Monday, November 14, 2011

From Apple picking to Kid Rock... ask yourself "Are you up for a Challenge"? Perhaps the OakGreen Challenge?

This past month has come with changes that quite frankly I could skip over or do with out many of them.  Don't get me wrong... I love the fall leaves and the annual fireworks display that mother nature brings to us with out fail.  The trips to the cider mills for fresh pressed cider and doughnuts.  This year we headed to our favorite "cider country" in Romeo Michigan for a quick trip to Big Red's and then a new tradition we are forming in picking our own apples at Stoney Creek Orchards.   Each place has it's own distinctive nitch and I love each place because of that.  Big Reds for example offers a wide range of activities AND products that we enjoy.  The kids love to climb on the stacks of hay bales literally the size of a small barn and the petting zoo.  Now... nothing here comes without it's price... so be sure to bring some cash.  I laughed at the boiling pot of water being set up to sell corn on a stick for $2 each... and then walked into the farm market and discovered I can get 6 for $2.95.  Hummm... a premium for sure to have some one else prepare this for me.
I really enjoyed the Heirloom tomatoes that I have heard so much about.

Now over to Stoney Creek Orchards... this is really a fully operational orchard that gives visitors access to the fields to get a true pick your own experience.  I believe they charge you by the amount of apples you can fit into a bag they provide at the point of boarding a hay wagon pulled by tractor out to the fields.  So... you get the experience of the hay ride and apple picking all wrapped up in one neat package.  Funny thing... when you arrive at the drop point and disembark from the wagon... you don't quite know which way to turn first.  There are apples literally falling off the trees and the kids can hardly hold back the initial excitement.  It's like a rush to get there before they're all gone... but that is unlikely since there are so many of them AND trees planted according to variety.  The biggest thrill for the kids is knowing that there are tall ladders available... because every kid must know that the best apples are at the top of the tree.  Right?  My group surly  knew this bit of information because we could not keep them off the ladders!

         As you can see here my nephew needed a lift to get to the better quality AND being that I'm the tallest guy around with no ladder in the area... you get the uplifting experience from Uncle Don!

Last thing on this... rumor has it that Kid Rock lived somewhere very close to here and I have a reliable source that can confirm that.  Let's just say my wife picked up Kid Rock's undies... when he was just a little stone growing up in Romeo.  Mrs. Richie was my wife's tennis instructor and the girls did some house keeping for the family.  Little Bobbie... Hell on Wheels... then and now.   Whowooddaknown?

Now... onto the real reason for today dialogue... we move across the border and back into Oakland County for something new and exciting to tell you about.  Got Green?  Then... you need to check out the new link up on .

If you have visited the web site in the past week you may have noticed a new banner begging for your attention in the intrigue to "Take the OakGreen Challange!".


When you get here you will find:

 OakGreen Challenge: What Is It? 
The OakGreen Challenge is a commitment to reducing the energy consumption in your home, business, municipal facility or school facility by 10% by the end of 2012. Your efforts benefit the environment, your community, and your financial bottom line.

Getting Started

This is the end of year two of this important program that extends the request to reduce energy consumption by 10% by the end of the year 2012.  What is more important is that it is extended to:
 Residents, Business, and government AND provides all the resources you will need to get started.  

I know for me it is something simple that we all can do to get started.  With four children I could make a full time job of just going around the house turning off all the lights, appliances, fans, computers, and electronic equipment they seem to forget to do every day.  LITERALLY... I have formed a comment to them as we pass in the morning... "Please turn all your electronic devices off before leaving today..."  Kind of like the same thing as "make sure your seat is in the up right position as we prepare for landing...".   No kidding I think I can reach Brook Pattersons Challenge just in this simple act alone! 

L. Brooks Patterson
All the funny business aside... this is a pretty important time and place in our history when it comes to the race for new technologies.  Those who can do things... faster, smarter, with less red tape, and more efficient will win the race.  Not only residents and businesses have to watch their triple bottom line... but local government needs to get on this.  If you want to look to a city that is really taking this to the next level... look no further than Grand Rapids.  In fact last year at the inaugural OakGreen Event... Grand Rapids sent their "full time" sustainability manager in as one of the key note speakers.  This guy does the same thing I'm doing at home (running after my kids to turn off their stuff) but on a huge scale.   The statistic that stood out for me was that this guy save GR well over many time of what his salary was.  In fact... if he worked under a performance incentive (bonus for a % of total dollar savings) he would have been way ahead! 

So... in closing today... Get to the OakGreen Web Site... read up on what you can do... and stay tuned for further announcements on the annual event coming up in early 2012.  With that in mind stay tuned for some pretty exciting announcements coming soon about the next steps for the and the bricks and mortar version under development!   ;)