Building a Better Firework

Ancient Chinese Firework Rocket

The Fourth of July is a holiday famous for parades, back-yard barbecue and fireworks. What could be more wholesome, festive and fun? Well, maybe a little less pollution from the fireworks would be nice.

Stop to Smell the Flowers, Carefully

Bee pollinating Prickly Pear Cactus bloom

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers. But, smell carefully. The cacti are in bloom along the Dorothy Stewart trail where I saw a bee busily collecting nectar and spreading pollen on this Prickly Pear blossom. It was definitely worth taking a moment to smell the flowers to see this, despite getting drenched in a downpour later on that mountain bike ride.

More Info:

Wikipedia: Prickly Pear Cactus

Wikipedia: Bees

How to Kill (or at least, wound) the Solar Industry in America

Concentrating Solar Power Trough

UPDATE - July 2, 2008
The BLM has reversed its earlier decision and will continue to receive and review applications for utility scale solar power projects while it develops a unified PEIS. Click for the Press Release. It looks like the public comments had a direct influence on the BLM!

Is This Our Final Warning?

Dr. James Hansen

In 1988 James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Space Institute for Space Studies, told the U.S. Senate "It's time to stop waffling ... and say that the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now." Unfortunately, very little has been done by the U.S. goverment in the past 20 years to address the causes of global warming. Congress and the U.S. have been given a second warning.

Why I Garden #7

Freshly Harvested Bosque Early Garlic

Got Garlic?

Freshly harvested Allium sativum L. (i.e. Bosque Early Garlic). I dug these bulbs up yesterday evening and they are now hanging up to dry. The laundry room is quite aromatic at the moment. My wife informed me that we will be planting 'three times as many' after seeing the ten garlic plants I pulled up. I have no argument with that whatsoever. I may have to try a few different varieties like Spanish Roja or a hard-neck garlic.

More Info:
Wikipedia: Garlic

Let The Sun Shine In

Taos Solar Music Festival Logo

What: Taos Solar Music Festival
When: June 27th - 29th, 2008
Where: Kit Carson Memorial Park, Taos, NM

The 10th Annual Taos Solar Music Festival is a great chance to see some of the best live music under the Sun. The festival features national touring acts and local favorite musicians in the solar capital of Northern New Mexico. Put on your dancing shoes and sunscreen for three days of music, food, renewable energy demonstrations, environmental and wildlife protection groups, green builders, solar and wind technicians and installers, and more!

Musical Acts

Why I Garden #6

Ladybug on a Chives Blossom

While I was watering the garden yesterday I saw something lurking in the leaves. It was a Coccinella septempunctata hunting for prey amongst the Allium Schoenoprasum. If your garden Latin isn't up to speed - I saw a Ladybug on a Chives bloom. It's nice to know that beneficial insects have found my garden and are chowing down on aphids and the like.

More Info:

Coccinella septempunctata - Ladybug

Allium Schoenoprasum - Chives

Rebel Without a Hose

Seed Bomb sprouting grass

Have you ever walked past an empty lot in your town and thought, 'What a waste.' You might just be a guerrilla gardener in the making. In every town and city I've ever known there are vacant lots and open patches of land that fill with weeds and trash due to neglect. What if you decided to 'adopt' an otherwise ignored patch of dirt, plant some seeds and let it grow?

Going One Step Further

Recycling Compost and Trash Bin

Most of us have seen recycling bins next to trash cans in public places. Recycling isn't quite universal yet, but it has become common enough that many of us expect it. I will often carry plastic or aluminum home if I can't find a recycling bin nearby. But, this is the first time I've seen a compost bin in a public place.

Drive Me Crazy

Blue Tesla Roadster

Gas prices are spiking, already above $4/gallon in California and climbing nationwide. So, what can you do to save money on gas? The are two answers to this: drive less and drive more efficiently. Driving less requires trip planning, combining multiple errands into one outing and choosing the most direct routes from place to place. Driving more efficiently, also called hypermiling, is about using thrifty driving techniques and maximizing your vehicle's M.P.G.

Drive Less

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