it’s not easy being green

I’ve been trying to do some things to make our lives “greener”. I think it all started a few years ago when our friend Steve told us about this thing called a CSA (community supported agriculture). You can read all about them at Local Harvest. One year, we split a share (at a vegetable farm) with him. Once a week, he’d pick up our share of veggies, divvy them up and send them our way. We got to try a lot of things we don’t normally eat, plus we were supporting a local farmer. And, I froze a bunch of stuff, so we had some nice vegetables into the winter months. I, of course, have a vegetable garden, but it’s pretty small, so I don’t get to freeze a lot of stuff from it. We only did the CSA thing the one year because it wasn’t terribly convenient (due to the farm being located in the State College area), but I would really like to do it again if only we could find a farm closer by. In lieu of that, I really need to start visiting the local farmer’s markets more. I guess I’ll have to make that my goal for next year.

The second thing I’ve been doing right is that I’ve been buying most of our meat locally. I heard about this local meat packing company, Froehlich’s, sometime after we moved into our house. We tried one of their hams for some holiday and I’ve been going back ever since. The meat there is so good and the cost is usually lower than the supermarket, so how can you go wrong? And, while this is an assumption on my part, I’m pretty sure all of the meat they butcher is locally raised. I know for a fact, some of the hogs I’ve ordered have been Cambria County Fair winners. (They were delicious, by the way.) Mostly, I just like going there because it’s like Cheers–everyone knows my name. In addition to supporting Froehlich’s, we’ve been getting beef from Errer Hill Farms in Somerset County for a few years. I suppose becoming a vegetarian would be a greener thing to do, but I don’t think that is on my horizon.

Another thing we are doing is trying to conserve energy. We started replacing our light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. They are supposed to last a lot longer than regular light bulbs and use less energy. It’s too early to tell how they’re going to work out but we are forever replacing bulbs around here so I have to think they will be an improvement. And, we’ve also been adhering to that “turn the light off when you leave the room” concept. Well, Brian and I have. Jake, on the other hand, turns on all three bathroom lights (including the one above the tub) when he goes to the bathroom and then leaves them all on when he leaves the room. We’ll have to work on that.

I suppose another area we could work on is our vehicle situation. Brian’s truck gets crappy gas mileage as does my Highlander. We took a peek at the hybrid Highlanders when we were looking for a new vehicle, but I’d like to see how the new technology works out before I commit myself to it. That, and they were way more expensive than the non-hybrid models. On the other hand, now that Brian’s working in Johnstown, we really don’t rack on the miles anymore. My office is in Richland, but I work at home three days a week. When the weather is decent, Brian takes his motorcycle whenever he has to go anywhere (and it gets excellent gas mileage), so I guess that’s how I can justify my vehicle purchases. Plus, you can’t fit two dogs and three people in a car. Don’t ask me how I know.

I found this great website recently, Ideal Bite. I was so impressed with their website that I signed up for their daily tip. It’s a good starting place if you’re looking for ideas. I know I’ve gotten quite a few from them.

The only thing I don’t like about going green is that it takes a lot of green to do it. Living in what is essentially a farming area, we lucked out on the meat and veggies end of things, but almost everything else requires a commitment from your wallet. Small price to pay, I guess.