Sunday, April 28, 2013

National Public Gardens Day 2013

Mark your calendars - May 10th is National Public Gardens Day!  It's the Friday before Mother's Day, and it's a chance to visit North American public gardens free of admission.  If you go to the website you can download & print a voucher for free admission.  I remember as a teenager, going to a public rose garden with my mom for Mother's Day.  Somewhere there are photos of us posing among the flowers, drunk on warm sunshine after a cold Spring.

I love a good botanical garden, and the munchkins love them too.  We've made a point of seeking them out on every trip, from Seattle & Vancouver, up & down the Eastern seaboard, to New Orleans to Italy, especially enjoying the children's activities like the flora & fauna scavenger hunt in North Carolina pictured here:

We also enjoy a good arboretum, like the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington DC that we visited in 2012! 

Not sure where the nearest public gardens are to you?  Better Homes & Gardens has this very useful Public Garden Locator with links to the gardens so you'll know hours, what's blooming now, etc.!  

I didn't realize that we have 3 universities in CT with gardens or an arboretum - we'll pick one of those for the 10th and head over there right after school.  Have a quick peek at the list - you might just discover a new favorite public garden to visit!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013 - The Face of Climate Change

Happy Earth Day!

After what I would consider a successful Mobilize the Earth campaign last year, complete with the Billion Acts of Green call to action, this year's Earth Day theme is The Face of Climate Change.

My understanding of it is for citizens around the world to make the connection that climate change is affecting real people, animals, and ecosystems.  The idea is to create a digital mosaic to put faces to the people affected, for whom climate change is a very real threat, and to the people committed to doing something about it.

Climate change.  I think it's a far better term than global warming or cooling. I know there are still people (& politicians) arguing against it as a phenomenon, but haven't we seen the effects?  Extreme weather and super storms (as well as the resulting week-long power outages!) have certainly scared me.    After seeing the devastating effects of these storms on waterfront communities, I've changed my mind about owning a home on the shoreline.  Those poor people who had barely finished rebuilding after one storm only to have their homes destroyed again so quickly... it's sad.

So....  What is my family doing for Earth Day 2013?  Keeping it on the simple side this year.  I made these organic muffins for breakfast and for the children's bento lunches.

We officially turned the hot water over to solar only last night instead of keeping the oil backup going.  Last week I ordered a few more interior containers for our bento boxes - turns out we use them for more than just lunches - they're so handy! My children look forward to our "trash walk" in the neighborhood so that's a must - along with everyone wearing sturdy gardening gloves for the task! The challenge is fitting it in between back to back rehearsals and soccer practice.  There's a very good chance this will have to be put off a few days until we're all actually home at the same time.

I also ran out to the garden this morning to find my asparagus are coming up jumbo sized this year!

While my garden will only be a Spring garden this year due to our travel schedule, there were wonderful signs of green greeting me this morning - garlic, peas, spinach, shallots, lettuces, strawberry plants and those ginormous asparagus - we'll start eating them by the end of the week I imagine!

My personal theme this year is to get the children outdoors as much as possible.  (Their Winter discovery of Minecraft has contributed to their trying to sneak in as much screen time as they can.)  For our family, nature, or just getting outside is an instant cure for a bad mood.  Since he was a wee one, whenever my 9yr old started to get a little punky we'd throw him outside with a magnifying glass, binoculars, a kite, or permission to dig holes in the garden or explore the woods and he'd come back a much happier person.  The greatest mood lifter for him is the shoreline - sometimes after a challenging week I put the kids in the car on Friday afternoon with a picnic dinner and some sand toys and upon arrival suddenly the rough week just melts away.

I think it's important to foster that love of the outdoors, of caring for the environment, by getting out there.  Our family, aka, The Minnick Adventure Squad, is signed up for this year's Great Park Pursuit again, and looking forward to it!  We LOVED it last year - sharing activities such as canoeing, fishing, birding, and learning about forestry & solar energy.  Such a wonderful experience.

We're also planning a pretty amazing adventure this summer including visiting some very different landscapes and environments.  More about that trip another time!

Happy Earth Day 2013.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where's the GCTR?

Notice anything different?  I had to change the name of the blog and my URL.  It wasn't by choice though.  Another Realtor complained to our state association that my use of the term TheGREENCTRealtor was in violation of the trademark Realtor® - specifically that I can't attach a state to it.  Maybe he/she was afraid I was getting all the CT real estate business?  Ha!  (For the record, I AM a REALTOR® in good standing with the National Association of Realtors, CT Association of Realtors, the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors, and the GREEN REsource Council.)

At any rate, I'm not going to pour energy into a negative situation or dwell on it.  I'm zen like that.

So, after 5 years as The GREEN CT Realtor, I'm re-christening the blog...

My GREEN Life & Real Estate

I'll continue to write, share, and post about my adventures in GREEN living, real estate (GREEN & otherwise,) gardening, travel, design, food and family.  I may freshen up or tweak a few things as I go along.  Thanks for sharing the journey with me.