Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yes, that's dirt all over me!

Composting is simple. My uncle once said if you raked a huge pile of leaves and left them out in the elements, eventually you would have great compost. He was right. For years I have been saving my grass clippings in a pile. Left untouched, it rots and when I lift up a segment, it is hot to the touch. This is from the decomposing of the organic matter. There is no odor beyond what soil smells like when composting is done right.

I got a new tumbler composter at the end of the summer and I am very excited. It's an Achla Design brand. I researched many brands and designs this summer, looked into shipping onto our tiny island, (almost the cost of the composter) and ultimately chose this one because it was the only one for sale here. I got it at good old Ace Hardware -- paid $229. I wanted something that had no holes for rodents to enter, and something that I could spin. (I have a small property - less than 1/2 acre and I don't want to attract rodents. I have found that a regular compost pile with kitchen scraps seemed to bring little mice into my house in a way that this isn't.)

It's a great product, and very easy to use. I am now composting almost all of our organic kitchen scraps, (fruits, veggies, eggshells) the small amount of grass we get from our lawn being mowed, shredded paper, green waste from the garden, and even dryer lint! I have had it going for a few weeks, and will be getting a batch of compost soon. For anyone who has never done this, it's REALLY easy. The trick is to get the right amount of wet and dry ingredients, adding a bit of water when necessary, and "turning" the compost, which brings air into it and helps with decomposition of organic matter. In my case the compost is turned by spinning the container, which is connected to a metal frame.

My composter is pictured behind me. I have begun clearing out an overgrown tropical plant in the corner of our property. It's a big job...and I am trying to get some help. I'll be lucky to find someone...or slowly I will plug away. It's a messy job. But nothing Green Mama can't handle...or Green Mama and a couple of guys!

Monday, August 18, 2008

let me introduce myself...

Green Mama with Smoky, Tehachapi, California

I had the thought this summer of starting a blog called "Green Mama" - a way to share my thoughts, ideas, and the wisdom about caring for the environment. I have been a wife and mother for twelve years. During this time I have become increasingly interested in living a more sustainable, responsible, "green" life. You hear that word a lot now. In this blog I hope to inspire people to think, reflect, share ideas, discuss issues, pass on info to their children, and consider how we can all live more in harmony with nature, live more consciously, and at the same time have fun.

I am in no way the expert. In fact, I am a novice. But I believe that if something really inspires you, it's important to follow that thread. Doing just that has led me to so many blessings and wonderful opportunities in my life.

Today I bought a bag of potting soil from the local nursery for a project I am about to embark on. Carrying it to my back yard, I got a whiff. I had forgotten how much I love the smell of potting soil. So I guess you could say that I am a gardening nut.

I enjoyed holding this chicken for this photo, which was a first for me. I have always felt that I am a part of nature - no more, no less than any creature, except that hopefully I use my free will with some semblance of intelligence as I walk through my life on this beautiful planet.

I have always been a "nature" person. As a child I loved being outdoors - playing in the mud whenever I could get away with it, picking up worms, and caterpillars, climbing our gigantic cherry trees and picking buckets of the juicy, red fruit, picking black raspberries from bushes in the woods right across our street until my fingers were stained for days, gathering wildflowers in the surrounding meadows for bouquets for my mother.

I grew up in a small U.S. eastern town, out in the country, surrounded by working farms, cow pastures, and cornfields. The small produce stand with the coffee can honor system of payment was a common sight in my neighborhood.

When I was first married and living in the western U.S., I discovered a love of gardening. I must have absorbed something from my upbringing, being surrounded by avid gardeners. Both of my grandfathers had beautiful gardens. I can still remember my dad's father's peony bushes in his small city lot, with the enormous fragrant pink blossoms. He was so proud of them. Every time we went to visit he was always outside in his garden. And you should see my mom's gardens - like something out of one of those fancy magazines. But she makes it look so easy.

I now live in a small beach town in the tropics. My husband and I are raising our three children here. Over the years I have gained knowledge about living in harmony with nature. Recently I have been examining the impact that I have, just by living my life, which includes so much consumption. I realize that I am ready to give something back.

Thanks for reading,
Green Mama