31 October 2007
It was a beautiful day out, so we headed up to Gloucester to finish the day off with a great meal at the Gloucester House for some great seafood! I had bacon wrapped scallops with cole slaw and Art had Baked Stuffed Haddock with very fresh asparagus. We stopped by the fishermans monument commemorating the lives lost at sea for the past few hundred years.
30 October 2007
29 October 2007
Coming home there was a lovely brutish twenty-something guy in ripped jeans and a backwards Red Sox hat who bounded down the aisle and proclaimed with his Southie accent that I was in his seat. I said, "no, this is my seat," as I showed him my ticket. "NO! I don't sit by the window, I sit on the aisle. You're in my seat!" "Today you do because I am in the correct seat." So, of course, he brooded, fussed, and fidgeted the whole flight and got up like four times to go to the bathroom.
Oh, the joys of traveling coach! Thank god for my i-pod and the ability to sleep in those tiny little chairs!
12 October 2007
World leaders, President Bush among them, congratulated the winners, while skeptics of man's contribution to warming criticized the choice of Gore.
For his part, Gore in a statement said he was " deeply honored ... We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."
Also from BBC here is a great quiz on the Nobel Prize
But what is Green?
IMHO-Green should not be harmful to the environment start to finish.
Unfortunately a much more selective or narrowed sense is more frequently adopted. Take cotton. There couldn't be more green product. It is a natural fiber. Grown locally, and spun into comfortable, durable wears. That is, until you take into consideration the pesticides used on the fields, the oil run equipment used to harvest and process the cotton, the chemicals and bleaches used to clean and prep the cotton, the dyes and chemical washes used in the process, and the warehousing and transport of said goods... Forget anything produced in China, or any other country half way around the world. The transport alone nullifies any Green claim. I saw an energy comparison between someone riding their bicycle to work versus them driving. The caloric requirement, and the resources needed to produce that requirement was a greater energy than the gas you'd need in the car. This is a great argument for driving some would say. But while the energy requirement for that one activity may have been in favor of the automobile, it does not account for the other resouces or energy requirements that came in to play making and maintaining the vehicle, or the effects of the waste products on the environment.
It is important to look at your daily life and see if there are ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle. I do think there is value in buying 'green' products, and in being 'green' activity-wise, but be wary of the real value of the green you are buying in to.
11 October 2007
09 October 2007
06 October 2007
05 October 2007
This is an homage to European biomass technology.
Ökofen Wood Pellet Heating Systems is one of the leading manufacturers in Europe. Their Pelletmatic is technically and stylistically superior to any American pellet whole house systems. This year they introduced their Energy Box. If you don't have a basement, or have the room to put your boiler inside, you can simply put it outside.
Energiesparverband in 2005 is their Pelletstank. The European standard is to use suction to move the pellets from the bulk storage into the unit as opposed a cumbersome auger system. The flow dynamics of pellet fuel are nothing short of amazing. They use an under-fire system which accommodates a much lesser grade of pellet than we require in the US, and Okofen's boilers have a nice large ash pan. A new addition this year is an ash compression system. The ash is simply transferred to a box outside the boiler (looks like a suitcase), which you can wheel away. In Europe the vast majority of pellets are delivered by bulk trucks, like oil is delivered in the US. So when the tech comes to deliver fuel they empty your ash, making it a zero user input system.
I am torn about whether or not to promote bulk feed too much in the US. Pellets are a large part of what keeps most pellet shops afloat in the off-season. There is a very small margin in fuel. Looking at it from my vantage point, I don't think our shop could run (the way it does now) without pellet fuel as part of the equation. But that is probably a topic for a different day...
Guntamatic is a manufacturer we toured as a part of the World Energy Conference. Their innovative boiler includes a tube bundle heat exchanger, a spiral jet secondary air feature, a vibrator tube cleaning mechanism, and an auger ash removal system.
With the added patented pellet valve Fröling ensures the legendary safety of a wood-heating system. Froling received the Innovation Award given by the Federal Ministry and the State of Upper Austria this year for it's P2 boiler.
Definitely, one of the most innovative products we saw at the last show was the Stirling Power Module pellet boiler. The combination of the SPM module with a KWB pellet heating system ensures that wood, a renewable and domestic energy source, is optimally used for the production of heat AND energy, also in single-family homes. This power station makes it possible to produce a significant part of the annual energy requirement of an average single-family home by using the energy from a pellet heating unit.
Sollet is one of many company's that offer one of the most practical pellet solar solutions. Use energy from the sun when it is available, and support it with pellet for night, and inclement weather.
European government is incredibly in favor of biomass heating. Tax incentives abound and people are encouraged to switch to this renewable fuel. Here in the US we have been struggling to get noticed in Washington. NH representatives have definitely lead the charge introducing multiple pieces of legislation which include provisions for biomass. Here are some related links that may be interesting for further study.
While it is at times frustrating to think that pellet technology started in this country when we now lag so far behind. Still, I am hopeful that our fav US manufacturer Harman Stove Company will be able to continue releasing some of the most innovative, well constructed, technologically sound pellet appliances for years to come under their new ownership.
04 October 2007
Shannon and Kathy September 2006
South yard Sept. 2006
Last year, with my Mom's help we graded, replanted seed on the South lawn. Luckily the fill and base grading was done by the same guys who dug the french drain around the house. This year we were not so lucky. I called a few places but they wanted several thousand dollars to the work. So we bought 20 yards of top soil and Art hopped in the Bobcat. After it was spread around we brought out the little york rake that fits on our small yard tractor. We took turns driving and being the weight for the rake and thus graded the back and North side yard. I just finished putting down the seed and starter fertilizer. When Art gets home he'll haul out a round-bale of hay so we can spread it and then begin the watering ritual. Luckily it is supposed to rain starting this weekend sometime. (cross fingers) If this happens we may not have to worry about watering that much. It generally takes a couple to three weeks for the little sprouts to come in.
03 October 2007
The first Oktoberfest was not really a festival at all, but the public celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Luitpold I and Princess Theressa of Bavaria on October 17, 1810. Held on a large meadow in Munich, the party featured a horse race, beer, food, music and dancing. Anniversary celebrations continued each year, usually starting in late September and ending in the first week of October. The horse races were dropped in the early 1800's but Oktoberfests have been held in Munich for almost 200 years.
Oktoberfest is not only an event, it is also a style of beer. The traditional style guidelines describe an amber-gold lager, robust at 5.2 to 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), bottom-fermented and lagered for at least a month, with pronounced malt flavors from Vienna malts, usually accented by the German noble hops such as Hallertau and Tettnang.
Each year Art's parents head down to Newport. All of us 'kids' try to make it down for a day or three. This is the first year they scheduled for an October visit. They used to go down around Memorial Day, then switched to September. One thing I have been really wanting to do this year is visit an Oktoberfest. We made plans to go down to my fav German Restaurant The Student Prince later this month, but I just discovered that while we are in Newport this weekend, they are having their Oktoberfest!
An authentic German Oktoberfest celebration with lively Bavarian music from throughout New England, delicious German food and American cuisine (seafood, pierogies and more), Biergarten, Weingarten, and special area for children.
Shopping marketplace and German-related goods for sale. Continuous entertainment including the Alpenblumen Dancers, Strolling Musicians and International Showbands.
01 October 2007
Toiler Lid Sink
With each flush of your commode, clean water that would otherwise go straight down the toilet is first routed up through a chrome gooseneck spigot to dispense pure water for hand washing. The Toilet Lid Sink installs easily without tools, is attractive for any bathroom and is a great space saver. Shuts off automatically. Porcelain-like white plastic replaces your existing tank top and adjusts to fit standard toilets up to 8in wide and 18-22in long. Built-in soap dish. Overhang varies up to 1.5in.