Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

I do hope everyone realised it was Earth Day and planned to do something to celebrate it. Good Morning America had quite a lot of segments about greening the earth, apparently 50% of the water we use is for watering gardens and flowers and there were loads of suggestions about how we could change the plants we grow for something less thirsty. For tips click here where you will find how thirsty hydrangeas are, for instance, and how you can replace them with viburnums which, according to Sam Champion on GMA this morning, had a wonderful scent.

Apparently car companies are now producing cars which are run on hydrogen; much greener than a regular combustion engine. They showed one from General Motors this morning and the only by-product is a few drips of water. In the New York State area they are looking for people to test drive their vehicle. Not in my area unfortunately, I would be only too glad to help. The engine looks so much cleaner too and it doesn't have many parts. No oil either. Only trouble with this is the fuel companies won't be too happy, they have had us by the short and curlies for so long and with gas prices in North America climbing rapidly this summer, everything is going to get so expensive for us. I am complaining about $60 at the gas pumps, imagine what truckers are having to pay - in the region of $600 and then imagine what that does to the cost of food.

It is easy for people to say "follow the 100 mile rule" in other words don't eat anything which is produced more than 100 miles from where you live. During a Canadian winter, this would be impossible. Nothing grows in the snow. Now, when the weather is getting better, it will be possible to buy locally. The markets will be full of local produce. In lots of other countries which are not buried beneath a blanket of white stuff, this is an excellent rule and one which is being followed in a lot of European countries.

GMA have tips on making your life more green and busting some myths. They are promoting CFLs or compact fluorescent bulbs which are much better for the environment than regular light bulbs as they use a lot less electricity to run. They contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly, but they last forever, I know this from our own usage. One friend complained about the quality of the light they give, yes, when you switch them on the light is not too good, but after a short space of time, they give off perfectly normal light. We have been using these bulbs for over a year now. Matt bought some beer the other day and got a freebie CFL with the box. Another tip is to turn off your computer, these days, it doesn't hurt to switch your computer on and off. Modern computers are designed to be switched on and off about 40,000 times. A third tip, saving paper by banking on line. People are worried about security, but actually statistics show that banking on line with the encrypted software used by banks, is much more secure than regular banking. Plus any frauds are shown up very quickly. If you would like to read these tips click here so anything you can do to help improve your carbon footprint is good.

Another feature on GMA this morning was Walking with Dinosaurs which is a travelling show which comes to local arenas. These critters are a blend of art and science and are incredibly lifelike. They had a baby one wandering around the set this morning, I say baby meaning relatively of course, the majority of these are life size and absolutely huge. The Brachyosauras being the biggest at 36 ft. tall and 56 ft. long. The anchors on GMA said it was even a little frightening to have the one on the set. They are operated by actors inside them; their eyes blink and tear, their skin is very lifelike and took hours to create. Again if you want to read more about them click here, I found it fascinating I must say. Who said dragons didn't exist!!!

Well here's a salad we picked up from Chatelaine Magazine quite a few years ago and only made once for some reason. I didn't even know I still had the recipe, it was very good.

Warm Tomato & Feta Salad
Serves: 2

8 med tomatoes
1 to 2 tbs olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce
2 whole grn onions thin sliced
1/3 c olive oil
2 tbs balsamic/red wine vinega
1 tsp dried oregano
generous pinches salt and
fresh ground black pepper
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c finely chopped fresh basil
or parsley (optional)

Preheat barbecue to medium-high and grease grill. Place whole tomatoes on grill over hot coals. Brush lightly with olive oil and turn frequently until tomatoes are well grilled and hot, about 10 to 12 mins. Tomato skins will break during barbecuing. Meanwhile, shred lettuce and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with green onions. Then in a small bowl whisk 1/3 C olive oil with vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use. When tomatoes are hot, remove to a cutting board. Coarsely chop or wedge. Scatter over lettuce. Immediately sprinkle feta over warm tomatoes so it melts slightly. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with basil. Toss and serve immediately.

Have a great day.


  1. I didn't know, Jo, but I was standing on my terrace this afternoon listening to the bird song coming from the garden down below ... The lawn's covered with yellow and white daisies.

  2. You are lucky to have a lawn like that Marilyn, drought seems to be prevalent - Cyprus hasn't had good winters and very dry summers for instance and there is a water shortage, same here. Although we got lots of snow, once it disappeared we haven't had rain. Our grass was terrible at the end of last summer and still looks brown and sere in a lot of places.