The World on Wednesday… Who You callin’ Lazy?!

Well readers, I have written before about the changes we can make that we often do not…..because of a tad bit of laziness.  For example, unplugging things when not in use, turning off the tap while brushing teeth & washing dishes, turning off the ‘heated dry’ setting in the dishwasher…..

And now, I am a little upset….because I think all of us are being referred to as lazy…. which is totally unfair.

Allow me to explain 🙂  Remember back to November when the Greening Tip was a quiz question?  It was:  What electronic device (s) consume (s) the most power when in standby mode?

a) TV     b) multi-function printer    c)  laptop computer    d) DVR with a digital cable box

The answer: DVR & digital cable box The Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory found that, on average, a digital cable box with a DVR consumes about 43 watts when turned off but still plugged in.


According to the article, “Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop” by Elisabeth Rosenthal (New York Times), high-definition cable boxes and high-definition DVR boxes consume $3 B I L L I O N in electricity/year in the USA– and 66% of that power consumed is wasted when no one is watching or recording shows.

“That is more power than the state of Maryland uses over 12 months.”  Really??? Think that through for a moment…..and I tell you what– when I thought that through, I felt pretty upset.

You should follow the link and read her article.

Apparently, the technology does exist (and it works) for the boxes to be more efficient.   One of the reasons it is not being used is……You and me.  One quotation form the article is “No body asked us to use less.”

Because we are happy not asking about this item, the cable companies are happy to not change anything.

I definitely want your feedback on this dear readers…..what do we do?  As for me, I want a choice.  I want a cable box that has an “off” setting, a “standby” mode and maybe even the “deep sleep” mode mentioned in the article.  Right now, we are not given a choice.  We are given an energy drain that WE PAY FOR.  I will leave you with this, from one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes comics (10th Anniversary book)……it applies to this, mostly.  Also I just LOVE it 🙂


Calvin:  “I wish my shirt had a logo or a product on it.  A good shirt turns the wearer into a walking corporate billboard!  It says to the world “My identity is so wrapped up in what I buy that I paid the COMPANY to advertise its products!”

Hobbes:  “You’d admit that?”

Calvin:  “Oh sure.  Endorsing products is the American way to express individuality.”


Don’t be that guy readers…..let’s express our individuality by using our voice.  Let’s find a way to ask for a better system.  Write me back.




June 25, 2011

It seems like God puts a miracle in every seed when that tiny particle sprouts a plant and the plant grows into something edible. This week we harvested some of those miracles: kale and radishes. Ellen handpicked the kale and I pulled radishes – much more gratifying than pulling weeds. However, we had so much rain this week that pulling the weeds was easy and didn’t seem like a chore.

We replanted the corn again this Saturday because mice got it the first time and the crows got it this week. Lee can dig the straightest furrows of anyone at the garden and Ellen can carefully place each corn seed where it should go. I guess both of them have had a lot of experience this year. Lee strung ribbons of videotape from posts on the edges of the corn plot. If a storm doesn’t blow the videotape down again, the light reflecting off the tape should keep the crows away.

Other than replanting the corn, the summer garden is pretty much planted and we are in maintenance mode. I strung a low trellis for the four rows of snow peas before I ran out of string and I put in poles for the beans that will need a string trellis too. Thanks to Faye and Michael who did a lot of hoeing and the BMHC staff who mowed close to the garden, we are managing to keep the weeds under control. One of the fields that we did not plant is a very good visual of what our garden would look like if we didn’t keep after the weeds.

We expect to harvest more kale and radishes next week but there aren’t enough to donate to the food banks, so they are free to the volunteers. Doesn’t that make you want to come?!

— Jane


June 18, 2011.

The garden is looking really good. The squash and cucumbers are up, the corn and beans have sprouted, and the tomatoes are looking very healthy. Most of the hard work in the garden is done now that the majority of the plants are in and most of the seeds are planted, but we still need volunteers. Lee was at the garden alone on Saturday and he staked the peas, fertilized, and weeded between the rows.

Weeds will continue to be a problem all summer, and we need to do some hand weeding close to the plants. We have a few more plants to put in the ground and there are still plenty of seeds, if we choose to plant them. Lee said that the radishes and kale will be ready for harvesting on Saturday, June 25. So, if you like radishes or kale come and get your fill. Even if you don’t you should come and watch the beans grow… and pull a few weeds. We are there every Saturday from 9:00 – 11:00 am.

Jane Laping

The World On Wednesday…Transitional Ethics

Transitional Ethics

“What’s the point?”

“It’s too hard!”

“I’m too busy for that hippie stuff.”

“I’m driving everywhere anyway.”

…and you’re right.  Consider though, that our world began to evolve millennia ago with clean waters, green pastures….and it has taken thousands of years to create pollution, greenhouse gases, contaminated drinking water.  How can we expect to change everything immediately and with huge obvious results?

Think about the big picture and make an informed decision about trade-offs.  For example, it may not be wise to mortgage your home to install solar panels….. but it may be wise to drive to the store and buy heirloom seeds to feed your family and preserve the traits of said item.

Does the end justify the means— transitional ethics isn’t selling out and under-greening, its being REALISTIC.


June 11, 2011.

The Lord did bless our garden with rain and most of the tomato plants survived. The peas still look good and the radishes and chard are thriving. The corn we planted a few weeks ago looks like it was eaten by mice, and the squash and cucumber seeds we planted last week have not sprouted. The weeds are doing their best to take over the entire garden, but we are not discouraged.

A new group of volunteers worked very well together again this week. We implemented the “assembly line technique” again and planted at least 30 more tomato plants, mostly where the ones we planted last week had not survived. Elaine dug the holes, Ellen put in the plants, and Howard fetched water from the creek and watered the new tomato plants. This group continued their pattern and planted 50 sweet potato “slips.” Those will be fun to harvest because you have to dig for them.

Lee brought his rototiller and turned over the area where we had planted the corn so we could reseed and try again. He said that we have until the Fourth of July to plant corn. Ann and I planted bean seeds (half-runners) in another area.

Lee also worked the space between the rows with his rototiller to turn under the weeds. It will take a major effort like that every week to keep them under control.

Next Saturday, June 18 we will stake the tomatoes and peas, plant the remaining vegetable starts that were donated, and attack a few more weeds.

— Jane Laping