Well, dearest readers, spring is officially sprung as of today although you wouldn’t know it here in New York City where winter just doesn’t seem to want to let go.
Please let go.
Funny enough, looking back at the first day of spring last year, I was apparently frolicking around outside in Havaianas and cut-offs and enjoying temperatures in the mid-70s. Today, I’m guzzling hot tea and donning my best house hoodie. My winter boots are still in position by the front door.
Anyways, here's a misty-eyed look back at 20 of the most viewed, most Tweeted, and most liked green home and garden posts from this past winter. As always, it's a motley assortment — I've thrown in a few of my personal favorite posts for good measure — with a couple of reoccurring topics popping up in addition to eternally popular subject of energy-efficient light bulbs: Frank Lloyd Wright (rare sales, demolition-dodgings, proposed relocations, LEGO sets, feral cat shelters, etc.) and recovery, rebuilding, and relief in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Sandy-related stories were — and will continue to be — of great importance to me as they hit quite close to home. Also, I should probably mention that Sandy really did hit my home.
Looking back, I’m surprised that I was able to fulfill my daily blogging duties for MNN at all during nearly a month of living out of a duffle bag; a time that was defined by a crippling mix of sadness and stress that I’ve never quite experienced before. It was also a time of strength and solidarity as my own devastated Brooklyn neighborhood slowly but surely picked up the pieces and emerged more united than ever. During my displacement, I never really felt alone. Posting on Sandy-related stories provided me with a purpose (although on some days I didn’t want to think about it at all) and a distraction from directing all of my anger at my landlord. That being said, I’m extremely fortunate to be back home.
What’s been your favorite post of mine from this past winter? Was there a particular story that I missed out on that you would like to have seen featured? Are there any topics that you'd like to see me tackle this spring and beyond? And if you aren't already, follow me on Twitter to keep up to speed.
• Bye bye, Brita: Sleek Soma water filter takes Kickstarter by storm —A household water pitcher from San Francisco-based startup Soma says adios to plastic everything and hello to classy glass carafes and compostable filters delivered via subscription service.
• From Sandy's rubble, a collection of charity-benefiting reclaimed furniture is born — A motley and mighty impressive crew of two-dozen New York-based artists and designers band together to benefit post-Sandy recovery efforts as part of Reclaim NYC's first charity auction.
• Costa Rican recycling center seeks bottles, cans, crowdfunding — Visitors to Costa Rica are often too busy absorbing the natural scenery to pay attention to the country's troubling solid waste problem. An under-construction recycling center aims to reverse the trash problem, but it needs your help.
• Method Homes really packs in the green with latest prefab series — Attractive but not arresting in appearance, the Paradigm series of green prefabs from Seattle's Method Homes has the potential to achieve recognition from the world's toughest green building standard.
• Christmas comes early for Phoenix preservations as historic Wright home is saved — For those of you tracking the ongoing saga of a threatened Frank Lloyd Wright home in Phoenix that's been desperately seeking a buyer/savior — there's a happy ending to close out the year with.
• WVU team intros log home, a first for Solar Decathlon —In preparation for the 2013 Solar Decathlon, a refreshingly motley team from West Virginia University begins assembling — and repeatedly disassembling — a down-home-meets-high-tech log abode.
• Goedzak: A trash bag that promotes easy scavenging, salvaging — Standing in as an alternative to standard trash bags that discourage curbside salvaging, the transparent Goedzak is 'a friendly way to offer products a second chance and stimulate sustainable behavior.'
• Big winner announced in New York City's quest for tiny housing — 'My Micro NY' is selected as the winner in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's call for innovative, affordable and livable rental apartments measuring less than 400 square feet.
• British home improvement giants to banish bee-harming products — Following a major announcement connecting bee deaths to a family of insecticides, two major home improvement retailers in the U.K. pledge to pull gardening products containing the chemicals from their shelves.
• Photos: Hudson Valley Breezehouse opens for business — Snow, sleet and near sub-zero temps didn't prevent a horde of prefab admirers — including this blogger — from welcoming this modular masterpiece to the East Coast.
• Unstoppable starchitect meets his match in form of octogenarian rain tree — Renowned, remarkably coiffed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has taken America by storm. But will a massive rain tree put a cramp on his design for a riverfront-revitalizing development in Fort Lauderdale?
• America's oldest indoor shopping mall to be reborn as mixed-use micro-loft complex — In Providence, the biggest city in America's smallest state, comes a 48-unit micro-apartment complex that aims to revive a struggling 19th-century indoor shopping center.
• Gnome hard feelings: Wee humanoids finally allowed at Chelsea Flower Show — After decades of getting the cold shoulder from the Royal Horticultural Society, garden gnomes will at long last be recognized — and acknowledged by the queen — at the world's most esteemed garden show.
• No pressure at all: Buy a Honda, get discounted residential solar — It's tough enough making sound decisions when buying a car as is. Now Honda has to go and team up with SolarCity and throw the tempting incentive of discounted home solar into the mix.
• In Sonoma, a green community that's free of sensory overloads — At Sweetwater Spectrum, the first residential community in the nation to be geared specifically for autistic adults, sustainable and autism-specific design merge with beautiful results.
• Renewable rules: Lancaster, Calif., requires all new homes to have solar power — Led by a solar-loving Republican mayor and blessed with plenty of sunshine, this Mojave Desert city will require all new single-family homes to be equipped with solar starting in 2014.
• Sweet or sour? Redevelopment plans for Domino Sugar plant released —The developers who snatched up Brooklyn's historic Domino Sugar factory this past summer have released the rebooted, sure-to-be-polarizing redevelopment plans for the 11-acre riverfront parcel.
• Pre-teen tiny house builder finds joy in composting toilets, bubble insulation — Having graduated from the pink playhouse stage, 12-year-old Sicily Kolbeck is building a 128-square-foot solar powered abode as a place to 'bake cupcakes, to read and to hang out with friends.'
• A Bronx kale: Affordable housing meets hydroponic farming in Morrisania — In the South Bronx, a 124-unit housing development with a massive rooftop farm combines much-needed low-income housing with a decidedly Bloombergian emphasis on healthy living and fresh food.
• Home-powering trash incinerator ski slope breaks ground in Denmark — Finally, something that combines trash incineration with puffy parkas! After a significant delay, work begins on Bjarke Ingels Group's waste-to-energy plant-cum-urban ski resort in Copenhagen.