Monday, October 1, 2012

Compost Giveaway Saturday

From the Press Release from the City:

Gardeners and yard enthusiasts who participate in the City of Wichita Falls Curbside Composting Program can receive a FREE load of compost at the Wichita Falls Organics Facility during the Sanitation Department’s Fall Compost Giveaway. 

The giveaway is Saturday, October 6th from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Wichita Falls Landfill on Wiley Road. The compost will be loaded for participants with a limit of one pickup truck or 4x8 trailer load per person. Participants must provide a City of Wichita Falls water bill showing the $3.00 recycling program charge. All loads must be covered. This is a state law. Sanitation employees are required to see the participants cover material before loading the compost. No dump trucks, commercial vehicles or over-sized trailers will be loaded. For commercial operation compost purchases please contact the Wichita Falls Sanitation Department at 761-7977.

Directions to the landfill are: take Seymour Highway Southwest toward Seymour to Highway 258, located at the Kamay “Y,” proceed West on Highway 258 toward Kamay approximately one mile to Wiley Road and turn right (North) travel two miles and you will see the entrance to the landfill.

Uses for compost 
Compost contains nutrients, but is not a substitute for fertilizers.  Compost holds nutrients in the soil where all plants can use them, loosens and aerates clay soils, and retains water in sandy soils.   
As a soil amendment 
Mix two to five inches of compost into vegetable and flower gardens each year before planting. 
As a potting mixture 
Add one part compost to two parts commercial potting soil, or make your own mixture by using equal parts of compost and sand or perlite. 
As a mulch 
Spread an inch or two of compost around annual flowers and vegetables, and up to six inches around trees and shrubs. 
As a top dressing 
Mix finely, sifted compost with sand and sprinkle evenly over lawns.

William Bryant Logan to Speak at MSU

William Bryant Logan speaks on "There's No Such Place as Away," on Thursday, October 4 at Midwestern State University, 7 PM at Akin Auditorium. Logan is an arborist and President of the Urban Arborists, Inc. tree company. There is no charge for this event, but if this speaker is like others in this series, get there early if you want a seat.

For Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists, this presentation may be counted for advanced training.


There's a common saying, "What goes around, comes around" that often springs to my mind. We tend to think of the things we do as discrete activities, unconnected to anything else. However, all things are connected, so the things we do invariably impact something else.

We aren't taught to think of the world as a system, which allows poor decisions.

Everything is connected.

This fact was again brought to mind this past week when I was in a group of about 30 people and at the end of the meeting, several people asked for prayers for members of their families and friends. What sticks with me were the children: a 15-year-old with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a 15-day-old with kidney failure, and a 2-year-old with leukemia. These were just in this one group of 30 people. Although it is possible all of these could take place statistically in such a small circle of friends, it seems statistically significant to me.

Is it possible that the choices we have made to poison those things that don't fit our idea of perfection (weeds) or that cause us discomfort (bugs) are coming back to haunt us? A person I know on Facebook posted that she was upset she lost several koi in her pond after she dosed it with algacide. We do these things all the time, without thinking that the poisons we use have to go somewhere. They don't always just break down into harmless substances, and if they do, it isn't always right away. We overdose ourselves with antibiotics. Chemicals that affect our hormones are everywhere.

Can I prove these chemicals have anything to do with the health problems of these children? No, I can't. But someone should be looking into it.

By the way, Living Green in Wichita Falls is now on Facebook, so if you are a Facebooker, consider joining the conversation at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: EcoMind

Okay, so it isn't new, new, but it's new to me. I just finished Frances Moore Lappe's book, EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, and I am on a campaign to get as many of my friends to read it as possible. Most of us are familiar with her first book, Diet for a Small Planet, but Ms. Lappe is a prolific writer and has many works published, many of which I have read.

I have always felt that we create the world we see in our minds and the theme of this book is right in line with that thought. In it, Ms. Lappe focuses on the framing by the environmental movement and how it discourages the kind of thinking needed to solve our environmental problems, especially climate change. She focuses on seven thought traps:

  • No Growth is the Answer
  • "Consumer Society" is the Problem
  • We've Hit the Limits of a Finite Earth
  • We Must Overcome Human Nature to Save the Planet
  • To Save Our Planet, We Have to Override Humanity's Natural Resistance to Rules
  • Humans Have Lost the Connection to Nature
  • It's Too Late!

What I found especially intriguing in the book are the examples from local people all over the world that are truly having an impact. Since all politics are local, this is where each of us can make a difference. The book is thoroughly documented for those of us who like to go back to the source for more information and to verify conclusions.

Read this book. You can get it on Amazon (of course) or from Ms. Lappe's organization, Small Planet Institute.

If you are not a reader, you can watch the YouTube video . Personally, I think Ms. Lappe is a better writer than speaker, but you can certainly get a notion of the information in an hour watching the video.

Sikes Lake Cleanup

I have been really lax about blogging of late--it is just too easy to put up a really short announcement on Facebook or Twitter. But I am going to try to do better as some things really need more focus than that.

Anyway, if you're looking for a way to contribute to the community, come out to the annual Sikes Lake Cleanup on September 8. Last year we had over 200 volunteers. No need to RSVP, just come. I will be leading a bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park that morning, but will be at Sikes Lake as soon as possible (probably by 9:30) to take part.

We are generally done by 11:00 and then pass out hot dogs, chips and drinks to the volunteers.

By the way, if you would like to get involved in a more interactive format, "Like" us on Facebook at Living Green in Wichita Falls or follow us on Twitter @LiveGreenWF.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sierra Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Red River Sierra Club will be Saturday, July 21, noon at the Thai Orchid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Love a Good Steak--Rarely

I do love a good steak, but I don't eat many. I probably have one a year at  home--the rest are ordered at restaurants a few times a year.

Have you noticed you almost can't get vegetables with your entree at a restaurant any more, unless you order an extra side? I am staying at a hotel with my daughter and granddaughter while my daughter is in a practicum for her Master's program, so we have been eating out every day. Last night was the first night vegetables were part of the dish without having to order as an extra. Every other night, the entree has consisted of meat and a starch (usually potatoes or rice.)

In most restaurants, a salad is iceberg lettuce with maybe some shredded carrots, a tomato and some croutons. That hardly qualifies as a veggie. The side list also usually includes macaroni and cheese, baked beans, etc. There's nothing specifically wrong with these sides, but they are not green, orange, red or yellow.

I know a lot of people who won't eat anything green. My husband is largely in that group, although he does eat green beans and corn--not a big variety to work with in meal planning.

The US is largely a nation of meat eaters, although we do appear to be eating slightly less meat than in the past, although. Eating a lot of meat has a significant impact on our health, our budget, and the environment. NPR ran an excellent story on the environmental cost of eating meat recently. According to the graphic in the blog, a quarter pound hamburger requires 6.7 lbs of feed, 52.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of grazing land, and 1.036 BTUs of energy. Quite an expenditure for the small amount of meat.

With a background in biology, I am not against meat eating in a moralistic sense--nature is pretty draconian in its approach to the food pyramid. However, what meat I do eat, I want to be produced humanely and safely. And like most sedentary humans, more fruits and vegetables, legumes and grains would be an improvement in my diet.

Did you know there is no vegetarian restaurant in Wichita Falls? You can find one or two vegetarian choices on the menu in some restaurants, but they are few and far between. If you know of a restaurant with good vegetarian menu choices, please share. I know many of my vegetarian friends eat frequently at the Thai Orchid because of the vegetarian options.

I suggest using comment cards at your favorite restaurants to lobby for more vegetable choices; and entrees with more veggies and less meat. If you find someplace with a decent vegetarian choice, make sure the restaurant knows you eat there because of the choice.

Getting Back in the Saddle

I have been falling down on the job posting here. In part it's because I have been traveling quite a bit lately for work and partly because I started a Living Green in Wichita Falls page on Facebook. So many of the articles that spurred my ideas for posts ended up going directly to Facebook, although that was not my intent--there are some people who are not on Facebook after all, although that is hard to believe some days.

So, I will try to get my act together--there is much news to share and some events, products and services I have neglected to advertise as well as I should. If  you are on Facebook, find and "like" the page--there are still going to be short items and short notice announcements that make it there and not here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Leftover Day

I hate to through food away. When I was growing up, the starving children in China would have been welcome to a lot of the stuff I had to eat, whether I wanted it or not. My parents probably didn't care that much about starving children, but we were not well off and food for four growing children was a big part of the budget. My parents were not going to throw food away; guilt was better than the alternative (which was to sit at the table until you ate what was on your plate or were dead.)

When my husband met me, I converted most leftovers into soup. I called it "garbage soup," which turned out to be a strategic error. He's not a big fan of soup anyway; he definitely wasn't going to eat anything with "garbage" in the title.

When the kids were growing up, we had a leftover night once a week. Any bits of things that weren't enough for a meal went onto the table, and we dined on the bits left over from meals throughout the past week. Today my husband and I are having a leftover day.

Americans waste way too much food. About 400 lbs of food per American is wasted. Not all of that actually gets to our homes for us to throw away, but that is a huge amount of food. However, American families could save $500 to $2000 on their grocery bills annually by turning this sad statistic around. I can use that much money--if for nothing else than to pay the additional amount food is costing. Have you noticed how much groceries are going up? The last few years have seen prices rise faster than usual. Although 2012 is supposed to be back in the normal range, some common foods will have significant increases. Here's the USDA on 2012 food prices.

So what can we do?

  • Make a grocery list and stick to it
  • Buy less--we tend to buy  more than we need
  • Keep better inventory of what we have--I have been known to buy something I have on the shelf because I didn't see the item in the pantry. Sometimes I end up throwing the one in the pantry away because it is 3 years past the expiration date (yes, it has happened.)
  • Use the leftovers
  • Compost food waste, so it is a least going to some good and not into the landfill
Save money while doing good for the planet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Community Recycling Center

OK folks. Many of you have been asking for more recycling options in Wichita Falls. Although not a City-provided service, this center is located behind Sikes Senter Mall and is a free recycling center where you can recycle many things, to include plastics. There is also a bin at the Midwestern State University campus next to the Dillard College of Business Administration. This service is provided by IESI, a waste management company.

IESI is also trying to start a curbside recycling program separate from the city collection. Obviously, there is a charge for this service. I am waiting for additional information from IESI--I'll post that when received. In the meantime, take advantage of this opportunity to recycle more than just organic items.

Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park

The Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park meet tonight in the dining hall at Lake Arrowhead State Park. Come and learn more about upcoming events and activities at the park.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day Movie Event

Green America is hosting an Earth Day movie night on Sunday (Earth Day, if you weren't aware.)

A special online presentation of "Bag It" will be shown at 7PM Central. This 2-hour documentary focuses on one man as he makes a decision to stop using plastic bags and how that decision changed his life. Tickets are $3.99. You can purchase yours here.  Someone with a big screen might want to host a short-notice viewing party.

Don't Forget the EcoFair Saturday!

Join River Bend Nature Center tomorrow, April 21, for EcoFair, from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Admission is just $2; free if  you're already a RBNC member.

I will have a table set up--nothing fancy, surely, just an attempt to give some ideas for easy things all of us can do to live a more green lifestyle and to make more people aware of this blog. I will also have a set of To-Go Ware to give away.  I hope you'll stop by to say "hello" and to register to win.

Want to know some of the events scheduled for tomorrow?  See the River Bend blog.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

EcoFair Next Saturday!

The 5th annual EcoFair is next Saturday, April 21, 9 AM - 4 PM at River Bend Nature Center.

The EcoFair was moved to coincide with Earth Day. Vendors, demonstrations and more. Living Green in Wichita Falls is going to have a table there, as will many companies and non-profits relating to the environment. I hope you and you family and friends can make it out. Stop by and say "Hi!"   and register for the door prize. I have a "To-Go Ware" to give away.

Please help spread the word. See you there!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Back to Eden

One of the things we can do to live more sustainably is to grow at least some of our own food. I have been harvesting my spinach this morning and came across this full-length documentary (1 hour 43 minutes), Back to Eden, you can stream for free on organic gardening.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Compost Giveaway

One can never have too much compost. I have three compost bins, and we bought 2 truckloads of compost this past weekend. We can still use more.

If you need compost, the City of Wichita Falls spring compost give-a-way is April 7, 9 AM - 3 PM. If you participate in the City's Wednesday recycling program, you can receive a free load of compost at the Wichita Falls Organics Facility at 10984 Wiley Road. You will be asked for a copy of your water bill showing the $3 recycling charge.

The compost will be loaded for you. There is a limit of one pickup truck or one 4x8 trailer load per person. You must bring a tarp to cover your load. Workers will not load commercial dump trucks or trailers.

For more information, call 940-761-7977.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sierra Club Meets Saturday

The Red River Sierra group meets this Saturday, March 17 at noon, at El Diablo's Burritos at 4214 Kell Blvd. Topics for the meeting include the upcoming EcoFair and outings.

If weather permits, the group will do a litter pickup following the meeting, so dress appropriately.

Not a member of the Sierra Club? No worries. There will be internet available during the meeting--you can join online right there.

By the way, in addition to the new website, the group also has a group page on Facebook--just search for "Red River Sierra Club" and keep up with all of the local happenings.

This Saturday is very busy, with a clean up at Lake Arrowhead State Park and for me, a League of Women Voters consensus meeting, so if you can't come, be sure to get connected through the website, the facebook page or right here.

River Bend Reuse Garage Sale

River Bend Nature Center will be  holding its annual Reuse Garage Sale March 22 - 24. If you have items to contribute, you can drop them off beginning on the 19th. For more information, follow the link.

Last Chance Texas Master Naturalist Spring Training

The Texas Master Naturalist spring training class in Wichita Falls needs a minimum of 10 people to go. As of today, six have registered. If you want to take part in these classes and haven't registered, the deadline has been extended to Tuesday, March 13. Contact the Inland Fisheries office to register at 940-766-2383. If we don't get another 4 people tomorrow, the class will be cancelled.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Upcoming Park Activities

The Rolling Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program are hosting their annual public forum on Tuesday, March 6. This year, the speaker is Charles Newberry, Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist, who will be talking about what's happening with the TPWD. This program will be held in conjunction with the monthly Master Naturalist meeting at 7:00 PM, at River Bend Nature Center, 2200 3rd St.  The program is free and open to the public. Usually, light refreshments are served.

On Sunday, March 4, there will be a rally in support of Lake Arrowhead State Park, from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park and the Rolling Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist.

On Saturday, March 17, the Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park will hold their 2nd annual park clean up from 9:00 AM to noon. Last year we picked up a lot of trash. Although most of the people who came last year were Friends and Master Naturalists, we did have some campers and other members of the public take part. Anyone is welcome to help and there will be free hot dogs for the volunteers.

As a reminder, the state parks are in financial trouble. If you have the ability, consider contributing to the non-profit Texas State Parks Foundation. You can also help by visiting the park and paying the entry fee (which accounts for about half of the park's budget) and/or buying a Park Pass.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Upcoming Speakers and Issues of Interest

Midwestern State University has a Speakers and Issues program. They bring in a lot of interesting speakers--some of which I have mentioned in past blogs. There are two speakers coming up that will probably be of special interest to readers. This series is open to the public and free. The programs start at 7 PM in Akin Auditorium. My past experience has been that most of these events are standing room only, so if you want a seat, it is best to arrive early.

- 27 February: James K. Galbraith, economist. "Inequality and the Economic Crisis."
- 29 March: T. Colin Campbell, retired Professor Emeritus of at Cornell University. "The Health Care Crisis and Its Missing Link."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Activities and Events Coming Up

I been out of town as much as in lately, so I am a little bit behind the power curve on posting. However, there are some events coming up I wanted to get the word out on, so here they are:

  - Home and Garden Show: February 26, 27 at MPEC. Lots of great vendors and educational sessions.
  - Spring Break Camp at River Bend: March 12 - 16, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM. Kindergarten through 6th Grade. Register by March 7. For information, click here. For a registration form, click here. Attendees will also need a medical release.
  - EcoFair Planning Meeting: March 2, Noon at River Bend.
  - Red River Group Sierra Club meeting, March 17, Noon - 1:00 PM, El Diablo. Trash pick up to follow.
  - Texas Clean Rivers Program Red River Basin Advisory Committee Meeting, March 27, 9:30 AM - approximately 1:30 PM.  Red River Authority of Texas Administrative Office and Laboratory Facility, 3000 Hammon Rd. Please RSVP to Stacey Green at 940- 723-2236 or as they will be serving lunch.
  - EcoFair: April 21, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. If you would like to have a booth, contact River Bend at 940-767-0843 or Booth prices are only $50 commercial and $25 for non-profits. Living Green in Wichita Falls will have a booth.
  - Texas Master Naturalist Spring Training: Begins March 20 and runs through May 5. Deadline for applications is March 12. The class schedule includes classes and several field trips. Registration is $80 ($70 for MSU students.) Registration forms and fees can be dropped off at Inland Fisheries at  403 Chester.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Watch FRESH Online for Free

I have been traveling a lot lately, so haven't been keeping up as well with my blogging. However, for those interested in the issue of good, healthy food, you can watch the documentary, Fresh, online for free through February 1. Sorry for the late notice, but hope some of you will have the chance to watch it. To watch the movie, here's the link:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red River Sierra Group

The Red River Sierra Group is small, but important organization. If you are a member of the national Sierra Club, you are a member of the local group. The local organization receives no part of the dues paid to national, so operates on a shoestring.

The group decided to Adopt-a-Highway. We will do our first clean-up on Saturday, January 21, preceded by a short meeting to conduct business. You may attend either or both.

The business meeting will begin at noon at Atlanta Bread on Midwestern Parkway. We need to elect new officers and notify state. The group chair position is open and committee chairs are also needed. About 12:45 the meeting will adjourn for members to meet up for the clean-up, beginning at 1:00 PM. Those willing to assist will meet at FM 369 and Sisk Rd. Bags will be provided, but you may want to bring gloves. We have a 2-mile stretch to pick up.

Hope to see some of you there. If you are not a member of Sierra Club, but would like to learn more about the organization, feel free to come to the meeting or the cleanup.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Change the World; Grow a Garden

I came across this short little video encouraging people to plant a backyard garden to address the major environmental issues of our time. Just 2 minutes.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I have several short things today, so thought I would just spit them all out in one post instead of doing separate posts for each.

I bought some garden seeds this week. I am still harvesting food from my garden from the fall planting and am getting ready to start some plants for the spring garden. It won't be that long before the chance of frost is pretty low.
Spinach still going strong

Small green tomatoes ripened nicely
Broccoli almost ready for harvest
It sure is nice to make an omelet using fresh spinach picked just that morning with tomatoes from the garden (in this case, ripened on the counter from green tomatoes picked just before the one freeze we've had.) I still have parsley and kale producing from the plants I harvested from weeks ago. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower heads are still growing.

Green leaf lettuce

Kale about ready for a second harvest
Lettuce and spinach are also still producing. Interested in starting some seeds yourself? Here is a basic how-to from Mother Earth News.

Although I have some herbs still in the garden and one lone basil plant on the windowsill in the laundry room, I will be starting several more plants this weekend and next week. Some to incorporate into the landscape and some to put into pots. Although this author is in a snowbound location, her hints for growing herbs indoors are pertinent to everyone, so I thought I would share the link.

Remember I said before I wasn't able to find alfalfa seeds for sprouting in town? I did find a good online source for sprouting seeds and ordered some alfalfa and broccoli seeds. The seeds arrived within a couple of days, even though I didn't pay for special shipping. I am getting ready to start some. The seed price was very good--the shipping doubled the price. However, when compared to the price of buying the sprouts at the grocery, it's still a super bargain.

I like loose leaf tea. If you're a tea drinker, you know how much better the flavor is. Wichita Falls is not a mecca for tea drinkers, so if you like good tea, you have to order it from somewhere else.
I also like nice, fresh herbs and when experimenting with different foods, sometimes the herbs and spices from the grocery don't have enough variety. Although  I usually buy my teas from Harney and Sons, I came across the Frontier Natural Products Co-op web site recently that has bulk herbs and spices and loose tea, as well as some neat cooking gadgets. The tea prices are less, but I haven't purchased any teas from them yet to determine the quality.

Hope some of these articles and web resources will be useful to you.