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Archive for December, 2006

A Merry Christmas Was Had By All

Our families came together, at least the ones who could make it, and we all had a wonderful time. First Steven was off to El Paso with friends for Christmas, so we had a early Christmas with him. Then Michelle and Jeremy came the week before, as they have Christmas with Jeremy’s family this year (we alternate), so we had a early mini-Christmas with them. So finally on Christmas day, we had our “real” Christmas with the rest of the family. No snow, that came two days later, but it was a good time anyway. We started with the reading of Luke 2, opened presents, and ate a wonderful dinner. An afternoon of games, and then we all went home right before the ice arrived. No it will takes weeks to take off the extra weight from Thanksgiving and Christmmas dinners, snacks, and leftovers.


Preparing for the New Year

Now that Christmas is behind us, and the new year is dawning, it’s time to get back on track with projects. There’s the split level “L” shaped “bunk beds” to build in the boy’s bedroom, but first I’m going to insulate and panel the room, since it’s 2F outdoors and they are a bit chilly. We also need to acquire and install a Solar Force Piston Pump from Conergy, a 6hp Listeroid veggie/biodiesel battery charger from Belleghuan Ltd., and a MPPT Charge controller for the solar panels. Ambitious projects with funding still tenuous. The wind tower will be raised once the weather warms up, so we will have up to 1000 watts of juice flowing into the battery bank when the wind is favorable. Our goal for this year is 80% home grown food, and to can extra for the future. We will keep you posted on our progress.


The lighter side of green

Ed Begley Jr, the star of countless quirky movies and the classic TV hit “St. Elsewhere,” stars in “Living with Ed,” which premieres New Year’s Day on HGTV, a show about how his wife, an aspiring Hollywood star, tries to handle his ultra-green lifestyle. The guy’s such a true believer, he’ll ride on a bike just to power his toaster.

The premiere is Jan 1, 1pm (EST and PST) – perfect for starting the new year off with a laugh. Then you can catch it Sunday nights at 10.

You will enjoy Ed’s 10 Tips for Going Green along with other ideas for green living at

TV and movie actor Ed Begley, perhaps the greenest man in Tinsel Town, rides his electric car to the Academy Awards and powers his home with the sun and his stationary bike. But Living with Ed and his environmentalist passion isn’t always a walk in the park for wife, Rachelle. This first-of-its-kind reality green show chronicles life with an earth-friendly fanatic with humor and heart. Check out this fresh unscripted docu-soap about the lifestyle of a diehard activist who puts his money and his time where his mouth is 24/7. Definitely not recycled TV.


Comparing Battery Chargers

I have been using a Radio Shack Fast Charger to charge my NiMH AA batteries. Today I received a Energizer Fast Charger (CH15MN), reporting a 15 minute charge time. The Radio Shack unit takes 4 hours and gets the charger and the batteries very hot. The Energizer unit runs cool, has an integral fan, and showed the batteries charged within the 15 minute time frame. It also has a 11-16 vdc (5a) input on the side, so I can charge it in the car, with solar, or from my house batteries, without using ac. My digital camera confirms the battery status. With the 1GB SD card, I’m ready to take 1096 pictures tomorrow with the HP PhotoSmart 320 😉

The charger and four 2500 mah AA batteries (also charges AAA) was $19.95 at our local P&C grocery store.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord, we want to take a moment and wish you a very merry Christmas, a happy new year, and share with you a blast from the past that is especially dear to us (thank you Ron, for the reminder). Nothing like family, a wood fire, and home cooked, home raised food to bring cheer when there is so much uncertainty in the world. Nothing, except having Jesus in our heart. In his words in Matthew 25:40,

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

So share the holiday season with someone, for everyone is our brother.


Green Gadgets for the Holidays

Green Gadgets for the Holidays
December 2006
Read this issue of Greentips online

Electronic gadgets are popular holiday gifts, but as their popularity and versatility continue to grow, so does their impact on the environment.

Devices that plug into wall outlets are responsible for a small but growing portion of a household’s total energy consumption (about five to seven percent). This energy is generated primarily by fossil fuel-fired power plants, which are America’s single greatest source of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and the air pollutants mercury and sulfur dioxide.

Battery-powered devices pose problems as well. More than three billion alkaline batteries are thrown away in the United States each year instead of being recycled; the toxic metals they contain (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) can leak into groundwater supplies and harm local residents or wildlife.With a few simple strategies, you can give your gadget-loving friends and family members a gift with a smaller environmental footprint:

Look for the Energy Star label. These electronics use significantly less energy than conventional models. Energy Star-rated power adapters and battery chargers are also available.

(Re)charge it. Look for models that come with a rechargeable battery. If the gadget on your shopping list comes only with conventional alkaline batteries, replace them with rechargeable batteries and include a battery charger with the gift. (Note: both conventional and rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals and should not be thrown away. See the related links for battery recycling locations.)

Go solar. Consumers can now power electronic devices such as cell phones, music players, and even laptops with solar-powered battery chargers. Some are small and easily portable (including backpacks covered with flexible solar panels), making them suitable for travel.

Shake it up. A variety of gadgets (including radios, cell phone chargers, and flashlights) can be powered mechanically, either by turning a crank or shaking them. For example, winding a cell phone for two minutes can provide six minutes of talk time (or several hours of standby power), while a 30-second shake can power a flashlight for 5 to 10 minutes. These products are perfect for hikers or campers who might want to bring a bit of civilization with them into the wilderness.
If you plan to give someone a new gadget to replace an older model, consider recycling the old gadget as part of the gift. Many companies (see the related links) refurbish older electronic devices, salvage the usable parts, or recycle the toxic components.


Dharam’s Visit to the Maple Ridge Wind Farm

Dharam made a late night visit to the Maple Ridge Wind Farm, and caught a beautiful moonlit view of the turbines in operation. Installed in the Tug Hill area of upstate NY, the 120 turbines provide enough electricity for 500 homes each. More than 70 more turbines are being planned.


More Lighting Alternatives

You have probably seen them on TV, or even in the stores. The flashlight that doesn’t require batteries, just an occasional shake to recharge. Very frugal (no buying batteries), very enviro-friendly (no waste products), and you get a bit of exercise in the end. Usually under $25, these make gifts, and are handy to keep in the kitchen, basement, garage or car. You can always depend on light when and where you need it. We found ours on Amazon.


Dharam’s Veggie-Bus is done!

He had an uneventful trip home, by way of Woodhenge, unless you count the fact that his rebuilt alternator wasn’t charging. Pulled in at 10vdc on the battery bank. Long term results will be posted here. He dropped off a propane stove and a recumbent exercycle for us at Woodhenge (future projects), and picked up batteries and cables for the house battery bank for his bus.


What is Harmful in Your Home?

You can not assume the conventional household products you buy at the local department store is a healthy and environmentally responsible product because of its availability. Product label information addresses acute (immediate) effects only and no warnings or discussion of long term health impacts of the products, such as cancer, is required. These common household products are also not required to disclose “inert” ingredients which can very hazardous and toxic.

When considering the purchase of household products, select products that have less toxic, renewable and natural ingredients and are packaged responsibly. The purchase of these products supports companies that help minimize the impact of using these products on your health and the environment.

Household products include cleaners, fresheners, laundry products, drain cleaners, dishwashing detergents, carpet shampoos, polishes and pesticides. Exposure to toxic household hazardous chemicals from ingestion, inhalation or skin contact can produce acute (immediate) or chronic (long term) health effects such as:

– Headaches

– Fatigue

– Allergic Reactions

– Chemical Sensitivity

– Cardiac Damage

– Nervous System Damage

– Burning Eyes

– Skin Rashes

– Runny Nose

– Cancer

– Respiratory Tract Irritant

– Liver and Kidney Damage


Thanks again for your continued support in helping the environment “one solution at a time”.

Environmentally Sensitive Solutions (ESS) Inc.
is one of today’s leading manufactures of neutral cleaning solutions and environmental products. ESS has revolutionized the industry with the power of nature. ESS manufactures and distributes environmentally safe replacement cleaners for parts washers, floor cleaners, and other industrial applications. ESS products are, in some cases, direct replacements for alkaline and solvent cleaning products.