Tame or Smart?

These pictures were just taken today (11-18-08) roughly around noon.  Since it is hunting season, are these deer just really tame or down right smart to stay away from hunters?  Honestly, I think I am going to say both.

Between my house and the neighbor's house.

Between my house and the neighbor

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Walking in a Winterwonderland…

Like most recent years, I had assumed we would not get an ample amount of snow until December.  Mother Nature surprised northern Michigan on Sunday (11-16-08) with snow flurries up until early Monday morning.  Monday also brought an additional several inches of snow for a total of 8 inches.

As usual I am scrambling for gloves/mittens, hats and boots.  I was up a snow bank without a shovel (literally) since our shovels are still in the basement.  I had to make a path by swinging my feet back and forth.  Let’s just say by the time I got in the house that evening, my feet were like ice cubes.  We almost had a binky casualty Monday morning, but luckily Katelyn’s big brother was there to save the day or else it would have went on to binky heaven by getting buried in all the snow.  On the contrary, my son was all in his glory that snow had finally arrived.  In other words, in his mind it is one step closer to Christmas.  Nevertheless, he was still ecstatic to start making a snowman and snow angels.

Part of deck where snow was not shoveled off

Part of deck where snow was not shoveled off

Back deck.

Back deck.

Someday I would like to decorate this tree for Christmas.

Someday I would like to decorate this tree for Christmas.

Conserving Energy with Light Bulbs

The State of Michigan received a grant to allow compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs be purchased for as little as .99 a piece.  (State grant makes fluorescent bulbs cheap.)

Over the weekend, Geoff and I decided to purchase a stockpile of CFL’s in order to replace current incandescent bulbs and still have some extras on hand.  Since the CFL’s last an average of 9 years hopefully I won’t have to buy anymore light bulbs for a long time.  I am also hoping that I will see a change in my electric bill.  Just in my living room ceiling fan light fixture I will be cutting back 132 watts.  The difference in wattage is truely amazing.  I do notice that the lights are not as bright when you first turn them on.  The longer they “warm up” the brighter they become.  It is not detrimental, just more of something we will have to get used to.

Ways to go GREEN…

I am going to try to keep this an on going list (including sources).  *Indicates what I currently do.

  1. Use reusable bags*
  2. Wash laundry in cold water*
  3. Line dry clothes
  4. Turn off anything electric that is not needed (including unplugging – see energy vampire)
  5. Open windows and use the sun as a source of light and heat*
  6. Save on Gas – “Every gallon of gasoline you burn produces 19 pounds of carbon dioxide, so it pays to conserve (in more ways than one). Your car will work more efficiently if you obey the speed limit and avoid rapid, unnecessary acceleration. Keep your tires properly inflated and get regular tune-ups. Forget warming up under most conditions.” (Reprinted from http://www.thedailygreen.com)*
  7. Shop local farms – “Shop at your local farmers’ market. This will help support farmers in your area, so they won’t be forced to sell off their land for development, and it will decrease your food miles, meaning less fuel will be used to provide your daily meals. Your food will be delicious and better for you.” (Reprinted from http://www.thedailygreen.com)*
  8. Buy a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water*
  9. Stop Idling – Idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed for startup
  10. Opt out of paper billing for utility bills and save stamps by paying online*
  11. Invest in a digital programmable thermostat to schedule when to lower the heat while away from home or at night*
  12. Carpool*
  13. Buy energy star appliances*
  14. Use compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or if you have an IKEA nearby, buy the Sparsam lights that are a great alternative to traditional light bulbs.*(partially)
  15. Install motion sensors outside or use solar lights*
  16. Lower your hot water heater to around 120 degrees
  17. Save a milk jug to fill with water and place in the toilet tank to offset the amount of water used
  18. Install low flow water fixtures
  19. Recycle
  20. Compost

Sources: http://www.thedailygreen.com

Ways to reuse/recycle plastic shopping bags

  1. Collect them in a large plastic bag and when it gets full just take it to the local Wal-Mart where they have a recycling bin just for plastic bags.
  2. Trash can liners.
  3. Car trash bags.
  4. Collect your garbage when you go camping.
  5. Use for soiled or wet clothes.
  6. Donate them to stores/organizations that can reuse them.
  7. Use as padding/packaging for fragile items or for shipping items.
  8. Use them for pet feces or soiled diapers. (If at all possible though, get environmentally safe diapers and biodegradable bags.)
  9. Use as a rubber glove if you don’t have any available (not for medical purposes of course).
  10. Sick bags for when someone is sick in the house to collect used tissues.
  11. Store your rags in.

When at all possible, use totes bags you bring from home to put your groceries in.  I have 5 Green Bags that I use which holds a large amount of groceries.  They are very durable too so you don’t have to worry about the handles breaking because of the weight from juice bottles or cans.  Some stores such as IKEA charge for plastic bags which I think is a good idea.  If you are only buying a couple items, tell the clerk no thank you on the plastic bag, that you’ll just carry them instead.

Update on CamelBak BPA Free Bottle

I love it!  It has a bite and sip spout that closes down to keep clean.  In order to have to bite down and sip makes it spill proof which is always great when kids are around.  I love it for the fact that it holds slightly over 32 oz. of water (half of your daily recommend amount of water) compared to most bottles at around 20-24 oz.  They come in various colors and I of course picked green since it is my favorite color.  I am very pleased with my purchase and feel happy knowing I am not being harmful to the environment by purchasing bottled water.