Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

lawn watering ordinances

While all of us in south Louisiana don't need to worry about watering lawns this week (to say the least!), it's important to heed lawn watering ordinances, if your town has one. Lafayette has had a lawn watering ordinance in effect for many years. Areas that have hotter summers or that are susceptible to drought are common for having watering ordinances and restrictions.

The restrictions help ensure that cities have enough water to fight fires, keep water pressure stable and keep watersheds from drying out. Plus, they make sure everyone is able to water their yards, not just ones with automatic sprinklers. 

Share the water! It's not just for you and your yard.

  • Customers with odd-numbered home/property addresses (ending with 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Customers with even-numbered home/property addresses (ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, 8) water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • No watering on Mondays.
  • The designated times for lawn watering are from midnight to 2 p.m. (for 14 hours of possible watering time each designated day).
  • Fines are accumulative and stay on record for three years. 
  • Manual watering, soaker hoses and watering newly planted sod, landscaping and ground cover are exempted by the ordinance. To be exempted for new plantings, you must qualify with LUS.

For extra details, download the LUS water ordinance brochure.

Other example cities or entities with lawn watering ordinances:


Even if you don't have lawn watering restrictions or ordinances, there are ways you can water efficiently:

  • Water by hand with a sprinkler.
  • Use a soaker hose.
  • Use a rain barrel and water your lawn with natural rain water.
  • Don't water your lawn from late morning to early evening, when the sun is at its hottest. 
  • Don't use a sprinkler in the rain.
  • Water every other day.
  • Don't overwater.
Whether you follow your city's ordinance for watering or you adjust your habits to be more efficient, just remember that we all want our yards to look nice, and we all must share our water supplies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rain Barrel Gardening

Earlier this year, I wrote about rain barrels as a natural alternative to yard maintenance. After doing my research for the post, and after starting to invest some serious time and labor in our yard, I decided that we had to get our own rain barrel.

Luckily, I knew the magic words to use when proposing the idea to my boyfriend: "It will save money on the water bill!"

SOLD.

There are other benefits too, like the fact that rainwater is better for plants, because it's naturally soft water and isn't treated with chlorine or other chemicals. (Of course, rainwater isn't completely pure, thanks to water and ground pollution, but it is better than using treated city water.) Rain barrels also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and surface water pollutants that enter watersheds, like the Bayou Vermilion watershed around Lafayette.

One $37.50 online order later, we waited until pickup day. And then we showed up not realizing how many other residents had also ordered barrels, so we waited in line for 45 minutes. After inching forward enough, we picked up our new gray barrel and went on our way.

 

The barrel is a pretty manageable size, and it's got a screen lid, spigot/faucet hookup, and overflow and drain valves. Easy!


I'll admit, we didn't set it up properly for the first few weeks, instead waiting until approximately 15 minutes before it started to rain...for two days straight. Pro tip: Don't do that. Set it up in nice weather. Also, when it's still empty. Because, another pro tip: Full rain barrels are h-e-a-v-y.

We picked up four cinderblocks and four concrete bricks and picked the ideal spot in the backyard near the hose and where the rain falls steadily.


The cinderblocks and bricks raise the barrel to the perfect height to where the watering can fits underneath. It's very easy to flip the spigot and fill the watering can. And it feels so good because you know you're saving money!


It does make watering the plants in the evening a bit more pleasant. I feel like I'm staying true to nature, and just collecting the rain for days that don't have any. So far, the barrel has stayed sufficiently full, and we've used it often to water the potted plants and mulch areas. I personally have not used it with a hose yet, since I tend to stick with the watering can, but I need to try connecting the hose to see how well it performs. The barrel and spigot aren't meant for connecting to a sprinkler, so if you rely on automatic sprinklers, well, you just miss out on the eco gardening fun. 

It's important to water your plants in the early morning or evening, when the sun is not as direct. With the summer heat, water in the heat of the afternoon evaporates faster, so your yard really isn't getting a good soaking. It can actually dry out plants a little more.


We had some good rains yesterday, and I was excited to come home and see the rain barrel being filled up (and the screen doing its job keeping leaves and sticks out).


Just saving the water for a sunny day.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

why water conservation is important

This week, it's all about water on Eco Cajun! During the summertime, it's even more important to conserve water, and I'll be sharing all kind of ways to do so here, on Twitter and on Facebook.



WHY WATER IS GREAT

  • It keeps you hydrated and healthy.
  • It makes your skin clearer.
  • It can make headaches and other ailments feel better.
  • Beer is mostly water.
  • Hangover? You know what to drink.
  • Sometimes a swim is just what you need.
  • Showers makes you feel so fresh and so clean clean.
  • Water makes yards look vibrant and healthy.

WHY WATER NEEDS TO BE CONSERVED

  • The majority of water on our planet is unfit for use, leaving us with only a small amount (relatively) in the first place.
  • All plants and animals need it to survive.
  • It takes a lot of water to produce meat for consumption, and this world isn't going to be one of vegetarians anytime soon!
  • So many people all over the world don't have access to clean water. 
  • There are nonprofit organizations dedicated to bringing water to countries who don't have access to clean drinking water.
  • We can't afford to waste water in drought periods.
  • Depending on where you are, there may be a water conservation ordinance in effect. And there's a reason for the ordinance.

WAYS TO CONSERVE WATER
  • Don't pollute water sources!!!
  • If it's raining, don't go out and water your lawn, but moreso, don't leave your sprinkler running.
  • Water your lawn early in the morning or at night.
  • If your shower, sink or toilet has a leak, get it fixed.
  • Skip bottled water and buy a filter attachment for your sink or a filtered pitcher for your refrigerator.
  • Don't throw out half-full water bottles or empty bottles onto concrete or in sinks or trashcans. If you have water you don't want to drink, use it to water plants or give your pets a sip.
  • Don't leave water running while you brush your teeth or wash your face. Turn it off until you need it.
  • Take showers instead of baths. And don't take 30 minute showers either!
  • Fill dishwasher and washing machine loads before running them. Don't over-set the water level.
  • Collect and use rainwater in your garden.
  • Install low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets for efficient water use in the bathroom.

Later this week I'll be featuring our new rain barrel and may be showing off some of my new plants!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

green birthdays

It's easy to make birthdays a little greener, whether you are turning 5, 35, or 65. Parties don't have to have so much trash, and gifts can be eco-friendly and wrapped in recycled paper or bags.

This year was a good birthday for green gifts. I got a reusable shopping bag that folds into a grenade case, with the clever slogan War on Plastic. Milo has already enjoyed it more than me.


 

I also got this impossibly adorable recycled-paper notebook to attempt to keep myself organized. Spoiler alert: I may have picked it out myself, and they definitely have a variety of great covers. Made it hard to decide. The brand, Ecojot, is based out of Canada and they produce stationary items made with recycled paper and cardboard, vegetable inks and biodegradable shrink wrap. Even better, a portion of all proceeds are donated to their GIVE Program, to provide writing tools for children in need around the world to help them write their way out of poverty and violence. Now that's a birthday gift to feel good about!


(Bruno Mars also makes for a great birthday gift to yourself, just sayin'.)

 

Even got a bike ride in during my birthday weekend. A quick ride to and from brunch on a Sunday morning in New Orleans is always a happy time, even when it's 90 degrees and stupid humid outside.


Now, I'm sure most children would not be excited for grocery bags, Bruno Mars concerts and notebooks as birthday gifts, so I've got a few tips on how to green a child's birthday party while still keeping it fun!
 
Start with your invitations. Add some science and nature fun to your child's birthday invitations by mailing out seed paper invitations, such as these from Eco Party Time. Or choose invitations made from recycled paper. Or you could get creative and make your own recycled paper party invitations. It can be a fun activity with your child...until someone throws a crayon! If you truly don't want to use paper, use an online invitation such as Paperless Post, or go more low-key with a private Facebook event invite or mass message. (You know you've sent at least one at some point!)

Gifts, especially at children's birthday parties, always come with a ton of unnecessary trash. If you're determined to reduce your trash impact, include a line on the party invitation requesting that gifts be bagged, wrapped in plain paper, or even unwrapped. Gift bags have a longer lifespan than wrapping paper, and they are reusable (covering yourself for the next child's party your child has to attend!) Save all good tissue paper to use again. Another idea if you are the one giving a gift, whether to a child or another adult, is to use reusable shopping bags as the gift bag. This way, the gift bag is part of the gift itself! The bags can be used to hold toys in the car, and they come in amazingly handy on road trip vacations.

When planning the party decorations, skip the PVC and vinyl dollar store kind that won't last three hours. Use items you have already, or decorate with other eco-friendly decorations. Tables can be covered with brown kraft paper, which also gives children a coloring surface. The paper can be recycled once the party is over (unless it's covered in food or drink spills, then that will have to be thrown away). Recycled tissue paper formed into poofy flowers can be used for festive decorations. Save anything that's still in good shape once the party is over, and use again for future parties.

Kids and dishes are a bad combination, so I'm not even going to dare suggest using real plates for a party, no matter how green it is (and if you're an adult and having a party for yourself, use real plates! You're a grown-up, after all!) Melamine plates seem to be a good, inexpensive solution, but be careful not to microwave them! Look for sustainable or biodegradable disposable dinnerware, made from bamboo or other plant-based materials. Susty Party is my jam for eco-friendly party supplies, so check them out. They sell everything separately, but they also have really cute party packs that make your shopping go much faster.

Place clearly marked recycling bins throughout the party area, and especially next to the food. To make it a simple teaching experience for children, create picture signs of what's appropriate to throw in the recycling bin.

If you're a little older and more low-key, you've still got eco-friendly alternatives! Ask for eco-friendly, locally made or sold, or recycled material gifts from your loved ones. If you're looking for a gift to give, remember that many websites sell gift cards online, and they can be delivered paperlessly! Choose a locally owned restaurant, or a farm-to-table restaurant, and enjoy a delicious birthday dinner.

If you're having a get-together, class it up with real dinnerware and drinkware. Place recycling bins out for wine or beer bottles. Get creative with making wine glass markers, and use recycled cardboard or damaged gift wrap, with a marker to write guests' names. Broken or solo earrings can be taken off the hook, strung on some picture frame wire, and tied around wine glass stems for a creative way to use otherwise trash-bound items.

Birthdays shouldn't have to be a drain on resources and the environment. With a few adjustments, your birthday celebration can be both fun and eco-friendly!

For more green children's party ideas, visit Parents, PBS and Green Planet Parties!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

eco cajun birthday!


Break out the magazine pages and cardboard boxes, make yourself a party hat and pour yourself a drink, because it's this Eco Cajun's birthday!

But of course, I had to give y'all a present! 29 songs for 29 years, including "Everything She Wants" by Wham, the song that was #1 the week of my birth in June 1985. (What were y'all thinking, people in the 80s!?) The rest are songs I'm enjoying right now, from my favorite bands to my favorite summer songs.


Next week I'll feature some ways to have an eco-friendly birthday, and share some fun ideas for children's parties! Hope you all have a fantastic summer weekend!




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association Clean Streams lecture series

The Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association is a local organization that works to create awareness of Acadiana's natural environment by providing education and outreach to the community about ways to conserve, protect and enjoy the Bayou Vermilion Watershed, including the Vermilion River. This summer, they are kicking off the Clean Streams series of lectures.

Tuesday, June 10
Vermilionville, 10:30 a.m.
"Vermilion Water Quality and How We Test It", by Dr. Whitney Broussard

Tuesday, July 8
South Regional Library, 10:30 a.m.
"Plants That Soak It Up and Go with the Flow" by Dana Nunez Brown

Tuesday, August 12
Vermilionville, 10:30 a.m. 
"Right Fertilizer, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place" by Dr. Ernest Girouard

For more details on each lecture, visit the Bayou Vermilion Preservation website. The lectures are free to attend, but advance registration, also through the website, is required.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

a better bertrand

Lafayette's first Better Block demonstration was a success! The rain held off, people came out, and Bertrand Drive became a thriving roadway for everyone.

Trees lined the road to separate the drive lanes from the bike and pedestrian lanes, and crosswalks were marked throughout the space. There were food trucks, a coffee shop, a pop-up boutique, a beer station, a snoball stand, adoptable animals and other organizations. Beyond that, there was a pop-up park, a dog park and a band playing. 

The energy in the air was electric. Everyone walked around at a slightly slower pace, enjoying the outdoors, the activities and the new layout of the street. We noticed that people were a bit more friendly than usual, and people were more aware of their surroundings. My boyfriend noticed a man pick up a piece of litter and throw it away as he walked past. How often does that happen normally!? There was a great sense of community happening, and I think it's something that can sustain itself on a regular basis if we made more permanent changes. If there was a permanent bike lane, I could guarantee there would be plenty of riders using regularly.


We took advantage of the bike corral run by Bike Lafayette. I love having a dedicated place to leave our bikes, knowing they'll be watched!


We got to view the draft master plan for the Horse Farm, and what I remember most is the plan for a treehouse! If the Horse Farm looks anything like the master plan, it's going to be pretty incredible.


One of the sweet puppies with Lafayette Animal Aid.


The Better Block organizers reused the materials from the downtown parklet and moved it over to Bertrand for the day! The pallets used in the parklet and the Better Block entrance sign are all reclaimed wood.


What should be our official city motto.





We enjoyed lunch from Blanchard's Barbeque, and I discovered what may be one of my favorite dishes ever - these pulled pork tacos.


On a super humid day, snoballs are one of the best cures. I'm not sure who ran the snoball stand, but we were delighted to find out they were free! (We responsibly threw away the styrofoam, and I was sad that it wasn't something we could recycle.)


While the humidity was pretty ridiculous, I was so glad the rain held off, and we had a great time enjoying Bertrand in a whole new way. No matter how often you drive down a street normally, you get a different sense of appreciation for that road once you get to use it in a different way. From riding our bikes down the outside lane, to getting lunch at a food truck on the side of the road, to walking on the road itself as we check out the different areas, it was a unique afternoon in a familiar place.

Did you make it out to Better Block Bertrand? What was your favorite part?
Eco Cajun | The Earth Just Wants To Be Loved Ba-You! All posts, content, graphics and photographs copyright 2009- 2016 Eco Cajun, unless otherwise credited. BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio.