Tag Archives: Rural Issues

Lower your heating bills-replace window blinds with pretty no-sew curtains

Both propane and electricity costs are going up this winter.

And strict new wood burning laws make it hard to rely on a trusty wood stove or fireplace.

Slatted window blinds don’t hold out the cold that well.  And it’s hard to keep them dusted.  Besides, they can make your home look as comforting as a dentist office.

The same goes for vertical blinds on sliding glass doors.  They’re hard to keep clean, they don’t look very homey, and they don’t keep out the cold very well. Continue reading Lower your heating bills-replace window blinds with pretty no-sew curtains

Dairy technology: happy cows, clean environment, and better milk

Better dairies through technology

Washington’s family dairy farmers are finding creative new ways to use technology to produce a higher quality milk at a lower cost.

That is particularly important now, with world dairy prices again sinking downward.

Our state’s dairy farmers also work to make the best use of dairy manure, while minimizing the farm’s impact on the environment.

Robotic milking

Austin Farm
Austin Farm, 320 Elma Gt Rd

Austin Dairy Farm near Oakville has been in the family for nearly 140 years.  They are located just west of the southwest corner of Thurston County, right off Highway 12 at 320 Elma Gate Road.

Austin Farm produces certified organic milk for Organic Valley.  They are proud to be a Washington Dairy Farmer’s “Dairy of Merit.”

In a move that would have astounded his grandparents, Jim Austin brought robotic milking to their farm, with the DeLaval automated milking machine.  The video below features the Austin family and their farm, and explains how this dairy technology works.

Besides saving Austin Farm a lot of money in the long run, the machine makes for happier cows, a superior product, and a more sanitary operation.

Continue reading Dairy technology: happy cows, clean environment, and better milk

PSCAA: Harsh wood stove laws hurt “heat-or-eat” rural poor

Wood Stove “Mobile Apps” for Rural Poor and Elderly?

Forty percent of low-income Americans reported that they have had to choose between paying for food and utilities in the past year.

Should local governments have sweeping power to change how we live–especially when those changes would hurt our neediest citizens the most?

Should a government’s decision making process be more accessible to those who are affected the most?

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is an unelected, little known, and powerful agency that has created strict and confusing regulations over wood burning, that have a great impact on low income citizens in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

In an apparent attempt to share their draconian wood stove laws with folks who are trying hard not to freeze in their homes, PSCAA came up with some really cool mobile apps.

If you have any problems with PSCAA’s apps, they’ll try their best to get back to you within two business days.  Of course, that doesn’t stop you from getting hit with massive fines if you go ahead and light your wood stove because it’s cold and you can’t reach them for days. Continue reading PSCAA: Harsh wood stove laws hurt “heat-or-eat” rural poor