Sophia is selling her Pet Loo

For Sale – “Used” Pet Loo – not really used which is why it is time for it to go! Sophia is just too well trained for “outdoor” pottying, which means since moving to a townhome with no yard I spent the winter out in all kinds of weather, sometimes late at night, relieving my IG. Now it’s just taking up space in the garage and my inability to train my dog is your gain! Sells new for over $300 (the USA distributor for this Australian invention is in Bellingham). Basically unused, asking $200. I know that seems like a lot of money, but it is less than re-doing the floors for one small room (which we just dropped almost a thousand dollars on Marmoleum to redo our bonus room where Sophia had a training “accident” over the holidays while I was working with her to use the Loo. And the floor is not redone yet – that’s a weekend project! Time and money…)

Maybe your dog is more trainable than mine. Or you are just that much more unwilling to go out in the snow at midnight. Email if you or someone you know is interested.

Visit to learn more about this product.

Product information from web site:
The Pet Loo is a backyard in a box, for your dog! This easy to use, innovative solution is ideal for pet owners who live in apartments, condos or houses. The Pet Loo is a hygienic, convenient and environmentally friendly way to allow your pet to do its business without relying on you for an opportunity.

10 Great Benefits of The Pet Loo.
1: Fits anywhere accessible to your dog like the Patio, Balcony, Laundry, Bathroom, Garage, Backyard, Deck.
2: Eliminates stains and/or puddles on your hardwood floors, tiles or carpets.
3: No more clean-ups on your floors and carpets.
4: Forget those early morning or late night dog walks.
5: You and your dog can stay inside when it’s raining, snowing or icy outside.
6: You’ll have peace of mind when you’re unable to get home in time to walk your dog.
7: It’s hygienic for you and your dog.
8: Easy to empty and clean.
9: Doesn’t wear out. Good for all breeds of dogs.
10: No assembly required, just take it out of the box and it’s ready.

Are Weeds Taking Over Your Backyard?

Fresh out of the Inbox – a couple of classes in partnership with Woodland Park Zoo that may interest homeowners with yards and/or ponds!

Water Features for Wildlife
Evening class: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $20

Clean, fresh water is a crucial part of any habitat. Join Woodland Park Zoo and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff in learning about the variety of ways you can provide water for urban wildlife in your own backyard. You’ll see examples of different types of water features, such as ponds, birdbaths and fountains. You’ll also learn about the natural history of local amphibians and how to provide habitat for these sensitive animals.
Are Weeds Taking Over Your Backyard?
Evening class: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $20
Weeds are tough invaders that can quickly dominate your backyard. These non-native, invasive plants crowd out native plants that provide habitat for wildlife and some of them can harm you and your children and even your pets.
All noxious weeds are hard to control and will only get worse if you leave them alone. Join Woodland Park Zoo and King County’s Noxious Weed Control Program to learn more about the threats noxious weeds pose, as well as how to identify and eradicate some of our area’s worst noxious weeds.

To register contact:
Jenny Mears, Education Programs Coordinator
Woodland Park Zoo
Education Department
601 N. 59th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
phone: 206-548-2424 ext 1516
fax: 206-547-3553

Earth Day and Green Spaces 2008

Today is my “blogoversary” for greenspaces Hard to believe it’s been a year since I kicked off this site, sharing the story of finding my soon-to-be new home and reducing my “footprint” from a real estate perspective (not carbon in this case).
We are well established and happy in our new Built Green neighborhood of High Point in West Seattle. My husband and I both are involved in our community doing different things, and we also have time to take up hobbies and new interestes (his – a wine tasting class, mine – bell ringing in a choir). I just led a tour of the development on Sunday, showing off the environmental functions of the bioswales, pervious concrete, cobblestone drives, waterfall and pond, pocket parks on every block, and the market garden green with spring veggies and brown with freshly turned earth. The weather was sunny and it was invigorating. And the comments from the visitors were how quiet it was and peaceful. There’s nothing like being proud of where you live and eager to help others discover the possibility of being a part of a community such as this.

Can you see the bird here? One of my beloved Black-capped chickacdees. They visit the feeder every day.

As I begin a 2nd year writing about all things green, I can’t help but feel that I have made a difference in the lives of others. 20 years ago I wrote my senior English thesis paper about the destruction of the coral reefs and the beginnings of global warming and what was going to happen to us if things didn’t change. It was a radical idea then – today a much larger part of the population understands, believes, and sees a reason to change their individual behavior to create enough change to save the planet. By everyone working together, we can make a difference. Even working apart, but toward the same goal, we can still make a difference.

20 years after writing that A+ paper, I now am helping another high school senior with her “Culminating Project” and she has tackled the same subject but with a different question: “How can I change my own behavior to live a more sustainable life and influence others?” Jenny Light found my blog by Googling “Seattle sustainable”. She sent me an email and she asked me to be her “Field Advisor” while she searched for answers to her question. And I have really enjoyed myself, thinking of all of the things I have questions about and creating little field trips for us to learn together. Boy, if the internet had been around when I was in high school, what a report I could have written then!

So, today’s million dollar question is: If you changed just one thing in your life to help make the Earth a healthier planet, what would it be? Visit the 1 Thing Seattle web site to make your commitment to help save the Earth.

Reflections: Read Earth Day and Green Spaces 2007, the opening blog post of

Forbo Marmoleum and Me

Do you know the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring? When I needed to cover the hideous flooring in my last house, a “farmhouse” on a 1/4 acre in West Seattle (it used to be a chicken farm long ago), I discovered Marmoleum, true linoleum made the old-fashioned way.

Who knows how old this vinyl flooring was. I assumed it was vinyl – and poorly installed. I was guessing from the 70s but who knew. All I knew is I couldn’t stand it and it took 2 years to figure out what to do.

See, we intended to “blow” out the end of the kitchen and enlarge the space, and we anticipated needing to put down new subflooring. We didn’t want to sink a lot of money into a fix that would let me tolerate being in my kitchen until the remodel. Marmoleum is a natural product made from linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, and jute. Not only is it environmentally friendly to produce, it ALSO composts when it goes to the landfill when you tear it out to do something new.
An ingenious fix was to just cover up the current floor with new flooring. We’re not very handy, so hired an affordable contractor who used a special leveling compoung and prepared the old vinyl surface for the Marmoleum overlay. The two men who did the work (brothers) made a paper pattern cut out of the floor, and took the paper out to the patio and laid it over the linoluem we had purchased and cut it to fit exactly. I think they did a little trimming once back in the kitchen, but I have to say I was very happy with the end result.

Ultimately, we ended up selling this house last summer, and moving to a new Built Green townhome in High Point. If you read my blog regularly, you already know all about that! Remodeling our former home was just going to be to much for us since we weren’t very experienced and ultimately lacked motivation to commit our lives to living in a rehab project.

Marmoleum is a topic of conversation in our home once again. The “bonus room” off of the garage, which is subterranean, has been a site of pet accidents and we have not been able to get the smell out of the carpet pad. We’re ready to cut the carpet out just to get the smell out. I suggested painting the concrete floor a neat color until we were ready to put down bamboo or cork flooring. As you know, everyone’s budget is tight these days and we’re not ready to spend the money for the permanent fix. But we can’t live with the carpet anymore, so something has to be done.

Ultimately we decided against painting the concrete floor mostly because it is a multi-step process, requires a lot of chemical preparation, and our home is open between floors and there is no way to close off this space while the floor is being prepared and painted. I did find what I think is the best paint out there for this project (DuraSoy One BioBased Paint). It is non-toxic, zero VOC, etc., but it still requires drying time and the inconvenience caused by tying up this space is a problem. My husband suggested Marmoleum again and I’ve been persuaded it is probably the easiest thing to do right now. Now we just have to figure out what color! The walls in this room are painted two different colors (macadamia and hosta from the Devine paint line). Of course, since I am color-blind, I can’t really match it, and have to rely on my artistic husband to do that for me. But it will be something from the Neutral Color Collaborators even though I am mysteriously drawn to the reds of Sunset Boulevard. I don’t think it will work in that room. I just know I am taking my paint sample sheet from Devine when we go to ecohaus or Great Floors to pick a color out. I saw an ad in last weekend’s Pacific Magazine and maybe the price might be competitive with ecohaus. Stay tuned for more on this project!

More in today’s Seattle PI: Read Today’s linoleum flooring is a step up

This Sunday – A Walking Tour of High Point

Hello everyone!

I wanted to say a few words in advance of Sunday’s walking tour of High Point in West Seattle. (Where is High Point?)

Please RSVP or update your RSVP here so I know how many packets to prepare. I have Built Green information and I will discuss the Checklists that builders or remodelers use to qualify their construction as Built Green. I will explain this process to you.

Dress for the weather since it looks like it might be a bit iffy – we will be touring some of the major environmental features here, and I will show you how bioswales work, the pond and waterfall, and also the market garden, which is looking very green these days! If you have time we will also walk by Commons Park, a 4 acre community green space with a viewing mound, ampitheater, and community garden planned. We are all anticipating its opening weekend this Memorial Day.

We also will tour some homes for sale, so please wear shoes that are easy to get in and out of since you will be asked to remove your shoes. I will show you a darling carriage house, a townhouse, and also a single family home for sale. You will be amazed by cobblestone streets, porous sidewalks, and it smells fantastic around here, so come and enjoy Spring!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me using the button in the right panel.

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday at 12:15! We will meet indoors in the lobby area of the library. The library opens at noon, so if you are a little early you will have someplace dry to be if we are given less-than-ideal weather. See the Green Spaces Real Estate Meetup web site for complete details.

Here you can View Listings of homes for sale in High Point that might be included in the tour. Here are some other HP listings (View Listings), but they will not be on the tour this Sunday. The last group tour I did lasted about 90 minutes, so please plan accordingly.

Thank you!

Wendy Hughes- Jelen
Built Green Certified Agent and Licensed Real Estate Professional
Lane and Associates, Inc.

View Listings link will be available for 30 days.

Tips for living green

I think thousands of Seattleites got “green” up to their eyeballs this weekend at the green festival. I was disappointed to have the presentation by Cecile Andrews and the “slow life movement” cut short by an emergency alarm that forced us to evacuate. Luckily I picked up her book, “Slow Is Beautiful: New Visions of Community, Leisure and Joie de Vivre” and I am sure I will enjoy it immensely. I haven’t read an entire book in a long time (I am working my way thru piles of magazines at the moment).

As the PI staff points out, it’s best to take on the challenge of converting to a more green lifestyle one step at a time. Read their list of 52 tips for living green.

The “green collar” economy

You’ve probably noticed a new green term being bandied about – “green collar” jobs. Many “blue collar” jobs have been replaced by machinery and computers, and many “white collar” jobs have been shipped overseas. This morning I spent half an hour going in circles with the Macy*s credit department – a call center in India (I am not guessing, I asked, and they confirmed). Every rep I talked to (it took three phone calls) could barely hear me over the phone altho I could hear them just fine. I changed phones and it was the same and I told them to adjust their head set. The poor guy told me he was using a handset, can you imagine? Ouch. So I yelled louder and decided they couldn’t really hear me because there is a very large ocean between us. It was a damn frustrating experience. I won’t be shopping at Macy*s anymore.

One of the bright spots in our current economic outlook is the creation of jobs for a new generation, being referred to as “green collar” jobs. They’re supposed to be recession proof and also can’t be shipped overseas – face it, the need to save the Earth is not going away anytime soon, and every region has its own environmental challenges, and you can’t fix a Pacific Northwest water quality or energy source problem in a call center in India. A-MEN FOR THAT.

The Bainbridge Graduate Institute has an MBA for Sustainable Business. There is a whole “Green Careers and Education” section in the 700s area of the booths at this weekend’s green festival 08 at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. There are also a number of speakers that will touch on the greening of our economy scattered throughout the program.

South Seattle Community College also announced a certification program for Residential Energy Auditing. See the online flyer here. I called the Georgetown Campus over a week ago when I got an email from my local DON (Department of Neighborhoods) connection, but they never managed to email me the link for the flyer and I forgot about it until someone mentioned it thru one of the environmental meetup groups I am in this morning. The class starts next Tuesday evening, and runs Tue/Thu thru the end of May. If you take this class you will be a player in the forefront of our new local green economy. It’s a national certification, so you can take it with you if you move, just like any other degree. More power to you!! (Pun intended…yuk yuk)