changes to your home, just little tweaks here or there that you probably won’t even notice… until you open your energy bill.

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 Frugal Living 

New Lighting Facts Label

Compact Fluorescent Light BulbI’m a big proponent of compact flourescent light bulbs because they use less energy, last longer, and are better for the environment when disposed of properly. They aren’t without downsides though but I believe the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

While I’m not going to run out to buy those 17-year LED lightbulbs GE is releasing later this year, I am glad to see that there is more news about lighting technology. Prime on that list of “good things” is the new FTC labeling requirement. Lighting manufacturers will soon be required to place a “Lighting Facts” label on the back of bulb packages, similar to Nutrition Facts on food. Additional, and almost more importantly, bulbs containing mercury will be labeled as such on that label.

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