Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Travel Without Planning

Living in New England I am a casual Boston sports fan. When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup my boyfriend and his friends decided they had to go to the parade in Boston. I tagged along because I figured it'd be a cool experience. We got up at 5am to leave town by 6am so I was groggy and not thinking ahead so I didn't bring a water bottle with me. I grabbed a banana and headed out the door! The train station on the way into Boston had a water fountain so I had some water there. Then we were out in the crowds and standing along the street for 3 or 4 hours. One of my boyfriend's friends purchases a few bottles of water to share. I wasn't thirsty so I declined. We were near several small restaurants on the street so when they finished their water I asked a restaurant if they recycled and lucked out. Once the parade was over we walked across town to go to a restaurant. We stopped at a grocery store to get drinks and I was able to get an organic iced tea in a can. I drank it all at the store so that I could recycle it in the breeze way. My boyfriend finished his Gateraide in the T station and asked a worker there if they had recycling for containers. They didn't, just newspaper. Since none of us had bags and it was too crowded to carry extra stuff he threw it away. I was happy that he at least attempted to recycle, his friends just threw their containers away. LOTS of people just dumped their containers in the street, there was trash EVERYWHERE along the parade route. It made me sad. At least some of it was getting recycled by some homeless people picking through for deposites.
I was proud that I was able to minimize my own impact despite not planning ahead. It wasn't perfect but it shows that a little effort can make a difference!

The next day I went strawberry picking with my sister. We got almost 20lbs of berries. I ate so many that my lips started to get dry and swollen (mild strawberry allergy). I am working on cutting up and freezing as many as I can store in the freezer. I lightly greased a cookie sheet and laid the halved berries on there to freeze then once they were mostly frozen I dumped them into a large glass bowl. I still have about 10-14lbs of berries that I need to freeze or use. I also bought some rhubarb from the farm where we were picking so I want to make some strawberry rhubarb pie or crumble. I bought a pound cake and made some whipped cream so we could have some strawberry shortcake. I wanted to get biscuits but they were sold in a plastic blister pack so I skipped it. I know I could make them myself but this week is just too busy! I will have to find time to make pie. I'm debating making my own crust or buying crust, I did find an organic crust in a cardboard/wax paper container so it's an option.

I got my first electric bill, $30. With our 2 giant gaming computers and my boyfriend's need to sleep with 2 fans pointed at him I'm impressed that it was so low. He thinks we can get it lower. We've started completely cutting power to the computers as well as the modem and router when we're not using them. Before I just had my computer and monitor on the surge protector but we put pretty much everything in our office on the surge protectors so that they aren't running when we're not using them. We're also raising the temp in our fridge and freezer just a little bit. My boyfriend has started getting in the habit of shutting off at least 1 of his fans in the middle of the night if he wakes up. This weekend we installed a dimmer in the dining room so now we have dimmers on the kitchen and dining room lights. I know it's all little things but we don't really use much. I think the lowest electric bill I had when I lived in Georgia was $23 and that was in the fall when I didn't need the A/C or the heat. If we could get our bill here lower than that I'd really be impressed. Luckily it's been cooler and breezing in the evenings so we're able to keep the tempurature comfortable inside by opening windows and doors. Our upstairs windows are the crank handle kind so I feel like they don't allow airflow as well. It's a little warmer upstairs but it's not horrible.

My little box garden got an upgrade this weekend. It went from about 2x5 feet to 4x8 feet. I need to weed the new area and add some compost to it then buy the plants to fill it in. I am hoping I can still get some pea plants and a squash or 2. I may also buy some more herbs like oregano. I also want to get catnip to put near the screendoor to keep bugs away. We have a mild ant problem. Vinegar in bowls around the areas where they are coming in seems to be helping though. I'm not really sure why it works but my parents used to do it when I was a kid so I'm keeping the tradition alive. They don't go in the vinegar and drown or anything, maybe they just don't like the smell...

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