Five steps for an unbelievably green and water efficient lawn during California’s drought


Keep your lawn green this summer!

The following five steps will allow you to significantly improve your lawn while saving a tremendous amount of water use throughout the year. The following five steps only take about 30 minutes across the entire year in order to properly improve your specific situation. The simple fact is you do not need to kill off your lawn in order to save significant amounts of water and contribute to the efficiency of water use within California.

By implementing these steps I personally experienced more than 50% reduction in my water use while my neighbors stood in awe of how florescent green my lawn was. When I showed my water bill and the savings to my neighbors they were in complete disbelief because they believed they had to kill off their lawn by reducing their water use to all zero but quite in fact this is not necessary. With proper maintenance, a lawn and your entire yard needs only a fraction of a the water necessary to keep it green and beautiful when you are not properly caring for it.

Step 1. Follow the sun (and the weather).

Often, many of us pay attention to the weather in order to select the right clothing for the day. However many of us ignore the fact that our lawns also need you to adjust your care according to the weather and the amount of sun your lawn will receive. So it is important to note what the weather will be like and the temperature ranges that your lawn will be experiencing along with you during the day.

Step 2. Penetrate your soul (leverage an aerator).



This simple little tool can be used to significantly change the absorption rate of water for your lawn. Imagine that you don’t aerate your lawn, without aeration the water sits on the top layer of soil and if you have a hill or sloped lawn it rolls right off only permeating the very top quarter-inch layer of topsoil. The goal for water efficient lawn is to maintain deep penetration of water into the topsoil and the only way to perform this without overwatering is through aeration. Aeration also has other benefits such as delivering nutrients further into the soil towards the roots of your grass. This is the single most effective way to reduce water usage and it only takes five minutes with this tool found at Home Depot at the following URL:

Step 3. Renew your body (sprinkle some seed).

Re-seeding is an essential step to keeping a quality lawn. Over time and age lawn degrades and the blades of grass simply don’t have the same luster as they once had similar to humans and aging. So it is important to re-seed on a regular basis usually in the springtime. grass-seedThere are many types of seed and you should try and match the type of seed that you already have if at all possible so that you can maintain the look the you desire. For me a simple fescue mix from my local Walmart or Home Depot was sufficient to maintain my own grass in the look that I desired.

Step 4. Take some vitamins (fertilize!).

The next stephandheld-spreader after aeration is to ensure that your grass has quality nutrients delivered directly to its roots, just like our bodies need vitamins so to do grasses and other shrubs we plant our yards. A simple $10-$15 fertilizer sprinkled across your lawn is sufficient to provide nutrients for almost 6 months and significantly improve the health of your lawn and provide for a florescent green and healthy color. This step takes only minutes once every six months. Ideally you can spread fertilizer with the same handheld spreader you use for the seed.

Step 5. Adjust your clocks! (water at the right time of day).

The final step in this process is to adjust your watering habits or your watering system to accommodate our newly renovated lawn. An unhealthy lawn without these maintenance techniques requires 2 to 3 times as much water, leading guidance from common Internet sources to claim watering must be 8 to 10 minutes per day in order for the desired look. However I have found that For my environmental conditions in Northern California,  quite honestly a healthfully maintained lawn only needs one third of the amount of water across to the majority of the year with only exceeding this amount in the highest temperature period of the summer months. The best watering times for grass are during the morning hours between 4 and 5 AM allowing sufficient soak time prior to the sun rising and evaporating the moisture. For my use I also run my water in the afternoon at around 5 PM, ideally you do not want a moist soil all night long to avoid bacteria and moss growth during the evening.

This is a photo of my lawn with an over 50% reduction (year over year) in my water use. 









Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sun Tzu – The Art of War

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.” – Sun Tzu – The Art of War

Tags: ,

New PG&E Rate Structure for 2015. Thanks PG&E!

Hi folks,
Some of you know me personally and know that I am currently working on deploying a home solar photo voltaic system to cover my energy needs. I’ll detail my install in another blog, but I wanted to let you know the Christmas present that I got from PG&E in 2015. I got a massive 80.5% rate increase!

Now I have to admit, I work from home and I use my air conditioning all day as well as have quite a few computers running full time so I get it I am a power waster. No need to bash me on that. But, take a look what they did this year and ask yourself how upset this would make you?

Daily Usage in 2014 (Before January 1st of 2015)

usage-beforeAs you can see in this chart of my usage, I used 25.50 kWh on Wednesday December 24th (Christmas Eve)


Daily Cost in 2014 (Before January 1st 2015)

cost-beforeAs you can see in this screenshot, that energy use cost me $3.90 cents (thats per day). Notice how the chart jumps dramatically as of January 1st of 2015

Daily Usage in 2015 (After January 1st of 2015)

usage-afterIn this screenshot, I tried to pick a day which had similar usage after January 1st. I found that on January 15th I used 25.74 kWh which is “close” to what I used  before.

Daily Cost in 2015 (After January 1st 2015)

cost-afterThat roughly same amount of energy from 2014 is now costing me $7.03. This change represents a roughly 80.5% increase over my last year’s rates.


If you are in the bay area and want to get solar too. Call Justin Ryan at 925.260.6406 or email him @ justinr @t Let him know Lawrence Pingree sent you.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Ways Home Users Can Help Protect Themselves from Data Breach

Please note: The following is not an endorsement of the specific referenced products or solutions, these are examples of ways that users can better protect themselves online. The effectiveness of these solutions varies widely. Used in combination with each other can provide significant added protection to your internet usage.

Additional Disclaimer: There is no such thing as 100% secure, so don’t misconstrue or misinterpret this guidance to be some sort of guarantee of safety online. 

Top 5 Home User Protection Measures

1. First and foremost, you must install a NON-FREE Anti-Virus Suite. Prefer anti-virus software that has been tested. The following sites are good for reviewing the test results of Antivirus Detection Rates:

2. Ensure you are using  a Browser Plugin to evaluate the security of websites you go to and if possible use Anti-Spam features of your Anti-Virus software. Some examples of browser plugins are: McAfee Site Advisor, Avira Browser Safety, Norton Browser Protection

3. Load up on some software and system exploit prevention, regularly change your website passwords and select passwords based on website category such as financial, entertainment and miscellaneous. Some examples of Anti-Exploit browser and software protection are: Microsoft EMET, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium

4. Use a DNS service to help block malicious websites BEFORE your computer has a chance to connect to them. Some examples are

5. The last step is a personal training thing that I advise any user online to do. Treat every single link on a web page as suspicious, never click on emailed links, it is best to browse to the specific website manually without clicking. Never open attachments that you do not first scan with your Anti-Virus software first and never ever open attachments from random people where you are not expecting an attachment. Whenever a web page claims that you must update your software and to “click here” to do so, you should be suspicious of it, unless of course you are purposely browsing to your computer manufacturer’s website, graphics card software website or some official Microsoft or Adobe website for updates to your software.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Politically Correct way to say “Merry Christmas” (2015 Edition)

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter or in some locations summer solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Advanced & Persistent Security