Recently I tried making my own granola. It ended up being quite simple, and I recommend trying it yourself. Dakota and I both find most store-bought granolas way too sweet and full of "extra" flavors. So, my goal was to make granola that was simple, healthy and tasty.
Good news. The check from Los Angeles DWP arrived yesterday. We got a $200 rebate on our new washer/drier and a $50 rebate on the air conditioning unit. It really pays to be resource conscious, especially this year when it's barely rained a drop.
Hopefully, by the time we start home renovations, we can take advantage of other incentives to build sustainably, like solar energy grants and energy efficient mortgages.
I've been really into summer gardening this year, having decided to try out a few of the heirloom tomato varieties offered by the Seed Savers catalog. So far, things have been going pretty well.
In June, I planted a variety of tomato and pepper seeds in small pots and kept a close eye on them on the upper deck.
By July, they'd gotten big enough to transplant to large containers, and also into the garden plot.
Now that it's August, many of the plants have begun making small fruit, and I'm getting very excited to harvest it in the next few weeks.
Here's a still-green Mini Red Bell Pepper.
And here are some nice heirloom Tommy Toe Tomatoes.
The main enemies facing my tomato gardening efforts have been the evil, squishy green caterpillars known as tomato hornworms. They grow very large very quickly and gobble up tomato leaves like crazy. They also take bites out of the fruit I have been waiting for months to enjoy. I hate these caterpillars, and I plan to get rid of them all. Here's a particularly nasty one I pulled off a plant last night. This guy was about 3 inches long!
Tomato hornworms are really good at hiding, so it's pretty difficult to find them, even when you know they are there. And they are really gross to the touch. But, I have to find and pick them off in order to save my beloved tomatoes from destruction. Then, according to the experts, I must drown them in a bucket of soapy water! I kind of think they deserve it.
So, that's the current summer garden status. I hope to harvest some ripe fruit in the next couple of weeks.
Hungarian Heart tomatoes
Tommy Toe tomatoes
Yellow Pear tomatoes
Red Thai Peppers
Mini Red Bell Peppers
Santa Fe Grande Peppers
Plus, lemon basil and Thai basil. All from seed from the Seed Savers catalog.
In June, we finally got a new washer/drier to replace our old, energy-inefficient one. We purchased a front-loading Whirlpool Duet Sport washer, which uses significantly less water and power. It's great.
It's Energy Star rated and uses 168 kWh/year, which is very much on the low side of the clothes washer range. It has a water-level sensor and uses less soap than a regular washer. It also spins our clothes quite dry, so the drier we got runs for WAY less time than our old drier did. I'd say it's about 30 mins compared to 60 mins. Of course, I still want to set up a clothesline in the back yard. That uses 0 energy, after all.
Plus, we applied for a rebate from the city of Los Angeles. Hopefully, any day now, we'll get a check from the Department of Water and Power for $250. LA has really great rebate programs, actually, although I guess I should wait to get my check before I say that. We should get a $50 rebate on the small window air conditioner we bought this summer as well. It has a pretty high EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) of 10.8. The most efficient window a/c until would have an EER of 12. Anything over 10 is considered good.
This new washer/drier purchase was phase 1 of the kitchen remodel, which we will hopefully begin in October. We've been sourcing materials and settling on the design, so we've done most of the prep work. Now we just have to find the money and the time. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of the whole process, so look for posts on that this fall.
This blog is about a variety of things I'm interested in, including gardening, backyard chickens, crafts, DIY home improvement and resource efficiency. My hope is that it's both informative and fun to read. I hope you like it. If you want to email me, click here.