Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome to the Charm City Circulator

There's a new bus in town! And the winning name, by popular vote, is Charm City Circulator.

Starting in late summer 2009, these hybrid buses will travel three new routes downtown, arriving every ten minutes, seven days a week.

Read more about it here:

Check out the route map:


Friday, June 12, 2009

I hate grass

Did I mention that I hate grass? I'm on a mission to eradicate it from my yard. One of the first things I did to my yardscaping when I moved into my house was rip out the tiny patch of grass in the front yard so I wouldn't have to lug my lawnmower halfway around the block, since I live in a middle-of-group rowhouse. I didn't want to use Roundup, so I set about ripping the stuff out - a process during which I decided that a 5ft x 10ft patch of grass is not so tiny after all! About a week, one broken rake, and an aching back later, I thought I was done (and my new neighbors thought I was a nut). Unfortunately, I'd missed a few of the underground runners of what I now know is Bermuda grass, and it has come back to haunt my otherwise pretty patch of vinca (which I now know is an invasive... ack).

Lesson learned: to kill grass once and for all, dig deep and make sure you get all the roots! And then cover it and shade it like this gardener recommends on the University of Maryland's Grow It! Eat It! website. Friends don't let friends use Roundup.

I used the newspaper + mulch idea in my garden this year to make 3ft wide paths, remembering how difficult it had been to get between the tomato plants last year. So far so good, and no weeds!

While I'm on the subject of grass and lawns, did you know that it's better for the local watershed if you let your grass grow a little higher and leave the clippings down? "Mow high and let lie", as they say, is also known as grasscycling, and is a good way to recycle nutrients and conserve water.

The UMd Home & Garden center has lots of free online publications about lawn maintenance (among other gardening topics), including Landscapes that help the Chesapeake Bay.

By the way, have you heard that Google is mowing with goats these days?

Photo credit:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kale, and other greens I never knew I liked

What a difference freshness makes! Recalling the stinky steaming piles of greenish gloop that passed for "kale" at my school cafeteria, I was prepared to politely taste a tiny bit of the kale that arrived in my first CSA shipment this week. However, to my surprise... fresh kale, cooked gently, is really good! First pass: chopped kale, sauteed in olive oil with onions and garlic, served with orzo. Yum.

Could it be that the lack of pesticides make vegetables taste better too? In Jane Goodall's book Harvest for Hope, she points out that chimpanzees will pick organic fruits and vegetables over the alternative when given a choice.


National Building Museum honors visionaries in sustainability

Last week I attended an Honor Award Gala at the National Building Museum in DC to recognize visionaries in the field of sustainability for their progressive leadership on environmental issues, as well as their significant accomplishments in improving sustainability within the built environment and local communities.

Honorees included:

Rick Fedrizzi and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) for 15 years of leadership in green building.

Mayor Richard M. Daley and the city of Chicago for historic commitment to green city planning and design.

Majora Carter, community organizer and environmental activist, for her achievements in green collar job training and advocacy in the South Bronx.

Louis Chenevert and United Technologies for their innovative and sustainable products that contribute to sound environmental performance in buildings around the world, and also their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Read the NBM press release here.

Note: I attended the USGBC annual conference in 2007 in Chicago and saw some of their green building & community efforts (like city bike routes). Congratulations to all!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

West Virginia's state rock

In Appalachian news, West Virginia bestows "state rock" status on coal. Does this mean they'll protect it as an endangered state resource, or use this as justification for more mountaintop coal removal?

I want to ride my bicycle

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

Since the weather has been warming up and the garden is mostly planted, I've been dusting off my bike and revisiting some links I'd collected over the winter...

Here are some local bike resources:

Joe’s Bike Shop in Mount Washington

Light Street Cycles

The Bicycle Connection, Cockeysville

Lutherville Bike Shop

The Velocipede bike project

REI in Timonium – this national chain is doing good work with renewable energy!

Good resource for bike maintenance and repair:

BG's favorite biking haunts in MD:

NCR Trail, B&A Trail, & BWI Airport loop
- Google these for links.

Loch Raven Reservoir
- there are a bunch of mountain bike trails around the reservoir, and every weekend the county closes Loch Raven Dr. for pedestrian use. A good spot to drop in is at the intersection of E. Seminary Rd. and Providence Rd. Lots of nice single track back there.

Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area
-A great place in MD to mountain bike. Something like 80+ miles of single track, plus horse trails, fireroads, open fields. You can spend an entire day there and not see it all. It's way up near Elkton MD, but worth the drive for a weekend ride through the woods. Lots of nice technical trails too!

Thanks to my friend BG, avid mountain biker, for his input on this post.