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Don't Kill Your TV

Recycle (Don't Kill) Your TV

Recycle it instead. Yes, we FINALLY got rid of the big old CRT TV. We had added a digital converter box and kept on using the old, but functional, tube TV for years. A good friend pushed us into the digital TV era with a hand-me-down, but quite decent LED digital TV (I'm not a luddite, really!). This left us with an electronic white elephant to kill recycle.

Old-tech Irrigation with Ollas

Olla factory at Growing Awareness Urban Farm

The Southwest isn't wet in the best of times and during a drought, like Right Now, it is downright parched. How do you keep a garden growing when the rain doesn't fall? We have to irrigate, but how can we irrigate effectively with scarce water? Drip irrigation is one modern answer, but ancient people had a simpler version of the same idea.


Road Bike with new Powder Coat

I hate to throw away "perfectly good" things even when they're a bit scruffy. Case in point, my road bike. I bought this bike from a friend many years ago and have put quite a few miles on it. After a couple of years I re-painted it and replaced some worn parts. Well, after a decade or so of riding it desperately needed another overhaul. Now I have a friend with powdercoating equipment and I've restored the bike to better than ever.

This is Why Santa Feans Don't Recycle!

Santa Fe Recycling Flowchart

Santa Feans recycle less than 10% of all possible materials that instead go to a landfill. When the national average for recycling is 34% why is the rate in eco-conscious Santa Fe county so low? Because recycling in Santa Fe is a pain in the ass. To illustrate, a friend created this flow chart for visiting relatives to explain what items could be recycled and what couldn't. At first I laughed, because recycling really is this ridiculously complicated in Santa Fe. Then I had a realization.

The Cutting Edge of Water

Watershed Restoration Model

By necessity, life in the American Southwest depends on the availability of water. Aldo Leopold understood the importance of watersheds and those lessons are being re-learned today. Here is a documentary of a two day watershed restoration workshop held in October 2012 at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center near Madrid, NM. "The Cutting Edge" was taught by Brad Lancaster, Amanda Bramble, Jan-Willem Jansens, Steve Carson and Craig Sponholtz. The workshop focused on catching, sinking, storing and using water where it falls.

LED Vs. CFL in our Home

LED Omnidirectional "Bulb"

Better to use an LED than curse the power company. That may not be the original saying, but it works pretty well for today. We've had good luck with CFL 'bulbs' around the house, yet technology marches on and LED lights are becoming better and cheaper. I just replaced two failed CFL's* with new LED '60 Watt Equivalent' bulbs. CFL's would have been cheaper to buy, but I'm betting on the longevity and other benefits of LED.

Bathroom Remodel Part 2 - We Can Rebuild It

Water Pipes - Spray Foamed & Insulated

Our bathroom remodel is now on solid footing. Specifically, two layers of new plywood glued and screwed in place have replaced the water-damaged deck and subfloor. Half of the "wet" wall is replaced with new (full height) and reused (short pieces and blocking) 2x4 lumber. I've spray-foamed each of the water and vent pipe holes in the subfloor and wrapped the hot-water pipes for both bathrooms (they share the "wet" wall) with foam insulation. A can of spray foam and pipe insulation are cheap and help deliver hot water to the tap faster.

Flushed With Pride

Dual-flush Toilet Conversion Kit - installed

I've finished many efficiency-oriented, DIY projects around our house. Some projects, like insulation, are nearly invisible and some are quite simple, like weather stripping. But few are as subtle, yet a regular part of our daily lives as this one. I've just installed a dual-flush conversion kit into the most frequently used toilet in our home. It's not something we're likely to show off to the neighbors, but it will help reduce our household water use.

New Tricks with Old Dirt

Compressed Earth Blocks

Adobe bricks are a traditional building material in the Southwest. Made with water, sand, clay and straw, adobe is simple to produce, has good thermal mass and is appropriate for arid climates. Unfortunately, building with adobe is very labor-intensive which has made this dirt-simple material quite expensive to use. Now there is a modern alternative to adobe that retains its earthen qualities at a much lower price - Compressed Earth Block.

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