Buzz about ecloth?

Am I the only one who hasn’t heard of e-cloth® cleaning cloths?

ecloth product line

Ecloth Product Line

What are ecloths and why is this product so cool? And is it green?

  • No need to use chemicals to clean with this cloth.
  • Requires only WATER no cleaning chemicals in order to grab dirt, dust and grim from surfaces trapping them in the cloth.
  • Using only water, e-cloth® removes over 99% of common bacteria, including E-coli and Listeria by locking bacteria away.
  • Non-toxic dust ‘magnets’.


Home Cleaning Set

Home Cleaning Set


How hard is it to take care of the e-cloth®? Not hard at all. For most day-to-day use, a warm rinse under the faucet is enough to ready your e-cloth® for your cleaning task. The mops/cloths are machine washable with warm to hot water and minimal laundry detergent. Do not bleach or use fabric softeners. Bleach degrades the microfiber, and softener coasts the fibers and wrecks their grabbing power. Also colors may run, an initial separate washing is advised. Tumble or air dry with low-lint items.


Very Futuristic – Smart Glass is Here

English: Smart Glass Projection Screen - On

English: Smart Glass Projection Screen – On (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Mistie Dawn

Smart Glass which has been seen hinted to in American popular culture, as early as 1982 in Blade Runner, is fast gaining main stream appeal. What is Smart Glass, aka Electric Privacy Glass (EGlass), you ask? It is glass that is electrically switchable glass or glazing which changes light transmission properties when voltage is applied. Smart Glass is usually used for windows and skylights. When activated, the glass changes from transparent to translucent, partially blocking light while maintaining a clear view through the glass. Another type of smart glass can provide complete privacy when activated.



English: Soundproof Smart Glass Русский: Русск...

English: Soundproof Smart Glass Русский: Русский: Звукоизолирующее смарт стекло – включено (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So what makes this glass of intrest to those who follow green technologies? Smart glass can darken in response to the increase or decrease of window temperature automatically, thus helping cut down heating and cooling bills. Smart Glass is another way to help make your home or building more energy efficient. The use of smart glass can save costs for heating, air-conditioning and lighting and avoid the cost of installing and maintaining motorized light screens or blinds or curtains. When opaque, liquid crystal or electrochromic smart glass blocks most UV, thereby reducing fabric fading.


Techie cool, I fully expect that we will hear about and see a lot more smart glass in the future!



NYC Glassworks




Buying Local is Sweeping the Nation Like a Holiday Storm!

Remember the movie, Support Your Local Sheriff? Well, it’s your turn and time to consider joining the thousands of Americans who have decided to Support their Local Businesses.

Local Shopping is not just a regionalized trend, but an increasingly popular phenomenon that is sweeping across America as consumers are turning their backs on big business (franchises and chains) and are shopping at small, local brick and mortar businesses, restaurants and boutiques shops.

The Levitch family from Scottsdale, Arizona made a decision to stay away from national retailers and restaurants for an entire year – no more Costco, Old Navy or franchised food shops.  Can you imagine what a huge commitment that is?  Applause, please.  You can visit the Levitch blog as they post updates on their experiences discussing the impact both positive and negative of only “shopping local.”

Why Shop Local?

There is a trend toward buying more natural, less processed, more locally grown foods from local farmers you will find at Farmers Markets, Food Fairs and small corner grocery stores.  Mindful consumers want to know where their meat, eggs and vegetables come from.  What’s in them?  How was it grown?  Who grew it?  What did the cows and chickens eat?  Can I safely consume this?

When we shop local we

  • Keep money and jobs in our community.
  • Create more tax revenue for the city and state.
  • Have more choices of higher quality products and services.
  • Have access to fresher produce, more natural and less processed, locally grown vegetables, fruits and meats.
  • Are able to ask for details on product manufacturer and production conditions.
  • Meet the owners and growers of your food products; we can even visit their farm!
  • Infuse pride, creativity and passion back into our communities.
  • Have quality shopping experiences with polite, friendly people.  Business owners have a lot more at stake than a clerk in a multi-million dollar chain where they are just another face and employee ID number.

In this holiday shopping season isn’t it good to know that if you shop local, your money (largely) stays in the local economy bolstering businesses on your street and small shopping centers near your neighborhood.  Isn’t it great to know you are helping somebody’s mother, father, brother, son or daughter earn a living and provide local jobs for others?  Just think, somebody may get to “keep” their job because you care enough to shop local.

The impact of big business on our communities can be seen as local job losses occur.  Whenever a national retailer brings in two new jobs, three jobs are lost when a local business closes down.  (2)   Shopping locally owned businesses causes money to be recirculated over and over again creating up to 75% more tax revenue for your city and state.

On Small Business Saturday, President Obama said, “From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation’s promise.  These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America…”

According to when Minnesota shoppers patronize small businesses [shop local] 63 cents of every dollar stays in the local economy as compared to 43 cents when customers shopped at major chain stores. (1)

In Arizona, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves. For every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, $43 remains in the local economy, and $57 leaves. (2)

Sew Much More employee Mary Kay Schwartz said. “We understand that if we buy local we benefit ourselves as residents and as business owners.”

Business alliances have now formed in about 140 cities and collectively organizations like Stay Local in New Orleans, the Metro Independent Business Alliance in Minneapolis- St. Paul, and Arizona Local First in Phoenix, have over 30,000 business members. (2)

Where to Shop Local in the Phoenix- Metropolitan Area

One can always find unique and imaginative apparel and  furnishing at local arts and crafts fairs, boutique shops and small brick and mortar businesses.

Local businesses like Shop to be Green can be found at the local farmer’s markets.  Shop to be green is a small green products eboutique that was born out of a love of organic, natural and sustainable products that promote a healthy lifestyle.  Visit them at their booth at the North Scottsdale Farmers Market on Saturdays, between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM and on Sundays starting on January, 8, 2012 at the Scottsdale Street Fair from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Visit the Glendale shop of  Healthy Baby Happy Earth  Safe, healthy choices for your little ones.  Both Online Store & Retail Store. Healthy Baby Happy Earth is truly a family oriented business owned and operated by a mom and her daughter.

Get the best hand-pattied, all-beef juice burgers, sweet potato fries and all around best cheese steaks from Mike’s Burger and Cheese Steaks in Gilbert.  You’re in for a surprise in this Fifties style diner.

Sound Packaging LLC in Chandler can help you with your packaging needs!  As a manufacturer of custom packaging with state-of-the art equipment, Sound Packaging has the ability to produce the highest quality products with the shortest turn-around time in the industry.

Need help but can’t afford a full-time employee.  Need web research, secretarial/admin services, transcription services, marketing assistance, event planning or a writer?  Hire Your Virtual Assistant Services.

Stressed out from holiday shopping and need a relaxing massage?  Hire Live Well Therapeutic Massage to get the kinks worked our of your neck and your life.  Relax into the holiday and the new year.

For a complete listing of Local Arizona Business owners, see Arizona Local First.

So you can see, it’s a little like “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” brought to life.  Do you know who the local businesses are in your neighborhood?  Would you like to support them so they can stay in business and provide you with quality products and services?

There is a richness to be obtained in getting to “know” the corner grocery store owner or the manager of the local clothing boutique.  What about the local butcher shop?  Are there any of those left?  The impact that local shopping provides is inestimable.  Shopping local will build stronger, more supportive local communities bringing creativity and passion back into our local economies and into our lives.

Shop local, be seen, be green, give green.

Himalayan Salts Light Up Your Life in a Healthful Way

A health trend is rapidly developing around the use and benefit of Himalayan Salt.  For years, many European countries have promoted health and rejuvenation by using hot salt springs and salt mines. Salt mines, often spa-like in appearance, provide a restful place for individuals to rest.  As they relax the dry, negative ion environment of the salt mine improves their mood and promotes an overall calm.

There are salt mines in many places:  Himalayas, Austria, and Germany.  Salt mines have such a tremendous reputation that German companies will often reward overworked employees by sending them to a salt mine for rejuvenation.

Gourmet Himalayan Salt Cooking and Serving TilesNot everyone can travel to Asia or Europe to take advantage of the rejuvenating benefits of salt mines.  You can, however, have the same rejuvenating, calming effects right in your own home as you breathe salt-treated air, cook with salt tiles and bathe in Himalayan salt crystals.

What makes Himalayan salt different from table salt?

Salt is essential for life and we all know that you cannot live without it.  For our bodies to  function properly we need to give them the right kind of nutrients.

If you were to look at a periodic table of elements you would see many elements on that table that the human body needs for proper function.  Not surprisingly, 84 of those essential elements can be found in Himalayan salt.

Himalayan Bath Salt Crystals contain magnesium, potassium, bromide, and calcium that is readily absorbed into the skin. The Himalayan salts are naturally harvested from mineral-rich ocean waters that dried and crystallized 250 million years ago.  Many health benefits result from the use of Himalayan salt.

Ordinary table salt is approximately 97% to 99% sodium chloride and the remaining 3%  to 1% is composed of chemicals such as moisture absorbents, and iodine.  Salt used on your “table” has been heavily processed, chemically cleaned and then dried at temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit; the extreme heat alters the chemical structure of the salt.  Table salts are generally depleted of minerals that your body needs and the additives can be harmful when ingested.

Himalayan salts help

  1. regulate water content throughout your body and can assist in regulating blood pressure.
  2. support respiratory and sinus health.
  3. promote bone and nail strength by restoring a healthy calcium balance and increase vascular health.
  4. cure ear infections, lessens acne when used as a face wash, helps prevent bleeding gums and foot fungus.
  5. detoxify your body.  Himalayan salts help with the absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract and the elimination of heavy metals (lead, arsenic, mercury and calcium) in the body.  The salt can break down and dissolve the molecular structure of heavy metals.
  6. minerals easily penetrate your skin and promote a healthy pH balance in your cells (especially brain cells).
  7. reduce signs of aging and regulate your sleep.
  8. prevent muscle cramps.
  9. have a positive effect on your nervous system.
  10. support a natural, healthy libido.

Uses for Himalayan Salt

  1. Himalayan Salt Daily Detox Face ScrubHimalayan salt mixed with organic jojoba beads, calcium bentonite clay from the Death Valley combine together for this detoxifying face scrub leaving your skin re-mineralized, glowing and healthy.
  2. Prevent motion sickness by placing a small pouch of the energy balancing salt around your neck.
  3. Massage a concentrated brine solution (sole) onto your head and neck for a headache.  In the event of a severe headache use a cold compress.
  4.  Asthma sinusitis and bronchitis can be treated with brine inhalation therapy.  Pollutants are expelled by coughing.
  5. Himalayan salts can be used for rheumatism, joint ailments and bites/wounds of insects.
  6. When mixed with essential oils the salts are great for aromatherapy.
  7.  Himalayan salts, used in a bath,  reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints (similar to Epsom salts).  The bromides in the salt relax muscles while relieving pain and soreness. Individuals who experience recurring infections have been known to turn their health around with regular salt bathing treatments.

Globe Shaped Salt Lamp | Reduce Indoor Air PollutionUse a Salt Lamp for Calm, Mood Lighting and Indoor Air Pollution Reduction

Using a salt lamp can help reduce indoor air pollutants.

What indoor pollutants, you ask?

The electromagnetic frequency waves created by the popular use of large HD televisions, cell phones, PDAs and computer monitors routinely bombard our bodies with “indoor energy” or “electro-smog.”

Whether you call the indoor bombarding electromagnetic frequencies “electro-smog” or “electric air pollution,” these invisible frequencies create serious air pollution right in your home.  When watching TV, the frequencies emitted may subject your body to frequency vibrations twenty times higher and faster than your own brain waves. You may experience side effects from the electro-smog such as sleep interruptions, lapses in concentration, nervousness among others.

Beautiful, soothing salt lamps help to counteract the harmful electromagnetic frequencies by cleansing the air and increasing the number of negative ions released.  The negative ions that are released combine with excessive positive ions having a neutralizing effect.

Enhance serenity and ambiance of selective rooms (or multiple rooms) with the strikingly attractive Himalayan salt lamps.

Whether you are bathing, cooking, scrubbing or just plain breathing,
get a pure and organic Himalayan salt that you can trust.

The Top 10 Hottest Green Gifts Ideas for the Holidays

Yes, it is that yuletide time of year again!  Santa is making his list and checking it twice – who is on your holiday shopping list?  Have they been naughty or nice?  Whichever way you go, remember lumps of coal are totally organic!

All kidding aside, the holiday season gives us another opportunity to consider the circle of friends and family we love, our pets, neighborhoods and our communities at large.  As more people become tuned-in to the challenges facing our planet we find that giving eco-friendly gifts is on the rise.

Those of us who are “green” and care about our environment, have all heard the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle.”   It is in that eco-friendly spirit we compiled the list of the top 10 hottest green gifts to give or to receive.

  1. Eco-Friendly Reuseable Cloth Shopping Bags Replace Plastic BagsFor Everyone:  Reuseable Shopping Bags and Produce bags – The Italians and Europeans have long been shopping this way.  Reusable mesh and cotton shopping bags were heavily used long before the introduction of the paper or plastic bag.  This is the greatest gift idea of all; I mean really how many plastic bags can one person really utilize? Not only are these reusable bags are perfect for shopping, but they can keep your veggies and fruits fresher longer when you keep them in the bags and store them in the refrigerator. Easily cared for, never bleached or chemically treated – consider giving a set of five full-size shopping bags to the shopper in your life.
  2. For Everyone:  100 % Organic Chocolate Sugar Body Polish – there are two kinds of chocolate in this world, the external kind and the internal kind … and both of them are quite yummy!  This winter, your dry, thirsty skin will welcome the silky smooth finish and glow you will get from using the sumptuous ChocolateSuper Yummy Organic Chocolate Sugar Body Polish Sugar Body Polish.  You will feel totally euphoric and your skin will be invigorated by this rich, thick exfoliating sugar scrub that looks, smells and feels like a fudge batter!  It smells so great, you‘ll be tempted to eat it!  The Chocolate Sugar Body Polish comes in an 11.5 oz. recyclable PET jar.  All natural, organic ingredients include Fair Trade CertifiedTM Brown Sugar/Cocoa Butter/Cocoa Powder, Aloe Vera Juice, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Honey and Essential Oils.
  3. For Everyone:  Recycle a basket from your local thrift store or estate sale and prepare a Green Gift Basket filled with yummy organic home-made, eats and treats such as cookies, fudge, popcorn balls, banana nut or pumpkin breads, naturally sweetened candies, pestos, home-canned fruits, fresh organic fruits and nuts or even purchased items such as organic gourmet coffees and hot chocolate drink mixes.
  4. For Her:  Along with the holiday rush comes the holiday stress.  A great gift for that special lady in your life is a 100% organic cotton hooded bath robe and gift certificate to the best local spa.  She will melt into the one-on-one pampering and exit dazzling just in time for New Year’s Eve. If she’s more of a “wired” girl, consider buying her the recycled canvas iPad case.
  5. Super Cool and Geeky Watch Gear Cufflinks for HimFor Him:  We tend to think of men as DIYers …  is your guy a gadget guy? If so he’ll be pretty geared up about our Watch Gear Cufflinks that are made from old watch parts, but really work, featuring two watch movements. Not the engineer or programmer kind of guy – then he might enjoy a natural shaving cream or oil that provides a close shave and has an awesome moisturizing, conditioning effect.  Or is he more of a sports fan?  You can always purchase tickets to his favorite sporting or entertainment event (you can even do this on-line, if you can’t fit it into your busy holiday schedule!)
  6. For DIY’ers in Your Life:  Provide them with the materials to make: (1) a Necktie Wreath – using old colorful cotton neckties, (2) Teacup Candles, (3) Laundry Cup Wall Art – a starburst wall hanging made from old magazine pages and plastic detergent lids, or (4) books or guides for making cheese, wine, canning and freezing or other such “how to’s” that match their areas of interest.
  7. Perfect Hostess Gifts:  It’s party time.  You will likely be attending your favorite party this holiday season.  A great Green Gift to give your Host or Hostess is a rich, full-flavor organic wine, and some rich, healthy, dark chocolate and strawberries to nibble on along with it. You might even volunteer to bring biodegradable plates for the gala!  Some good chocolate choices include:  ChocoSol Darkness Eating Chocolate, a rich, 75% dark chocolate that is stone ground with a very earthy deep flavor and texture which encapsulates the Mayan cacao of Southern Mexico.  You can get the 3-Pack Organic Wine Package from Italy which includes a 2010 Pinot Grigio Perlage, 2008 Terra di Chieti Bianco Perlage and a 2008 Sangiovese Marche Perlage.  Bring along fresh, organic strawberries from your local Farmer’s Market.
  8. ImagiPlay Planet Pixies - Perfect Toy for Your Children to Teach Them Eco-Friendly ConceptsChild’s Green Gifts:  It’s the perfect time to demonstrate to your children your commitment to be eco-friendly in ways that are playful and fun for them.  Absolutely great gifts for them include (1)  Eco House by Wonderworld Toy – a wooden toy house, (2) Cardboard Astro Rocket kit,  (3)  ImagiPLAY Planet Pixies,  or (4) Eco-Kids – Eco-Crayons to use on paper made from recycling banana bark.  I suggest you shop around as prices vary widely online.
  9.  Appliances and Equipment for Everyone:  There are so many options now for going green with our electricity and applicance.  More and more manufacturers are concentrating on developing products that make “earth sense.”  Among the plethora of green appliance and technology gifts are (1) Rechargeable Batteries and Battery Chargers (some are even USB compatible rechargeable batteries and can be charged from a USB port on your computer while you are working!) (2) sewing machines for that creative fashionista in  your life who can recreate the latest trend in a jiffy, (3) Kill A Watt 4460 EZ Power Meter  – what a great idea, just connect this to any device in your home to this and you can see for yourself just how efficient the device really is! or (4) Solar Tea Lantern (single) or Solar Glass String Lights (multiple) Let’s get the party started by “lighting up our lives” with these solar delights.  Purchase individual gorgeous hand-blown glass solar lanterns or a string of them and set the mood for any party – and best of all – you use no electricity at all!
  10. For Everyone:  Consider purchasing a sponsorship in an environmental group, or an adoption from sources like (1)  Defenders of Wildlife (“Adopt-An-Animal”), or  (2)  The Nature Conservancy (“Adopt-An-Acre”) Adoption ideas from the Nature Conservancy include: adopting a coral reef in Palau, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, or an acre in Africa, Australia, etc. for as little as $50.

With all this holiday cheer and gift giving, let’s not forget about Green Gifts for Your Pet:  You can pamper your bed by purchasing organic cotton beds,  new leashes, organic healthy treats, and a multitude of other fun pet gifts from e-stores like Abundant Earth.  You will find a broad range of eco-friendly gift options for your pet at Abundant Earth.
You have bought for everyone else, what about your employees or coworkers?

Green Gifts for Your Employees and Coworkers:

  1. Eco-Friendly Therm-O VesselReusable travel mugs – “help them help us” –  to continue to NOT polluting our environment.  Even employees who are NOT really focused on eco-friendly activities will appreciate the beauty and function of the Aquaovo Thermo-o.  You will appreciate the absence of Styrofoam and paper product polluting our streams and rivers.  The beautiful, all-glass water bottle comes with a removable filter so you can have tea without needing to waste filters or cups.  The double insulation keeps drinks hot or cold without being sweaty or “too hot to the touch.”  With a large mouth opening it can easily accommodate ice cubes and is easily cleaned.
  2. Give movie passes, concert tickets or sporting events tickets.  Tickets are always in vogue and are a welcome treat, especially in a time when their money is being redirected to present buying, holiday parties and so forth.
  3. Food Gift Baskets from your local Farmer’s Market, filled with all the organic, fresh and seasonably available fruits, veggies and cheeses is always a great choice. You can prepare them yourself by recycling baskets from your local resale shop or getting great buys from your local Farmer’s Market for already made baskets.  Dress them up with a pretty bow and give them with a joyful smile, and wahla, you have one happy employee!

Above all, please give yourself the gift of time, breath and a sense of knowing that you are making the planet a better place to live today, tomorrow and forever.

Your eco-friendly efforts never go in vain!

Happy shopping and happy “green” holidays.

How We Built Our Raised Garden Bed – You Can Build One Too

English: This is a picture of hands sifting th...

Image via Wikipedia

Some of my fondest memories as a child are of the times spent with my grandparents in their raised garden bed. I remember my grandfather pulling carrots out of the dirt and washing them off with the hose. We would eat them right then and there. I remember the sweet juicy taste. I have never had a better tasting carrot since. I also remember my grandmother sending me out to pick strawberries. She had to know that more than half of the strawberries went directly in my mouth instead of the basket but she didn’t seem to mind. My grandmother made her own rhubarb preserves, pickles and other jarred fruit and vegetables, which were all grown in her garden. I love all these memories and have always dreamed of having my own garden. Finally over the summer I decided to stop dreaming and start doing. So I picked an under utilized section of our yard, that received at least 3 hours of sunlight a day, but was easy to access (right by the kitchen door). Now to implement:

  • We began with a sketch
  • Measured the area we wanted to place our raised garden bed (appx. 8ft x 8ft)
  • Found and bought 12 cedar beams (my grandmother’s garden was made with old railroad ties) and 2 lattice (for cucumbers and tomatoes)
  • We built the enclosure for the raised  garden bed with the cedar beams, stacking them 3 levels high, the ends overlapping (log cabin style), drilled holes (at the edges and center) through the top of the beams, and lastly secured the beams by screwing lag screws into the pre-drilled holes
  • There was already an existing drip line in the area, so we cut the drip line, used 90 degree elbows, and laid the drip line in a u-shape through the raised bed area
  • We then broke up the existing dirt, mixed in organic garden mulch, ammonia sulfate, and organic garden soil (we live in the desert and need to condition our soil before planting…your needs may vary)
  • Stapled plastic lining to retain and protect cedar beams from soil moisture
  • Since our raised garden bed is so large we decided to lay concrete blocks and cement pavers on top in order to create a path.

Materials List:

    • 12 Cedar 8 ft beams – $23.64
    • 12 Lag screws – $12.24
    • 20 ft Half inch hose $5.59
    • 6 Elbows (to raise the line up and 4 to make the u-shape) – depends on your individual needs – $1.97
    • 1 Roll of plastic lining (not necessary…up to you) – $9.98
    • 2 bags of Organic Garden Mulch – $8.94
    • 5lbs (1 bag) of Ammonia Sulfate (to condition soil) – $7.48
    • 8 bags of Organic Garden Soil – $55.76
    • 3 Concrete blocks – $4.41
    • 3 Pavers – $4.80
    • 2 Lattice – $59.94 (not necessary…your choice to add)

Total cost of materials (we bought at Home Depot):

Cost to build enclosure – $53.42

Cost of mulch, soil, pavers, lattice, etc. – $141.33

Not handy? Home Depot sells ready made raised garden beds enclosures. You still have to buy the rest of your garden supplies (mulch, soil, seeds, and plants) so it’s not any cheaper than building your own, in fact most are more expensive. Here are the pictures of our raised garden bed so far. In the first picture you can see the original drip line that is exposed:

Ceder Beam Garden

Placing the 8ft x 8ft Cedar Beams

water line

Removing old drip line

Laying Drip Line

Laying drip line in u-shape

Till Dirt

Breaking up the soil

compost soil

Mixed in organic compost

Organic Garden Soil

Added 8 bags of organic garden soil & cement blocks

Stone Walkway

Added pavers on top of cement blocks

What’s next? We still have to add the drips to the line, anchor down the 2 lattice, and cement the pavers to the concrete blocks. Then finally we will be read to plant. So stay tuned for our next post. Another great how-to resource for building a raised garden bed is this Popular Mechanics article.

Have we completely lost our minds?!

Over the next few months ShoptobeGreen will feature family friend and contributor Erin D. Erin will share with us her experience in going from a 200 year old farmhouse in the rural North East to a more eco-friendly and energy efficient 3 season cabin. We have all dreamed about living off the grid but Erin and her husband are trying to make that dream a reality. ShoptobeGreen has talked Erin into sharing their experience with our readers. We have even talked her into sharing their videos and hand draw design concepts. Please leave your comments and any advise you might have and we will be happy to share it with Erin. Erin and her husband have sold their farmhouse and have begun the process for their new cabin.


Present-day September 2011, cue the crickets… I like to title this new chapter of our lives:

“Have we completely lost our minds?!”

Month 1:

The land is virgin and untamed (well, recently untamed it was farmland once upon a time)… The days are long and hard on this virgin-ish land, the nights are lulled (maybe not lulled more like screeched) with the song of coyote and bullfrogs. Woods, streams, bogs and bugs… A lot of bugs.. Did I mention the bugs? Alright fine, I don’t really have a problem with bugs in general. But mosquitoes, are the bane of human existence! I really don’t like mosquitoes, who does? What is the purpose of mosquitoes? Ok ok, yes they do feed frogs, birds, spiders, etc., which is a good thing! Hakuna Matata , yada yada… But really, do we need to have so many? And why do they love me so?!

But seriously, here’s the plan. We want to build, as mentioned earlier, a small (450 to 500 sq ft) three season cabin/cottage. We want a place to get away, one we don’t have to worry about when back in the city. We will build as local, environmentally friendly and self sustaining, as possible on a $30k budget. The wood to build will come from local pine and cedar, as well as reclaimed wood if possible. To be energy efficient we will heat primarily with a wood burning stove, wood cut by my husband from hardwood trees already dead or limbs fallen. We discussed solar panels; but the winters are so long, snowy, and gray, that unfortunately we think they’d only be a vanity endeavor (if we were in the southern regions we would use solar). The structure will be facing southwest to capture as much sunlight throughout the day, the back northeast end protected by a hill, both helping to warm and protect the cabin in the cold northern winter, as well as not needing to turn on lights until dusk. A compost toilet is a must, as well as a rain harvesting system for gray water. That’s the required list as of today. I’m sure there will be more, but we are on a budget. I have to keep reminding myself this, budget budget budget.

So, what’s been done (since the sale) in the past month? A road… Not a very well done road I might add. See, getting things done well and in a timely manner is always difficult when building and/or renovating, and when it’s in a rural area it’s even more difficult. There are only so many local contractors (3), and they are always busy. We’ve previously hired the gentleman who bulldozed this road, and he did a fantastic job in the past. This time around he looked at our virgin-ish land with it’s many mosquitoes, and didn’t seem so thrilled.. We had to pay and beg him for what ended up only a single pass with the bulldozer. He had a month to do the job properly, and yes we now have a road, but it’s a very uneven potholed dirt road that needs to be smoothed out and graveled before we can start construction.

That’s it. This is how far we’ve gotten in a month. I’m hoping (wishful thinking?) that this will all be done by Autumn 2012.

Too optimistic?

cabin concept drawing
Cabin concept drawing
cabin concept drawing side view
cabin concept drawing side view