Showing posts with label Green Living Contributor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Green Living Contributor. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Coffee Emergency!


Photo Credit
How far would you go for a cup of hot coffee?  This weekend, when my electricity was out, the thing that bothered me most was the inability to use my coffee maker to brew a pot of the elixir of life.  Seriously, I live for my early morning java. 

As for me, I drove nearly 60 miles for my cuppa joe yesterday at the crack of dawn.  Might sound kind of extreme, but I’m not lukewarm when it comes to coffee.  Freshly brewed coffee is essential to starting my day off right. 

I wasn’t prepared for a coffee emergency the past couple of days, but I will be next time.  As an avid camper, I always have canisters of propane on hand.  If I had already stocked the Coleman Propane Coffee Maker in the pantry, I would have been all set.  In 15 minutes I would have been savoring a latte brewski.  It’s just not right to weather a storm without one.

Check out this award-winning review of the Coleman Coffee Maker by kristalulabelle84.  I’m not sure how I have survived without this no-more-coffee-emergencies appliance.  Though I appreciate a rustic, woodsy lifestyle, there are limits to roughing it.  Why deprive yourself of the one little luxury that can make or break your next adventure (whether on the road or at home)? 



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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Belonging, Astonishment, and Becoming Spring


Each Petal a Heart... My Heart
“Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment.”  ~Ellis Peters

There are mornings, such as these, when I am baptized by astonishment.  And in these moments of breathtaking wonder, I belong—I belong to the land, to the first wildflowers of the season, to the mountain chickadee and bluebirds, the oriole, the purple martins, and the mighty hummingbirds.

What is the purpose of green living if not this—to belong to that which is a perpetual astonishment?  Without that sense of surprise and sheer delight, the days would merely be hours.

I’m supposed to be writing reviews, but my spirit wants to sing a different song as this glorious day unfolds.  To deny the song would render my writing moot.  One can only write what one feels deeply, madly, and truly. 

On what feels like the first day of spring I have ever truly known, the words that want to be written are tender, unfurling leaves.  To stand under a young elm tree, witnessing buds giving birth to green... how does one review that? 

Perhaps, if I get still, and quiet, and deeply absorb all this green, it will become embedded in my DNA and I can be a perpetual spring. Wouldn't that be something to write on my heart?



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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Sky is Falling!


Little Henny Penny
Do you remember how it felt when you were expecting your first child?  Perhaps you poured over books like What to Expect When You are Expecting.  Wasn’t it fun to prepare the nursery and begin to shop for baby things?

That’s exactly what I am feeling and doing these days.  There is so much to do to get ready for my little bundles of joy.  I thought I was having triplets, but it turns out it will likely be sextuplets.  Now that was a real shocker. 

I’m hoping to extend my due date for a couple of weeks.  I know that’s counter to what most new mothers-to-be want.  My sister was begging her doctor to induce labor near the end of her first pregnancy.  Given the snow and freezing temperatures, this is no time to be bringing a baby into the world. 

Perhaps you’re thinking I’m a wimp… letting a little April snow and frigid weather take precedence over childbirth.  Um, perhaps this would be a good time to let you know I’m having chicks.  And, those little peeps will be living outdoors at some point.  Since newly hatched chickens cannot regulate their body temperature, even with a heat lamp I don’t dare have them out in a coop in the fickle Ides of April.

So I continue to happily work on the nursery and pour over books like Chick Days.  As I turn each page, my excitement and anticipation grow.  I never imagined having a baby at this age, but I’m told the pleasure is even greater when you're a midlife mother. 

While you wait for the baby announcements to arrive, I invite you to check out my new Chick Days review.  Any advice for this new mother hen?



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nature's Easter Eggs


Photo Credit: Natural Easter Eggs
You can color me green in terms of lifestyle, but healthy living is really a lovely palette of so many beautiful colors.  With Easter just a few days away, I’ve been considering how I want to apply the colors of the rainbow to create this year’s dyed eggs.  As I searched for holiday decorating ideas, I took a few scenic detours and started reading about chickens and their eggs.  When it comes to making gorgeous shells, the chickens are already several steps ahead of me.  I don’t even need to break out the dye.

As one who is on a quest to grow all of my own food, I currently have a fascination with raising backyard chickens.  My goal is to start with three laying hens this spring.  Along with the search for construction plans to build a chicken coop, I am thoroughly enjoying what I am learning about the different breeds of chickens. 

Did you know you can look at a chicken’s earlobe to potentially determine what color of egg she will lay?  I've not personally checked any earlobes to test that little tidbit of chicken trivia, but you can learn more by watching the short video clip presented in the first article linked below.  Wouldn’t it be fun if we had a similar way of seeing what our future children might look like?  But I digress. 

As I was saying before I interrupted myself, I now know why chickens produce different colored eggs, as well as which breeds to buy if I want to have delicious Easter eggs every day of the year.  Do you know which chickens lay blue, pink, green, or brown eggs?  I do now thanks to several interesting Squidoo articles. 

With the countdown to Easter, let’s have some fun by going on a virtual Easter egg hunt.  Read about Nature’s Easter Eggs and a very doable DIY backyard chicken coop.

Do you raise backyard chickens?  Have you built a hen house?  If so, I would love to read all about it.  Why not write a feature article or review of your top backyard chicken product.  I might even reward you with a basket of your favorite Easter candy.  So what will it be?  Mini robin's eggs?  Peeps?  Did I mention chocolate?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Operation Sunbeam


Solar Oven (Photo Credit)
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a spy.  How I loved all those top-secret codes and 007 spy gadgets.  Of course, one of my favorite TV shows was Mission Impossible.

Today, my mission, which I have chosen to accept, is far different from those Jim was offered over the course of the series.  Though the overall operation has changed, there are still zeros in my aspirations.  These days I am working on zero waste and zero emissions—perhaps the Ground Zero of those seeking the ultimate green lifestyle.  Just imagine how our world would be different if everyone accepted that mission.

I recently wrote a review of a book, Cooking Green, about how we might each reduce our cookprints (our kitchen’s carbon footprint).  In that book, author Kate Heyhoe compared our ovens to Humvees because of their horrible waste of energy.  She really got me thinking about how I might create greater efficiencies with my cooking.

Kate mentioned that the closest we can get to zero emissions when baking is to use a solar oven.  That thought has been bouncing around in my brain for several days now.  Intrigued with the thought of building and using my own solar oven, I have been a woman on a mission. 

First, I gathered up resources for learning more about solar cooking.  A topic search of web pages led me to many excellent resources.  I’ve since checked out solar cookery guides and cookbooks from my library and have conducted a number of Internet searches.  These combined resources have only increased my enthusiasm for making my cooking as green as possible. 

Curious?  Your mission, which I hope you will accept, is to take a minute or two to explore the potential for tapping into the greatest underutilized power source on the planet (sunshine).  I encourage you to think about the possibilities by visiting How to Make and Use a Solar Oven.  Don't delay.  This link may self-destruct in 30 seconds.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Beetle Mania

There's something you should know about me.  I'm a locabore (not to be confused with loco or boring).  Are you wondering why you've never heard this term before?  It's because I just made it up.  I do that a lot.

Perhaps you have heard of a locavore—a person dedicated to eating local foods whenever possible.  So what in the world is a locabore?  It’s a person who makes a commitment to using local beetle kill wood for a wide variety of construction projects.  The “loca” is for local and the “bore” is for the beetle activity that leads to a tree’s untimely death.  It’s a growing problem in my state (Colorado) and beyond.

I have been reading about green remodeling practices.  One of the important things we can do when building or remodeling is to use reclaimed wood.  When lumber is harvested nearby, the ecological impact is reduced significantly.  There is no need to transport the wood cross-country (which eliminates a much larger carbon footprint). 

Because dead trees are already dry and seasoned, there is no need to burn fossil fuels for the kilns that would normally be required to lower the moisture content of freshly cut living trees.  And, by using dead trees, we can lower the dependence on harvesting trees that are better left in the forest doing their best to keep our environment healthy.

This weekend, as I was purchasing supplies for a couple of ongoing home renovation projects, I found beetle kill pine boards on sale.  That made my choice very easy.  When I build with local woods, the advantages go well beyond financial and ecological gain.  Things that grow here look good in my home.  They are a natural fit.  You would expect to see native woods like aspen, pine, and fir inside a house that is surrounded by those kinds of forests.  There is a harmony that is both seen and felt.

Even if you live in an urban area, there are always sources of reclaimed timber and other architectural elements.  A source to consider is your local Habitat for Humanity Restore.  They stock recycled construction materials.  Always think “re” first as you aim for greener living and building (reclaimed, recycled, repurposed).

Let's learn how to be good to the place we call home.  We only get one chance at this.  Unless we want to be dead standing, it's "Do or Di" time.  





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cultivating Green



Window Farm Photo by Josh Kalish
In a world of constant change, there are some things that remain with us over the course of our lives.  In my case, two of those enduring things, which aren’t really things at all, are a love for words and farming.  Since I was a young girl, I have had an abiding need for planting words and seeds.

Though I live in the country now, that wasn’t always the case.  For much of my life I lived in some of the largest urban centers in our country (Chicago, Houston, and San Antonio).  I never imagined living or thriving while surrounded by vast acres of concrete.  It seems one does adapt when necessary.

As Squidoo’s Green Living Contributor, I often receive comments on my articles from those who yearn to live as I do—off the grid, in the country, surrounded by wide, open spaces.  I often hear it said that it isn’t possible to live green at the moment.  Sometimes it is a matter of needing to be near family or work.  These green yearning souls have set their own longings aside, having deferred their dreams (perhaps indefinitely).

What I have learned, though, is that urban farming is not only entirely possible, it is a hugely popular phenomenon that could ultimately be one of the most important movements of our generation.  Without much more than eight square feet of light, these city dwellers, known as “window farmers,” have found a way to cultivate their green (both an inner and outer greening).

This week, as I read Paradise Lot, a book about two plant geeks who converted a desolate city space into an abundantly thriving garden of Eden, I thought of others who have created their own means of cultivating green wherever they happen to dwell.

My friend Dawn Rae shows you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.  She gardens in a big city apartment. LindaJM presents the possibilities of Window Farming 101.  Kari Spencer, of the Micro Farm Project, demonstrates how she turned her small urban yard into a true showcase.

As I sit here by the window tapping away on my laptop, nurturing little wordlings, still just tiny sprouts, I am cultivating the kind of green that makes my life a garden paradise.  How will you cultivate your green today? 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Writing Power


I’ve been thinking a lot about energy lately while composing a new Green Living article.  As I have gone around the house testing various appliances with my Kill A Watt monitor, checking how much power they need to do their thing, I began to think about the amps drawn upon when I am cranking out articles, reviews, and blog posts.

Many of my appliances, such as my refrigerator, are energy stars (as in Energy Star appliances).  They didn’t achieve that status by burning through tons of power over the course of their machine lives.  These are lean running machines.  Just as world class runners have honed their craft to achieve an economy of movement and an optimal use of their body’s energy, so too writers work to find the kind of flow that produces while drawing upon precious resources.

When I was a long distance runner, my breathing and running rhythm didn’t kick in until I had covered three miles.  At that point, the running began to feel good… almost effortless.  My heart, lungs, and muscles found their synchronicity.  They pumped as one. 

If I quit running before mile four, I missed out on the naturally released endorphins that produce such an incredible feeling of “rightness.”  It’s the only way I can think to describe it.  It’s called the runner’s high because of the sense of intense wellbeing that envelops one after a good run.

There is a “writeness” that exists for authors, too.  If we write our way into that place where our mind, heart, and life energies merge, it is possible to experience the writer’s high.  Sometimes we get there without expending a whole lot of energy.  It can feel effortless at times.  There are those days, though, when we may not hit our flow until mile five, or seven, or ten.  The thing is to keep writing.  There is always that breakthrough mile where it begins to feel incredibly right.

Whether you are a new writer or a pro, I encourage you to become an Energy Star.  Writing every day makes us lean, powerful writing machines.  Just as I became a better, stronger runner when I started training with a partner, I encourage you to draw strength from the many talented Squidoo writers.  Have you joined our team?  We’d love to write alongside you and cheer you on toward your next writing milestone.  See you at the starting line.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Golden Rule


I Live What I Write - This is Real

As the Green Living Contributor for Squidoo, I often go in search of articles and reviews to feature.  My ultimate goal is to promote exceptional content energized by a writer’s real world engagement with a product, subject, or lifestyle.

When it comes to green living, I have found an endless number of online marketers hitching their stars to the sun.  It is truly unbelievable how many individuals attempt to sell solar power systems and photovoltaic panels.  Almost none of them have ever used solar power.  They have no expertise in this realm.  I spend no time on web pages that represent empty selling.

A few years ago, when I first delved into online publishing, in addition to writing with authority and establishing credibility, I learned another very important lesson:  Offer at least 20 things of value before asking for something.  It’s the Golden Rule of marketing and connecting in meaningful ways with others.  

The 20 things of value may take many different forms.  You might offer valuable information in the form of blog posts or complimentary e-books.  Or, the gift could be an honest review that won’t lead to a sale (because you knew the product was not all that it was promoted as being).  An outstanding tutorial is always valuable, as is a professional video or Podcast.  You earn loyal followers, and eventual sales, as a result of your generosity and legitimacy.

A quality blog offers the perfect opportunity to give first.  The same is true of Facebook or Google+ communities.  One of the reasons I am establishing new Green Living hangouts and circles is to be in a position to connect generosity to genuine interest and solution-oriented offerings.  As we come together in these places, and bring something worthwhile and meaningful to the interactions, our capacity to be seen and heard expands in ways that will generate good energy.  That energy, like the sun’s power, may be harvested in due season.





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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

10,000 Shades of Green


As Squidoo’s new “Green Living” Contributor, I have a dream of pioneering an entirely new kind of online ecovillage.  Together, you and I, along with other kindred spirits, can build something uniquely vibrant that has the capacity to make a real difference.

We hear a great deal these days about living green, but what does that really mean?  It means something different to each one of us.  I like to say there are 10,000 shades of green.  Though my shade of green is off grid green, not everyone has the desire or immediate capacity to take that leap.  And that is okay.  Be your own shade of green.

When I first made the decision to live more sustainably, I had a lot to learn.  Come to think of it, I still have a lot to learn.  That is the best part of finding my inner green… growing every day.  The thing is, it is much more rewarding to grow together.

What if we thought of our online interactions as a form of human photosynthesis?  Being bathed in the light and energy of those who care about leaving the world a better place is one way we increase our own green.  One hour of sunlight makes a huge difference to a plant.  Just imagine the power of one when it comes to shining your light in a way that greens up the planet.

I invite you to bring your green.  Be the photosynthesis you wish to see in the world.  Tell us your story.  Review the green products you use and love.  Share a tutorial that shows us how you do green.  You can start by taking a moment to visit our new village green.  While there, if you haven’t yet become a Squidoo member, please take a few seconds to join.  It’s one more way of increasing your green.

As Tom Bodett always says, “We’ll keep the light on for you.”  In this case, it will be the light of your new Squidoo friends.  Welcome home.



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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