31 March 2008

Earth Hour Pictures

Here are some pictures of how we spent our time without lights during Earth Hour. Send your pictures in to ecodeaf@gmail.com and we'll add them below!

Taking a bubble bath by candlelight
Catching up on readings
Notice the solar powered orange flashlight standing by
Playing Phase 10 by candlelight 


30 March 2008

From the Desk of a $64 Tomato Wannabe Author [#2]

by Dina Raevsky

Seedlings – a Tricky Business

In the past month, I have been placing delicate seeds into containers called seed starting kits so kindly provided by loving friends for an event I am hosting in June. ‘Lo and behold, who knew Darwin was right on his money about survival of the fittest?!

At first, I experimented with the starter kits by using only soil from my backyard, fertile thanks to composted fruits and vegetables. I followed the instructions of placing those little darlings in a dark spot
with little sunlight and covered with a clear plastic cover. The instructions stated that once the seeds start to show their first leaves, the plastic cover is to be removed and the newly weaned plants are to be moved into a room with direct sunlight. Out of the 50 dahlias, only 5 are surviving so far in that first batch. Out of the 25 cucumber seeds, only 5 are still surviving out of that batch to get their secondary leaves.

Keep in mind, I put that seed starting kit on my expensive glass dining table. The plants slanted, attempting to “reach” the sunlight streaming from the window. In that course, some fell flat on their belly. I rotated the seed starting kit to ensure that the plants do not tip too much to the left or too much to the right. It did not really work.

The scientist in me, piqued, yet steamed, decided to see if using a combination of potting soil and soil from my backyard (bottom soil from backyard, while the topsoil is a potting soil bought in a store) and see if it would make any difference to wait a day longer after the first leaves show before removing the plastic cover from the seed starting kit box. I also decided to leave that seed starting box in the same location, which gets enough sunlight but not a full blast requiring eye shades. I also kept the seed starting kit on the floor, below the window, to make the new plants stand up straight to “reach” the sun light.

As of now, five dahlias survived so far and 16 cucumbers are kicking some butt as well. Nonetheless, it is a bit too early to tell since secondary leaves are not popping up yet on the cucumbers. Interestingly, in the third kit, the topsoil was from my backyard while the bottom was a potting soil. The result was a sad and almost empty seed starting kit with only seven dahlias. The cucumbers did not even bother to make a grand entrance.

One thing that I have noticed about the three starting kits is that I need to put the seeds half inch or one inch further into the soil to prevent weak holding plants. I did so with my sunflower seeds recently and will be sure to provide you with the results.

I ordered jiffy pots as well for the sunflower seeds to see if it makes any difference. There are also those seed starters that are made of peat and swell up like a balloon when watered. I am awaiting a shipment from a friend with those little buggers to
see if they affect my seeds in positive way. Did any of you ever experience growing seeds from seed starting kits? What are your thoughts about that?

29 March 2008

Outward Bound - Colorado - July 20 - 26, 2008

Interested?  Time's a wastin'...get busy and apply!  This costs $1,495, including 'lodging', 'food', transporation from Denver to the trailhead, instruction about the wilderness and outdoors, and loaner equipment such as backpack, foam, tent and sleeping bag.  You will be responsible for your transportation to Denver.

Scholarship funds are distributed first come first serve.  Contact Wendy Coombs at wcoombs@outwardbound.org for the application package.

You will receive 12 attachments which includes fitness expectations, what to pack, medical form, scholarship form, and so on.  Think about it!  :)

28 March 2008

Upcoming DeafYoga Retreat

"The DeafYoga Foundation’s mission is to share traditional Yoga teachings with the Deaf and Signing community. Although open to all*, our vision is to introduce and support Deaf people in their efforts to begin a Yoga practice or become an avid instructor in today's world."

Visit their homepage at:
And also visit this page for upcoming offerings/events:


April 4 - 6, 2008
Sivananda Yoga Retreat for the Deaf Community
“Thought Power”
Sivananda Ranch ~ Woodbourne, NY

This traditional Sivananda Yoga Retreat will be focused on Thought Power. Every thought that you have has a size, shape, vibration, density and weight and is sent out into the Infinite Cosmos. This weekend will be focused on the how to acknowledge our thoughts, invite new perspectives and learn to go within. Limit 20 participants. Lila and Srinivasan will guide your weekend of exploration. For more information, please
click here.

Hat tip to RP!

27 March 2008

TaylerInfomedia Sets A Green Example

As you all know, Earth Hour is coming up this Saturday from 8 to 9 pm in your time zones, wherever you are. The goal is to turn off all the lights in your house, at work, in your car (I wouldn't recommend turning off the headlights on your car while driving, though ;)).

Tayler comments on his blog:  "I signed TaylerInfomedia up as a business at EarthHour.org. Instead of shutting down the server for one hour this Saturday, I will post a short message of support for Earth Hour, and forward visitors to the Earth Hour website. The TaylerInfomedia websites will include DeafRead, Deafologue, DeafVIDEO.TV, Fomdi..."  Cheers to Tayler for bringing awareness to all readers by re-directing visitors to the EarthHour.org site this coming Saturday from 8 to 9 pm!

Also, do join the One Billion Bulbs campaign Tayler set up on the right ------>
It’s an effort to get people to switch from incandescent to energy-efficient CFL bulbs. It shows that Tayler has replaced bulbs with CFL types wherever possible in his home.  We can do the same!  Click on the One Billion Bulbs icon on the sidebar to join!

Long Live Earth :)

26 March 2008

Top Ten Worst Corporate Criminals to Avoid

I personally love top ten lists. It just makes my life easier, and I hope it does the same for you :)

10 of the Worst corporate Criminals to Avoid

1) Wal-Mart
2) ExxonMobil
3) Coca Cola
4) Nestle
5) Monsanto
6) Sears Roebuck
7) Dominion
8) Citigroup
9) Sara Lee
10) McDonald's

For more information on each corporation and why they are 'criminals' in our
Green eyes, click here to go to Co-op America website.

24 March 2008

From the Desk of a $64 Tomato Author Wannabe [#1]

By Dina RaevskyAs you know, green is a very becoming fashion in our so-called world. As I am typing this commentary, I am staring at my fingers, brown at the cuticles. No, I am no tobacco chewer, nor have I dipped my hands in a stinky substance. I am proud to call myself a gardener, or a mini-farmer. The earlier title is more suitable, for I am just a beginner. Looking back, gardening was for geeks, old ladies, and hippies growing certain illegal substances. Hey, you cannot blame my warped thinking back in the heydays. I am a city gal turned into… well, a continuously city gal in a smaller town of Frederick MD. I came from a penthouse nearby Central Park to a brownstone bungalow nearby Market street and Baker Park. Not much has changed in my cosmopolitan taste.
Gardening was introduced in my life early, but not practiced very much (does watering indoor plants and mowing count?) until I bought my 1920 brownstone last year in Frederick. Feeling a bit stressed out about mowing my lawn (gasp), I stood in front of my house, scratching my scalp a bit. My neighbor, a white – haired and mid-aged lady came out with her partner to greet me and to show me their garden. Looking at their garden made my eyes widen in amazement. “I want a garden like that,” I commented, staring at their immaculate and colorful English garden with cobblestones leading me among the flora. I wish I could say that about the neighbors’ teeth. After coughing a bit from their constant cigarette smoking, I escaped unscathed with several borrowed books about bulbs, perennials, and a ground hole maker to make bulb planting easier.

Is my garden an English one now? Not yet! I have not realized how many years it takes to cultivate a garden. Not only that, my dog, Same’ah, is famous for making plants his target. Thus, a garden filled with diverse flora in the backyard was a compromise in the making. I reserved the sides of my fences as well as the front area for my garden in the backyard and all of my front yard to be invaded by gorgeous plants and trees. The backyard garden area is fenced to thwart any acidic urine sprayed over my poor plants.

This is my second year of gardening, and I am proud of my achievements and failures. I have learned so much this past year and half and wanted to share this with you, my fellow aspiring gardeners, experts, and those who simply like to read blogs. Through this blog, you will be hearing emotional counts of brave daffodils, stubborn tomatoes, plagued eggplants, disloyal lady bugs, a little friend named Snake, and more. Photos are going to be displayed for instruction purpose, or for discussion. The photos enclosed come from my first year experience. If you have any tips, ideas, or thoughts throughout the series of commentaries I am going to share, feel free to whip them up.

From the Desk of a $64 Tomato Author Wannabe

Now appearing in EcoDeaf: 

From the Desk of a $64  Tomato Author Wannabe
a blog by Dina Raevsky about her garden!

but first...an introduction!

Have you read "The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden" by William Alexander?  It is a book about a man who recounts his experiences gardening and has diagnosed himself as having the "Obsessive Gardening Syndrome." Reviews tout it as a hilarious and entertaining read - check it out at www.64dollartomato.com.

Dina Raevsky has started a garden at her home.  She will be contributing blurbs and photos about her gardening adventures.   The first blog will appear very soon - keep your eyes open! 

22 March 2008

Standing Women Gathering


"We will be standing for the world's children and grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them.  We dream of a world where all of our children have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat..." 

People will be standing in silence, in solidarity, at 1:00 PM, on May 11, 2008 for five minutes in agreement to the statement above.  During this time, you are encouraged to think about what you can do to put this statement into action. 

There is a story on www.standingwomen.org about how this started and a YouTube video of Standing Women gatherings around the world. 

-contributed by an EcoDeaf reader

17 March 2008

InterNational DownShifting Week

What is downshifting? 

It is slowing down the pace of your life, living mindfully and "greening up." 
Engage in the UK-based "InterNational Downshifting Week" from Saturday, April 19 to Friday, April 25, 2008.

The website has suggestions on how to downshift on each day that week, and how to continue that well beyond that time frame. 

Slow down and green up! 

14 March 2008

ASL Orienteering Day

Wheaton Regional Park, MD
Sunday, March 30, 2008

What is orienteering?  Many say its the perfect blend of an exciting cross-country race in a wooded setting with the added challenge of navigating using a map and your mind.  For others, it's a relaxing family group hike down a scenic trail.  Come join the fun!!  Find out how exciting the sport of orienteering is.  You don't need to sign up in advance, just show up and have a blast hiking and navigating in the woods.  Come by yourself or bring your friends and family.  Any way you try it, you'll find O' is the way to go.
  • FREE ASL beginners' instructions but please come between 10 am to 11 am.
  • Registration between 11 am to 1 pm.  Event ends by 3 pm.
  • Entry fee ranges between $4-10 (depending on age, membership, amount of maps needed)
  • Compass and e-punch rental provided.
Directions:  From I-495 exit 31; take Georgia Avenue north 2.5 miles.  Look and follow the o-signs on the right at the Arcola Avenue intersection.  Left onto Orebaugh Avenue to the dog park (back of park).

If you have any questions regarding to orienteering and/or join our email list, please don't hesitate to ask Patti / Mark Mace:  MMOrienteer@yahoo.com

Want to learn more about orienteering, come to a free presentation at:
CSD (Communication Service for the Deaf)
452 Prospect Blvd.  Frederick, MD
Friday March 14, 2008 - 7 pm - 9 pm

10 March 2008

LNT: Plan Ahead and Prepare

When we PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE in various aspects of our lives, we minimize the impact we have upon the environment and have a more safe and enjoyable experience.

Check out this vlog and www.lnt.org for information on the first principle of Leave No Trace: Plan Ahead and Prepare.


- before going on trips, become familiar with possible weather changes and pack appropriate clothing, shelter, and gear
- plan trips to avoid crowds and increased trail use
- use a map/compass to navigate in order to avoid the need to mark the way with paint, etchings, and cairns
- repackage food in advance and reuse/recycle unneeded items

We can also keep this in mind in our daily lives!

- plan trips/errands so that they occur in similar in the same time frame - this reduces car pollution
- use maps/GPS to plan the route of our errands to avoid engine idling
- keep a cloth bag in our car/bike so it is always available when we go shopping

05 March 2008

Raychelle Wins Ecorazzi's Photo Caption Contest

Sorry, I had to toot my horn :)  I wrote this photo caption for this contest at Ecorazzi.com and won it!  There were other good submissions (click here to see other submissions... I especially liked this one:

Branson:  "Ouch!"
Al Gore:  "I told you it was getting hotter"

Fear not, you too, have a chance to win!  There's another New Caption Contest at Ecorazzi - Create a conversation between Leo DiCaprio and Knut (the cutie polar bear)... Submit your photo caption!  :)