New Favorite Website = Eat the Invaders.org

New Favorite Website= Eat the Invaders.org

This website just scrolled past on twitter. Curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked to link to the site.  It describes plants and animals. As a mostly pescatarian, I focused naturally on the plants and followed the links for those items.  A native foraging class taught by Native Americans a couple of years ago informed me that foraged greens both invasive and native are much higher in nutrition than most cultivated crops. Dandelions mentioned on this blog is an example of that. I have noticed first generation immigrants harvesting the huge leaves in the roadside drainage ditches on Mercer Island and wondered what they did with what most people here would call compost. My answer came several months later when I learned a form of Kim Chi is made from the sawtooth leaves.

Weeds you can eat
Dandelions are nutritious

This also mentions Japanese Knotweed. I know this is a very invasive plant in the Interbay neighbor of Magnolia. Come to find out it’s related to Rubarb and when you harvest the young shoots it’s similar to asparagus. Poor Fredrick Law Olmstead introduced it to the East Coast. His landscaped design firm is a darling in the profession also designed many of  the public parks in Seattle. Does the East side of Magnolia have him to blame as well for the huge stands of knotweed?

A couple of springs ago I met a young couple snipping the spring green shoots off of nettles in Discovery Park. Come to find out this plant when harvested young is very nutritious and is supposed to help with allergies in the early spring. It can be stir fried or made into an herbal tea.

What is great about this website is not only do they help you identify the invasive species, they give you the often interesting history of how they were introduced to the United States and and some truly great recipes for cooking them up for a tasty meal. It’s a broad spectrum of ideas and a clearing house for new ones.

Want to help the native natural environment save money and eat healthy? Take a peek at this website and see how you can help struggling native environments and eat healthy meals while saving money on groceries, if you are so inclined.

Kent Award Winning Home on the Seattle Green Home Tour

Kent Award Winning Home on the Seattle Green Home Tour

 

5 star built green
This Home is on the Seattle Green Home Tour

Do you have a preconception of Kent? I have to admit I did having spent some time there in the past. I love the city of Seattle and all it has to offer, it’s quiet sophistication, it’s culture and yes it’s beauty. I also happen to love getting away from the city to enjoy the great outdoors Washington State. All the water, the forests, the vistas and viewing the wildlife. Just like Ruth Anne on Northern Exposure, I go shooting quite often when I go out to the country, but it involves F-stops and lenses, and finding the elusive perfect lighting.

So I have to admit, when I heard a house was in Kent on the tour this year, I thought it was great, that green building concepts were spreading further out than just Bellevue into the suburbs of our metropolis. Then I opened the file with the pictures attached. All I can say now is WOWIE! (In my best Christopher Walken voice)

What a view inside or out
Award winning home
Awarding winning green home
Worth the drive from Seattle to see this home

Here is what Sockeye has to say about it:

Located in Kent, this custom home is so packed with ideas it has been named The Northwest Idea House of the Year. Come see for yourself the incredible design ideas, cutting edge systems, and Built Green features, making this a 5 star demonstration home and Click Here to View Case Study

Especially if you are in the south end of the Seattle grid I urge you to go see this home and be inspired by the creativity in solving the matrixs of what green can be to come up with such a lovely solution!

You can see the whole tour brochure at the NW Eco Building Guild’s website

West Seattle Home on April Green Home Tour

West Seattle Home on April Green Home Tour

Seattle area residents are lucky enough to have a Green Home Tour that is drawing interest other parts of  the country.  This years tour is appropriately on Earth Day weekend. A popular home is back this again this year so more people can be inspired by seeing how one growing family did so much for less money than you may think.

Does “green” mean:

Using fewer resources?

Re-purposing existing elements?

Saving energy and costs?

Improving indoor air quality?

Solar power?

Saving water?

Renewable materials?

Improved indoor air quality?

Increased comfort and simpler lifestyle?

Planning for the future?

In short, YES!!!

Here’s an opportunity to see why simple (and not so simple) things can make a difference, why it may not look like you think it might,  and why it’s worth it!

 

From the SeattleGreenHomeTour.org  website:

 

A [LITTLE] MIGHTY HOUSE

A [Little] Mighty House

Location

3108 SW Webster StWest Seattle, WA 98126

Mighty House Construction

This West Seattle home provides a story of innovative use of materials, green and healthy finishes, energy conservation, integrated, expandable solar, and a multitude of solutions to accommodate the ebb and flow of a young and growing family.

Mighty House Front DoorThe mainstay of this project is conservation — conservation of costs and conservation of materials; all the meanwhile maintaining a high level of sustainable building measures and excellent indoor air quality.

The house is a 1980, rambler which when purchased in 2006 had clearly not had any finishes or renovations made to it since it’s completion in 1980. A remodeling plan was put into place to update the home’s aesthetics, remove low-quality and crummy fixtures, and to find better solutions for a growing family’s spatial needs.

As we mentioned, the big story in this home is conversation and simplicity. The projects feels tangible, something anyone can do to make big change to the use and/or aesthetics of their home… although truth be told, the work not only took fine craftsmanship, but a dedication to thoughtfulness and a lot of patience. The budget was a driving force to the schedule of projects and part of keeping to the budget often meant waiting for the ‘right’ salvaged or re-purposed materials to present themselves.Mighty House Office

The scope of the remodel to-date includes:

  • Maintaining existing footprint to maximize outdoor spaces
  • Salvaged or re-purposed materials in every room.
  • Low-impact flooring (including bamboo and remnant marmoleum) replaced vinyl and carpet.
  • Low-/No-VOC or reused paints throughout.
  • “Water-wise” fixtures.
  • “Energy-star” appliances.
  • Tool-shed entirely from salvaged materials.
  • Smart powerstrips throughout (as appropriate).
  • Radiant ceiling heat (office only)
  • Expandable solar installed (1-panel up, brackets ready for 3 more next spring, system ready for 23 more!)
  • Redesigned yard for fun, privacy, and low-water and low-maintenance with a few edibles thrown in for yum.
  • And more.

The kitchen itself is exemplary of all the attributes of the remodel:

  • Mighty House VanitySalvaged cabinets
  • Butcher block countertops re-oriented and re-worked into an island top
  • Paperstone countertops surround
  • Bamboo flooring
  • Salvaged garden window
  • Low-voltage pendant light
  • Dimmers on all switches
  • Low-VOC paints
  • Salvaged pantry shelf
  • Marmoleum backer for future wine rack
  • Energy Star and Water Wise appliances/fixtures
  • Smart cell phone charging station

Some of the other features of this sustainable home are in the choices made on a daily basis furnishing and living in the home. From homemade cleaning products to a “no-more new plastics” intention, every decision is made with indoor air quality, health, and sustainability forward.

A [Little] Mighty House

The kitchen is exemplary with salvaged, low toxic materials and energy-efficient appliances
A [Little] Mighty House

Low-impact flooring and re-purposed materials make this living area supremely sustainable

Stay tuned to learn more about a post-tour class about buying or greening an existing home April 28, 2012

Eco Building Guild Home Tour

Eco Building Guild Home Tour

Show Us Your ‘Green’!

Green Home Tour in Seattle
Coming this Earth Day 2012

 

Northwest EcoBuilding Guild – 2012 Green Home Tour – Call for Sites & Sponsors

This just in:
The 2012 Green Home Tour hosted by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild (NWEBG) is underway. People want to ‘do the right thing’ when it comes to remodels, retrofits, and new construction but often times need to see “green” in action and how the benefits to people, planet, and profit unite in everyday practice. To that end, the inaugural 2011 Green Home Tour hosted 28 sites and over 1,250 visitors with great success! This year we’re planning to build off that success and make it bigger and better! There are 4 ways to participate:
  1. Showcase Your Project. (early bird deadline Jan 16, 2012)
  2. Showcase Your Services/Products through Sponsorship.
  3. Volunteer Your Heart Out.
  4. Attend and Tell Your Friends to Attend!
Two Tours – One Great Weekend! 2012 Green Home Tour is being hosted by the Seattle and the South Sound Chapter April 21 & 22, 2012. Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union has already stepped up as an event sponsor, and we’ve just gotten started!  The earlier you get involved, the greater benefit will be realized by everyone!! Website updates are underway, in the meantime contact Cate O’dahl, Event Lead (Seattle Chapter), 425-670-1342greenhometour@ecobuilding.org.
Last year there were sites all around the Seattle area. Several in North Seattle, some in West Seattle, and several on the Eastside including Bastyr University. If you want to see your neighborhood represented then have a green home in your area sign up for the tour.
If you participate in the tour or just want to enjoy the weekend learning about sustainable building mark your calendars now.
Hope to see you Earthday weekend 2012!

Great Opportunity to Safely Dispose of Old Paint

Great Opportunity to Safely Dispose of Old Paint

Update 11:00am Monday 10/17/2011

Reed painting had an overwhelming response and has informed me that they reached their capacity on Saturday. You still can contact them if you can put the recycled paint to a good use. They plan on having another drive in the future or to look up another location where you can safely dispose of your unwanted paint you can find your answers on line.

 

This Saturday Oct 15th is the first day Reed Painting will be taking latex paint from homeowners for recycling and reusing.  This local company is providing a valuable service as it allows us to recycle the paint that is in our basements, garages and sheds and know it to will be put to good use one again.

Word is out, get there early!

The organizers have asked me to pass on the following information:

“ Due to the overwhelming response so far it is estimated that the paint drive will not run the full week – people with donations are encouraged to come this Saturday. When we have reached capacity we will have to close the drive.”

“We do need to put the recycled paint to good use so we need people that are interested in taking some for community service projects or even individual projects. It will take some time to go through the paint but it will be available soon for use. We have donated to churches, schools, the Sheriff’s Dept for graffiti removal and artists for mural painting – to name a few.”

“ We are a painting company that specializes in residential interior and exterior painting, as well as cleaning services such as gutter cleaning, window washing, power washing and even holiday lighting.”

“Lastly, we are active in community service and strive to promote environmental conservation. We use NO and LOW VOC Paint and can use recycled paint at a customer’s request. The paint is high quality.”

The drop off site in located off Stone Way and Aurora roughly in the Wallingford and Fremont neighborhoods not too far from Green Lake.  What a great public service these independent contractor is offering. To learn more about them and this paint drive you can contact them here.

 

 

Edible Plant Sale

Edible Plant Sale

Saturday and Sunday May 7th and 8th will be the weekend for the much-awaited Seattle Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale in the Wallingford neighborhood. If you haven’t been to this before, things you should know – expect long lines, bring more money than you planned on, wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.

This very popular event is one of the few times when you can meet the growers, expect organically grown plants, find rare heirloom varieties and gain a wealth of information. This is a great time to glean answers for any of your edible plant questions from the multitude of plant experts. The person behind you in line (and yes there will be plenty of queues), might be the very person with the knowledge and experience you have been wanting to meet.

For more information see Seattle Tilth's website

The concept of Urban Farming, or Permaculture, or the re-emerging of so-called Victory Gardens has stimulated a resurgence in people wanting to grow their own food. There is no need to be intimidated by your lack of knowledge or the overwhelming choices you are likely to find. If you are new to the subject of gardening, you might want to get one of their “Gardens to Go” – a prepacked suggestion of combinations based on a certain theme. You can find both warm and cool season crops and perennials as well.

Warning – the lines will probably be long.  You will be tempted to purchase some amazing things you may have never seen before, and there will be much more to see than you might expect.  All the reason for the extra money, time, patience and comfy shoes.

If you aren’t one of those people who planned their weekend around this event you can have a second chance on May 14 in Issaquah. See Seattle Tilth for more information.

April 22, 2011 Earthday in Seattle

April 22, 2011 Earthday in Seattle

Love your mother

What was once considered to be a fringe “Hippy” event on the 60’s that involved a lot of tie-dye has now gone “mainstream”. Now some 40 years later in most all Seattle neighborhoods this once woo-woo cause is fully embraced as a way to improve parks, public right of ways or to just do good.

Check out the multitude of events in the different region of the city. You can recycle your e-waste, clean up a park, help to clean up water ways or greenbelts, or just listen to some great music. There’s something for everybody. The Seattle Channel on cable TV has a great line up of some interesting shows involving our county, city and region. Whether you believe in the cause or not, no one can dispute it’s a great chance to build community and foster relationships between neighbors.

So for Earth Day 2011 get out there choose something to do, clean up trash, or just responsibly recycle that old monster of a monitor that’s been sitting there in the corner collecting dust. After all it’s the only planet we all call home.

 

Seattle Greendrinks

Seattle Greendrinks

Tired of the doom and gloom in the news, but care and

Bring your own glass

want to learn more about issues of local sustainability and greater issues on other continents? Seattle Greendrinks meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

About once a year the Greendrinks event is simultaneously located  in many Seattle neighborhoods which is a great way to check out this gathering. Other times they might meet  in the Sodo area, The Woodland Park Zoo, at an architecture firm in a LEED built building in South Lake Union, or a car dealership in Ballard etc.

The great thing about  Seattle Greendrinks is you are educated on a great cause in a setting you may not usually find yourself in. People are friendly, like-minded and casual. You donate a ridiculously small amount of money at the door and not only do you have a beverage (bring your own container to reduce waste), but you have a small bite, get some information, but most of all you gain the kind of optimism that a small gathering of people can bring about change.

You can learn about commercial green real estate, residential real estate and all facets of  the world of sustainablility. If this piques your interest Seattle Greendrinks is really worth checking out.

They are also advertising the Northwest Eco Building Guild 2011 Green Home Tour. For more information go to PhinneyRidgeView.com.