On going Green-ish

Let me start off by saying that my voter registration card has a big “R” on it. I am by no means someone who should be considered as the poster girl for being green. I own a Ford Explorer and I really hate those stupid little smart cars that I’m pretty sure looks like an afternoon snack to my truck.

When I started getting “greener” it wasn’t some mission to save the world or the trees or the ozone layer. It was a simple mission to make my wallet a little greener. While I knew the first steps would help, no one told me just how much money I would save by making little changes.

No, I didn’t discard every paper plate or paper towel in my home. I’m sorry, but I have a 4 year old and the idea of eternal laundry and dishes just doesn’t sit well. I did start a garden. I have a pretty large garden space in my back yard which I have used to grow a variety of fruits and veggies. Mostly, I thought it would be something to make me feel good and spend some time outside. And it did. It was a great space that my son I spent time. He learned how to make things grow and we ate from our bounty together.

This was the start of a whole new use for the backyard. Three years later, we have four chickens, a bigger garden and we do things a little greener. I use Tupperware instead of plastic bags on my lunch. And I am careful about my spending. We keep the thermostat at a constant temperature. We are careful about our fuel use. We don’t eat out as much, and cook more at home. We are also building a greenhouse over our garden so we can get even more from it.

Being greenish isn’t just about hugging trees. As a matter of fact, for me, being greener was just as much about being more money-wise as it was being traditionally greener. And who can say no to that?

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Gearing up the garden

One of the perks of owning your own home with a bit of land is being able to make your backyard give back. Many people’s backyard serve as the “kids domain” filled with swing sets, sandbox and whatever else they’ve managed to accumulate over the years. While we have the requisite swing set, a geometric climbing apparatus and a chicken house, I’ve also managed to claim a twenty by twenty-foot area for myself. It isn’t huge, but since my preschooler and I are the only veggie eaters in the house, its adequate.

Over the summer, I put up a small fence in a rather futile attempt to keep the chickens out. Weather conditions combined with bird activity (chickens included), and squirrels plagued my garden this year. Despite those challenges, I was able to harvest quite a lot from her. This spring, I have bigger plans. A greenhouse! Better temperature, water, wind and pest (read chicken) regulation will mean not only will I get much more from my garden, but it also means the growing season will be expanded substantially.

Potatoes and carrots have presented a particular problem for us due to heavy, clay soils and poor drainage. So, the solution to this problem has been to build a root vegetable box out of old pallets. Hopefully, this will mean some sweet carrots and good potatoes this year!

So, I’ve been In the process of pulling the old stakes, prepping the soil, pulling weeds and general garden winter maintenance. I’ve also acquired a few cold weather boxes to start my growing season early while the building is in process. I have some nice romaine lettuce already coming up and a few more plants germinating indoors. I can’t wait to get the greenhouse built!

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Potato garden from Pallets

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Chickens check out the cold weather boxes

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Justice says good morning.