To turn off or not to turn off - That is the question

I’d always heard that with fluorescent bulbs it’s actually more efficient to leave them on rather than turn them off. This didn’t really make sense to me but I went along with it. I changed my ways after watching Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel (Air Date: December 13, 2006). The MythBusters crew tested a variety of common household bulbs to see if this is true. They measured both the start-up and steady state energy consumption. They found it’s worth it to leave the fluorescent bulb on for 23.3 seconds if leaving the room but the other bulbs were negligible. So no matter what the bulb, it basically uses less energy to turn the bulb off then to leave it on when not in the room. In addition to bulb energy use they also tested longevity and found that turning the bulbs off and on more frequently does not decrease their life span.

Episode 69: 22,000 foot fall, Lights On or Off

Getting Lost

Within the past month my daughter lost track of me in the store and nearly flipped out. Since then I’ve been trying to re-affirm that she obey mommy and stay where I tell her to so that she doesn’t get lost. Around the same time I happened upon two new children’s books in the library that helped to support this idea.

image“Grady the Goose” by Denise Brennan-Nelson; Illustrated by Michael Glenn Monroe
In this story a young gosling keeps wandering off from the family and eventually loses them altogether when the family flies south for the winter. Everything works out in the end and she learns to stay close. I’m especially fond of this book as it is published by Sleeping Bear Press. They feature local Michigan writers and artists and offer many other fabulous books that I hope to talk more about in the future.

image“Little Otter’s Big Journey” by David Bedford; Illustrated by Susan Winter
I love the little animals in this story. The baby otter just tugs at your heart! Like the other book, this story shows children why wandering off can lead to trouble. The final phrase in the book is something I want my daughter to remember throughout life, “No matter where you are, my baby, I’ll always find you.”

Wordless Wednesday: Haiti

You’ve got to drive carefully in Haiti because at any moment a cross-walk can appear where there formerly wasn’t one.

Seed Collecting and Trading

image Ever consider growing a garden from seed? It’s can be cheaper and easier than you think. Most of the many plants around my garden were grown from seed. I started collecting my own seed and found I was saving a bundle and having fun with it! If you’re interested, now is the time of year to try. While seeds can be collected all through the summer (especially from perennials), there seems to be more available in the fall (such as from annuals). To get started, check out The Seed Site. This is an amazing resource for both the beginner and the seasoned gardener. It covers how to save seeds, what to look for, how to grow them and even includes several pictoral indexes of hundreds of seeds, seed pods and seedlings.

Once you start saving your own seeds you can enter the somewhat addictive world of seed trading. Here’s how it works:
You save and label seeds that you collect
Then post the seeds you have available and the seeds you want on a seed trading forum
Through the forum you arrange a trade with another gardener and send them in the mail to eachother. The only cost is postage, which often isn’t much!

I use GardenWeb Seed Exchange for seed trading. I’ve tried other ones but didn’t like them as much.

Happy seed collecting, trading and sowing!

The Meatrix

Most conventional farms today don’t look anything like what you see in children’s books. Yet, many people aren’t even aware of the reality of the situation. The people at Sustainable Table and Free Range Studios have done an amazing job shedding light on the situation. I highly recommend you check out their short animated film The Meatrix.  It’s hilarious, creative and unfortunately quite true.

Support your local small farms. It’s better for everyone!

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