Archive | March 2009

Sea Glass Extinction

Sometimes extinction is not a bad thing….

I LOVE sea glass but alas…I do not own a single piece….


I DID find a local company that sells sea glass (and jewelry!) so they are on my list for future purchases of:


Bulk Sea Glass – Just to have sitting in a decorative bowl

Single Sea Glass – For jewelry making

Check out West Coast Sea Glass for your glass needs!

Below I’m going to post information on sea glass from Wikipedia….

Sea glass is actual glass that has been littered and for whatever reason made it’s way to the ocean. Over many years the salt water and wave action wears down the glass into soft-looking, beautiful and sometimes etched glass. People are now much more environmentally aware of recycling and saving our planet that sea glass has become much harder to find…simply because we don’t have the mass littering (or dumping of garbage into our oceans) that we did in years past.

While authentic sea glass may eventually become extinct it IS for the better of our planet!


Sea Glass

Sea glass (also known as beach glass, mermaid’s tears, lucky tears, and many other names) is glass found on beaches along oceans or large lakes that has been tumbled and smoothed by the water and sand, creating small pieces of smooth, frosted glass.

Sea glass is one of the very few cases of a valuable item being created from the actions of the environment on man-made litter.


The color of sea glass is determined by its original source. Most sea glass comes from bottles, but it can also come from jars, plates, windows, windshields, glasses, art, flasks, containers, and any other glass source that has found its way into the ocean. Some collectors also collect sea pottery.

The most common colors of sea glass are kelly green, brown, and clear. These colors come from bottles used by companies that sell beer, juices, and soft drinks. The clear or white glass comes from clear plates and glasses, windshields, windows, and assorted other sources.

Less common colors include jade, amber (from bottles for whiskey, medicine, spirits, and early bleach bottles), golden amber (mostly used for spirit bottles), lime green (from soda bottles during the 1960s), forest green, and soft blue (from soda bottles, medicine bottles, ink bottles, and fruit jars from the late 1800s and early 1900s, windows, and windshields.) These colors are found about once for every 25 to 100 pieces of sea glass found.

Uncommon colors of sea glass include green, which comes primarily from early to mid-1900s Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, and RC Cola bottles, as well as beer bottles. Soft green colors could come from bottles that were used for ink, fruit, and baking soda. These colors are found once in every 50 to 100 pieces.

Purple sea glass is very uncommon, as is citron, opaque white (from milk glass), cobalt and cornflower blue (from early Milk of Magnesia bottles, poison bottles, artwork, and Bromo-Seltzer and Vicks VapoRub containers), and aqua (from Ball Mason jars and 19th century glass bottles.) These colors are found once for every 200 to 1,000 pieces found.

Rare and extremely rare colors include gray, pink (often from Great Depression era plates), teal (often from Mateus wine bottles), black (older, very dark olive green glass), yellow (often from 1930s Vaseline containers), turquoise (from tableware and art glass), red (often from nautical lights, found once in every 5,000 pieces), and orange (the least common type of sea glass, found once in 10,000 pieces.) These colors are found once for every 1,000 to 10,000 pieces collected. Some of the black glass is quite old, originating from thick eighteenth-century gin, beer and wine bottles.


Like gathering shells or stones, collecting sea glass is a hobby among beach-goers and beachcombers, and many enjoy filling decorative jars or making jewelry from their finds. Hobbyists both enjoy searching for and collecting sea glass, as well as identifying its original origins.

Sea glass can be found all over the world, but the beaches of the Northeast United States, Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Maine, Nova Scotia, The Chesapeake Bay, California, and Southern Spain are famous for sea glass. The best times to look are during spring tides and perigean and proxigean tides, and during the first low tide after a storm.


Sea glass can also be produced artificially by using a rock tumbler, and some companies sell artificially produced sea glass to tourists or make jewelry from it. As littering is increasingly discouraged, authentic sea glass becomes harder and harder to find and artificial sea glass is sometimes fraudulently advertised as authentic. Rock tumbled glass is not the same as sea glass, since long-term exposure to water conditions creates an etched surface on the glass that cannot be duplicated artificially. The differences can be distinguished microscopically.

Sea glass collectors claim that the term “sea glass” should be reserved for authentic specimens, and artificial sea glass should be termed “craft glass”.


West Coast Sea Glass

West Coast Sea Glass

We have added West Coast Sea Glass to our Favorite Vendors list!




Chicken Enchiladas

I could have sworn I had already posted this recipe but in looking back on our blog I couldn’t find it…so I’m posting it again!

Chicken Enchiladas

1 3/4 c. Sour Cream

1/2 c. Green Onions, chopped

1/3 c. Cilantro, fresh, minced

1 T. Jalapeno Pepper, minced

1 tsp. Cumin, ground

1 T. Vegetable Oil

12 oz. Chicken Breasts, boneless, cut into 3×1″ strips

1 tsp. Garlic, minced

8 Flour Tortillas, 8″

1 c. Cheese, shredded

1 c. Salsa

1 Tomato, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9x3″ baking pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and cumin.

Heat veg. oil in skillet. Add chicken strips and garlic and saute for 4 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Divide the chicken strips among the 8 tortillas, placing them down the center. Top with the sour cream mixutre then roll them up and place them in the baking dish, seam side down.

Sprinkle with the cheese and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon salsa down the center and sprinkle with fresh chopped tomatoes.

Makes 8 servings.



Most Destructive Machine on the Planet?

I was browsing a newly found website EcoWorldly and came across an article from Clean Technica regarding Dirty Technica!

I found this article (which I will post  in full below) fascinating for several reasons:

*It’s in Germany

*I had NO IDEA there are machines THIS BIG

*I didn’t know there was such a thing as Lignite

*I’m wondering if this is what’s called Strip Mining


Dirty Technica – The Most Destructive Machine on the Planet?

Written by Timothy B. Hurst

Published on March 4th, 2009
the bagger bucket wheel excavator

The bucket-wheel excavator has long scoured the lignite fields of western Germany, erasing whole villages and leaving a trail of bad soil and salty water.

With all sorts of claims being made about clean energy and clean tech, it is more than a mere academic exercise to explore what those terms really mean. One way of defining something is by defining what it is not. For example, the large bucket-wheel excavators like those used in the open-cast lignite mines of western Germany are not clean tech. And here’s why…

At 300 feet tall and 600 feet long, the largest bucket wheel excavators are the biggest land vehicles ever made. Though they only dig at a maximum of 0.37 mph, these machines move 240,000 cubic meters of material daily, about as much as a football field dug to 100 feet deep.

Because they continuously dig, transport, and dump material twenty-four hours a day these machines require 16 megawatts of externally supplied electricity; and there are twenty-two currently in use in the four open-cast lignite mines in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

garzweiller II lignite mine in Germany

Bucket wheel excavators have been working these lignite fields since 1933, playing an instrumental role in fueling the Hitler machine with coal-based synfuel. Over the years, the mining activities have scarred the land and created massive canyons, reaching up to 500 metres deep and over 10 Km wide (see a 360 degree panorama of the lignite coal mine in Garzweiler).

 tagebau garzweiler

The scale of the Rhineland lignite operations is such that entire communities have been razed and their occupants relocated to new villages, to make way for the dirty excavation of a dirty fuel.

abandoned village in Rhineland, Germany

After the land has been mined, reclamation efforts have fallen short of repairing local ecological services provided by wetlands and forests

An estimated 30,000 people have been relocated by lignite operations in the Rhineland. Fifty-eight villages have vanished thanks to mining activities in the region, including some that date back to the Roman Period.

anbandoned village rhineland region in Germany

The latest to give way to the encroaching mining operations is the village of Otzenrath. Current plans are to work the fields for another 25 years, and if that is the case, more villages will be slated for demolition, erasing thousands of years of history and culture from the map.

The arrangement now, is such that, landowners no longer receive land in exchange for their property, only cash (parcels of land were once part of the package); with acreage at a premium in the German countryside, this can put a real pinch on local farmers who may lose a sliver of their land that they are never able to put back into productivity.

The Rhineland lignite mines are currently working at depths of up to 350m, and will dig up to 500m deep, depending on the depth of the lignite layers. At such depths, it is imperative for effective extraction to keep the earth dry, so ground water is drained out by a chain of pumping stations.

Most of this water goes unused and ends up in the Rhine and Maas rivers, lowering the water table in the region and concentrating the contaminates in what is left. The end result being poor quality water and less of it, and an ecosystem that may take thousands of years to repair itself.


Lands that were once prized for their rich top soil are never fully restored such that they can sustain productive agriculture. Even after the lignite mining pits are reclaimed, the soil left over is not suitable for vegetable farming or productive animal grazing because the good top soil (or, “overburden”) has been scraped off and remixed with the slag leftover from burning coal at local plants.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the poor fuel quality of lignite, losing as much as 60% of its energy to the atmosphere as waste heat, and more carbon dioxide, particulates, and sulphur dioxide than bituminous and subbituminous coal.

There you have it, the evidence has been presented, and the case has been made. I will let you decide for yourself, but by my own calculations, bucket-wheel excavators are decidedly not clean tech.

After reading and re-reading this article and looking at the pictures all I can say is…WOW..and WOW again.

Hugely fascinated by the extremely large machines but horrified at the destruction left behind.