December 28, 2010

Part Four: Miscellaneous Methods for the Non-Disposable, Low Waste Life

This is the final part in our series. Don't miss Part One: The Kitchen, Part Two: The Bathroom, and Part Three: The Bedroom.


The Non-Disposable, Low Waste Life List of Methods
(This is the entire list in simple form.)

Kitchen
- make our food from scratch
- buy loose tea, bulk items, and no single serving sizes
- reusable, compostable, recyclable packaging
- no paper, no plastic flatware, little non-reusable food storage
- no non-stick or plastic cookware, dishes, etc.
- we don't buy water
- reusable grocery sacks
- compost and chickens

Bathroom
- no make up or deodorant
- cloth menstrual pads
- recycled and recyclable razors and toothbrushes
- pee wipes
- cloth shower curtain
- solid shampoo
- homemade soap
- vinegar rinse
- if it's yellow...
- no chemical cleaners
- buy hemp

 Bedroom
- salvaged furniture
- no VOC paint
- lighting choices
- avoid synthetic clothing
- durable clothes and shoes
- mattresses and linens  

Other
- bike
- combining trips in the car
- cloth ribbon, upcycled packaging
- paper and cardboard as garden mulch
- sew and mend
- grow food
- raise chickens
- wash in cold, dry on the line
- limit air conditioner and heater use
- upcycling


 Miscellaneous:
  • Bike
This one is obvious. Biking saves fossil fuels, doesn't contribute to noise pollution, and gives you a workout. I don't live in a bike friendly city and only just recently got a bike that is comfortable enough to ride regularly (I like the kind where I sit up straight... the crouched over types hurt my back). I hope we move somewhere truly bicyclable.

  • Combining trips in the car
Also obvious but worth stating because I didn't used to do it. Now I save up my errands and do them all at once. Saves gas.

  • Cloth ribbon, upcycled packaging
Holiday presents reminded me of this. I use cloth ribbon which can be used again and again because unlike plastic curly ribbon it doesn't get squished, bent, broken, etc. And if it does get squished it can be ironed back out. Also, when I want a traditional bow I make my own from junk mail (particularly some of the thicker catalogs) with this tutorial. We wrap our gifts in reusable containers (glass jars, tea tins, baskets, chip board boxes), fabric, old maps, calendar pages, cloth bags, and the old fashioned newspaper. For filler we use all the shredded paper that accumulates through the year and of course reuse any peanuts or bubble wrap that people send us.

December 26, 2010

Busy Winter

It's been a busy few weeks. Travel, the making of Christmas presents, family events... all fun but I'm glad things are winding down and my life is (almost) back to normal.

While in Austin a few weeks ago I went to The Natural Gardener for the first time. They have one of the best collections of native plants I've seen (and that's just during the winter, I can't wait to visit in spring) plus a great selection of herbs (I'm talking 6 varieties of sage, 8 different types of rosemary, 3 eucalyptus, etc). 

December 6, 2010

A Must Listen episode of "To The Best of Our Knowledge"

"To The Best of Our Knowledge", one of my absolute favorite public radio programs recently had an episode on upcycling and recycling that I think my readers will be interested in.

Segment one is an interview with Annie Leonard, author of "The Story of Stuff". Did you know that most of our recycling gets sent to the third world for processing? Part two features Tom Szaky, the founder of TerraCycle, which if you've never heard of it, is a company providing an upcycle solution for those who don't want to go through life without convenience packaging. They upcycle (and sometimes recycle) trash into purses, pencil pouches, clip boards, clocks, speakers, kites and more. There is also an interview Mark Frauenfelder, founder of MAKE magazine, about DIY, upcycling, and the pleasures of actually making things.


Check it out! Listen here.

Part Three: The Bedroom (A List of Methods for the Non-Disposable, Low Waste Life)

Welcome to part three. Be sure to check out Part One: The Kitchen, Part Two: The Bathroom, and stay tuned for part four.


The Non-Disposable, Low Waste Life - List of Methods
(This is the entire list in simple form.)

Kitchen
- make our food from scratch
- buy loose tea, bulk items, and no single serving sizes
- reusable, compostable, recyclable packaging
- no paper, no plastic flatware, little non-reusable food storage
- no non-stick or plastic cookware, dishes, etc.
- we don't buy water
- reusable grocery sacks
- compost and chickens

Bathroom
- no make up or deodorant
- cloth menstrual pads
- recycled and recyclable razors and toothbrushes
- pee wipes
- cloth shower curtain
- solid shampoo
- homemade soap
- vinegar rinse
- if it's yellow...
- no chemical cleaners
- buy hemp

 Bedroom
- salvaged furniture
- no VOC paint
- lighting choices
- avoid synthetic clothing
- durable clothes and shoes
- mattresses and linens  

Other
- bike
- combining trips in the car
- cloth ribbon, upcycled packaging
- paper and cardboard as garden mulch
- sew and mend
- soap
- grow food
- wash in cold, dry on the line
- limit air conditioner and heater use
- the place for recycled plastic
- upcycling



Bedroom:

  • Salvaged Furniture
Obviously this applies to any room in the house. You can buy furniture second hand (excellent green option) but it's amazing what you find out at the street for the garbage men to take away. Sometimes, like with the book shelf in our bedroom, the furniture is perfectly usable as is. Other times it needs minor repairs or even total revamping. If you're up for it, lots of ugly and damaged furniture has good bones and is worth a renovation. Check out Curbly for inspiration and instructions on everything from reupholstering to repainting furniture (there are also lots of before and after room renovations, holiday crafts, and handmade gift ideas).

December 1, 2010

On a Personal Note...

Happy birthday daddy! Remember this?



Maybe rolling one ton round bales with the lawn tractor was not the best plan :-)

Herbal Teas for What Ails You This Winter

One of my favorite mystery writers and thoughtful Hill Country blogger, Susan Wittig Albert, was kind enough to let me reprint some herbal remedy teas from her most recent "All About Thyme" newsletter. Full of herbal facts, recipes, and seasonal notes, her newsletter can be found at abouthyme.com. There you'll also find information about her books, a sneak peek from her upcoming China Bayles mystery Morning Gloria, recipes, and more. 


Ginger and Lemon Tea for Colds and Flu
 
1½ cups water
½ cup lemon juice
4 slices fresh gingerroot, about ¼" thick
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon honey
Bring water to a boil in a non-reactive pan. Bruise the slices of gingerroot and drop them into the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer about five minutes. Remove from heat, strain into a cup. Add lemon juice, honey, and cayenne. Stir and sip. 


Thyme, Sage, and Peppermint Tea for Coughs and Fever
 
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried peppermint
1 cup boiling water
Place the herbs in a tea ball or strainer in a cup. Pour the boiling water over them, cover and steep 8-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey. Sip while warm, up to two cups a day, for 3-4 days. 


Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme Tea for Headaches
 
½ teaspoon dried lavender flowers
½ teaspoon rosemary, bruised
½ teaspoon thyme
1 cup boiling water
Place the herbs in a tea ball or strainer in a cup. Pour the boiling water over them, cover and steep for 8-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey. Sip while warm.



Dry, high pressure days (like today) do a number on my head and nose so I'll be sipping some of these shortly. What are your favorite herbal teas for what ails you?

Quick Harvest Just Before Second Freeze

Last night we had our second freeze so yesterday afternoon I went out and harvested this:




That is just shy of 8 lbs of bell peppers.



1 lbs 3 oz serranos and jalapenos.



 And 8lbs 4 5/8 oz green tomatoes.


  

Who has recipes for bell peppers?