Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

From going green to spending wisely and living more simply.
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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby musicmonkey » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:52 am

bareskin73 wrote:I'd say it has more to do with sea currents and elevation than jet stream regardless.

Yes, sea currents and elevation are also important factors in temperatures and climate but the jet stream is also a critical element. A high pressure system off the coast of Vancouver Island can literally keep the clouds and ocean storms away so that we enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures. Then again, cloud cover in the winter is good for us because it traps in the heat. Calgary, Alberta, for example, has the most sunshine per year in Canada, but they are also much colder on average due to their elevation, distance from the coast, and the jet stream. Last summer, we had the worst summer in 20 years because of the jet stream. It was cool, rainy and overcast all summer. It totally sucked.

I guess an analogy would be condensation around your stove when you're boiling water. If your stove is by a window and the air is blowing, then there's less condensation on your stove. Maybe that's a bad analogy, but basically the ocean is responsible for producing clouds. And if nothing is blocking the clouds from hitting land, then the coastal regions get lots of rain. The jet stream can either give us rain or prevent rain.

Whenever I watch US weather reports, they always blame Canada for snow. It's actually not Canada, it's the jet stream. When the jet stream dips down, that's when Minnesota gets hammered with ice storms and snow.

As for elevation, Calgary's elevation is approximately 1048 metres (3440 ft) above sea level downtown. In contrast, Vancouver's elevation is only 2 metres (7 ft) above sea level. Whistler Mountain's top elevation is 2182 metres (7160 ft) and its base elevation is 652 metres (2140 ft). Portland, Oregon's elevation is 15.2 metres (50 ft).

I have a friend in Bogotá, Colombia, and he told me that they have snow all year long on some mountains in Colombia. And yet when you think of South America, you think of tropical rain forests, not snow. But that's just ignorance too. And speaking of Alaska, the temperatures in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and even Nunavut can get quite balmy while Toronto and the Lake Superior region suffer with freezing temperatures.

Anyway, even if you're from the deep south, considering Portland, Oregon as "the attic" is quite geo-centric in my opinion. But then again, America's favourite past time is navel gazing. I'm getting way off topic here but this is a great read: ... anism.html if you want some enlightenment.

Getting back to greenhouses and sustainable living, I've never heard of an in ground greenhouse. My parents' hothouse is above ground.

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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby bareskin73 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:03 pm

musicmonkey wrote:Getting back to greenhouses and sustainable living, I've never heard of an in ground greenhouse. My parents' hothouse is above ground.

Here is a link a couple of photo's of what I'm talking about. This is a very primitive design but it is quite effective in the mountians of Idaho where this paticular greenhouse is located.

On this paticular guys home page this write up that was on HGTV;

Here is what Home & Garden Network (HGTV) had to say about Mike Oehler's underground house, on a special called "The Subterraneans", which has aired frequently. (Check your schedule for future airings):

"This guy literally wrote the book on subterranean housing and sold more than 90,000 copies of The $50 & Up Underground House Book. He lives in his own creation. It's a little snug but it's custom built and has all the creature comforts. You can barely see it, a dream get away nestled deep in the mountains of scenic Northern Idaho on 40 acres of land. Imagine it, all yours for $500. That's what subterranean pioneer Mike Oehler created when he... built one of the nations first underground houses in 1971... Today his little house in a hillside is a rustic gem... It's like having an underground log cabin... and somehow eight feet underground there's still lots of light here. Mike has developed what he calls an Up Hill Patio, a cut behind the house and into the hill, where plants can grow and light and air flow through the house. MIKE: "I think I've got the only system in the country, maybe the world where you get light, air and views from two or three directions in each and every room in the underground house.'
"A beautiful mountain side, custom design, self-sufficiency and plenty of natural light even though you're underground, and all for $500. And maybe best of all, tranquility. MIKE: 'Its easy to heat, easy to cool, It's easy on your ears because it's much more soundproof in there.'
So what's next for Mike Oehler? Well, he's writing a new book and he's designing and building a new (1800 sq. ft. underground) home. It's got a patio, and a tree house, and an underground pool and jacuzzi. And how much for this super house? $15,000.

I do have this book referenced, and have read it. Although he takes a very primitive outlook on underground homebuilding, he does have some pretty good ideas. I have concidered his basic plan and mixing in some modern materials to get a simular outcome in a house. But even if that doesn't happen I will someday build an underground greenhouse for my garden. I really like the idea of producing produce year round or almost year round.

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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby michael » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:08 pm

My wife and I do look at labels and purchase fruit and veggies from the closest location possible. When the local Farmer's Market is open (starting in 2 weeks from now) we purchase all that we can eat in a week's time.

For example, when strawberries have been available from our local growers, we purchase them at the Farmer's Market or go to our local farmer and pick them ourselves. However, when strawberries are out of season here, (July- January) we tend to buy them from wherever they are shipped from (Usually Florida or Chile).

We have an herb garden, but have not yet been able to get a veggie garden started. Hopefully, this will be the year! We both work long hours and tend to spend our weekends with our youngest son and his music or our older son who is attending university. By the way, where he lives, they have 2 food cooperatives where he buys most of his produce.

I do believe that we (as a society) are going to have to make a stronger commitment to this idea of consuming more locally grown fruit and veggies. I may even have to freeze some strawberries to use during the off season or do without, which is not something I look forward to. There just isn't a substitute for FRESH strawberries!


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