eco ramblings october 2014

Perhaps I evaluate my life overmuch. I’m always tweaking things, trying to live greener without irking my friends and loved ones. In the past week, I’ve read some pretty dire news regarding climate change. Typically, I live in the cup-half-full realm emotionally, but I was surprised to learn that we don’t seem to be making any progress in slowing carbon emissions. In fact, the opposite is true. The United States, along with China and India, are the biggest contributors. Considering the size of our population compared to those two countries, this is strong evidence of the impact of our lifestyles, in my opinion. I’m not leaving myself out of that criticism. It’s the only way of life I’ve ever known: growing up in the middle class in America is still many times more consumptive of natural resources and polluting than the way the rest of the world lives.

I feel pretty hopeless in the face of these facts. I tell myself that I can only look to my life and continue to do the best I can. But, I’ve still never lived anything close to what I think would actually be effective to truly make a difference. I don’t even work in a big enough company to have a voice of change that would cause a truly positive ripple.

So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going over to the Homeless Garden to pick my weekly CSA share, including a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Then I’m going home to pick and can the apples and tomatoes from my garden. I’m attending my neighborhood block party, bringing carrot cake, because all the carrots I’ve been getting in my farm share are threatening to take over the refrigerator. And tomorrow, I’m going to ride my bike to swimming and work. It’s lucky for me that the things I treasure and love to do might help the planet at tiny bit. It’s my equivalent to burying my head in the sand. And, it cheers me up to live my life this way. I know in my heart that it’s not good enough, in terms of the bigger picture, but I don’t know what else to do.

eco ramblings september 2014

Website reborn. We are thrilled to share with you our brand new, completely redesigned website:! Created by web designer Gabriel Damon (, who also happens to be the son of our bookkeeper Andrea, our new site has easy-to-use product information pages to allow you to explore and research our offerings with ease. We hope you will be as excited about it as we are!

nikkiR.I.P. Nikki. Many of you may have discovered already, but if not, I’ll say it here. In mid-July, our darling, sweet shop dog (also our family dog), went off to chase squirrels and cats in dog heaven. We miss her, but also know that she enjoyed a very long life, where her needs were catered to in my every waking moment. She was smart and sensitive, with an extreme case of separation anxiety. She did a LOT of very funny things over the years, and we reminisce with love. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to other people’s dogs, so bring yours in (on a leash, please) to help us fill the void and get some dog cuddles in. Babies help, too.

A new routine with benefits. I decided I would like to get more exercise, so I started biking along West Cliff on the days I don’t swim. I’m kicking myself for not starting this up years ago! Every time I’ve gone out on my bike, I’ve seen dolphins or whales, otters and naturally, lots of birds. My binoculars have moved from the glove box of the car to the handlebar bag of my bike. It has increased my appreciation for living here tenfold, if that was possible. It’s not a difficult or strenuous ride (unlike the bike-swim combination on other days), but I get to stretch my legs and the many repetitions of 18 oz. curls of binoculars-to-eyes does tire out my biceps.

Eco wheels. After driving our VW Passat for almost 16 years, we purchased a plug-in hybrid last week. Making the leap to that level of technology was both exhilarating and terrifying, and has proven pretty comical an adjustment. We got a Ford C-Max Energi, ticking most of my requirements: made in America, purchased locally, able to go long distances as a family car, affordable, compact, hatch-back, cute, fun. I drove around with the rear wiper on for a while, having bumped the button then being unable to turn it off. Since I can’t remember the last time we had rain, I was embarrassed. The funniest was when I “stalled” it in our driveway, half-way into the street. I have rarely driven automatic cars. They made me nervous. I learned to apply the brake before hitting the button (the button!) to turn on the car, and leave my left foot (used for the clutch for 35 years) firmly planted on the little slope left of the brake, so as not to put us all through the windshield when I’m inclined to shift gears. Though braking does add charge to the battery because the car has a regenerative braking system, I am trying not to scare everyone. I put a couple miles of charge on it coming down the hills from the UCSC pool a few mornings ago. Miramar hill is particularly good for adding miles to the battery. It’s all very exciting.

eco ramblings july 2014

Do I dare declare that greenspace is finally successful? I think I can. Like The Little Engine That Could (which I begged my mother to read repeatedly when I was little), we seem to be through the worst of the downturn and truly beginning to thrive. Every week, new and previous customers discover us. Each time a long-lost customer walks in, I am so touched by how happy it makes them to find us. Having greenspace appreciated in this way is tremendously validating for a me as a small business owner. We are growing and busy, but in a way that feels sustainable (business-wise).

We just got our Green Business Certification in our “new” space. Even though we try to walk the walk, going through this process keeps us honest and helps us identify ways to improve, which are always welcome. We also got to show off some of the funny things we do in our obsessive quest to be green, like printing on both sides of our paper. So if you get a receipt with a teenager’s math homework on the back, you’ll know you helped us save a tree. Our sorting and bundling of recyclables makes it so that we only take a mini trashcan to the curb every other week. We always have samples and pallets for the taking. Right now, we have a lot of natural linoleum samples and I’d love to find a printmaker who would use them!

We are very excited to announce an American Clay workshop. We haven’t held one in several years, so join us for this rare opportunity, with Orit Yanai as our esteemed instructor, as we plaster my family room! Save the date of September 21st, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You’ll have to be patient with us for the latter half of July, as I am taking an unexpected, but can’t-pass-up-the-chance-to-go trip to Thailand with my daughter. I’ll be leaving Sasha, Andrea (the bookkeeper) and my husband Brian (the contractor) to run the store. (Melanie will also be on vacation.) Sometimes, life hands you opportunities that are wildly inconvenient and create a bit of chaos, but can’t be missed. Be really nice and bring them chocolate, okay? Please know that they are capable and dedicated to your happiness! I will be checking in daily via email to help from afar.