Monday, April 26, 2010

Mass Audubon Work for Wildlife Statewide Volunteer Day

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Mass Audubon society by assisting in the clean up of a Sanctuary in Belmont, Massachusetts. There were six projects to choose from -- removing invasive brush plants from the meadow, adding wood chips to the trails, removing buckthorn from the wooded area, composting turnover, weeding the community garden plots and pulling back brush from the community garden. Matt thought buckthorn removal sounded fun and we headed off.

Buckthorn is a non native planting which was introduced by Europeans into their own gardens. It readily spreads and when it takes over it robs the soil of nutrients that the native plants need to survive as well as the sun they need to thrive.

Matt spent the three hours pulling out at the root along with about 15 other people, including our fearless leader Doug, while I processed the trees by cutting off the roots and piling up the branches. When our friend Kathy arrived she and I got to work hauling those branches to the edge of the trail so they could be chipped into mulch.

All in all it was a fantastic and fun day and we’re all looking forward to the next event this fall. I highly recommend checking out the Audubon website and volunteering next time there is an event in your area, the people were great and the day flew by!

Here are some photos of our day for you to enjoy.

The wheelbarrow fills with root cut offs!

Some of the crew gathers around Doug to get the scoop on our duties for the day.

Matt piles up buckthorn sticks.

Kathy says its all good in the woods!

About one third of the pile of buckthorn we cleared out Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Yea Earth, yea planet!

Back on Tuesday I asked for suggestions of ways to celebrate today’s momentous holiday. Being the 40th annual Earth Day I really wanted to do more than just what I do every day; I wanted to do something special!

One of my bloggy friends wylde otse over at Feast of Dragons was poetic with his suggestion:

“wriggle your toes in the earth, pretend to be a tree (worry about being cut down, or burned by a forest fire)

take a deep breath - breathe out 'thank you'

pull in pretend branches - give yourself a hug - for all the thoughtful environmental things you have done this year.

just before sleep tonight, imagine Gaia - at one with planet earth - conscious of you.
send love; sleep sound.”

Sounds pretty good to me! Especially the thanking Earth part. While I’m on the run today I plan to pay even more attention to the budding leaves of trees and tulips that made an appearance over night, breathe deep and do my best to enjoy the sun as much as possible.

Other things we can do that are fun, cheap and/or free:

~ Download some free music from a GLR favorite artist here at Benjamin Taylor Music.

~ Walk everywhere instead of driving if possible.

~ Become a fan of Sun Chips on Facebook and they donate $1.00 to environmental education causes (today only!) for every new fan.

~ Drink filtered tap water, turn off the water while brushing teeth, flush one less time today.

~ Purchase a reusable tote called “Love Your Mother” with the Mass Farmer’s Markets logo and filled with organic, stone ground chocolate from Taza. It is $45 and includes an automatic $20 donation to the Mass Farmer’s Markets.

~ Join a Freecycle group (or 3!) near you today!

~ Start planting your garden.

~ See Disneynature’s new movie Oceans (which opens today) during its first run week and a donation of $0.20 per ticket will be made to The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt a Reef Program in the Bahamas. They pledge a minimum donation of $100,000!

Most importantly, have fun, get outside and enjoy the planet today! Thanks Earth for another great year! ♥love♥

Thanks to for the picture! A very fun site to explore (hint, hint, another great thing to do on Earth Day!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Trustees of Reservations has Two New Members!

Last year while we took our annual vacation to Martha’s Vineyard with our friends, Matt and I started looking into the benefits of becoming a member of The Trustees of Reservations. This organization runs many of the guard shacks to some of our favorite locations on the Vineyard but we both knew there must be a whole lot more to this organization’s benefits than simply getting into beach parking lots for free.

What we discovered is that there is a whole lot more!

Matt’s birthday just passed (on April 16) and sometime back in February I had decided to give him a gift of membership as I knew it was something not only he, but our whole family (and maybe even a couple friends!) would gain great use from.

He was so excited to receive a Supporting level membership as his gift but for those not in the know, I guess I should tell you just what that includes!

As a Supporting level member we get to enjoy the benefits of --
☼ Free access (for up to 4) at over 100 reservations, maintained and protected by the employees of the Trustees and its many volunteers, all across Massachusetts and the islands (including Crane Beach, a premiere beach in Massachusetts for Trustee members only).
☼ A free copy of the Property Guide, which shares vital information about every single place they maintain, and annual subscription to the quarterly magazine Special Places.
☼ Discounts at their two bed and breakfast locations as well as at tons of events across the state that occur year round.
☼ A full year’s membership to celebrate all the seasons!
☼ A car window sticker to proudly display our commitment to the cause.
☼ Knowledge that 75% of my membership dues went directly to support the annual operating costs of the organization’s properties.
☼ A tax deductable portion of the membership dues.

Needless to say there are TONS of ways to volunteer, donate time (or man power) or take advantage of the many special places the Trustees care for annually and we intend to visit or enjoy as many of them as we can over the next year!

Of course we are both looking forward to our annual summer Vineyard vacation and daily trek to the Long Point Wildlife Refuge (and beach!) more than anything else! Ah summer sunshine, salt air and seagulls who try to steal your lunch. There is nothing else that compares!

If you’re in Massachusetts and would like information on the Trustees visit their website, an individual membership only costs $45 (students and seniors receive reduced costs up to family membership levels). Although costs can reach $600 at the Sponsor level, most people, who are outdoor lovers such as us, would find a family level ($65) sufficient for their needs. Give them a call and see what would work best for your family and help preserve some of Massachusetts most precious and beautiful resources!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Celebrate Earth Day?

This Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a day marked to celebrate and embrace the planet we live on as a living and breathing entity. Here in the United States, the day falls on April 22 each year and has been an important teaching day to talk about the environment sine it was first proposed in 1969.

Even people who are not traditionally known as “Green” tend to do something better for the planet on Earth day but that leads me to the question in my post title…how should we celebrate?

Since I am a proudly self-proclaimed Greenie I already do a whole bunch of the things that are suggested as ways to show some eco love -- work from home most of the time, eat far less meat (almost none in fact!), use CFLs, wash in cold water, reduce/reuse/recycle, buy second hand or from local shops as often as is practical, unplug items not in use, do as much shopping on one day as possible to avoid multiple gas emission days, walk whenever possible, etc -- so what should an eco-attuned gal such as myself do to celebrate this momentous day?

Some of you may be having a similar problem right now considering my readers over here are certainly savvy environmental lovers who don’t just hug trees, they plant them too! But this leaves all of us with the difficult task of trying to determine the best way to do even more in honor of the planet; and it is just 3 days away, yikes!

I am stumped! If anyone has suggestions I am all ears! PLEASE give me some recommendations for ways to celebrate on Thursday and I will be forever grateful!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Boston Marathon and EcoEtsy Earth Day Auction

Good morning and happy Monday to all of you! Here in Massachusetts it is Patriots Day, technically a holiday for us which commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War and it is also the day to get out and watch the running of the Boston Marathon (or the 11:05 AM Red Sox game if you are so lucky!).

This year is the 114th running of the race which draws all sorts of folks out of the woodwork to show their stuff by completing the 26.2 mile journey that not only includes dodging Boston’s infamous potholes, but the challenging and “chops-proving” Heartbreak Hill -- a half mile uphill stretch of the course that falls within the last five miles, when runners are already exhausted and reserves are depleted.

Many runners give up at this point, but for those who don’t the final few miles will be the most gratifying as the finish line comes into sight and they can say they have not only competed in, but completed, one of the longest and oldest running races in the history of, well, history!

All of us here in the city are keeping our fingers crossed that the spewing ash out of the volcano in Iceland subsided long enough that the thousands of European entrants were able to make it over to our city to compete today. Good luck to all the runners and for everyone who has a day off I hope you enjoy the sunshine and spring temperatures!

Those of us who don’t pound the pavement, should head over to the EcoEtsy Handmade for Earth Day Auction and bid on one of the fifty three amazing items up for bid!

There are six categories to choose from -- Baby, Home, Fashion, Jewelry, Paper Goods and Health and Beauty and all of the items are beautiful! The proceeds will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund, a cause very near and dear to our hearts here at GLR (and the sponsors of Earth Hour!).

To check out the EcoEtsy Auction, just head on over to the website and start perusing the many fine selections that could be yours! Bidding ends on May 2 so bid early and often!

Have a fantastic Patriots Day everyone!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Eco Fashion Friday Featured Designer Alexandra Ferguson

Today’s Eco Fashion Friday feature is all about the fashions for the home. Alexandra Ferguson, a talented member of the EcoEtsy team, stitches up some seriously graphic, fun message pillows from her Westchester County, New York shop. But the coolest thing of all? The felt is made from water bottles!

With 268 sales since she opened shop in January of 2009, and a 100% positive seller rating, Alexandra Ferguson is a true home fashion contender! With so many funky designs and an array of colorways, there is sure to be a design or two to please even the most discerning of Interior Design fashionistas. Don’t worry, they are not all as blunt as the featured photo, I just happen to love that one!

Starting at $45 the pillows go up to around $120 and range in size from 12” x 12” up to 22” and some rectangular shapes in between. Although the price may seem out of reach for some, a really fun, well placed and punchy accessory such as this will add just the right flair to a room and definitely makes a better gift than a sweater!

Custom orders are accepted, as is PayPal and all major credit cards. Each pillow is created with the custom Alexandra Ferguson tag, the recycled water bottle felt, and has a zipper closure which makes for ease of cleaning either the cover or the pillow insert (poly fill).

Because this shop is so committed to making something longer lasting out of a once-disposable resource such as a plastic water bottle, and does it with such attention to detail and flair, I am granting Alexandra Ferguson a Three Leaf Rating!

Your creativity and talent shine through your love for the planet Alexandra Ferguson! ♥love♥

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It by Billee Sharp

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have been given a copy of the book Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It (The D.I.Y. Guide to the Good Life) by Billee Sharp, to read and review, and let me tell you, I am in love with this book!

The book is essentially a “how to” type of guide on ways to do everything in the title, but the minute I started reading the Foreword I knew I was in for so much more than that. Billee takes you through life in her own family, as a way to show just how simple each of the suggestions can be, and through her frank yet easy going approach she lets all readers know just how much better our life will be if we take her advice to heart.

There is not a single page in the book that I didn’t have an “a-ha!” moment or find some useful tip or website / organization that could make me an even Greener Greenie. With resources out the wazoo (everything from how to calculate your own carbon footprint to the websites for Freecycle) and enough recipes for home made cleaners and meals, I don’t think this book can live on my bookshelf; it must be stored in the kitchen as a reference guide!

I really enjoyed her easy way of explaining just how simple it is to make the switch to a more frugal, old school if you will, mentality by telling us that, at first it may be difficult, but will get easier each time we take the initiative to take on more ourselves.

Because I am a writer I did notice a few editing goofs, one of which would cause a bit of confusion as it was for a website URL but overall the book flows. Even me, the slowest reader on the planet, got through it in just three sittings. The encouraging thing is I am already ready to thumb back through it as just today I have a need to make use of one of Ms. Sharp’s suggestions for polishing silver!

Because I was so uber impressed, and fully intend to make great use of this book on very likely a daily basis, I am granting Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It (The D.I.Y. Guide to the Good Life) by Billee Sharp a Four and a Half Leaf Rating!

I think there is a new authority in town on Greening up our lives and it is Billee Sharp! Take her advice to heart and look for her book at your local library or second hand book store before buying new, but if you absolutely can not wait to find it, the book is a steal at $15.95 from Cleis Press online. Thanks for your keen eye on the planet and our pocketbooks Billee, living frugal never sounded so fun! ♥love♥

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Am Drooling When Do the Goods Arrive?

Hard to believe that it is halfway through April already, where did the first third of 2010 go?! But because it is spring and the sun is starting to shine, buds are popping out on trees and temperatures are finally at the place where I can forgo my fleece lined jacket for a windbreaker, my mind has wandered to fresh fruits and veggies!

There are multiple towns surrounding me with pretty decent Farmer’s Markets that provide all kinds of offerings from the expected items, such as lettuce, to unexpected little treasures like scallops by the pound.

Because I am drooling for some fresh produce I figured everyone else is too! If you’re in the northwest suburbs of Boston, here is as comprehensive a list of the local Farmer’s Markets that I could track down.

In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on the pots full of lettuce, basil and cilantro seeds Matt just planted over the past couple weeks. But I know what they say about a watched pot!

Medford Square Market -- Every Wednesday from June through October, 12:00 - 7:00. Corner of Riverside Ave. and River St. Not just for food: crafts, performances and community networking abound!

Davis Square Farmer’s Market (Somerville) -- Opens May 26, 2010. Every Wednesday from Memorial Day through Thanksgiving, 12:00 - 6:00 through October, 12:00 - 5:00 during November. Corner of Day St. and Herbert St. Parking is tight in this neighborhood, luckily the red line T stops right at Davis Square!

Harvard Farmer’s Market (Cambridge) -- Every Tuesday from mid June through late October, 12:30 - 6:00. Located at the corner of Oxford and Kirkland St. This by far is the least car friendly Market on the list. Multiple bus lines and the red line all stop at Harvard Square, trust me, take them! Note: Debit is accepted here.

Belmont Farmer’s Market -- Every Thursday from 1:30 - 7:00, opens June 10, 2010. Located at the corner of Cross St. and Channing Rd. right in Belmont center. Take the commuter line (purple) which stops right at Belmont Center or park in the lot.

Arlington Farmer’s Market -- Every Wednesday from 1:00 - 6:30 through early October, open until 6:00 through last Wednesday in October. Located in the Russell Common Parking Lot at the corner of Mystic and Chestnut. This is my favorite market by far, though not huge, the people are awesome and I can get seafood!

Winchester Market -- Every Saturday from 9:30 - 1:30 from the second Saturday in June (12) through the end of October. Located on Winchester Town Common, Waterfield Rd., parking is spotty, take the commuter line or park in the Aberjona lot. Includes local produce, performers and craftspeople. (Note: I had no idea this one existed until researching for this post but it may become a new favorite since they even offer gift certificates!)

Lexington Farmer’s Market -- Opens June 1, runs through October 26, every Tuesday from 2:00 - 6:30 at the corner of Mass Ave and Fletcher Ave. Opening day looks to be a celebration with a local radio station DJ and performances from a drum corps and tap dancing troupe.

Want the skinny on Market locations, start dates, times or other info on those not covered here? Well then get on over to the Federation of Massachusetts Farmer’s Markets and sign up for the weekly email list. Or friend them on Facebook!

Monday, April 12, 2010

That Pale Blue Dot

My friend Trayce over at All of a Peace posted this video and I was so taken with how small yet full of life it made me feel, it seemed more than appropriate to share it with everyone.

Carl Sagan was a guru of all things related to the moon and stars (not to mention an astrophysicist and author among many other talents) and his knowledge of just how vital it was to protect our planet is something that should be shared by all.

Our planet may just be a tiny speck in the grander scale, but it is a whole big world to all of us! Enjoy this short reminder of just what all of us are fighting to maintain every day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting More Involved with My Important Community!

Good morning! Just wanted to share a quick update with everyone over here; you are now looking at the proud new News and Views Co-Editor for the EcoEtsy Team blog. Hooray!

These folks are awesome, as I have pointed out numerous times before and will most certainly point out again, and always have such fresh ideas to share. It makes me really proud to be a part of their team, not to mention completely psyched and honored that one of the Co-Leaders of the team (a very good Greenie friend) EcoKaren actually approached me to take this on. Wow, thanks so much Karen!

The mantra of this team is a dedication to the three R’s -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- and the spectacular members take it even further than that (in my opinion) by truly embracing Greenness as a lifestyle! Members will make their own laundry detergent and tea bags, re-gifting is strongly encouraged and homemade snack recipes are passed around like no thing!

News and View will run every Monday (my Co-Editor in Green and I are working out our schedule now, I’ll keep you informed!) and the team leaders are in process of ramping up the blog, so this coming Monday should be the unveiling of all things fresh over there.

I encourage everyone, whether you have an Etsy account or not, to get over to the Team EcoEtsy Blog and start reading!

See you all over there on Mondays but don’t worry folks, GLR will still be going strong!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CSI: NY Season 5 Episode 17 -- “Green Piece”

Hey friends! As most of you know we at GLR love the CSI series as they frequently sneak in eco related information here and there. Although the original series, that takes place in Las Vegas, does a good job of sharing the planetary love, the NY detectives tend to really give it emphasis.

I have talked about the episode where G Oil was featured but another eco conscious episode recently hit my radar. During season five they filmed an episode called “Green Piece” and I just happened to catch it on a rerun not too long ago.

The premise of the story is that a pipe bomb explodes, blowing up a house, and leads the detectives toward locating an environmental terrorist group behind the bombing. The intended target is found to own a successful e-cycling business but in the end it is discovered he may not be as responsible with his e-waste as originally thought.

The episode is filled with great terms and important environmental issues and when they arrest the man behind the group, Gary Sinise’s character, Detective Mac Taylor, uses the one liner “Nothing personal, just doing my duty…as one of God’s creatures.”

Thanks CSI: NY for keeping your finger on the pulse of what is important and sharing the stories with us in a most dramatic and exciting fashion!

Here’s a clip from the show but I warn those who watch but haven’t made it to this season yet, it is a spoiler and has absolutely nothing to do with the environment. I just think these two characters are the cutest couple on television! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Billion Bulbs

My sister sent me a link to the One Billion Bulbs site and I had to get on over here to share it with all of you too! Talk about an awesome concept!

These folks have started a website where people can sign up to indicate how many CFL's they have purchased to replace standard incandescent light bulbs. The mission is to save people money and the world's energy by getting 1,000,000,000 light bulbs changed over.

So far they have enough members signed up that they have tracked over 170,000 changed bulbs around the world. Over 148,000 of those have come from the United States alone.

We switched over just about every single bulb in our home with a CFL as soon as the incandescent burned out. The exceptions to this are overhead lights where 1. CFL does not fit or 2. Can not be installed for safety issues. We have 4 floor lamps and 4 overhead lights where CFL's can be utilized and have changed over all the lamps at this time.

To date, those 4 replaced bulbs are calculated at the One Billion Bulbs site to save us $52.84 and 443 lbs of greenhouse gas (CO2) annually (at an approximate 4 hour usage per bulb per day). Now that's savings I can get behind!

I hope everyone has a chance to not only check out the site, and sign up to record your own activity, but to also replace as many of your own bulbs with compact fluorescents as possible to save money and the planet!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Greenie on the Block!

Good morning friends! For those who celebrate, it is Easter Sunday here in the good old United States. On this day a few interesting traditions have taken hold such as egg hunts, baskets filled with candy and other goodies, and dying eggs to turn them into funky colors.

I don’t really know where the tradition of coloring eggs game from but when I was a kid we used to pick up the little kits that were sold at grocery stores or drug stores, shake the powder into a bowl, pour boiling water over it then dip our hard boiled egg into the liquid with the handy egg dipping thingie that came with it.

Now that I am older, and don’t have any kids, dying eggs fell by the wayside. I hadn’t paid it much thought until I was reading Jennifer’s blog, Green Earth Goodies, this morning only to discover she had posted a fantastic tutorial on how to accomplish this fun activity using all natural ingredients that are better for the planet and probably already right there in your own home!

Here’s a snippet from the post:

…depending on preference for depth of color (and keep in mind, these will look more like natural Easter eggs – earthy, soft and muted, so don’t expect the harsh color that comes from artificial food dye or kits); if you plan to eat the eggs, then you should move your glass containers into the fridge once the dye has cooled off…

Obviously pastel colored eggs will be tough to achieve using the at home dye creation method but kids (or adults alike!) will have double the fun squishing up berries or veggies to use in the mixes too.

If you haven’t gone out to buy a kit (or even if you have) I suggest checking out Jennifer’s DIY Coloring Easter Eggs Naturally tutorial and giving it a try. Then be sure to use the eggs for egg salad, deviled eggs or any other treat you like after the day has passed.

Does anyone have suggestions for what to do with the leftover “dye”? Has anyone used this method before?

Would love to hear feedback, and please welcome Jennifer to the Greenie blog roll!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Saturday Morning Funny

Although deforestation is a very real and growing problem in the world, sometimes it’s important to just make light of it and enjoy the laugh! This is from my friend Dennis over at “Life’s Problems are Merely Puzzles We’ve Yet to Finish”. Enjoy!

I apologize for my absence this week, next week I’ll be back in full swing with lots of fun stuff! Enjoy the weekend everyone! ♥love♥