Saturday, April 29, 2006

Green, Greener, Greenest!

Here’s an amazing statistic: 2006 lawnmower engines contribute 93 times more smog-forming emissions than 2006 cars, according to the California Air Resources Board. We still have a partial lawn here at Chez Sven, a souvenir of my parents’ days in Washington, DC. I have been removing it slowly, with the addition of gardens and paths. The lawn gets mowed only when necessary. Last year there was not much rain. The count was one lawn-trimming for part of June and all of July. Sven mowed the lawn yesterday, before the weekend guests arrived.

Spring is an exciting time to visit because our sleepy little town awakens after the long, harsh New England winter. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners have renewed energy as a new season draws near. You can almost feel anticipation in the air. Painters stand on ladders, applying last dabs of paint to weathered signs and facades. The cherry trees are in blossom. Since the leaves have not yet appeared, there's a wonderful view at high tide when you drive down Main Street and look left towards the harbor. In a week or two, this view will disappear. Seeing Duck Creek through the barren branches reminds me of how very close Wellfleet center is to the sea. It is not as obvious the rest of the year.

The flowering pear tree in front of Seagull Cottage is in bloom. I just went out and spoke to our Seagull Cottage guests, who were preparing to go explore Wellfleet. They commented on what a "magical spot" it was and pointed at the pear tree when I apologized that only spring flowers were out. Last week Sven & I went up to Boston. Upon our return, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. We are lucky to live so close to Nature.

I love to see the surroundings greening up. Before one's eyes, fledgling leaves unfurl. We have native honeysuckle bushes, as well as honeysuckle vines. When the blossoms come out in a month or two, the air, spiced also with pine and blueberry, will smell absolutely divine.

Being a green bed & breakfast, we do our best to green up, too. Green cleaning products are a no-brainer. They are readily available now, better for the environment, and non-toxic to humans. I also found some VOC-free paint called, appropriately, Harmony. Green furnishings are more of a challenge.

The other day I was researching mattresses. I need a rollaway bed for the occasional guest who wants a child to sleep in the same room. First I tried to buy just the metal part of the rollaway from Hotel Supplies. No dice. It was all or nothing. Then I called up a local hotel to see if they had any rollaway candidates for retirement. My plan was a new green mattress for an old, recycled frame. So far, no luck. The mattress itself isn’t cheap. I found a nice organic mattress with quilted cover for $895. Then, you have to pay tax and shipping …

While doing research on mattresses, I checked out furniture. One Web site offers a whole line of custom furniture made without chemicals, dyes, polymers, or toxins. I saw a lovely upholstered armchair. The price tag, however, is prohibitive: $2500.

A green bed & breakfast definitely has higher costs than a non-green bed & breakfast …