Kids & Parents

Banking on the Harvest

Petaluma Seed Bank interior 2

Why do banks give up these incredible buildings? The answer is probably very boring and financially sensible, but LOOK at this building and tell me do you prefer an ATM?

Anyway ... on our recent (and too short) northern CA vacation we made a trip to the Petaluma Seed Bank. If you enjoy seed catalogs, you will love this place. We browsed for quite a while and made small withdrawal (i.e. we bought some seeds).

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Getting a Charge at OAK

OAK Airport - Electric Car Charging Stations

The EcoFamily recently flew (a direct flight) into OAK for a long-awaited vacation. Walking out of the airport we noticed a new addition to the parking lot; electric car charging stations. It turns out that those charging stations are FREE (beyond the cost of parking at OAK)!

Can You Fix It?

Broken - Storm Door Latch and Coffee Grinder

Stuff breaks. This is a fact of life. But, is that stuff fixable?

Here are two recent examples of broken items from our home, a storm door latch and coffee grinder. The storm door was fixed by replacing the inside latch. The coffee grinder wasn't fixable (yes, I took it apart to attempt a repair). The coffee grinder, although it lasted 25+ years, is disposable. The storm door was designed with replaceable parts (latch, handle, screen, etc.)

DIY Coffee Roasting

Roasting Coffee - cooling beans

I am a big DIY nerd. Sometimes that leads to complicated, long term projects that take over your life. Fortunately, some DIY projects are ridiculously quick and easy. Case in point: roasting coffee. While I'm not a coffee connoisseur, I grind my own beans and we have four types of coffee makers (drip, moka pot, french press, pourover). I had read many self-described coffee geeks wax rhapsodic about roasting their own coffee. Frankly, I was leery of over-complicating my simple morning coffee habit.

Fixing a Broken Heart

Repaired Strong Mountain Bike Frame

The heart of a bicycle is the frame. The fork, wheels, bars and stem, saddle, pedals, etc. are vital, but they all build upon the frame. I've ridden many and owned a few bikes over the years and have determined through trial and error what I like to ride. I was despondent last fall when I discovered a crack on the chainstay of my mountain bike. I found a loaner bike to ride and pondered the fate of my well loved hardtail...

Slow and Steady Brings Results

Tortoise and the Hare

Over the past several years I've made incremental improvements to the building envelope of our home. Adding insulation above the garage ceiling is the latest in a string of insulation and weather sealing DIY projects. My slow and steady wins the race approach has chipped away at our natural gas usage. But, have I come to the end of the low hanging fruit?

From Merry to Mulch

Christmas Tree Recycling

Ours was a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I hope yours were too. With the passing of the holidays it is time to clear our the decorations, especially the more flammable ones. The family loved having a fragrant and green Christmas tree in our home.

EcoMommyo Reads Michael Pollan's "Cooked"

Cooked by Michael Pollan

Oh how I wish I was a highly paid journalism professor at UC-Berkeley. Then I would be blissfully unaware that people have accents in this great nation of ours and have long Sundays of no errands to stand around watching meat braise. AHHH, that would be the life.

Instead we ate leftover fish tonight and roasted vegetable salad and cleaned a few more things out of the refrigerator. Now I'm sitting here watching Glee, thinking about eating graham crackers for dessert and reveling in the fact that we got EcoBaby to eat brussel sprouts. Life's little victories.

Why I Garden #38

Olla and encircling root bowl

A tale of a full moon, a hard frost, green tomatoes and eight dirty ollas.

Camping Weekend Reset

Camping weekend hike

Getting away for a weekend of camping always seems like a hassle, until the tent is pitched and sleeping bags are unrolled. We were packed and rolling out of town by 3pm on Friday toward a state park about 2.5 hours away which minimized traffic and stress. We also enjoyed the comforts of a developed campsite. True backcountry camping will wait until all family members can carry their own backpack. Clear starry skies, frosty cold mornings, sunny hikes and 48 news-free hours helped to clear our frazzled minds.

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