Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Urban Homestead

Have you ever built a solar powered food dehydrator in your garden? Do you know how to make your own household cleaners without using toxic chemicals? Can you repair any major toilet problem and reduce water usage with fixes that cost nothing? Have you ever made your own wine or beer from plants in your garden? Thought about raising chickens in the city? Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen have simple advice for living simply and comfortably even if you don't own a lot of land. In a humorous, easy-to-read manner, they offer advice on composting, gardening, home brewing, and saving greywater among other things. The Urban Homestead was a gift from my friend Andrea, who bought it for me after she read it. Jason and I have both read it, and it is WONDERFUL! It was incredibly comprehensive on how to reach a new level of self-sufficiency without buying land and moving to the country. There were several ideas in this book that I have always wanted to do, but was unsure of how to accomplish cost-effectively. I plan to buy a few copies of this book this year and hand them out to friends and family for birthday gifts. I hope they read it and continue the trend.
The book included several suggestions for incorporating permaculture into you city garden, including a practice called "Three Sisters." This is where you plant corn, beans, and squash all together, and the beans climb up the corn stalks and they shade the squash. The corn and the squash will sap nitrogen from the soil, while the beans will replenish it. It was such a great idea that I can't wait to try it.
They also run a blog here: http://www.homegrownevolution.com/

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cities of Refuse

I've mentioned before on my blog about the giant mound of trash twice the size of Texas floating around in the Pacific Ocean, but only as part of another blog. Since National Geographic wrote about it today, along with some of the first documentation of the phenomenon, I thought I'd bring it up again. Here is a link to the National Geographic article. Here is a better picture of it.

The floating plastic trash creates a hazard for aquatic life and consumers of aquatic life in the area, and represents 10% of the total worldwide plastic thrown away each year. No one knows how deep the marine dump is.

The Scripps company is funding the effort to document to floating island of garbage. For those of you unfamiliar with Scripps, they own HGTV, several magazine holdings, and a news station and news paper in almost every state. They own a station in Tulsa and a paper in Muskogee here in Oklahoma.

I am interested to see where this project leads in the future. If you assume we can ever even stop the annual input of plastic to this contribution, you still have the problem of what are we going to do with what is already there? Will we tie it together and create new land masses? The cities of the future? Or will we put it in a rocket ship and blast it off into the sun. I would love to be a part of this project, but barring that, I am excited to at least see someone researching it finally.

Sad Day for Train Zealots

I received this e-mail from representative Tom Kovach today, who works with OnTrac to promote commuter rail in Oklahoma:

All:

It was reported to us yesterday that construction crews have commenced work on removing the old passenger platforms at Union Station as part of the final phase of the new Crosstown Expressway. Clearly, this marks the beginning of the demolition and excavation work that will eliminate Union Station’s railyard.

We are deeply saddened by the avoidable and regrettable loss of this invaluable, one-of-a-kind facility. It is a sorrowful commentary on where are as a state with regard to transportation and rail transit.

At a time when our peer cities and states are well on their way to developing 21st century transportation systems, we can only hope this loss also marks the end of Oklahoma’s ambivalence and disregard for the importance of rail transit.

If we wish to remain economically competitive and to provide our citizens the job and transportation opportunities they deserve for a better quality of life, its imperative that we all work together even harder now if we hope to make rail transit a reality for Oklahoma.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recipes

For those who enjoy their veggies, I just wanted to share this blog that I follow: http://di-wineanddine.blogspot.com/

Their recipes are amazing and they always include photos that make your mouth water. I am especially looking forward to making a pot pie from the most recent recipe they listed once we get a cool streak again...(and I can afford groceries.) I spent all of my money on fruit at the farmers market and failed to buy substantial food. It's no good for me when peaches, cherries, and watermelon are all in season at the same time. I forget I need more than fruit to live. :)

Once I have a bit more time, I will post some of my favorite recipes on here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drought in Texas

Drought in Texas has caused water rationing laws to be put in place. Anyone caught illegally watering their lawn and gardens are being fined.

http://www.kfor.com/news/local/kfor-news-ap-texas-drought-story,0,3608438.story

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Article on Voices of Oklahoma

Hi Everyone, I wrote this article on public transportation in Oklahoma, and it was published at voicesofok.org. It is an important issue in Oklahoma, and I've written about it before. I hope you all enjoy the article.

http://www.voicesofok.org/2009/07/how-we-move-oklahoma-looks-at-public-transit/

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alaska Defends Itself

A twelve mile organic gelatinous blob attacked the coast of Alaska this week, devouring wildlife and messing up shorelines, in what some people believe was an attack formulated to hit while the Alaskan defense system is weak.

Alaska Governor and former Vice Presidential Contender Sarah Palin recently announced that she would be resigning from her post as governor, and turning over the position to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, according to cnn.com. Without Palin's intimidating defense strategies, the state of Alaska is left wide open to attacks from sea monsters.

"We just have been watching what is going on with, like the pipeline, and now the logging stuff, and we thought we would pre-emptively strike to defend ourselves," said Neptune, god of the ocean.

If overfishing and pollution don't decrease in the next year, and if Alaska doesn't provide a detailed plan to improve marine life, Neptune says they may have to release the Kraken.