Solar Hot Water coming to a home near you!

Solar hot water… I didn’t know much about it, but it sounded like a good idea.  I started looking into it this summer.  Sunshine is free right?  Why not let it replace some of your energy costs?  I called Revisionenergy.com and Will came out to my house to give a free estimate.  I found out that during the summer months, because of the type of furnace I have, I was burning a gallon of oil each day just to heat hot water for showers, laundry and dishes.  At almost $3.50 per gallon it seems like a lot.

I received an estimate for a solar hot water system.  I found out the efficencymaine.com will give you $1000. cash rebate if you install a solar hot water system in Maine.  Also, there is a Federal tax credit of 30% of the systems cost.

Just this week, Revision Energy installed my solar hot water system.  It’s very exciting!  They installed two panels on the roof and then they ran two pipes down through the house to the basement where they installed a super insulated hot water tank.  When there is not enough sun to heat the water to the right temperature, you will have to rely on your oil heat to heat the water, but this is only for a few months out of the year.  The rest of the time, you will be harnessing the energy and warmth of the sun.  Something to really feel good about!  This system will pay for itself in approximately 6 years.  It’s a great home equity investment.

If you would would like to learn more about solar hot water systems, check out this short video: Read More…

 

Meatless Mondays

The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) is promoting Meatless Mondays for our diets.  According to EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health, if everyone in the U.S. skipped eating meat and cheese just one day a week for a year, it would be like pulling 7.6 million cars off the road. At the same time, people — especially kids — would be less likely to develop health problems such as obesity and heart disease.  Plus it gets us to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Let’s teach our kids how to eat less meat, because more and more of them could face serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and even some types of cancer as they get older.

 

Looking for hormone free birthcontrol?

Are you sick of taking synthetic hormone pills day to prevent pregnancy?  Have you ever heard of the Paraguard?  It’s a copper intrauterine device (IUD).  It does not release hormones and can be left in place for up to 10 years.  In some cases your health insurance might pay for it.   Mirena is another IUD that seems to pushed more by doctors these days as an effective birth control option, but it releases synthetic levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone into your uterus.  If you’re interested, you should do some research of your own and talk to your doctor.

 

 

 

Pick Your Own Blueberries

A great place to pick your own blueberries is at Estes Farm, 114 Waterman Road, Buxton, Maine.  I went last Saturday to pick berries.  They have over 2000 high bush blueberry bushes.  They are reasonably priced per pound and it’s fun for the whole family!  Visit them at estesberryfarm.com for updated hours of openness.   Too bad they are not organically grown.  Maybe Estes Farm would consider looking into pesticides that are approved for use on organic blueberries?  There is a 2011 Production Guide for Organic Blueberries which can be found online at  www.nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/blueberry.pdf

 

You can freeze the berries for later use.  The best way is to spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then transfer to a freezer bag.  That way they freeze individually and not in one large clump!

 

Got Red Wiggler Worms?

Have you ever thought of worm composting, also known as vericomposting.  Worms eat your garbage!  The worms will eat any of your fruit and veggie kitchen scraps.  Eventually they leave behind worm castings which are wonderfully rich in nutrients and your plants will love it.

Believe it or not, you can keep the worms right under your kitchen sink if you want to.  I purchased a plastic container called “Can O’ Worms”.  At first I kept it at the top of the stairway to my basement, conveniently located to my kitchen and then when it got warmer in the Spring I moved the worms to the garage.  If you follow the directions, your worms and compost will not smell bad.

My chickens also love the kitchen scraps, so there are plenty of ways to make it useful without throwing food into the garbage.  When your worms multiply to more than you need you can always feed them to your chickens!

If you are interested in worm composting there is a great book you should read called Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.  It is the most comprehensive guide on the subject and provides complete instructions on setting up and maintaining a worm composting system.