Being environmentally friendly is often more about being aware of your habits and practices. Sometimes it may not be choosing the most green option but a greener option than your current practices. The way we heat our home is an example of this in that we utilize wood from our land to burn in a wood stove. While it is not the most environmentally friendly method out there, it is considered carbon neutral in our situation. The reason is because we utilize old trees that are dying or need cut down anyways so our forest stays a fully healthy forest despite it being the fuel source for our heat.
This months action towards being more green as a family is directly related to using wood for heat and the season we are currently experiencing. The weather this month has been perfect for our backyard rink as it has warmed up just enough to melt the ice nice and smooth before freezing again. The problem is that it has done the same thing to our driveway, leaving a nice thick coat of ice. We hate using salt because we know how harmful it is and end up with patches of dead grass where the salt touched. That's when we realized we have a much more greener way to apply traction to our driveway.
I first heard of the idea several years ago when Lisa got her second tattoo touched up at an artist in Nova Scotia. We drove to the artists workshop and as I sat waiting for Lisa in the driveway I noticed the entire driveway was ice but yet something was scattered all over it, wood ash. It never really crossed my mind again until we ran out of salt and I thought to myself we should try something other than salt. I looked it up and wood ash is a great eco friendly way to provide traction on the ice.
The wood ash actually does eat away at the ice, interestingly enough. It also does not have negative effects on the plant life around since it is actually a natural type of fertilizer. And to my surprise, it actually is way less messy than I thought it would be, which reminds me of a story I'll finish with. Last year our driveway was icy and too cold for salt to work. My sister gave me the great idea that lots of people put cat litter down for traction on icy sidewalks and driveways. I went to our mudroom and got the cat litter and started covering our driveway. The next day after my sisters family, my parents and Lisa's parents were here I got a call from my dad asking what was on our driveway. Apparently, as my sister clarified after, cat litter that works on ice is non-clumping cat litter. The clumping cat litter becomes wet clay, which is almost as slippery as ice. Not only slippery but it also fills all the cracks and crevices on the sole of a shoe. Lesson learned and we will stick to using wood ash for a greener way to provide that needed traction this time of year.