The Sustainable Backyard Tour


June 22nd, 2014
11 to 4 p.m.

What is the Purpose?

The goal of the SBYT is to provide an opportunity for neighbors to meet each other and see firsthand how others are transforming their yards from energy intensive lawns to something more sustainable.  


The Sustainable Backyard Tour began as a simple 6-yard tour of chicken coops in the neighborhood surrounding Home Eco in 2010. In 2011, the owners of Home Eco and Isabee’s worked together to create the First Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour, featuring 30 yards throughout the city and county showcasing a variety of elements, from organic vegetable gardening to goats. In 2012, with the help of some amazing volunteers, the tour expanded to include 54 stops and some 1300 registered guests. The tour has received great support from the community and the public every year since!

Each year we attempt to refine the tour by identifying and selecting yards that are proximally located, ideally within walking distance, believing that it is easier to get started on your own yard when you can see examples of backyards that are similar in size and style, and share the same microclimate, resources, and ordinances.


The concept of the Sustainable Backyard stresses converting unproductive, high-maintenance lawn and pavement into something more useful and restorative―both to the earth itself and the human spirit.

A sustainable backyard offers the opportunity to provide food for our families, wildlife habitat, relaxation and visual appeal, all while minimizing impacts on the environment and the communities in which we live.

Sustainability means a way of life that has the capacity to endure.  Unsustainable doesn’t mean just environmentally irresponsible, it means unable to continue. Our fossil-fuel dependent way of life, particularly our industrial food system, can not continue forever. The sustainability movement addresses what we do instead.



If you plan on attending, click here and they will let you know when the map is ready and how you can get it.

If you can volunteer to be a yard docent, for even part of the day, click here and go behind the scenes!

Historic Victorian Home in Gravois Park

Just finished showing this beautiful home to a few of my clients.

Built in 1883, it is a Historic 3-story Victorian home in Gravois Park. Featuring 5 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, the home boasts hardwood floors throughout and even a Jefferson Walk Out Window. While it appears someone tried to rehab some of the home, it was never finished and certainly has the potential to be restored to its former beauty. At $79,990, I don’t think this one will last that long on the market.
One of the pictures in the gallery below features some writing dated “1886″.

Free Electronic Recycling Day

Have used electronics you need to get rid of?

Free Electronic Recycling day

Take them over to the UMSL South Campus Parking Lot SS (next to the Music Building) at 8001 Natural Bridge Road on Saturday, May 31st, from 10 AM to 2 PM.

They are collecting working and non-working equipment at no cost to St. Louis County Residents, It can be electric o battery powered. They will even take old batteries! There is a limit of one TV per car at no charge and all additional TVs are $15 each.


Home Energy Saver

Interested in saving money on utility bills and helping the Earth in the process?

You may want to try out the Home Energy Saver website from the Department of Energy.

Home Energy Saver

The Home Energy Saver™ (HES) is designed to recommend energy-saving upgrades to one’s home based on geographical location and average energy costs. HES also estimates the home’s carbon footprint and shows how much it can be reduced.

The upgrades recommended by HES offer other benefits as well such as better comfort (warmer in winter, cooler in summer), fewer drafts, lower maintenance costs—all of which improve life and increase the home’s value.
HES generates a list of energy-saving upgrade recommendations for the user’s consideration.

If interested, click on the picture above for a link to the website and enter your zip code to receive estimates for average efficient homes in your local area.

The more information you provide on the specifics of your home in the DESCRIBE tab, the more customized the results will be with itemized energy-saving upgrade recommendations. For example, by entering the number and age of the major appliances, you can estimate their energy consumption based on historic sales-weighted efficiency data. A very detailed module is also included to estimate energy consumption for lighting and dozens of miscellaneous gas and electric appliances, with default values based on data compiled by energy researchers.

You can find the results on the COMPARE tab where you will have the opportunity to compare the current energy efficiency of your home with the suggested package of energy saving upgrades.

The UPGRADES tab provide a tailored list of recommendations.

In addition to providing recommended upgrades, the Home Energy Saver’s module tab will connect you to an expanding array of “how-to” information resources across the Internet.

Young Friends of Brightside St. Louis

Brightside St. Louis, in partnership with Launch St. Louis, is currently building its first ever young professionals group – the Young Friends of Brightside St. Louis. While the group is still very much a sapling, they expect it to grow big and strong and for it to produce some of the brightest future leaders of St. Louis.

What is a young friends group and how will Brightside St. Louis use one?

According to their friends at Launch St. Louis, the primary purpose of our young friends group is to engage and educate a younger demographic on Brightside St. Louis and the services they offer. They do this through volunteering, leadership opportunities and special events. From Saturday plantings and alley clean-ups to board meetings and networking opportunities, there will be plenty to keep their Young Friends involved.

How you can get involved

Just like a beautiful neighborhood garden, young friends group is dependent upon hard-working volunteers. If you’re under the age of 40, and are looking to make St. Louis a better place than you found it, we need to talk. Fill out the form their website and let them know your interest.

City Schools 101: Discovering Your Options

Do you love living in the City but  are worried about teh quality of schools for your kids?

Thinking of moving to the City but are unsure of your children’s educational choices?

This is the event for you!

Saturday April 12, 2014

9-11 am at Bishop DuBourg High School Cafeteria (park in the back)

* Hear presentations from St Louis public, magnet, charter and parochial schools

* Get answers to your general questions

* Visit with individual school representatives

Following is a partial list of schools that have confirmed they will have a table at our event! Check back for an updated list.
*Our Lady of Sorrows
*St. Joan of Arc
*St. Raphael
*St. Gabriel
*Bishop DuBourg
*Stix ECC
*Lafayette Preparatory Academy
*Carondelet Leadership Academy
*City Garden Montessori School
*St. Louis’ Premier Charter School
*EAGLE College Prep
*St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church

And if unable to attend personally, they hope to have info available for the following schools:
Gateway Science Academy
Buder Elementary
Mallinckrodt Academy
Kennard CJA Elementary
Wilkinson ECC
Busch Middle School of Character
St. Louis Language Immersion School
Central Visual & Performing Arts High School
Cleveland NJROTC at Southwest
Roosevelt High School
Word of Life Lutheran School
Tower Grove Christian School

St. Louis Streetcar

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

How would you like to see a streetcar line running through downtown St. Louis?

Well, there is a feasibility study currently being conducted

The St. Louis Streetcar is designed to be modern streetcar lines connecting Downtown St. Louis, Carr Square, St. Louis Place, Old North, Midtown, Grand Center, and the Central West End by providing effective, efficient transit.

St. Louis Streetcar – Phase 1
- 7 miles with routes going N/S & E/W
- Modern streetcars running every 10-15 minutes
- Connecting 136,000 jobs, 38,000 residents, and 10 million tourists

- Feasibility Study Completed (Privately raised $200,000); March 2013
- Adopted into East-West Gateway Long Range Plan, April 2013
- St. Louis Streetcar Company Incorporated, April 2013

Next Steps
- Community meetings
- Funding for Federal Environmental Clearance (local match:~$300,000)

To take the initial community survey clock below:

50th Anniversary of Missouri’s Flag

Missouri Flag

Today is the 50th anniversary of our city’s flag, designed by Yale art professor Theodore Sizer and officially adopted on February 3, 1964. The blue lines represent the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the center medallion represents the Louisiana Purchase, and the fleur-de-lis, the city’s French heritage. The colors signify the various countries associated with the city: Spain, France, and the United States. The flag was nationally recognized in 2004 when it was named one of the five best city flags in the United States. This flag can be seen in the Missouri History Museum’s 250 in 250 exhibit which opens Friday, February 14.

Saint Louis Realtor Earns Esteemed 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Dan Brassil, Best Saint Louis Realtor 2013

Dan Brassil Earns Esteemed 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Dan Brassil, Broker/Salesperson with Circa Properties, has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013.

“Only about 5 percent of the companies Dan Brassil competes with in Saint Louis are able to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a mark of consistently great customer service.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on 


Angie’s List helps consumers have happy transactions with local service professionals in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to healthcare. More than 2 million paid households use Angie’s List to gain access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List Magazine and the Angie’s List complaint resolution service.

Great St. Louis Reads for 2014

Looking to stock up on a few good book for 2014?

How about digging into the rich history of St. Louis in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis.

Here are a few books that exemplify some of our special history, courtesy of the Saint Louis Public Library.


Saint Louis HistorySt. Lou-isms: Lingo, Lore, and the Lighter Side of Life in the Gateway City
by John L Oldani
St. Lou-isms decodes the unique lingo of St. Louis and traces the stories of our folklore.

Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer
by William Knoedelseder
This vivid narrative captures the Busch saga through five generations.

Wicked St. Louis
by Janice Tremeear
From river pirates to madams to gangsters, the underside of St. Louis history is revealed

The Clamorgans: One Family’s History of Race in America
by Julie Winch
A multigenerational history of the unforgettable Clamorgans chronicles how one family navigated race in St. Louis and America from the 1780s through the 1950s.

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: A History of Colonial St. Louis
by Patricia Cleary
Recounts the important, neglected episodes in St. Louis’ early history, from its 1764 founding to its 1804 absorption into the young United States.

The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War
by Adam Arenson
As the largest city along the border of slavery and freedom, St. Louis embodied the clash among North, South, and West during the Civil War.