Starting this spring I have been experimenting with using a reel mower to cut my grass. With all the rain we have had I have been using it just about every weekend and it’s been a lot of fun (and a lot of work).
The obvious benefit has been not spending money on fuel for a traditional gas lawn mower. Because this type of mower takes considerably more effort I have also gotten a nice total body workout. Additionally it is much easier to store, and can even be kept inside your home as there are no hazardous materials involved.
Tour de Taste
Two things that I like to do: go for a good bike ride and graze on good food in small quantities all day. Today Kent and I participated in the “Tour de Taste” run by the Upper Valley Trails organization… and it was just that. And we had some nice weather as well.
The Upper Valley Trails group did a great job of organization from the messages we received ahead of time, to the registration, the parking, the food stops, and the well marked routes so we didn’t get lost. I also appreciated their attention to the environment by asking people to bring their own spoons and forks (to use fewer disposables), and by providing recycling and (in some places) composting bins to cut down on landfill waste.
And, of course, encouraging people to get out on their bikes for something hard to resist like good food, may also inspire them to consider biking for local errands or even for commuting to work. There were over 400 riders, many of them families with kids. It was a great inspiration to me that there are so many people in the Upper Valley interested in taking advantage of a nice day, good food, and environmentally friendly transportation.
I was at the Hanover HomeLife show last weekend working in the solar store booth with Mitch and Scott from the Clear Mountain solar store
, when a 10 year old boy came up to me and asked some questions about our solar panels.
He was concerned at why airplanes use so much fuel. He suggested that planes should have solar panels especially since they fly above the clouds and can get a lot of sunlight. He has decided that he wants to be an engineer when he grows up and work on airplane design so he can help reduce the amount of fuel they consume. After a while his dad came by and he had to go.
Getting back to work after a great vacation can be difficult…so I decided I should ease in slowly and spend a little time researching toys for my store.
There are a number of fun solar powered vehicles, and experimenter’s kits to help explain how solar energy can be converted to electricity. Here are a few. (Isn’t the solar powered wind turbine really just a solar powered fan?).
Lose Your Excuse website
I just saw an ad on TV with two kids talking about the ‘vampire’ load of a cell phone charger. The ‘vampire’ or ‘phantom’ load is the electricity that is being used whenever a device is plugged in even if it isn’t active or on. In the case of the cell phone, the charger is plugged in and using some electricity even though the cell phone itself isn’t connected to the charger.
Many products that want you to keep them plugged in even when they aren’t “on” are probably sucking some electricity. One way to ensure that your phantom loads are not stealing your electricity is to unplug them, or plug them into a power strip with an on/off switch and turn them off.