Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1239 Logan

This new feature in The Current will run every other week and will feature a previous home tour stop from the annual Noblesville Preservation Alliance Tour of Homes.  See the NPA website here.

Location:  1239 Logan Street.
Owners:  John and Jan Utter, since 1981.
Constructed by:  Leonard Wild for Henry C. and Margaret Wild Gaeth, who owned the home for more than 50 years.
Style:  Colonial Revival
Cosmetic features:  The symmetrical front façade, fluted corner boards, palladian window and leaded glass sashes all reinforce the style.  The dominant feature is its half-round portico centered in the main façade. The portico roof is supported by fluted Ionic columns resting on brick piers, and dark-stained woodwork on the underside of the portico roof creates a stunning sunburst design.   The elaborate entry features dark stained woodwork, fluted pilasters, sidelights and 3-part transom.
What work have you done on your house?  “Oh, we had a ladder up, somewhere, for six years. When we moved in, we had a round oak table that was too big to fit in the kitchen. This led to the combining of the kitchen space with the sun porch in the back. We removed walls and floors gained the space we needed for our family.”
What are your favorite features? “The dining room has the most unique light above the table. It’s an etched and sculptured square fixture—it’s so pretty; and, coupled with the beveled glass window, makes for a lovely space. With 10 foot ceilings, wallpaper doesn’t go very far”.
Jan enjoys the close proximity to downtown and schools, and how “everybody’s house is different and interesting”. About her lovely house she says “The house empty, with nothing in it, stands alone. It’s a good house and is a great home!”

Ditch the dryer and do some line drying this year

Ahhh, do you love the smell of line dried clothes and sheets? There’s nothing like it. I think of my childhood and sleeping on my sweet smelling sheets that smelled like sunshine, and I can’t wait to do some line drying this spring in my backyard. We strung up a clothesline at our old house but still haven’t done it here (at our ‘new’ old house). There just doesn’t seem to be a good spot to put one up, and I’m dreaming of yards and yards of clothesline to pin up our garb. Anyway, this year we’ll make it happen!
So why line dry when throwing clothes in a dryer is so easy? Well, line drying is free, and clothes dryers are the second largest electricity sucking appliance (refrigerators are number one). What a great way to make a big impact on energy usage (or lack of) by ditching the dryer.

I also feel it’s a conscious move toward reclaiming a piece of a simpler life and simpler pleasures. Much like kneading bread can be meditative and restorative, so can line drying clothes.

Is that enough? Yes, I know, there are restrictive homeowner covenants in most subdivisions and many HOA’s outright ban clotheslines, but I have to say I would put one up anyway (and hey, it’s not like you’d rig it up in the front yard!). I like being subversive, personally, and I rather enjoy questioning the status quo. Not to mention, I’m all for people’s rights to line dry their clothes outside no matter where they live.

I’m looking forward to harnessing the power of the sun and wind and kicking back in my yard to watch my family’s clothes flapping in the warm breeze—it’s green and it’s free.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cleaner & Greener

                                          Spruce up the home the eco-friendly way

By Krista Bocko
Current Publishing

With spring just around the corner, you may be thinking about sprucing up your living space, airing out, clearing out, cleaning and painting

Ahh, spring cleaning and fix-up. It feels so good after a winter of letting everything slide, doesn’t it?

The earth might feel a little better if you use earth-friendly products to do the job, too.

Tracey Hiner of local TraceyClean can help with the cleaning products. Her company makes “green” cleaning products. When you’re done cleaning, your home smells great -- fresh and clean.

Paint is another key to freshening up a room or furniture. When looking for a relatively inexpensive and easy way to transform a room, paint can be answer. There are now low-to-no VOC (volatile organic compound) paints on the market, making it an earth- and health-friendly proposition as well.

Why use green products? Well, for one reason, they might make it easier to breathe when you are cleaning and painting.

The essential oils Hiner uses have antibacterial properties, so they are effective like commercial cleaners, but not harmful to you, your pets or the environment.

Hiner said she started making and selling green cleaning products after growing weary of
“big companies not caring or taking responsibility to stop producing dangerous products, and with companies advertising products as natural, green, or nontoxic when they may not be.”

Her line of products includes all- purpose, glass, and surface cleaners, to name a few. She makes deliveries around Hamilton County. Check the list of retail locations, including the Harvest Fresh Market in Carmel, for her products at http://www.traceycleannaturalproducts.com/.

What’s really helped her business grow, she said, is public awareness of the dangers of cleaning products.

“Once people become more concerned about being eco-friendly, they want more information about all aspects on how to “green” their lifestyle, from food to cleaning products to recycling,” she said.

And painting.

Most paints contain organic solvents which can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue and dizziness.

There are some paints with little or no volatile organic compounds. They include:

Mythic Paint product is non-toxic, with absolutely no VOC’s in paint or colorant. Its dealership in Indianapolis is located at 5225 W. 74th St. 

Olympic and Valspar make low-no VOC paint and are available at Lowe’s in Noblesville.

Sherwin Williams Harmony brand is available at Sherwin-Williams stores in Carmel, Westfield and Noblesville.

Porter Paints in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Cicero and Home Depot in Carmel and Noblesville also offer low-no VOC paint.

Remember, if you make the switch to low-no VOC paints, don’t simply toss the unwanted products in the garbage can. These are toxic household wastes and must be properly disposed. The Hamilton County Hazardous Waste Center, located near the fairgrounds at 1717 Pleasant St. in Noblesville is the place to dispose of all environmentally unsafe products.

TraceyClean readers special

As a special for new customers through this article, Tracey is offering a 10 percent discount on purchases through March 30. Enter NOBMAR in the promotion code to receive your discount. Delivery is $2.99 anywhere in Hamilton County.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is the Hummer dead (yet)? 'Bring on the grease car'

   I admit that I roll my eyes--hard!--when I spot a Hummer on the road, as I did last week. I wonder what the owners of those things think when they pull up behind me and gaze out at my ‘Love Mother Earth’ bumper sticker as they chug through a gallon of gas just driving across town and back.

   Or maybe they can’t even spot it, since they’re so high up. So upon hearing recently that the Hummer/China fell through, I feel hopeful to be finally closing the books on this particular chapter of conspicuous consumption and seeming narcissism, and moving toward more awareness of sustainability and eco-consciousness.

   With that in mind I am cultivating my ‘drive as little as possible’ mindset. You’ve heard it before—walk or bike when and where you can combine errands to cut down on mileage, and take steps to improve your cars efficiency.

   (I know that Noblesville isn’t a very walker or biker friendly area, but, hopefully, change via more walk and bike paths is coming though).

  What I would really like is a car run on waste vegetable oil (www.greasecar.com). I wonder if anyone around here has one? 

(edit--there is!  My friend Heather read this in the Current and emailed me that her cousin, Jack, has a converted Mercedes Benz, which he calls the veggie car.  Jack lives on the west side of Indy.  Yay, Jack!)

(another edit--there's another one!  I got this email from ChrisF. today "My co-worker reads your column in the newspaper and told me you wondered if anyone ever really got a veggie car to work. Your answer is yes. I've been doing it for over 5 years. I've built custom conversion kits for 3 vehicles. We currently have 2 VO vehicles: 1999 Mercedes E300 (150mpg city) & 2001 Ford Excursion (85mpg city). During this time I've burned over 7000 gallons of VO instead of diesel fuel. I've pulled travel trailers as far a Maine without stopping for fuel. It's a wonderful life."  Wow and Yay, Chris!  That's impressive!)
   Back to the Hummer.

   I’ve been vaguely aware of the former Fishers Hummer dealer Quonset hut-like showroom that was built within the last five years and has now been sitting empty for quite some time. What will become of it? My thought was that it would be awesome to repurpose it as a garden center with the Quonset hut part being a greenhouse…except for the fact that, being built like a Quonset hut, the south side is shaded. Darn!

   One thing is for sure, there are many like me that will be happy to see fewer Hummers out on these flat, paved Hamilton County roads.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby, you wear it well

My friend Joni and I met up at the Children’s Museum recently and loved seeing all the babies that were being ‘worn’ by their moms or dads. Yes, it’s called babywearing and it’s an ancient practice that’s making a comeback (like co-sleeping and breastfeeding), and for good reason.

I’ve worn all my babies in all kinds of carriers, from slings to wraps to mei tais to a Snugli (I don’t recommend the Snugli). I’ve given out the name of what I’m wearing to interested mothers (hotsling! Moby wrap!) and directions for how to find tying techniques (youtube!). So it’s always exciting to me to see other babywearers,

So why babywearing? What are the benefits? Plenty.

Babywearing kept my baby right where they needed to be—next to me (or my husband). It only made sense—what baby would want to be sitting in an carseat when they could benefit from being wrapped up next to their favorite person in the world?

I could keep the carseat where it belonged—in the car. I don’t think parents could enjoy hobbling around with a carseat, it looks highly uncomfortable

It saved my back. And my arms. Carrying a heavy baby for any length of time is pretty tiring. When I wear my baby, that problem is solved. Using a quality baby carrier will distribute weight across your back, making it very comfortable to wear.

It’s hands free. Especially with having other children, I need my hands for hand holding. Being able to run or at least pick up the pace to chase an errant child is important. And having hands free to cook or do whatever else I need to do is a sanity saver.

See my blog for links. Spread the babywearing love!

Wrap carriers:
Moby Wrap
Sleepy Wrap

Backpack Style carriers:

New Native

Carriers listed on etsy:
Mei tai (pronounced May-tie)

These are only a few of the many!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Eat pure and leave the biotechs and chemicals on the store shelf

**I received this from Michael DePape of Botanical Interests.  This has helped clarify GMO and I want to be sure to present accurate info:  "To be fair to our competition and to prevent panic in home gardeners, as far as we know, there isn't any GMO seed in the garden seed trade. The companies that produce genetically modified seed are producing it for the big-ag farmers who have to sign extensive contracts and legalese and pay a lot of money to use the GMO seed. Home gardeners are just not (so far) the market for this type of product.
Gardeners and consumers of all kinds should be more concerned about the food that they are purchasing in the grocery store. There is no law to require labeling of foods that contain GMO products. So, chances are, you may be purchasing cereal, fresh corn, corn tortillas, soy products, and all sorts of processed foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
(For more info., visit the Center for Food Safety http://truefoodnow.org/shoppers-guide/.)

The best thing you can do to vote with your dollars and for your own peace of mind is to grow your own food and purchase certified organic products. (Organic products cannot contain GMO ingredients.)"

A friend and I got together last week to do some heirloom variety seed sharing, as we’re getting ready to do start seeds indoors. Mindi, who I met via this column (hi, Mindi!) is an avid gardener like me and we are both committed to growing non-GMO, heirloom variety fruits and vegetables organically.

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms and are achieved through genetic engineering, leading to potential biological risks and scenarios yet unknown. Many of the seed packets you can purchase in the big box stores (unless marked ‘Heirloom’) may be genetically modified. I seek out the heirlooms. Not only do they have such interesting names, such as these tomato varieties:‘Aunt Ruby's German Green’ or ‘Green Zebra’, but they also taste amazing.

There are many reasons why I love heirlooms, and I’m committed to doubling my garden this year and growing more varieties. I refuse to support the huge biotech conglomerates that are producing all of these GM crops/seeds, and these same companies produce highly toxic pesticides (you couldn’t pay me to use Round-Up anywhere near my yard or my children. I wouldn’t use it anywhere far either). Thankfully, lots of seed companies have taken the ‘safe seeds’ pledge—the pledge to not include any seed from these biotechs in their stock.

Botanical Interests is one. I purchased their seeds from Allisonville Nursery—it felt great to support a local business and also a seed company that has taken the safe seeds pledge.

So, I’m voting with my dollars and leaving the biotechs and the chemicals on the store shelf, hoping and wishing they would go away. It’s so good to dig in the earth chemical free and eat good, pure food. See my blog for a list of seed companies safe from biotech ties. Happy Organic Gardening!

Read more from the Organic Consumers Association here.

Here is the list of safe seed companies:

Abundant Life Seeds
Amishland Seeds
Annapolis Valley Heritage Seed Company canada
Baker Creek Seed Co.
Berlin Seeds - they don't have a website. Atleast I didn't find one.
Botanical Interests
Bountiful Gardens
Diane's Flower Seeds (she has veggies now, too)
Fedco Seed Co. - phasing out seminis seeds.
Garden City Seeds
Heirloom Acres Seeds -I've heard from several people thier seed germination is poor and so is thier customer service.
Heirlooms Evermore Seeds
Heirloom Seeds
High Mowing Seeds
Horizon Herbs
Kitchen Garden Seeds
Lake Valley Seeds
Livingston Seeds
Local Harvest
Mountain Rose Herbs
Natural Gardening Company
New Hope Seed Company
Organica Seed
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
Pinetree Garden Seeds
Renee's Garden
Richters Herbs
Sand Hill Preservation Center
Seed Saver's Exchange
Seeds of Change
Southern Exposure
Territorial Seed Company Tiny Seeds
Tomato Fest
Trees of Antiquity
Underwood Garden Seeds
Uprising Seeds
Victory Seeds
Wildseed Farms
Wood Prairie Farm

Links to these companies websites is here.

Seed companies to avoid:

Audubon Workshop
Breck's Bulbs
Cook's Garden
Dege Garden Center
E & R Seed Co
Earl May Seed
Flower of the Month Club
Gardens Alive
Garden Trends
Germania Seed Co
Johnny's Seeds--they get 4% of their stock from Seminis-I would feel comfortable buying from them.  see here
Lindenberg Seeds
McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers
Mountain Valley Seed
Park Seed
Park Bulbs
Park's Countryside Garden
R.H. Shumway
Rocky Mountain Seed Co
Roots and Rhizomes
Seeds for the World
Seymour's Selected Seeds
Spring Hill Nurseries
T&T Seeds
The Vermont Bean Seed Company
Tomato Growers Supply
Totally Tomato
Vermont Bean Seed Co.
Wayside Gardens
Willhite Seed Co.