October 15, 2012 6:26 am
1. Open your windows. Fall is the perfect time of year to turn off the thermostat and open the windows. You may have been cranking the AC all summer, costing you hundreds of dollars on your electric bill and burning loads of energy. But you’ll enjoy a much lower bill and a nice downsize in your eco footprint by just opening the windows. Opening the windows also helps air out your home before winter.
2. Prepare a local menu for Thanksgiving. It’s never too early to start preparing for your biggest culinary feat of the year. There’s nothing like a beautifully prepared Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Increase that feeling of community even more by preparing a local menu this Thanksgiving. Think outside the box and choose menu items that are locally-grown and in season in your area. You may even discover a new holiday favorite. If you’re a little intimidated at the thought of preparing an all-local meal, head down to your local farmers’ market and ask around. Find out what is in season and plan your meal from there. You can also ask your butcher for locally-farmed organic meats. Look for seasonal fall produce to create a scrumptious pie or warm casserole.
3. Attend a local festival. Whether it’s a pumpkin festival or a pie contest, Fall is the crispiest season for local fairs and festivals. Attending a festival in your area is a great excuse to get outside with your family and friends while supporting local vendors and artisans. Check out your town or municipality’s website for a full list of events in your area. If you’re feeling ambitious, join in on the fun. Enter your recipe in a local bake-off or your unusually large tomato in a town agricultural fair.
4. Choose an organic fertilizer. Fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn, according to The Lawn Institute, and choosing an organic fertilizer is better for your lawn and the planet. Some of the best fertilizers you can use are those you’ve made yourself from recycled leaves and lawn clippings. A four-inch layer of lawn clippings and leaves around plants allows you to fertilize much less and helps keep roots cool. This top layer also locks in water, reducing the need to water your foliage. Leaves and lawn clippings can also be easily composted and reused as fertilizer anywhere in your yard.
5. Use the whole gourd. Whether it’s a pumpkin carved for Halloween or a basket of squash as a Thanksgiving centerpiece, Fall is the season of the gourd. Many times these forgotten fruits are tossed in the trash after they’ve exhausted their ornamental usefulness, but they have a variety of other fun seasonal uses outside of decor. Try doing it differently this year, and use the whole thing. Toast up some pumpkin seeds for a tasty Fall treat; try out a new pumpkin pie recipe; choose edible squash for your centerpieces, and make them into a tasty soup the next day.
6. Tailgate like an eco-fan. With playoff baseball and the long-awaited football season, Sunday means “tailgate” for many Americans once the leaves begin to change. But don’t forget the planet during your celebration. To shrink your tailgate’s footprint, try setting up a waste station in the back of your car or truck, with bins for waste and recycling. For added bonus points, set up a bin for compost, too. To make sure everything stays clean, line the bin of your choice with a garbage bag and use non-toxic tape to adhere the bag to the outside of the bin. This will prevent the bag from slipping into the bin and that unhappy surprise in the back of your car. Also, try bringing all your tailgate goodies in reusable containers and switching to compostable cups and dinnerware.
7. Get crafty with decorations. Stores fill their shelves with seasonal decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving, but why pay more for decor items when you can make them yourself? You can get the same holiday fun out of homemade decorations while using leftover supplies you have around the house. Try cutting up and painting some cardboard boxes for spooky Halloween lawn ornaments or wall-hangings. Take a stroll in the park and pick up some pinecones for the Thanksgiving table. DIY decorations will add some personality to your home decor, and getting the kids involved is a great holiday memory-maker.
8. Get outside. In some areas of the country, the days of warm weather are surely numbered. So, soak up the great outdoors while there’s still time, and do some of your fall entertaining outside. Throwing parties outside isn’t just fun. It saves on energy, too. Instead of setting the thermostat to the perfect level and turning on the lights in every room, you can make use of the perfect lighting and seasonable Fall temperatures right in your own back yard. Make the most of the season by throwing your weekly dinner party on the deck or planning one last cookout for the season.
For more information, visit www.earth911.com.
Published with permission from RISMedia.