Keeping us Honest on Energy

So, I’m digging Consumer Energy’s new “explore your usage” tools online. If you’re in the Consumers area and you haven’t checked these out yet, you should! For the last few months they have been providing customers with some great comparison and analysis info on their usage, to help you save money and lower your carbon footprint. It’s also great motivation to see: <img alt="" height="243" src="data:That’s right Consumers says we used 63% less energy than the average home and %12 less than the most energy-efficient homes within a mile radius. BOOSH! And there’s also a tool that lets us see … Continue reading Keeping us Honest on Energy

Super Fast, Cheap Garden Beds with no Special Imports

1 1/2 year old forest garden, nice tomatoes on 6-7 foot plants to the top left. When we first moved into our home, a bit less than 2 years ago, we wanted to rapidly convert as much of our yard to garden as fast as we could, but being new to the area and broke from buying a house, we didn’t have many resources to work with. Here’s one method we used to cover very large areas where it didn’t need to look neat right away, in this case, a 1/4 acre thicket of old-field with brambles, weed tree saplings, … Continue reading Super Fast, Cheap Garden Beds with no Special Imports

Recipe: Sunchoke Meringue Pancakes with Mutsu Apples

Shoveling all this snow the last few days has worked my hunger up, so I put down my shovel and went and pulled up a bunch of sunchokes! This winter, like last, the ground remained relatively thawed underneath all the snow, allowing us to go and pull up some sunchokes (aka, “jerusalem artichokes,” a name mistakenly based on the Italian word for sunflower “giarasol” [like “jar of soul”]) Easy in good soil, you just grab a hold of a stalk and yank it up. You won’t get them all this way, but you’ll get enough. For gardeners striving to increase … Continue reading Recipe: Sunchoke Meringue Pancakes with Mutsu Apples

Composting 101 and 401

Two videos on composting. First, a hilarious speech and great advice about composting by Mike McGrath. Really, this video is everything you need to know to get started composting. The main point: save your leaves, shred them and build your compost pile out of leaves alone (or mostly.) Like all good teaching, this isn’t “absolute truth,” it’s “corrective medicine” for folks who have been told to compost their kitchen waste without further thought or planning and likely end up with smelly piles of too much nitrogen, not enough carbon and bunches of bulk junk that just won’t break down … Continue reading Composting 101 and 401

Welcome to Lillie House

Hello! Glad you found us and welcome to Lillie House. This was all dying lawn two years ago. Like so many people these days, we’re just trying to move towards healthier, happier, saner lives. At some point, we figured out that to move in that direction, we’d also have to live kinder, more responsible lives in closer touch with the natural systems that humans evolved in–systems that have nurtured us since that fateful day three and a half billion years ago when two organic compounds stared longingly at each other over a bowl of primordial soup.  The grocery store outside … Continue reading Welcome to Lillie House