If we didn’t know any better, could have sworn it was either spring of fall. It was very, very cool out this morning — well, to us Californians that is.

Having siphoned off the wine yesterday, the much of the house has the yeasty, sweet smell of fermentation.

More apples coming in, thinking of canning up someapple butter.   Mexicola avocados are ripe – Guacamole olė!

Green? Never plain nor simple

Having researched and come across 10 companies who sell “environmental/energy saving” metal roofing so far almost all have stated that they coat the metal with either Kynar 500 and/or Hylar 5000.

Polyvinylidene fluoride is acknowledged as the premium resin for exterior metal coating. Polyvinylidene fluoride is popularly known by its original trade name Kynar— it is a fluorpolymer (PVDF or PVF2), a family that includes Teflon and Halar.
read more (pdf)

I wonder why such toxic coating hasn’t been an issue before?   If it has, we certainly haven’t read about it.   One always hear/read these days that “you gotta install a metal roof” to be “green/sustainable/environmentally”conscious  Yeah, well the metal might be fine and dandy, it’s the toxic coating that’ll sink the argument and besides what does the toxic coating do to peoples health and environment — which is worse petroleum asphalt or toxic, (pv whatever) chemical coatings?

“The EPA’s scientific advisory board found in 2005 that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical compound used to make Teflon, is a “likely carcinogen.” This finding was part of a draft report that has yet to be made final. DuPont settled for $300 million in a 2004 lawsuit filed by residents near its manufacturing plant in Ohio and West Virginia based on groundwater pollution from this chemical. Currently this chemical is not regulated by the EPA. In January 2006, DuPont, the only company that manufactures PFOA in the US, agreed to eliminate releases of the chemical from its manufacturing plants by 2015, but did not commit to completely phasing out its use of the chemical. This agreement is said to apply to not only Teflon used in cookware but in other products such as food packaging, clothing and carpeting. DuPont also stated that it cannot produce Teflon without the use of the chemical PFOA, although it is looking for a substitute.”
Read more about teflonhere /here /here

Or sure, we found a stainless steel brand; but there’s a “problem,” the price is so outrageous ( $8 a sq ft) We are not including installation, flashing, or shipping here ) that we can’t seem accept that as an option yet with our roof being 2,500 sq ft.    No wonder people get discouraged with these prices – you have to have lots of green to be green.
So our choice is either asphalt shingles, probably made from petroleum which probably leach small amounts of petroleum compounds or metal roofing coated with toxic plastic/Teflon coating.    Some choice.  Now if these days we seem a bit ornery lately – our attitude and headache can be attributed to this “green” dilemma. We thought, it was going to be easy choice to choose metal.   Now, having done our homework, we’ve been hit with the hard reality that’s it’s not plain and never simple.   Sometimes green choices come down to the “lesser of two evils” which I think is a shame.


Lonely Nation {CNN}

Americans try to connect in a country where isolation is common
Some call it social isolation or disconnectedness. Often, it’s just plain loneliness.An age-old ailment, to be sure, and yet by various measures — census figures on one-person households, a new study documenting Americans’ shrinking circle of intimate friends — it is worsening.It seems ironic, even to those who are affected. The nation has never been more populous, soon to reach the 300 million mark. And it has never been more connected — by phone, e-mail, instant message, text message, and on and on.Yet so many are alone in the crowd.
read more

Altered Oceans {LA Times} 5 part series

Modern industry and agriculture produce more fixed nitrogen — fertilizer, essentially — than all natural processes on land. Millions of tons of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, produced by burning fossil fuels, enter the ocean every day.
read more

Study predicts a much hotter, drier California {SFGate}

California will become significantly hotter and drier by the end of the century, causing severe air pollution, a drop in the water supply, melting of 90 percent of the Sierra snowpack and up to six times more heat-related deaths in major urban centers, according to a sweeping study compiled with help from respected scientists from around the country. The weather — up to 10.5 degrees warmer by 2100 — would make last month’s heat wave look average.
read more

A/C D.C.The deluded world of air conditioning. {Slate}

…. Instead of fixing the outdoors, we’re trying to escape it. On every street in my neighborhood, people have torn down ordinary homes and put up giant air-conditioned boxes that extend as far as possible toward the property line. They’ve lost yards and windows, but that’s the whole idea. Outdoor space is too hard to control, so we’re replacing it with indoor space. From 1991 to 2005, the median lot size of single-family homes sold in the United States shrank by 9 percent, but the median indoor square footage increased by 18 percent. If you can’t stand the heat, go hide in your kitchen.
read more

A Nation of Wimps {Psychology Today}

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they’re breaking down in record numbers.
read more

Mohammed Bah Abba And His Pot-in-Pots {Treehugger}

So what’s modern+green about a couple of terracotta pots? Nothing and everything. The oldest known African earthenware has been found in Nigeria, so that ain’t exactly new. What does brings it up-to-date is the incredibly simple application of two pots, one inside another. Fill the space between the two with moist sand, and you have a most ingenious fridge.
… “Eggplants, for example, stayed fresh for 27 days instead of three, and tomatoes and peppers lasted for three weeks or more. African spinach, which usually spoils after a day, remained edible after 12 days in the pot-in-pot.”
* Garrett Rueda, a student in California scientifically tested (PDF file) the system, and found that the average temperature difference between the pots was a very significant 14°C (23.5°F) !
read more

Sensible Stocking & Storing {Mother Earth}

This is the age of supermarkets, 24-hour convenience stores, and 30-second solutions for just about every problem. What a contrast to the days, really not so long ago, when pioneers settled into homesteads a day’s travel (or more) by horse from the nearest trading posts. A well-stocked pantry was a matter of survival then. Of course, the pantry’s heritage goes back even further to the days before stores. as we know them even existed. The Egyptians, for instance, were masters at stocking a pantry with enough preserved food from the summer months to get them through the winter months. It might not be a bad piece of advice to emulate the lifestyles of the longest-lived empire in history.
read more

No Comments

  1. Maria Elena says:

    Hello and thank you so much for your wonderful and inspiring website. Regarding the roof, have you looked into copper shingles? I have not personally had them priced yet, but I read that they should be between $3-$5 sq. ft. I’m looking into replacing a roof as well in the future and was looking at this roofing at

    My thought was that this kind of roof would be safe for rainwater collection.
    Hope this helps!

  2. Liz says:

    Thanks for all the great links, as always.

    Could you explain how metal roofing is considered “green/sustainable/environmentally conscious”? It seems that the mining for the metal would be devastating to the environment. Granted, it lasts much longer than asphalt shingles, but when you weigh the costs of each type of roofing (apart from the Teflon issue), how does metal come out ahead for the “green” crowd? Just curious, because our asphalt roof will need replacing in a few years, and I haven’t put much thought into what we’ll do yet.

  3. Yvette says:

    Why not do a green roof??? There are beautiful examples of this in Dwell magazine this month, including a green pitched roof, which I know you have. It is the oldest roof ever! There are green roofs all over rural England and they’re just beautiful, and I hear they last longer than traditional roofs, AND, they help cool the city by not absorbing yet more heat down here where we are.

    Just a thought!


  4. Anais says:

    Hi Maria

    Thanks for the tip.

    Yep, we’ve looked into copper and it quite expensive!

    This company (Zappone) quoted us $8.80 a foot for copper — $11.20 including accessories and shipping.

    Another alternative of aluminum fom this same company has 5 colors with a Kynar finish but their plain aluminum has no finish so that’s something to think about ($2.14 sq ft / $2.90 with freight).

  5. Anais says:

    Yvette (love that name it’s my Aunt’s BTW)

    Love the concept of green roofs.

    Unfortunately our roof’s pitch is 8/12 and our having a “fixer upper” old house, the walls, foundation and roof support would have to be reinforced.

    Here’s what experts have to say about green roofs:


    “…Although most easily used on flat roofs, a low pitch roof can also be “greened.”

    “… Though most studies have found them to be outweighed by benefits, disadvantages that have been found in the use of green roofs include the need to strengthen the structural support of some existing roofs being retrofit to accommodate a green roof.”

  6. James Newton says:

    How about terra cotta? Or did I miss that option begin discussed.

  7. Jeff S. says:

    Clay tile roofs are expensive and also require substantial structural support.

    Have you considered cedar shakes? Other than an earth or thatch roof, I can’t think of one more sustainable. Split white oak would last for 50 years+ but would be much more expensive than cedar.

  8. Molly says:

    I put a commercial-grade galvanized metal roof on my house about seven years ago. No vinyl or other coating on it. I’ll try to find the name of the manufacturer.

  9. Jesse B says:

    My vote would be for a cedar shingle roof as well. Trees are a renewable resource. Just make sure next time you are on a hike plant a few cedar saplings.