NW Green Home Tour 2014

NW Green Home Tour 2014

The date is set –April 26th and the committee is off and running. Site hosts are signing up sooner than ever. No doubt based on the success of the previous three years, the NW Green Home Tour promises to be the biggest and best ever. Builders are building again, buyers are in the market and the general public is more aware of how diverse green building really is

The tour is a go! Currently there is still room for sitehosts, sponsors, sustainability stops and volunteers.
The tour is a go! Currently there is still room for sitehosts, sponsors, sustainability stops and volunteers.

Think you know what a “Green” home looks like? Many people attend this free to the public tour and learn the ordinary looking house on their street might actually be quite extra-ordinary. Tour goers can expect to see single family homes, town homes, DADUs, and this year apartments. Innovative outdoors spaces, rain gardens, urban agriculture, and maybe some livestock are all possibilities. Sustainability stops and retail outlets that tie into the tour, such as Green Home Solutions, are all part of the tour.

This self guided tour is from 11-5 on a Sunday. Preview and plan an individualized route by visiting the official website NWGreenHomeTour.org, or pick up the yet to be published free April issue of Seattle’s Natural Awakening Magazine.  Keep an eye out for publication the beginning of April.

The tour is a joint partnership of the NW Eco Building Guild and Built Green. We welcome inquiries regarding site hosts, sustainability stops, sponsorships and volunteer opportunities.

For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future
For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future

West Seattle Gem Ready For Your Vision

West Seattle Gem Ready For Your Vision

This adorable home is new to the GREEN Seattle real estate market, a 1923 Craftsman bungalow currently for sale has been lovingly cared for. It all ready sports the newer conveniences one expects in this century and and has kept the charm of the last century from some 90 years ago. The combined updated systems including heating, plumbing, and appliances to make this home comfortable with its remodeled kitchen and bathroom. One could easily leave it as-is and it’s a head turner.  A low maintenance back yard is ready for your summer BBQs. The generous front porch is perfect for sipping a cold beverage while watching the sunset hidden from the street.

5400 36th Ave SW Seattle
Light filled corner lot with Northwest Exposure

If one is so inclined, the yard has immense potential. The corner lot with the abundant light floods the yard, set just a few feet above the sidewalk. It’s a perfect scenario for an edible garden, fruit trees, or more ornamentals.  The backyard is set up to be a low maintenance entertainment center with a large paver patio. The trellis is already in place for your kiwi or grape vines. The fenced yard is great for young children, dogs or perhaps chickens? Permaculture anyone?

While this home has so many smart attributes, the new owner could take advantage of the Community Power Works program, to maximize the energy efficiency. Add a mini split heat pump to provide the home with air conditioning as well as heat. Receive rebates back for retrofitted insulation and energy upgrades. It’s a great time to take advantage of these incentives in any resale home.

The wonderful thing about this home is all the options. Live comfortably as-is with all it’s charm and upgrades. Or turn the 4,800 square foot lot into an urban farm with animals, a greenhouse, fruit trees and other edibles. The unfinished basement is perfect for a root and canning cellar or making your own beer and wine.

If you love the Craftsman aesthetic, are considering the conveniences of  West Seattle, or want to know how you could love this neighborhood maybe you hadn’t considered before, be sure to contact me. I have been a fan of  West Seattle for a long time. I’m more a little proud to say I’m responsible for many people’s move from North Seattle to this peninsula just west of downtown and they haven’t looked back.

City Fruit Seattle

City Fruit Seattle

City Fruit arrived on my radar about 3 years ago at a Sustainable Ballard meeting.   The Coalition actually started to organize earlier in 2008. It seemed like a logical idea to redirect what is often waste to some people to those who can use it. What a great way to increase are local supply stream for food while removing what is sometimes a nuisance to others.

Protected Apple
Apple protected by stockings provided by Seattle City Fruit

Unfortunately during my dealings with SDOT this year I learned it is against city code to plant fruit trees in parking strips. This is often a logical place where a tree might have extra room to grow, while having ample room for a root zone and drip line.  The reason the city doesn’t want these trees in parking strips is they are afraid they will attract the urban wildlife and people might slip on the dropped fruit.  Let’s hope some of the over-protective policies of the past are updated to a more modern and holistic mindset. Truth of the matter is fruit trees have been one of the first things planted for any homesteader, they are here to stay. People have survived just fine with them in their backyards, let’s allow them back on the street! It seems the trees grandfathered in are doing just fine.

From City Fruit’s beautiful and informative website:

Our Goals

Conservation: Preserve fruit trees on public and private properties; document historical orchards.

Preservation of the urban tree canopy: Increase fruit trees planted on public and private properties; map fruit trees.

Stewardship: Improve the care of fruit trees and reduce the impact of fruit pests and diseases using non-toxic methods.

Harvest: Increase the amount of fruit harvested by supporting harvesting groups, developing the capacity of neighborhoods to harvest, and promoting harvesting by tree owners.

Using and sharing fruit: Develop the capacity of people and groups to preserve fruit; explore the income-generating potential of urban fruit; effectively link those who have fruit with those who need it.

Community building: Build and strengthen connections within community groups through the planting, stewardship, harvest and/or preservation of fruit.


City Fruit is a great resource to learn about the lost art of canning and a surprisingly common sense approach. Our urban orchards shouldn’t be forgotten but treasured for how wonderful they really are.


Harvesting in Seattle
Happened upon this in West Seattle last week

So be like the steward above and get involved in this great idea. Galettes, pies, preserves, cobblers, crumbles, apple sauces and freezer jam don’t need to be a thing of your childhood or your past. Celebrate the urban orchards!

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.