I’ve always considered the business I am in to be a green type of business. Keeping in mind that I am trying to be green in my business and how I conduct it, I am always finding new ways in which I am not being green, so it is an ongoing challenge to keep it green. Every year I make some sort of change; sometimes big, sometimes minimal to strive toward the goal of green, as long as I am making some sort of progress towards that end I am happy.
Last year I decided to make some of my landscaping practices around my home greener and feel I made some substantial changes on how I go about landscaping my property and how I maintain my property. A big change I made was my purchase of a non-motorized push mower, 22 inches of swirling sharpened metal to tame my fairly large lawn. I was very happy with this decision. This one single decision helped me cut down on noise pollution in my neighborhood; I could mow at any hour now. I cut down on air pollution by not having the exhaust of my mower fuming out smoke several hours per month. I greatly reduced the use of fossil fuels to maintain my lawn, I used maybe 1 gallon of gasoline ALL season, and saved some money to boot! I also increased my exercise levels on a personal note, good for me! An awkward side effect of using a non-motorized push mower, to my great surprise, is how my neighbors reacted to my new mower that I am so proud of. My neighbors had anxiety over my using this type of mower. I literally had neighbors coming over to me offering their horse powered gasoline lawn mowers to me, practically begging me to use their mower, clearly feeling very sorry for the grass cutting dilemma I seemed to be in. I found myself explaining more than once, that I do own a nice gas mower; however, I am choosing to mow my lawn this way. This usually only got me some appreciative looks of sympathy from the neighborhood folk, as they figured surely I must be suffering tremendously with this antiquated form of mowing my lawn….wait till next year when I bring home a goat, so I can organically mow my lawn!
I also reduced the size of my front lawn by 50%, eliminating water thirsty turf grass; therefore reducing the need of water to maintain my property. I did not use ANY type of fertilizer or weed control on my lawn (not sure how I feel about this decision yet). I relied on my mulched grass clippings to act as weed control and feritilizer. In place of grass I planted native and drought tolerant plants, trees, and bushes. This reduced water consumption and created habitat and food supply for many types of local birds and small animals, not to mention that I really think my front lawn looks SO much nicer. I am not missing the grass at all.
I installed a rain barrel to capture rain water from my roof so I can use it to water my plants. I put in a bird bath, and I set up bird feeders too. I changed my pond pump to a high efficiency pond pump and switched my pond lighting to LED lights which reduced energy costs. I also changed my landscape lighting from low voltage over to solar landscape lighting; this takes some getting used to for me but my head is in the right place. I set up a large compost area in the back of my property. And my wife and I extended our vegetable garden so we can grow more of our own food, this was also a great way for us to spend time together, I have found gardening to be great fun, greatly challenging, and plan someday on making us a mega garden. I have much to learn about vegetable gardening, but it is a step in the right direction I am trying to head.
So yeah, I have begun to make my neighbors a bit nervous, but the personal reward is worth it. I will take the staring and concerned looks and subtle shaking of the head as they all contemplate whether I am losing my mind or not, because I feel like I am doing a good thing for myself, my family, AND my neighbors!
If they think the push mower is bad, wait til they get a load of my goat!!

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