Brad Pitt : Make It Right

Boy, not only is he a hunk, he has BRAINS.

Brad Pitt is leading up a new project, called Make It Right, and is planning a new 150-Home Community in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

Make It Right is committed to:

  • ~ Building 150 houses in the Lower Ninth Ward
    ~ Ensuring a green, affordable, sustainable, and replicable community to serve as a model for further rebuilding
    ~ Including the Lower Ninth Ward community as an integral part of the process
    ~ Forming a core team of local, national and international architects
    ~ Utilizing sustainable construction practices; William McDonough + Partners, an internationally recognized practitioner of Cradle to Cradle(1) design, will lead this effort.
    ~ A finance plan that ensures that residents who wish to return to the Lower Ninth Ward can do so without further financial hardship

This is pretty exciting news. McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) is a product and process design consultancy firm applying the Cradle to CradleSM framework to redesign the way we make things. Instead of designing cradle-to-grave products, dumped in landfills at the end of their ‘life,’ MBDC transforms industry by creating products for cradle-to-cradle cycles, whose materials are perpetually circulated in closed loops. Maintaining materials in closed loops maximizes material value without damaging ecosystems.

Click here to read the press release from Brad Pitt and Make It Right.

I bet there will be some major awards coming out of this project!

Famous movie quotes : The Ruminator, “I’ll be baaa-ack”

You’ll need a license to carry that gun…er, goat.

Kudos to Conlin – so glad I voted for this guy. The City Council has done something reasonable – and reasonably quick – about allowing homeowners inside of the city limits to keep miniature goats as pets.

Not much bigger than a lot of dogs – and a heck of a lot more useful when it comes to keeping yard maintenance to a minimum – goats are very personable and great for the hobby farmer. Goats have been making a lot of press lately, also, as part of the greening of the Northwest. Some sensitive land developers have hired ruminating goat herds to eat up the brush on a building lot prior to construction

Read in today’s Seattle PI Seattle homeowners may keep miniature goats as pets

More goat news to ruminate over
Seattle PI – Rent-a-goats gain foothold: Critters grow popular in city as cheap, chemical-free way to clear vegetation

Seattle Times – Goats enrolled to solve UW maintenance problem

Seattle “considered a bellwether” of green living

Wow! Great spread in the Times this last weekend – just now catching up since it was my birthday on Saturday and I was pretty busy enjoying myself this weekend.

Don’t miss these great articles!


Contemplating navel lint and other important things

Seven years ago tomorrow, on my birthday in Y2K (2000), my husband and I visited Giverny, the former home (and now museum) of the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. It was the middle of a whirlwind week in Paris, my first overseas trip that required a passport. Monet has been my favorite artist since my early 20s and my first art history class, my first real exposure to art that made me finally appreciate it as a worthwhile contribution to the world we live in. For some reason until then I had been given the impression that art was fluff, something extra, not something vital to our survival. Of course, now I feel very differently. You can learn a people’s history thru their art. A people’s art is their lives, their history. Hundreds and thousands of years later, all that remains of many cultures is their art. The people are long dead, the buildings in ruins – the art giving us a clue to who these people were, that they mattered, that they had been here at all.

I think about this quite a bit these days. As a child-free person by choice, I won’t have offspring who care, someone to pass on my knowledge, memories, memorabilia. I have a baby niece now, which gives me a faint glimmer of hope, but I know how big a part of my life my own aunts are (next to none, that is), so that’s just a straw to grasp at. I will long outlive my beautiful dog, and many dogs after her. I am getting older, the natural progression towards death someday. Late 30s is a lot older than mid 20s, and even mid 30s.

Birthdays lend to contemplation of navel lint and other important things by someone who spends time alone driving, walking a dog, or standing in the shower, scrubbing pensively, (it is where I do all of my great thinking). There also was an article in today’s Seattle Times, Legendary landscapes of Monet, van Gogh that reminded me of that special day seven years ago, of sitting on a bench in Monet’s garden, after walking across the Japanese bridge, staring out at the pond and eating butter cookies and drinking apple juice, with my loving husband of two and a half years, who helped make it possible to spread my wings beyond the Atlantic.

There also is worrisome financial news today, of the US dollar weakness against foreign currencies, Dollar’s new low against euro worries France, which reminded me of that amazing trip and makes me wonder when we will get to go to Europe again (our 2005/2006 winter trip to Italy was even more amazing then Paris). We won’t be going anywhere for awhile, probably, since we just bought a new townhouse and have spent a minor fortune in furnishing and decorating it (still in progress – have you any idea how much custom window treatments cost? whooee!) But I also don’t want to see our currency value slide even more, making it even longer before we can afford our next trip, probably to Germany. 2008? 2009? Who knows.

So, I am celebrating my 37th birthday tomorrow by going on a tour of King County farms with my husband and his father, and wine tasting at Rockridge Orchards, one of our favorite farmers market vendors. Then we are preparing an Italian-inspired meal to share with old friends and new neighbors. I will spend some time with my Italian greyhound, Sophia, and cuddling with our three cats – all in our new home. It’s going to be a perfect day. Even with the worries of international currency woes, travel costs, and lost art.

It’s Sustainable September! Click here for more information.

Coming Soon – Walking/photo tour highlights of Built Green communities in Kirkland (Danielson Grove) and Seattle (High Point).

What it means to live in a green home

I was busy this weekend getting my new Built Green home in order for our first dinner guests – we moved in two weeks ago and managed to throw a small dinner party for my parents last night. We cruised the farmers market in the morning, the bakery, and then cooked pork tenderloins two ways (Steve smoked one in his new Big Green Egg, I roasted the other in the oven). Roasted potatoes, Romano beans stewed all day in tomatoes and garlic, 4-bean salad, and a fresh baguette from Bakery Nouveau, dipped in sweet balsamic vinegar and tasty olive oil. Also, caramel apple tarts for dessert. All of this was preceded by piles of small tomatoes, Mediterranean olives, cheeses from Port Madison Farm, and artisan crackers from Ala Francaise. And I had a mojito with my own chocolate mint muddled in it, thanks to my husband (who has fun playing weekend bartender).

The Seattle Times did a great series of articles over the weekend about what it means to live in a green home, along with several related articles that really does fill in the gaps for people who haven’t read much about it (altho I would have to ask – where do you live, under a rock? Environmentally friendly to be sure, but not necessarily smart!).

I hope you enjoy these great articies. And if you are interested in a tour of High Point by a person who actually lives there, please email me. I might even be brave enough to show you my own home – it’s 3-star Built Green, by Polygon Homes. Phase II construction is getting under way and there will be new homes to start looking at next year! (And I would love to be your High Point Built Green agent!!)

Read What it means to live in a green home
Read We’re going great guns for green homes
Read Seattle architects win “green” ribbons for affordable, sustainable housing
Read A glossary of eco-terms What does it mean to be green?

Someday soon I will put down in words what it means to ME to live in a green home.

Garden Cycles

I want to tell you about a unique indivual with a singular enterprising business unlike any I have ever known.

Steve Richmond, the owner of Garden Cycles, is a man who stands on principal for many things. But he is one of the few people I know who truly walk the walk – or should I say, pedal.

Steve Richmond is an environmentalist, a man who cares a lot about the world we live in. My husband met him during a class at SSCC six years ago, and we have been friends ever since. We both completed the Native Plant Stewardship program with the Washington Native Plant Society, but Steve actually knows the Latin names of all the plants we learned so much about. Steve doesn’t own a car – but doesn’t let that stop him from running a successful landscaping business in a very earth-friendly way.

Steve’s very experienced when it comes to landscaping, native plant location (and relocation), and how to properly salvage and keep survived natives from a future development site. And he is a man who not only is not afraid of hard work – he relishes it. Rain, sleet, snow – much like the mailman, just in a yellow slicker (coat and pants) and maybe some knee pads, you can find him working with the plants he loves in various parks or at private residences. Don’t get me wrong – he also seriously enjoys his days off. He knows how to take care of his body and respects it and gives it a break when it needs it. Or he unwinds playing beach vollyeball down on Alki (not exactly a rest, but different muscles to be sure). But as 10 years his junior, I have great admiration for someone who enjoys such a physically demanding career. I couldn’t do it.

About a month ago Steve (and my husband, also named Steve) helped me relocate the beloved plants I wanted to keep from my quarter acre lot near Puget Ridge into massive containers on my 200 sq ft deck at my new townhouse in High Point. I have hired Steve Richmond off and on over the years to help me with the big projects and heavy garden work around my old farmhouse. Rheumatoid arthritis (at a rather young age…) was a large reason for my move, since the place became too difficult for me to keep up. The salvage of my own plants, many of them natives rescued from development sites in east King county, was critical to my move, and they were dug up once again and moved to a shady, north-facing deck, perfect for natives. I also brought hostas, sorrels, and pots of Black jewel bamboo among a few other things. Among the natives we rescued ferns of many kinds, Oregon grape, salal, yummy decidious red huckleberry, and my beloved Pacific bleeding heart. I am happy to report, a month later, everything is alive and even thriving under my great “plant mommy” care.

I am working on a post discussing the anatomy of a massive plant relocation such as this, called “From Plots to Pots – How to downsize your garden and survive”. Or something along those lines. It took an entire day to dig up, move, and replant my plants and it is worthy of some discussion since I had three months to plan the move and was very detailed with how I went about it. I am eager to share what I learned.

So – I am moved, settling in, have my office running (altho not completely unpacked), and you can expect to see regular posts again from Green Spaces Real Estate – now in it’s new Built Green digs in High Point.

And I have Steve Richmond and Garden Cycles to thank for it. Thanks Steve!

A note about this photo: This is my now former residence on 18th Avenue SW. When I moved here, this entire hillside behind Steve was covered in ivy several feet tall. Steve (and my husband Steve) spent several days removing the ivy by hand – and then we relocated lilac and other plants from other parts of the property – all planted in the wrong place – to this hillside, where they have flourished. Native plants here also include salal, native blackberry, Oceanspray, etc. Of course, these are the common names and you will have to call Steve to get the Latin names!