Monday, December 21, 2009

Nights filled with longer hours- hey!

I spent this weekend putting up the new curtains we got (although all the curtains came in and only 1 curtain rod came in, so that was a bummer). I think they look pretty snazzy, and they're thermal or something, whatever it is called they have panels on the back that keep out the cold/in the heat. Got them for the whole house, since they were on clearance and I thought it would be silly to buy 6 curtains or something and then what if they went out of stock when I went to buy the rest?

So that was thrilling. I did put up all the hardware by myself, with a power drill and everything. Hey- ladies with power tools! Mike was busy and I was impatient so I just put them up myself. Luckily they were level and everything- I am notoriously bad at measuring and leveling. It's not that I don't have the skills, it's just that I don't do it ever because I am impatient always.

I also decorated our fireplace mantle for the winter solstice celebration that we'll be having tomorrow! Yesterday we went out and got some mistletoe, holly, juniper, and an ivy plant. We chose a log to be the yule log, and we'll be having a special tradition sun cake from Dom Bakery (which is not really where one might traditionally get it from but who said we follow tradition?). I think it will be a nice way to celebrate the season, in a way that is inclusive to all of us! Details and pictures will follow tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I'm very excited for the house things and the sustainability things that are going on in my life right now! It's good to feel like you're making a positive contribution to the health of the world, even if it is in your own small way! And when the things you are doing can also coincide with house projects, even better! Also, when crappy things happen like break-ins and broken water heaters, you have to focus on positive stuff.

We finally replaced our back door today (see above!), with a door from Lowe's, made by Milliken Millworks. Milliken is a fairly local company (factories in Sterling Heights, MI, Cincinnati, OH and somewhere Pennsylvania), which is great, and most of their doors are EnergyStar or at least a lot more energy effiicient than the door we used to have. Lowes really walked me through the whole door-selection and buying process- if you ever need to get a new door for some reason, I would endorse Lowes as a good place to go!

Also got our new water heater in last week... it's not an energystar one per-say, but it will be a lot more efficient than our previous one that was 20 years old! And I set it on medium-low, because we don't need to have scalding water.

Yesterday, I met with a neighbor who is interested in helping me form a Neighborhood Watch group, and he had some great ideas. He also has tech-saavy web skills that I lack, and some mad martials arts skills, which would both be assets to any Neighborhood Watch type of group. This was a timely meeting, because yesterday one of my backyard neighbors got broken into- their front door was kicked in! This is maybe the 8th or 9th recent break-in in this area, which is unfortunate and ridiculous.

Today I am meeting with another neighbor who seems to be really involved in sustainability efforts here in Ypsilanti. Every time I looked up something about recycling or gardening or urban farming, her name came up! I finally just emailed her and said, "Hello! I think you are invovled in everything I would like to be involved in. Can you share with me?" Luckily she did not think I was a huge weirdo, and we are meeting tonight to talk about urban farming, and the Transition movement in Ypsilanti!

I've also continued mapping out what I want my edible gardens to look like in the spring. I'm going to try to put together a price estimate of the total cost to build the raised-beds and get the plants I need, so I can start saving money now!

The Master Gardener program starts in January and I am so so psyched for it. I want to call the MSU-Extension office every day to see if they have our study packets yet. I've really missed schooling and active learning in a classroom setting, and I'm looking forward to returning to the classroom and learning about a subject that is near and dear to my heart: plants, growing things, and the earth!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I got into the MSU-E Master Gardener Class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More information to come soon :O

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SAF '09!

Ypsilanti does a cool Indie art fair twice a year called Shadow Art Fair. The most recent one was yesterday, and I really enjoyed it! It has a bunch of weird alternative art things, from a bike-powered film (which was an image of a winter ride through town) to reindeer poop on a stick, there is a greater variety every year of weird things to look at and buy. The event is held at the Corner Brewery, and this year the "brewing rooms" for lack of a better term, were set up with a bunch of old counch and chairs and tables, etc so people could hang out, drink beer, etc. I enjoyed the event very much, although next year I'll need to go earlier because we went around 9:00 and it was packed to the gills, which makes it hard to actually see any art!

After the SAF we tried to go the Tap Room, but it was super-packed so we ended up at Keystone Underground martini bar- which turned out to be pretty awesome!  It' under J 'Neils Mongolian BBQ, and I had checked out the space before it opened but I'd never been before. It had a really great atmosphere, the music was electronica which is not my absolute fav but I liked the DJs, and the martinis are only $5 on Saturdays! There were some very exhuberant dancers there, which was pretty entertaining. Overall, a great time. I will definitely go back again.

It's really exciting to live in a place where there are a variety of things to do, all within walking distance, which is the case in Ypsilanti. Yesterday reminded me of that. We walked from our house to downtown, got some holiday shopping done, had lunch, picked up some groceries, and then walked back home. Then we came out later for the art fair and for Keystone and that was all in like a 2 mile radius. Maybe even less!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rest in Peace

Dear water heater,
You lived a long full life. You were brought into this house in 1989, and here you are, 20 years old. You are leaking inside and will probably flood our entire basement soon. It is time for you to go. Thanks for all your hard work and hot water.

Why did you have to break now,


I would love it if we didn't have to file an insurance claim or buy a new appliance for our house for the next 6 months or so! Yesterday night Mike and I drained out the water heater completely, because I was panicking that it would flood overnight, since it is on it's last leg. I don't even think it has any legs left!
A nice, helpful water heater guy came out this morning to inspect out water heater. The only unhelpful thing is that we had to fill up the freaking tank again so he could confirm that it was broken. Hey... it's leaking water everywhere. I think it's most definitley broken. And we're going to have to drain it once more this evening- Can't think of a sexier date than emptying a water heater.
BUT some of it (a small amount) is covered by our stupid home warranty, so we only have to pay for installation pretty much. Which is still a lot. I asked the nice helpful guy, from Fairlane Plumbing, about energy efficient water heaters, and he pretty much debated the validity of energy efficiency. I don't have another $60 to pay a different company to come out and replace this- I think we are going with what this guy is giving us unfortunately. Oh well. He was nice and straightforward, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt.

I think it is true that there is pretty much a huge gap between a tankless and any tank model, so when you compare the tank models, the differences there probably look pretty small. I just wanted an EnergyStar one so it might qualify for the tax credit thing but I don't even know about that anyway.. We reaaaally wanted a tankless water heater, but they cost like $2,5oo (including installation). I don't have that kind of money.. or any money right now as a matter of fact.

So tomorrow brings a new day, and a new water heater.
On a lighter, unrelated note, here is a happy picture of me and Helo and Athena! The kits are getting HUuuuugGGe!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

back in the saddle again!

Wellll,my house got broken into, so that has delayed writing for some time. Basically all my electronics got stolen, so if you're reading this, house robbers, I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING OF VALUE LEFT TO STEAL.

That being said, since I still enjoy blogging, I wanted to get back into the swing of things- although now it is winter-ish in Ypsi! It's been harder to eat local because I am essentially a fruititarian (with a lot of pasta and cookies on the side), but the Downtown Ypsi Indoor Farmer's Market has been a big help- it's every two weeks now instead of every week but they have mouth-wateringly appealing selections of local veggies! I bought my "holiday" wreath from the FM, and the Pecan pie and rolls that I brought to Thanksgiving. So Thank You, farmers, for allowing me to bring delicious food to the holidays without cooking!

I applied for the Master Gardener training program put on by the MSU Extension office in A2... I would be so so so psyched to do that program! Here's a link:

While I don't have a lot of gardening experience, I am really excited about it and I think this program would give me the tools to share my passion for the earth and the enviornment with others, which is what I'd really like to do!

So cross your fingers for me, three people that read this blog :)

ALSO, I have decided to help start up a neighborhood watch group here, because I am tired of all these break-ins, and I want to feel safe and secure and confident when I walk around my neighborhood (and when I'm in my house!). There used to be a Neighborhood Watch group here but I guess it fizzled out. I am determined to re-fizzle it!

I also spent a good 6 hours measuring out my yard in the back to make a gardening plan for next year! I've set some goals and I think all in all, it will be pretty awesome. I will share more soon!

I think that is all for now..

keep safe out there folks.