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What I Did During The Tornado

Now before anyone starts nit-picking me for picking flowers... well, you must know that I'm a sailor and have actually sailed about a tornado. Oh yes, I did. AND there was the time a tornado went across my family farm, much less the flood... so I do know what it feels like when the tornado is hitting. I didn't feel it, hence the flower-picking.

So, when Amy (for those of you that don't go on myspace, Amy is referred to as Amy-The-Girl-Who-Refuses-To-Enter-Myspace in my myspace posts)... anyway, when Amy-The-Girl-Who-Refuses-To-Enter-Myspace checked the weather channel and plugged in our zip code, the internet result said,

"What chooo doin', fool? Get in yer basement!"

(Ok, fine, it actually said,
"Tornado has been spotted, get in the basement NOW you fool!")

See, I always overact.

Any-hoo, when we read that strange warning on, (Really, I've never heard the weather channel say get in the basement, how rude!) I looked up and saw...

ominous clouds...
no green sky. (I always remember the green sky from my "real" encounters.)

After a split second, staring into sky, I was bored, and since our work day was shot, I thought I'd go pick some roses (I mean, if a tornado is coming I would hate for them to go to waste) and then thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about Slow Food and growing your own food and...well, just celebrate how nice the garden was looking despite imminent doom.

So here are a few pictures from an... ahem... stormy day.



Self Cleaning Paint? Give it here!

You should see our walls.

Every now and then I really, really look at them.
Maybe I'll be sitting in a sunbeam on the floor, enjoying the day, and then suddenly get a full eye-view glimpse of what we've wreaked over the year:

  • The sippy cups dashed to the floor... wow, who knew milk flew that far and high?
  • The grime from husband's latest "Oh I'm just gonna sand this piece o' furniture... in the bedroom."
  • The detailed ink pen drawings of a 3 year old... the crayon, the marker, the pencil...
  • And, I admit: the red wine stains flung and spattered from a too good party... they *always* trip over that dag-goned rug!

And then I read:
Self Cleaning Paint.


Give it here, prof, I have a great test lab fer ya.




"Self-cleaning Paint Uses Light to Cleanse Walls

CORAL GABLES, Florida, April 27, 2008 (ENS) - It sounds like something out of a householder's fantasy - walls covered with self-cleaning paint that repels dirt and grime.

But this new kind of paint is a reality now being tested on the walls of research lab at the University of Miami College of Engineering. The experimental initiative is designed to fit into the university’s commitment towards environmental sustainability on campus.

Dr. James Giancaspro, an assistant professor at the department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering has applied the innovative product on the walls of his lab, where undergraduate and graduate students work. The self-cleaning paint is an ecologically friendly product, Giancaspro says, which has the ability to keep walls clean and maintenance free by repelling dirt, smog, bacteria, algae and fungus that normally accumulates on surfaces, eliminating toxic odors at the same time. "


Read more here!




Sorry, guys, I survived the tornado.

So if you *thought* you saw a pink haired lady riding a shed through the sky cackling wildly… well, you shoulda just waved!

Any-hoo, I will avoid my usual, well-known gushing on Finland but thought I'd share this article from...

Kemira's nano products
Clean wall, fresh air

"The photocatalytic paints and plasters that have just come onto the market include nanocrystalline material thanks to which the consumer sees a cleaner wall and breathes fresher air," say Visa Vehmanen, a researcher at Kemira Oy.

Kemira Oy produces photocatalytically active nanocrystalline titanium dioxide that can be used as a raw material in self-cleaning paints and plasters that also clean the air.

Photocatalytically active titanium dioxide can decompose organic substances into carbon dioxide when it absorbs light. A photoactive paint surface decomposes dirt from its surface and harmful substances, like nicotine, from the air," Vehmanen explains.

Old becomes better

The opaque titanium dioxide crystal traditionally used in paints is more than 200 nanometres in size. The photocatalytically active titanium dioxide crystal is about 20 nanometres. The smaller size makes greater photocatalytic activity possible.

"With research methods based on nanotechnology we have a better understanding than before of what happens in the production process of titanium dioxide. When we understand the process thoroughly, we can affect the properties of products on a nanometre scale and make better products."

Nanotechnology is, according to Vehmanen, a means of obtaining better products from old ones. On the other hand, nanotechnology makes it possible to develop completely new applications.

"Nanotechnology is one part of the rapid technological development. From the consumers' perspective the most important thing is how the product works. Whether there is a new property in a product thanks to nanotechnology or not is of hardly any significance to the consumer," Vehmanen states. "Users of photocatalytic paints and plasters are still few in number, but usage is growing all the time."



Green COTTAGE is here! Cottage plans taken further to a kit.

Hi everyone!!!
I am thrilled to announce our Green COTTAGE Kit is here!

Although a modern enthusiast, I grew up (and my parents still reside) in a home built in 1801. A Virginia native, I appreciate old farmhouses, Victorian brownstones, colonial and happy, yes, exuberantly happy cottage architecture.

So, when people came to me on asking for a cottage, I understood.

So I kidnapped ArchiERICtect, an award winning architect with a heart of gold, and he designed a gorgeous, passive solar, SIPs, cottage kit with so many thoughtful details:

- 2,000 sq. ft.
- 3 bedroom
- Structural Insulated Panels for energy efficiency
- Passive Solar
- Trombe Wall
- Nooks and Crannies where you can curl up and read your books!

We haven't even named it yet, but we're so happy.

If you have any names you'd like to suggest, we'd love to hear them!

Sincerely yours,

aka Green Modern Kits! : )

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Kulinary Kookin'

We were at a friend's farm Saturday and they gave us a bunch o' sheeps' ribs and when we got back to our house because of the storms we were bored so we invited 2 families over on a rainy day and cooked all afternoon:

I made the best darned ribs EVER - sheep ribs rock:

And then made an Italian pasta and then decided to make Indian food, served the Amish goat cheese with crackers & pine nuts as an appetizer, then an Asian salad from the lettuce growing in the front yard, and then Christoph made bread so by the time people got here we basically had every country represented except France... oh wait, WINE!

An unexpected feast on a rainy day with nothin' to do except use the python stuffed animal as a jumping rope and play. We ate very, very well.



Wonderful weekend

We spent the day on the land and had a wonderful time—everything is in bloom, the landscape is just gorgeous—lots of rolling hills and beautiful old farms…

We went to visit our friends and the children fed their baby lambs which they loved, and the Amish were selling goat cheese so I grabbed that up along with some pickled beets, dinner rolls, zucchini relish and cookies, and bought some lamb, and then guess what?

We found out that there is a WINERY right down the road from us! So that is something else to do!
Here it is:

It is not two miles away from us, so that is going to be really fun.

Now we’re all sun burnt and tired but sooooooooooo happy… and picking off ticks.

But it was worth it, and the dogs will sleep for days...

And I just tried the goat cheese on a dinner roll and it was deeeeee-lish.



Solar Powerboats?

Ok, don't tell anyone, but I flat-out admit it:
As a sailor, I loathe powerboats.

I watch them speeding by with inept skiiers, waves crashing into my (no wake zone) dock, jarring and jostling my beloved boat... The high whine of the sea-doos as they zip about oncoming boats with no inkling of right-of-way much less port or starboard... UGH. The oily film they leave about the piers where they congregate... Ew, I'm making myself queasy when I think of it (or maybe it was last night's Green Drinks cocktails?)...

Any-hoo, to that segment of our seafaring population, I humbly submit:
The Solar-Powered Power Boat

Go check it all out (there's even a video) here:

and make *sure* you visit the designer's site:

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Marian Anderson at Lincoln Hall

Today, sixty-nine years ago, Marian Anderson performed at Lincoln Hall.
Before Easter Sunday 1939, Marian Anderson had performed in the nation's capital only in churches and schools. Aware of her increasing recognition and popularity, manager Sol Hurok believed that it was time to select concert venues in the places where all the best performers appeared. In Washington, D.C., that place was Constitution Hall. Ironically, just the year before, Ms. Anderson had given seventy recitals in the United States--at that time, the longest, most intensive tour in concert history for any singer. She had also made her initial tour of the southern states and received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Howard University.

When the management for the owners of Constitution Hall--the Daughters of the American Revolution--realized that a booking was being sought for a "singer of color," it refused to allow the performance to go forward. Public shock and outrage were so great that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the D.A.R. and Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes formally invited Marian Anderson to appear in the open, singing from the Lincoln Memorial before as many people as would care to come, without charge. The event on the ninth of April drew a crowd of 75,000 (the largest to date ever assembled at the Memorial) and was broadcast to a listening audience of millions. Although a difficult and painful incident for Ms. Anderson, it remains a touchstone for all those who have struggled to gain racial equality in the United States. In July 1939 she received the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. It was presented by Eleanor Roosevelt.
Please also visit

Marian Anderson

Listen Now: [17 min 49 sec]

Real MediaExplain these links

Weekend Edition Sunday, February 17, 2002 · In celebration of Black History Month, we reprise our 1989 broadcast commemorating the 50th anniversary of contralto Marian Anderson's triumphant concert at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. The late Robert Montiegel prepared and produced the report.



Remarkable Trees

Hope y'all enjoy the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project book and website my cousin, Nancy Ross Hugo, has created.

Here's my own personal favorite vote:

Uhm, for totally unbiased reasons... : )

Book coming out soon!
Learn more at

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The original C3 lives.

Almost ten years ago, I started a small business.
C3 was my prominent logo, and it was a very personal choice because it formed my intitials: CCC. My business, Copeland Casati Media C3, was technology and advertising.

Despite starting a company from scratch with no industry name, no salary, and no employees, I persevered, and succeeded. So imagine my horror when, after eight successful, hard driven years, I opened the paper, a newborn at my breast, and read,
"C3 Creative Change Center, a creative advertising and web center in downtown Richmond!"

Um... I'm in advertising and web. For years.

So I called them.
"I am so sorry, don't worry, I'm not mean, but I'm sorry but I have been using C3 as my logo for years and you rent space to people who compete against me!"

Their response was, "Well we already printed letterhead, so despite the fact that we're supposed to be championing small creative businesses, um, sorry, it's not convenient to rethink our month-old identity."
Oh yes it was.

I then had to spend the money I would have spent for our first family vacation *ever* on a lawyer to protect who I was and had been for eight-ish (nine? ten?) years. Because after my phonecall, instead of doing the right thing, acknowledging that there was already a C3 in Richmond... they... tried to trademark the name!

Instead of them doing the right thing.
And with a minister or someone ministry-related at the helm, a Michele Stuchell who was supposed to be this good person championing creatives like... um, myself, a creative who started a creative business using C3, in 1999. Oh, Yes.

I would go in to pitch new clients and they'd say, "Hey, isn't your office at (where the Creative Change Center was) XYZ?" or "Did you just have that party?" Current clients asked me if I moved. And people called there looking for me, here.

So, in honor of the REAL, ORIGINAL, HOMEGROWN C3, ; ) I would like to publish the no longer working but supposedly C3 Creative Change Center domain: which shows nothing.

C3 Creative Change Center. Couldn't you have been creative and... changed?

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Get Yer Windows!

In my green building business, my mission is affordable housing. As you (and I) make decisions on what kind of foundation, systems, and other considerations for the construction of your home, I always look at the financial figures and think,

"Where can I save money?"

When I started this quest, often those"great" cost-saving steps instead cost me money.

  • Remember when I bought those great windows at Habitat for Humanity's Restore and Craigslist? Great cause, great idea, recycling and all, cost $600, now I can't use them for my modern house kit. (Note to all: I will reuse them, somehow, maybe in a future barn. But in the meantime, they collect dust in the garage...)
  • Remember when I spent five thousand dollars on shop drawings with a vendor for a metal house where I would then have to insulate and pay for the labor to do so... and then I discovered SIPs (structural insulated panels- strong, incredibly insulated panels) for the same price/less than the metal price quote? Ouch.
Oh well, that was before I founded Green Modern so someone else wouldn't have to make those mistakes! ; )

So whenever I find great resources I will add them to my "resource" tab on the site, and whenever I find great tips I will add them here under "money saving tips".

And here is my latest money saving tip:

Windows and Doors:
If you have time, know that your local Home Depot/Lowes, etc. have regular sales. Wait for one. Even better, strike up a conversation with the guy with whom you'll be placing your order and ask him to help keep you informed on special deals.

Our prefab kits come with a window and door schedule. I took that schedule to my local XYZ Hardware Store to get the original price quote for my budget, which ended up being around $9,000.

Well, guess what? Next week my local store is having a 15% off sale.
15% off of $9,000 is... appreciated!

You can then ask them to take it a step further: Ask them to send the bid to the buying headquarters. They then go to the manufacturer who will often take off another 5 to 12 PERCENT! Woo!

Hope that helps someone else in a similar situation in this internet ether.

Keep your fingers crossed as I wait for the final price!
(Which is posted in my "final costs" post)

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