Saturday, March 01, 2008
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
When I stop in at my local Starbucks for my daily "fix", I always check for the bags of coffee grounds to use in my garden. Why do so many people want these grounds? Let me tell you what I know about the benefits of coffee grounds in the garden.
The benefits of using grounds are many. They provide an almost neutral pH, add nitrogen to the soil, and can improve soil drainage and help the water-holding capacity. Paper filters can also be composted.
HOW TO USE COFFEE GROUNDS IN THE GARDEN
Scatter the grounds around the drip line of your trees, shrubs and plants. This provides a gentle leaching of nutrients to the plants.
Rev up your compost pile with coffee grounds. They decompose quickly, get hot and help decompose larger matter like wood chips and pruning material. You want to mix 1 part coffee to 2 parts grass clippings, leaves or small wood chips. You can increase the grounds late in the season to really heat up and speed up the composting effort. Make sure to really mix the grounds into the compost pile.
Dump about 1/2 pound of grounds into a 5 gallon bucket of water. Let it brew overnight. Use this liquid fertilizer in the early morning when the air is cool and calm.
Some people have said that coffee grounds deter slugs and other pests but I can't say whether that is true or not, but worth an experiment, maybe.
When I re-pot plants, I add about 10% coffee grounds to the mix of potting soil. Mix thoroughly before adding it to the pot.
Enjoy your java and reap the garden benefits. What a win-win effort!
Monday, February 19, 2007
The last time Congress fiddled with daylight savings was 1986, when it moved the starting date from the last Sunday to the first Sunday in April, but left the ending date at the last Sunday in October.
The 2005 Energy Policy Act extended daylight-saving time by four weeks beginning this year. Clocks will spring forward on the second Sunday in March instead of the first Sunday in April and fall back on the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in October.
The change was meant to conserve energy by reducing the use of electric lighting, and there's precedent for it. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the temporary extension of daylight-saving time in 1974 and 1975 saved 10,000 barrels of oil a day. Advocates say savings today could be 10 times greater.
Those in favor of the change claim that lives will be saved driving home from work in daylight; trick-or-treaters will have safer conditions; outdoor activities can be extended which will have health benefits - to name a few that I have heard.
The topic of Daylight Savings Time remains controversial. There are opponents, including farmers who cite problems for farm animals. Some parents have raised concerns about young children waiting for buses or walking to school in the dark.
Congress has retained the right to change the pattern again after the Department of Energy reports on the outcome of 2007 so we probably haven't seen the last of the tinkering of the clocks.
Mark your calendars:
- Sunday March 11th of 2007 - Daylight Savings Time Begins
- Sunday November 4th of 2007- Daylight Savings Time Ends
- Sunday March 9th of 2008 - Daylight Savings Time Begins
- Sunday November 2nd of 2008 - Daylight Savings Time End
Daylight Saving Time Extended - Pros and Cons
Energy Savings - will possibly save 100,000 barrels of oil daily. People will turn interior and exterior lights on later in the day which will save electricity. Lighting for evening sports events can be turned on one hour later.
School Children - will possibly wait in the pitch dark for the school bus. Example, in Louisville, Kentucky sunrise will occur at 8:01 on March 11, 2007, however, Louisville schools currently begin classes at 7:40 for middle and high school.
Here's a question: What do you think about the change? Are you for or against and why?
Labels: daylight savings time
Mortgage Insurance is Now Tax Deductible!
If you've been holding off on your decision to buy a home or refinance, I have got good news. Congress has passed legislation that will make mortgage insurance (MI) premium payments tax deductible for anyone who purchases a home after January 1, 2007. The tax deduction will be in effect throughout the 2007 tax year and may be extended by Congress soon.
If your family earns under $110,000 a year, or $55,000 per year for married couples filing separately, the new rule allows you to deduct the cost of the MI premium from your income on your tax return. It could ultimately save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
Finally something has been done for the regular folks like us.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Reusing or recycling wrapping paper or bows from last year's presents is traditionally frowned upon, but as our culture grows more environmentally conscious, reusing holiday gift wrap is not only allowed, it's encouraged. Here are some great ideas for recycling, while still giving beautifully packaged gifts this year.
- Buy paper that is made from recycled content, or make your own paper using recycled materials.
- Instead of buying wrapping paper, decorate gifts creatively with newspaper or other household items.
- Use festive discount fabrics to make gift bags that can be resued for years to come.
- Use the gift itself as wrapping paper - for instance wrap a gift of cookware in colorful tea towels, or present athletic gear in a duffel bag.
- Re-use bows and ribbons. Here's a hint - steam can rejuvenate bows that have been flattened or disfigured in storage. Hold the bow upside down over steam, being careful not to burn yourself - then the bow can be easily reshaped.
- Use cloth ribbon and bows, then save and reuse.
- Reuse gift wrap - you can make it look new again by running a warm iron over it and trimming torn edges. Or, turn old wrinkles into a lovely crinkle effect by crumpling the paper up by hand. Dress up with re-used bows and ribbons.
- Cut your own gift tags out of the wrapping paper.
- Use your shredded office waste to pack gifts in baskets and gift bags.
- Give gift certificates, eliminating the need for gift wrap altogether.
- I love to tie my newspaper-wrapped gifts with hemp twine. I add a twig of fresh greens to create a beautiful present.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Happy Daylight Savings!
Spring Forward, Fall Back may be the only notion some of us can keep straight when it comes to the twice-annual ritual of changing the clocks. And now Congress has tinkered with WHEN to make the change.
Thanks to passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Saving Time will begin one month earlier in 2007 and will continue for an extra week. It's part of a phased move designed to conserve electricity and save an estimated 300,000 barrels of oil a year.
* This year, Daylight Saving Time began on April 2 and ended at 2 a.m. Oct. 29
* In 2007, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 11 and ends Nov. 4
* In 2008, Daylight Savings Time begins on March 9 and ends on Nov. 2
* In 2009, Daylight Savings Time begins on March 8 and ends on Nov. 1
What do you think of the changes? Do you think they should extend Daylight Savings even further? The impact on energy consumption could be significant.
Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
My passion for the environment now has roots in my real estate practices. I am excited and proud to be one of the first Realtors in the Seattle/Everett region to have received my EcoBroker designation. What is an EcoBroker some may ask?
EcoBroker International's education and designation program is designed exclusively for real estate professionals who care about the environment and want to help their clients benefit from the energy-efficiency, "green", and healthier features of homes and buildings. EcoBroker provides a complete curriculum of energy and environmental training to licensed real estate agents. Real estate professionals like me must complete the extensive EcoBroker curriculum and training and fulfill additional program requirements to become Certified EcoBrokers.
As I begin the transformation of my main website and my focus to helping my clients make wise decisions that have less of an impact on planet earth, you will see many posts on this new blog as well as a wealth of information and resources on my website: www.greeningseattle.com
"Together We Can Make A Difference"