Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 139: Rake Leaves

I decided to rake the front yard on Friday instead of asking Tony to use the leaf blower. Couple of advantages here: I got to surprise him with the yard being done already, and I used human power rather than gas-powered leaf blower.

Benefits: It only took 40 minutes to do the entire front yard, and Claire enjoyed jumping in the piles. Plus it was a great upper body workout, so that makes up for my missed trip to the gym that morning... not to mention getting to spend some time outdoors.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 138: Energy Star Tax Credit

If you find yourself needing a new appliance in 2010, check out the Energy Star tax credits. These expire Dec 31, 2010.



We needed a new hot water heater this week, unfortunately the place in our house where the heater goes will not allow us to get a tankless one (needs some kind of special exhaust), and tankless is the only kind that meets the specs (Energy Factor ≥ 0.82 OR a thermal efficiency of at least 90%) to qualify for the tax credit, so we are out of luck again! (We missed out on the new house credit last year too for a bunch of silly reasons.)



Anyway, maybe one of you lucky readers can take advantage of this program.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 137: Avoid Mechanically-Separated "Meat"

As if this were even an option over here at Green V. Green. Well, this is more an excuse to blog about mechanically-separated "meat" than anything. Consider yourselves educated.

Have you ever read an ingredients label and seen an item called "mechanically-separated chicken" or "mechanically-separated pork"? This is how that item (I hesitate to call it food) is made.

First a machine vacuums every last piece of flesh or fat off the difficult bones, such as head bones or tiny foot bones. The result is turned into a paste:



This paste is soaked in ammonia to kill bacteria. Then, since it's lost its flavor, artificial flavors are re-introduced, and the mash is colored to not be pink anymore.

Here is the result:


and


Both of these are foods made and sold by Tyson (for example here and here). Just because it comes in a shiny plastic bag with a label on it of a company you recognize, doesn't mean the methods used to produce it aren't medieval.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 136: Visit Your Local Library

Telling me to make better use of the library is like telling a cat to take more naps. Oh, the torture. Well, if you INSIST. Yay!

New York Public Library

I love and adore libraries. I love to walk the stacks, I love to find mis-shelved books and put them back in their precise locations. I check out the special displays, I read the flyers posted at the front. On a recent trip to New York City, Tony and I spent one of our precious afternoons at the New York Public Library. I think I got my first library card when I was three. I am a total library junkie.

Here are a few tools that you might like to make your library experience more enjoyable.

(a) Use your library's online catalog before going over, just to make sure they have what you want.

(b) If you're on Amazon.com, you can use the Library Lookup tool to check to see if your local library has a book you are interested in. This bookmarklet will open in a small window and use the ISBN of the book you are interested in to see if your library catalog lists it.