Author Archives: DianaP

To Eat or Exfoliate?

Luffa (Loofah) Gourd

I’m a food writer and a gardener. I never thought I’d say that — even to myself, let alone out loud — and yet, here I am. Late January is blowing in with wind and ice and seed catalogs galore are gracing my mailbox — and I am itching to dig in the dirt.

I want nothing more than to get outside, feel a warm breeze on my skin and to sink my hands into the dark, heavily composted soil that will (hopefully) nourish a large part of our sustenance in the coming year. Unfortunately, I was born, raised and continue to live in The North; a frustratingly cold place where such wonderful endeavors cannot be undertaken without engaging in epic futility until well into April or May.

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Green Family Friday – October 16, 2009

We’re a fairly gender-neutral family. If the laundry needs folding, someone folds it; if the lawn needs mowed, someone mows it; if dinner needs to be cooked, someone cooks it; if a fence needs to be repaired or a paddock cleaned, someone just does it — regardless of their genetic make-up. That being said there are a few jobs that just so happen to fall on the shoulders of one or the other of us time and time again. One of those jobs is the transport of things into and out of our back shed. My husband almost always does it.

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Suburbs Have a Leg-Up on Greening

Last week Mireya Navarro reported for the New York Times on the greening of suburban municipalities. In Green and Greener in Suburban Towns Navarro highlighted the Long Island town of Babylon.

“FOR two years, Valerie Williams had been considering making the five-bedroom home she grew up in more energy efficient — hoping to shrink her $350 monthly utility bill — but more pressing expenses always came first.

Then the town of Babylon came up with an offer she couldn’t refuse: if she and her husband, Carlos, paid $250 for an energy audit, the town would finance the recommended upgrades. The couple would repay the town at a monthly rate below the savings on their utility bill.”

Babylon is not alone.

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Green Family Friday — October 9, 2009

It’s hard to believe we’re swiftly heading into the middle of October already. Fallen leaves have been crunching underfoot for a few weeks now and the temperatures have taken an expected but all too sudden plunge. If that weren’t enough, it has also been raining for weeks; I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. At this rate I fear the crops will be in the fields until January. Lest you think that only affects farmers like us, rest assured it does in fact trickle down.

With only three weeks left until Halloween and the month of November with all of its holiday madness hot on Halloween’s heels however, we’ll be doing more than fretting about the weather this weekend.

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Join Us for the Eat Local Challenge

It is no secret that I love food. Local, slow, whole, delicious food. It should be no surprise then that I simply could not resist the opportunity to spread the word that the fifth annual Eat Local Challenge is underway.

I don’t recall a fundamental shift in perception ever having taken place. Rather, it was a slow and steady evolution that led us to curb our long-distance consumption at the dinner table. It wasn’t a conscious decision made, but it did turn out most convenient and achievable that way. I imagine much in the same ways that it would be most achievable for other families to go about it in the same way; slowly integrating local when and where it’s most possible.

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Green Family Friday – October 2, 2009

We may have started the fall conversation almost two weeks ago, but there is something about the first of October that makes the season more official. And that’s even aside from the hard layer of frost I had to scrape from my windshield first thing yesterday morning.

As temperatures drop and day light wanes keeping green families busy gets tougher, but not impossible. As a matter of fact, it seems most of us are thinking along the same lines these days — gardening and preparation are the name of the game.

5 Minutes for Going Green reader, Shannon, shares two wonderful blog posts with us this week.

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On Saving Energy. And Bats.

Bats are an ongoing issue in our horse barn. It’s old and as such has numerous nooks and crannies through which they find their way in. So much so that the hay loft may as well be officially dubbed a bat hotel. As much as I loathe their presence, shudder when I hear their high-pitched squeals from above when I do chores I also appreciate their service. And so far, their keeping themselves confined to the loft and the great out doors and not venturing into my tack room.

Bats, as creepy as they may be, are a vital component in insect population control and living near a river and flood plain in a state known for it’s killer mosquito population I can readily appreciate their value.

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Giveaway: EcoSMART Plant & Garden Value Bundle

In the spirit of yesterday’s topic, A Fall Garden for All, today we’re partnering with EcoSMART to help one lucky reader win a Plant & Garden Value Bundle containing; Weed and Grass Killer, Garden Fungicide, Garden Insect Killer and Insect Repellent — all made with EcoSMART’s child, pet and environmentally friendly formula.

From their website:

Since EcoSMART’s proprietary botanical oil blends attack attributes that are specific only to pests, they have no effect on people, pets or the environment. The primary active ingredients in EcoSMART products are approved as Direct Food Additives or classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S.

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A Fall Garden for All

Victory Garden Bounty Circa 1941-1945 on Flickr

Victory Garden Bounty Circa 1941-1945 on Flickr

The fall garden used to be something that only experienced backyard growers took on. Those that had a few good summers filled with ripe tomatoes and wax-free bell peppers still warm from the sun. In a throwback to the era of Victory Gardens and self-sustainability spurred by eco-consciousness however, fall gardens are rising in popularity almost as much as their summer counterparts. In fact, the word on the street is that this year even the White House will have a fall garden. And if the White House can do it, so can you. Even if you do lack gobs of more-than-qualified staff to do your dirty work.

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First Weekly ‘Green Family Friday’

Family Fun Big or small, traditional or uniquely unconventional, all human or composed of those that stand on more than 2 legs as much as those that do; families are beautiful things. At 5 Minutes for Going Green, we value families and the things — both big and small — that they do together to be a little more friendly to our planet. That’s why we’re excited to announce our first weekly Green Family Friday .

Each week we’ll be collecting tips, tricks and ideas for green weekend activities from families just like yours! And every Friday morning we’ll feature them here.

Looking for something to do?

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