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Green Home Ec: Line Your Nest

Updated on October 29, 2009

Five Tips, Five Topics

  1. On the Green Path: Get Outside and Play!
  2. Being Green: Eat Right, Marry Well, Big Picture.
  3. Green Home Ec: Line Your Nest (You are here)
  4. Green Career: Right Livelihood
  5. Big Green World: Think Globally, Act Locally



Natural building workshop: creating a small backyard building
Natural building workshop: creating a small backyard building
what the garden grew
what the garden grew
This tiny backyard was terraced s(no slope to mow) and planted in a combination of native ferns and Old World fruits and flowers.
This tiny backyard was terraced s(no slope to mow) and planted in a combination of native ferns and Old World fruits and flowers.
A few old things, a little new  fabric, and some durable fresh fruit, may lead to lingering after breakfast.
A few old things, a little new fabric, and some durable fresh fruit, may lead to lingering after breakfast.
Or go all-out natural... how would you accessorize, moss?
Or go all-out natural... how would you accessorize, moss?

Green Home Ec: Line Your Nest

A green home is efficient, affordable, and beautiful.

It supports you and your family. It's unique.

It just feels right.

Every home is different, and that's a good thing - diversity makes us more resilient. Whatever works better will become more popular, and that's a good thing too.

Please don't apologize for not composting / recycling / whatever. It's your home, your business.  I'm just as impressed by how you manage to keep it so welcoming with 3 kids and a dog. They'd be all into my compost in about 2 minutes.

It takes time to develop a household that works.  Change can be unsettling. Start small, with things that affect you more than anyone else. (You are the one breathing the fumes... ready for an alternative?)

Pick one thing.

Do what feels right.

Backyard Ecology: If you have a big yard and garden, make it your green kingdom. Composting 101: Add some dry, brown stuff to balance the greens & food scraps. Plant a tree, a rain garden, a birdwatching thicket. Choose low-impact landscaping. Play outdoor games & make craft projects. Grow your own food.

Urban Efficiency: If you live in an apartment or loft, give yourself a pat on the back for saving energy. Take advantage of urban density to reduce your transportation footprint. With the money you save, you can eat well, try green hobbies, and indulge in creative culture.

The Considerate Handyman: Learn how your roof, chimney, gutters, plumbing, and major appliances work. Maintain them.  Tune up your car. Research alternatives.  When something finally wears out, make your green upgrade. You may be able to get a rebate on energy-star appliances, or turn your old one in for a recycle bounty. Consider insulation, solar lights or panels, or a rainwater catching system.

Refresh Your Style: If your home feels stale or shabby, consider brightening it up. Natural paints, 'daylights', a windowbox, or fresh curtains for light and warmth. Little solar outdoor lights for garden paths. Bring in some greenery and flowers. Choose a do-able weekend project, and see if it inspires other changes.
- If you are ready to break new ground, "Eco Nests" are the ultimate in earth-friendly new homes made with all-natural, super-efficient materials. Or take a workshop in natural building techniques and play around in your backyard.

Cleaning Green: Consider cheaper, safer, greener solutions for home maintenance.
- Water cleans most things just fine. (Let the Solvent Do the Work! Leave tough spots to soak for a few minutes and come back, instead of scrubbing or spraying.)
- Use vinegar for hard-water spots, soap scum, cement residue, and even dried glue.
- For food or pet leaks, try baking soda or enzyme cleaners. Mop up, rinse the spot, and leave baking soda on to dry and draw up any remaining liquid. Then sweep or vacuum. (A wedding planner told me that your spit will remove small bloodstains, if you catch them quickly.)
- Eco-friendly detergent or soap removes grease, oil, and bacteria.
- Sterility is for clinics. You don't need antibacterial soap unless you're recovering from surgery or infectious disease. It breeds really nasty, resistant bacteria in our municipal sewage (and on us!). And some evidence suggests that sterile homes may increase childhood allergies. If you must kill bacteria or molds, consider a simple disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, or alcohol, that will biodegrade to non-toxic residue.
- Be wary of products whose ingredients you can't recognize.

Bonus Tip: Green Economics: Money breaks up more marriages than infidelity.  Be responsible, and gentle.  Fighting over details, buying things you can't afford, or paying heavy interest to commercial lenders, does not help the planet.

Do the right thing, and make your home comfortable.

If it doesn't feel right, it's not time yet.


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