Fine Art Photographer » Photography, art & design studio in Overland Park, Kansas

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This last day of April has been amazing! Finally 80 degrees. I don’t know if anyone else feels the same as I do, but I feel like we were cheated out of some 70 degree days this month! This has to be one of the coldest and wettest Aprils I can ever remember. According to Weather.com, we have had a total of 10.80 inches of rain this month, the average total is 3.78!! I’m just ready to wear t-shirts and flip flops….without a sweater.

I shouldn’t complain though. It hasn’t been so cold that I needed the heat so my electric and gas bills will be a welcome birthday gift in May.   In the spirit of saving money the Green Way, I’m writing to you today about Recycling the Rain.

According to an organization called Bridging the Gap, the roof of your house can receive anywhere from 600 to 1,000 gallons of water with just an inch of rainfall. This rainwater hits your roof, flows to the gutters, and pours out of the downspouts into your driveway or yard. The Kansas City area has an average of 37” of rainfall per year, so that means tens of thousands of gallons of water could be “harvested” and used on your garden or lawn, reducing flooding of some rivers and waterways such as the Blue River and Brush Creek.

Some reasons why you should consider a Rain Barrel:
1) Brings high quality H2O right to your yard. No chlorine and no calcium carbonate.
2) Diverts water that could potentially leak into your foundation away from your home.
3) Cuts down your dependence on the City water supply.
4) Keeps water where it is needed rather than sending it to the water treatment facility.

Rain Barrels are not just an old-fashioned relic from your great-grandmother’s backyard anymore. People from all over town are starting to adopt the practice. There is actually a Rain Barrel Workshop in Kansas City that is sponsored by Bridging the Gap. The workshop costs $35 and includes all materials needed to make your own rain barrel.

More than likely there is plenty of rain in the forecast, so consider building yourself a rain barrel because it might just be the greenest and cheapest way to keep your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

~Ashlee

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GO GREEN:: A note on Greener Travels

I’ve been traveling this month, so I thought it appropriate to post about Greener Travels. I was thrilled at our Photogirl Retreat when I learned Melanie of Whitebox is a green girl! She recycled all of our plastics & glass. The fridge was stocked with organic or locally grown foods!!

Pack Lite! Don’t take more than you need- this adds additional costs everywhere! Do you really need that extra pair of shoes?

Use a power strip! The biggest waste brought about by the digital revolution is energy. I recently put FOUR new power strips in my office. I turn them ALL off at the end of the day so my computers & chargers don’t suck power while our equipment isn’t being used. This has saved $$$ on our electric bill & I sleep better at night.

Take your own canvas tote. Take a tote bag for shopping or grabbing information at trade shows. It’s such an easy thing to do & it saves a TON of waste! Think about all the plastic grocery bags you have around.

Green your hotel stay. Don’t have your sheets & towels changed daily & use the same practices you do at home. Strive to take quick showers & turn the lights off when leaving your room! Try a ‘Green Hotel’– these are environmentally-friendly properties whose managers are eager to institute programs that save water, save energy and reduce solid waste–

Take your own reusable water bottle. ‘From the creation of the plastic bottles to the shipping of gallons of water across the country, bottled water is terrible for the environment. And with TSA’s ban on liquids, buying water in the airport is terribly expensive.’ Try a stainless steel water bottle. (quoted from vangabondish.com)

Pass on the beverage cup.
I wish they would recycle all of the little plastic cups they distribute. But you can help by simply foregoing the plastic cup, if you’re really thirsty ask for the can instead!
No post is complete without an image! This image was taken from a news story from Scandinavian airlines- they are spearheading an initiative on ‘Green Landing.’ “The principle is simple: it is the aviation equivalent of taking your foot off the gas while going downhill in a car.”

Check out these websites for more great information:
Vagabondish.com
Geek About :: Green Travel
EPA: Recycle on the Go!

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A quick rant on a reoccurring source of true disappointment
I want to start by making something very, very clear I LOVE tomatoes.

They are by far my most favorite thing to eat. To me, nothing comes close to the delicious taste of a fresh ripened garden tomato in the summertime.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited to plant! The moment the snow melted & birds began to sing, I was out in the garden putting a few tomato plants into the ground, an amateur mistake.
They were killed by the frost.

tomato4I bought new plants, off to a good start.

I replanted. I watered, I dusted them- I watered them again.
I got excited when the first blooms appeared.

It is now August and I have yet to enjoy the sweetness of one single ‘fully ripened’ tomato. This is not for lack of tomatoes. I have one bush that is tremendous yielding a TON of tomatoes.

But as I return to my plants daily, admiring the ripening fruit, I have noticed something peculiar happening…. about every third day another tomato is found half eaten!!! Sometimes only a bite taken from its juicy center… what a waste! The squirrels & chipmunks are dining on my precious fruit!

My husband built a fence around them but they’ve dug their way through. We’ve hung vinegar soaked rags but the chipmunk’s did not seem to care.  In a final effort to keep my tomatoes to my self, yesterday I doused my plant with Tabasco sauce.  I decision I would quickly regret…

The Tabasco burned my skin as I furiously slung the hot sauce attempting to cover my plants and detour the hungry animals.  Today I realize I’m not the only one with my skin on fire…

The leaves on my precious plant have been burned so nothing remains but a green pulp. The inferno liquid has also begun to burn through the skin on ALL of my tomatoes…. my entire crop.

And STILL I find half eaten tomatoes…

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