Gail of Green Living


Houston Farmers’ Markets
IMG_0196

A recent take-home from Eastside Farmers’ Market

Urban Harvest has just announced that the Eastside Farmers’ Market will be expanded as of this weekend.  You will have the choice to attend on Saturday from 8-12 or Sunday from 12-4!

If you would like to view homes within walking distance or a short drive from this market, I know this area and would love to help you find your dream home in Upper Kirby!

I get the impression that the vendors for Sunday will be different.  The Houston Chronicle featured this news in the Flavor Section yesterday.  Evidently there has been a waiting list of vendors wanting to work the Eastside Market, and Sunday will be their breakout day.  Dont’ miss this opportunity to check the new farms and vendors on Sunday, April 28.   And don’t forget to check out the homes in this area that are for sale!

 

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GREEN Medical Center Home for Sale

3703 Drummond

This home for sale is in the Texas Medical Center area in Braes Heights.  This home proves you don’t have to be “hippy” to be green!

I am going to tell you all about it over several postings, because the design and building processes were thought through so well, with every detail considered, and every system working with the total package.  I am confident you will learn something about green building in Houston, TX, and the materials necessary to make the total package efficient.  The owner calls it a Building System that is specific to the U.S. Gulf coast.  So this system addresses the environmental stressors on a home, as well as sustainability, efficiency and long-term cost issues.  Instead of “traditional” home building, which is done for the day of sale, this one was built for the long haul!

The owner consulted with the inventor of an amazing radiant barrier, and he referred the owner to Texas A&M’s Energy Systems Lab.  The Aggies committed to a project where they would design, build, study and complete the Building System.  Together with the owner, they researched all the sub-systems typical in a house—the walls, attic, roof, HVAC, electrical, rain-water collection, etc., over 300 products and technologies.  They narrowed the list to include products and technologies that actually do work together.

The benchmark for the decision-making was always, “What makes sense?”.  They did not throw in materials and systems just for the sake of “going green”.  The return of investment was critical in their decisions.  Todd Rice, of Rice Residential Designs, took the components of the home that were chosen, and designed a beautiful home that fits in with other new homes in Braes Heights.  Interfield Group was the engineering firm chosen to carry out the ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) construction, and this group knew how to take the project through the “Fortified” rating process.  This was the first home in Houston to achieve this rating.

Choosing a builder became a challenge, because the green builders wanted to charge way too much, so the owner decided to form his own company, Durable Residential Builders, LLC.  Rice Residential Design introduced him to Jim Kuchenbrod, who had experience with this construction method, and he seemed to have the same level of passion as the owner, so they became partners.

In my next posting,  I will define the elements of this green home.  Meanwhile, if you are interested in seeing this home for sale or learning more about it, please contact me through my website, www.medcenterhomes.com.



Early Spring Garden–Old Herbs
Thyme

I’ve been learning new things about container gardening; I’ve even signed up for a class with Urban Harvest!  I don’t ever want to stop learning…about organic gardening, real estate, life, etc!  NOTE:  I have never put a chemical fertilizer or bug repellant on my herbs.  They just don’t need it.  A healthy dose of compost a couple of times a year is all they ask!

One thing I know from experience is that herbs are super-duper raised in pots and most last for years!  I have had this pot of Thyme so long, I’m guessing it must be at least 15 years old.  In the winter, the foliage turns reddish, but it tastes the same.  It is a tangled mess, and it just keeps giving!  But having herbs in pots keeps them more contained, because in a garden, they tend to crawl or give out seeds, and they can take over the place!

New Rosemary

The New Rosemary is only about 14 months old at our house, after receiving it as a small Christmas tree last year.

Old Rosemary

The Old Rosemary has been around longer than any other, I think.  It has a wood trunk that has lots of character and the trunk has put out long, flowing fronds full of wonderful fragrance and delicate purple flowers.  These stems don’t even mind the intense heat of the patio in the summer.  We love this herb on chicken and pork roasts and added to garlic new potatoes!

Sweet Marjoram

Sweet Marjoram is from the Oregano family, and this herb is wonderful in stews and soups!  It’s been a part of the herb presence in our yard about 15 years, too.

Oregano

The Oregano bush is about 4′ in diameter and continues to bloom and seed a zillion seeds every year.  I can’t give them all away!  You just can’t make an Italian dish without it!  The Oregano and Sweet Marjoram are way too big to bring in during a freeze, so I just cover them well with a sheet.  They even made it through the 20+ degree freeze we had last winter.

Next time I will post about newer herbs we have added recently.  What herbs have you grown for a long time with success?