How To Reclaim Hardwood Floors

I've seen too many homes torn down before proper deconstruction has taken place. With a bit of effort, there are many treasures to be removed from an old house before the wrecking ball arrives.

Harwood flooring is a beautiful thing. The old pink house that will make way for the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) contained about 400 square feet of maple hardwood before I salvaged it. Here's how to do it.  read more... »

The Planet Friendly Romantic Gift

Edmonton is gorgeous this time of year. It's rained a few times, the leaves are out, and the weather's great. When we do see rain clouds coming, we're confident that they will do their job and then get the heck out.

This is the season for romantics and husbands who want to stay out of trouble to gather and give flowers to their loved ones. In fact, eco-minded flower givers should be making hay while the sun shines (so to speak).

The cut flower industry is hugely damaging to the environment. Most of the flowers that we buy here in Edmonton are grown in very intensive greenhouses in South America. They are heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. The worst part is flying them in refrigerated planes from there to here. In fact, "the transit of each individual flower generates vastly more than its own weight in CO2" (source).

We're in the middle of a climate crisis that is so huge, we really can't understand how much it will affect us and future generations. So exacerbating it with something as frivolous as cut flowers seem shameful. Especially when there's an alternative: local flowers.

Right now lilacs are in bloom all around the city. These are gorgeous flowers that range in hue from almost white to deep purple. And they are so common that almost any favour-seeking male can get a hold of some. Ask your neighbour, cut some from your mom's yard, or, if worse comes to worse, use the old "it was leaning over the alley" excuse.

It seems to me that a summer's worth of flowers should make up for giving other things (compliments? hugs?) during the winter months. And for the flower receivers out there, maybe send a message that your husband/partner/whatever can get away without flowers for the winter as long as he (who are we kidding here?) makes up his quota when the sun shines on this fine summer city of ours.

 

Deconstruction

This is the house at 9805 - 84th Avenue. Sometime in June, it will be demolished by a backhoe to make way for a home that needs 95% less energy, and produces all of it from the sun: the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH). I'm going to deconstruct the house as much as possible before its demise in order to minimize the environmental impact of it reaching the end of its useful life.  read more... »

Local. Nutritious. Old School!

I grew up eating Sunny Boy hot cereal. It use to come in a box. And the sunny boy looked different. With a bit of brown sugar, the taste probably reminds many Edmontonians of Saturday morning cartoons and cold winter mornings before school.  read more... »