the good thing about solar water heaters is that they can help you conserve energy ;*;
Walked by a neighbor watering his trees this morning. When I said good for you, taking care of your trees, he piped in that he had to save them from the drought! I love grass and green lawns but I definitely think we need to move away from that and I see more and more people making the switch to non-grass yards. I support it!
Glad to know about Revolt!
Also, I read about a car this morning that will operate on compressed air. It’s out the UK. Will cost $10K and go up to about 50MPH. Tiny of course but also wroth keeping an eye on!
I love the concept of conditioning your attic space. Imagine your A/C unit, without a conditioned attic space, sitting in the attic heat all summer long trying to work to keep you cool. Now imagine the same A/C unit in a protected attic. Much better right?
[…] Austin Texas Christmas Traditions New Sweden Church at New Sweden Church Road, was organized in 1876 and is is steeped in Swedish tradition. The church's copper spire is 104 feet high and has been an Central Texas Austin area landmark close to Manor, Pflugerville, […]
I love your blog!
I am still giggling at the title of your post! 🙂 Those poor crepe myrtles look so sad! I trim mine like you trim yours. I just love the color they produce in bloom!
With gas prices constantly going up, electric vehicles appear to be the way to go. I had not heard of Revolt until I read your blog. Thanks for the information!
I find that Crepe Myrtles are really popular these days as buyers talk more & more about wanting low-maintenance landscaping in their future homes. Thank you for providing the correct pruning tips!
Ouch. Central Austin home owners, please take care of your natural assets too!
In the words of the Danes, God Jul!
This breaks my heart (and makes me mad). They should just cut the poor things down now. Thanks for posting this, Betty! This is information that needs to be widely distributed so that others don’t make this mistake when pruning.
Betty, this is a well-written article. I think more and more people are realizing the value of native landscaping, but many more people have no idea what they’re missing out on! So many people are “married to” their St. Augustine lawns and invasive shrubs. My job, as a designer, is to educate and inform my clients of the value of native plants and try to win them over. Sometimes the victories are small, but even including a few natives and removing as many invasives as possible helps the environment. Once people see the beauty and toughness of a native landscape, they will come around.
This is great advice, Betty for so many people who feel compelled to shear the tops off their crepe myrtles just because that’s the way their neighbors or, worse yet, a landscaping service did it that way at the local park. The late winter timing is critical since crepes bloom on this year’s new growth as do Abelia, Butterfly Bush and most Rose species and varieties. Other shrubs that bloom on last year’s growth should not be pruned until after they bloom in season. These include Redbuds,Japanese Quince, Forsythia, Honeysuckle, Indian Hawthorn, Azaleas, Rhododendrons and some climbing and rambling rose species. Pruning, whenever it occurs, provides a stimulant to the tree, shrub or plant to produce more vigorous growth to replace that which has just been removed.
I moticed big white birds nested in the top of trees along Brushy Creek, Harry Man Rd.
About halfway between Sam Bass and Great Oaks.
For more details call me at 512 940 3247.
I am in the start-up phase of building affordable, eco-friendly, customizable caskets locally here in Austin. My main focus is on green burial style caskets- these are not the metal or flashy funeral home style caskets you see when shopping online or when you visit the funeral home of choice. These caskets are solid wood with NO METAL fasteners, hinges or decorations. The basic materials used are pine from sustainable forests, fair trade organic rope handles, and biodegradable glue- THAT’S IT!!! Nothing to harm the ground it goes into and fully biodegradable.
Optional ornaments may include fair trade, organic textiles on the interior, wooden handles, custom engraving, appliqued symbols of faith (cross, Star of David, etc.), and organic stains and finishes.
I will ship for free in the Austin Metro areas- including Leander!
For every casket sold a tree will be planted! (As I am still in the start-up phase, the organization(s)/ sustainable forests where trees will be planted is TBD! I have much research to do to find the best place to contribute. These details will be ironed out very soon!)
The best part is- I pride my business on its personal relationships and AFFORDABILITY! The passing of a loved one is a sensitive issue. Friends and family should not have to be burdened with the high cost of a simple casket! They should be met by a caring soul who offers a fair price for an Earth friendly casket.
I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the possibilties of providing you with more information about my company, what we have to offer, and how to get started working together for the greater good! Please feel free to contact me through my current website for woodworking and keep watching for my new site to be up soon! Thank you!
I have seen this. I grew up in eastern Oregon/western Idaho for a number of years. Those homes built with cinderblocks were always cooler and pleasant when it was 110 degrees outside and I don’t remember them having air conditioning.
Interesting post! Keep up posting great info.
well it basically means no annual carbon amissions
I’m not really into long hikes since I prefer bike trekking, but you’re right, though. The serenity of the trail is very much like a sanctuary. People should respect it’s peaceful and orderly manner by keeping it as it is and not destroying the surrounding with their trash. There should be authorities that should keep an eye on these trails that would prevent people from leaving their trash behind.
Thermal mass and maxing out insulation are great for new construction, but in most cases these methods are impractical and not cost-effective for existing homes.
For most of us homeowners in Texas, the biggest energy consumer in the summer is air conditioning. In addition to making sure their AC systems are operating efficiently, homeowners should also look into installing window tint — especially on south and west facing windows. Window tinting can virtually eliminate solar gain, while reducing energy costs by as much as 70%.
With increasing energy costs and summers like we’ve had this year, lowering AC expenses may be the best thing we can do to be green.
Can not offer any advice on EEMs or LEMs, but if you can not get financing to buy an organic home, there is so much you can do to make your home greener and more organic. When remodeling your home, search out organinc, environmentally material. The market is so large and vast now, that there is really no excuse for not using material that is conducive to making your home a better place to live. Planting plants that are native to your area and especially in Texas (lived there for nearly 35 years)will survive with less water or protect your home from damage. There are also lots of environmental grants available to help you make GREEN choices.
I am just learning more about EEMs and came across this site. Like Kermit always says “IT ISNT EASY BEING GREEN!”
The application of spray foam insulation directly to the roof decking is an interesting development in the home builder industry. By applying the foam directly to the roof decking, you essentially turn your attic into a conditioned room, thereby significantly reducing the amount of work your AC has to do to cool the living spaces in your home. This type of insulation technique will raise the temperature of the roofing shingles, thereby presumably reducing their lifetime, but I have not seen any data confirming this assumption.I have not yet seen this insulation technique applied to existing homes, but perhaps in time it will be.
I just recently had my attic space filled with the purple spray foam insulation, and I have noticed a significant difference in cost savings, as well as the tempratures.
My wife and I bought a Lennar home in Magnolia Springs subdivision in New Braunfels in July 2010 and moved in during November 2010. Being snowbirds and conscious of the severe drought, I immediately began planning to redo my front yard. I thought it was important to help conserve water and keep it as maintenance free as possible. After turning in landscape plans to the Homeowner’s Association (Associa ProComm) and having them approved, I removed all the turf in the front yard and Xeriscaped it in March of 2011. Shortly afterwards, I received a letter from ProComm stating that the execution of my plans did not conform to the plans. We evidently have a difference of opinion on this. They told me that I must remove my Xeriscaping and replace it with approved turf.
My landscape water usage has diminished from a high of 43,000 gals/month to an average of around 2,600 gals/mo. When I began a discussion with ProComm through letters, they immediately contacted their lawyer who sent me threatening letters.
During the past summer, I have discovered that there are actually two city ordinances in New Braunfels requiring new builders (Lennar) to offer Xeriscaping as a landscape option and requiring the builder to install Xeriscaping if they have even one model home. When I talked to Lennar about why they didn’t follow the ordinance, their reply was “we don’t follow it because it is not enforced”. Apparently, Lennar is not at all concerned with the water shortage either. There are many homes in New Braunfels with Xeriscaping. I have also found another recently built home in the Mockingbird Heights subdivision who has done Xeriscaping very similar to mine, and his yard has been approved unconditionally by his HOA. Some of my neighbors have expressed an interest in Xeriscaping to conserve, but after finding out all the problems I have encountered, they decided against it. That would have amounted to more conservation that will not now happen.
I have written the state Texas State House representative and the State senator for this district and due to their lack of response, it seems that they are not really concerned with water conservation either.
I have met with the Water Department and they approved my yard for a rebate they offered for replacing turf with Xeriscaping. When I asked them for help, I was told that what I had done was very beneficial, but they didn’t want to get involved.
My city councilman has been helpful, but it seems that even he does not have the authority to override the decisions made by ProComm. I have a meeting with the Architectural Control Committee of ProComm, but I am sure that I will be forced to reinstall turf grass and go back to wasting water again. This really makes no sense at all.
It seems that all this talk about water conservation is just that: lip service. It looks like there is no one here in the state who actually wants to do something about conservation. It is either that, or that they are all too afraid of the power possessed by the ProComm. Had I know that I would have this much trouble trying to conserve water, I would probably purchased a house in a development not controlled by ProComm.
Wow, that’s pretty cool. I must say, when I think of Austin, I don’t normally think of green building. Good job, texas.
I’ll actually be heading to Texas this spring and have been interested in doing some hiking over there (hiking is one of my favorite activities when going on vacation). Judging from your description and pictures, this looks like a pretty incredible hike to go on. Thanks for sharing!
Everyone should compost. You make it sound so simple and it is! A great way to give back to the earth what is produced from it. Composting daily :0)
More bees for Texas, YES. Stop by and see over three hundred hive designs and many DIY projects.
Even looking at the pictures of Pickett Trail it calms the soul. I love to be out in nature so much. For me nothing beats it. Thanks for sharing.
Not many are aware of the benefits of having plants indoors. Many find placing plants inside as another added chore which is true but considering the good and health effects they could bring, it is worth the effort.
How much would it cost to go from New Braunfels to Austin airport
Betty! I love your blog. I have always thought this church in New Sweden is beautiful!
I hope you have had some relief by now! I am so happy that Senate Bill 198 as well as House Bill 449 passed allowing homeowners in neighborhoods with HOAs to conserve water by limiting lawn grass and using xeriscaping. I have added more rain gutters and about 355 gallons of rainwater storage at my house. Thanks for all you do Scott to conserve our water in Texas! My family has been in Texas since before it was a Republic and I aim to do as much as I can to conserve water and provide habitat- being a good steward of Texas!
Lawn grass is simply unnecessary to have a beautiful yard. There are many grasses that provide beauty and habitat but don’t guzzle water. Today I am planting our State Grass, Sideoats grama, that I bought at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale. I also have some other grasses that provide seed for Painted Buntings.