Sunday, January 25, 2015

This summer we scored on craigslist with someone who was redoing their landscpae, we brought home countless buckets of native cone flowers, black eyed susans, lemon balm, lambs ear and more- for free.

Eric's cousin just interviewed us for a project she is doing for her industrial design class. She needs to make a product for a core audience of her choosing, produce 15 of the product, and sell them before the semester is over.  She is going to make some sort of lighting and her core audience is new home owners who are interested in sustainability.  Since we fit this demographic she interviewed us.  One of her main questions was how does sustainability fit into your everyday life.  Spur of the moment I could really only think of a few things. After she left I just kept thinking of more ways in which we make an effort to be environmentally friendly. Here is the list I came up with.

-Preserve/Can when things are in season, less packaging, less chemicals
-Can on an outside stove in summer to keep heat outside of the house which we are using electricity to cool
-Make vanilla, vinegar, and extracts
-Dehydrate fruits when in season and bananas year round
-Dehydrate herbs for winter cooking and tea use
-Use cooking scraps to make veggie stock
-Compost all food scraps
-Try to make more than one thing at a time to utilize the oven being on
-No meat, dairy, or eggs
-Make beans from scratch to cut out packaging and cost

-Veggie garden
-Use compost  as natural fertalizer for garden
-No pestisides or chemicals in garden
-Reusing leaves as winter cover and spring nutrients in garden
-Collect rain water for landscape and garden
-Introducing native plants to our landscape
-Planted fruit trees and berry bushes
-Created stick, leaves, and other such yard waste piles that create natural habitats for animals 
-No lawn bags, not throwing away perfectly good material
-Solar lighting 
-Working on getting away from a 'lawn' by planting more trees, native wild flowers, and creating a meadow on our 1 acre 

-Unplug lights and things we aren't using- phantom electricity
-Do dishes in tubs so water isn't constantly running, empty tubs in yard rather than down the drain
-If it's yellow let it mellow
-Use energy efficient blubs
-No paper towels
-Create lots of our own products to cut back on chemicals and packaging materials, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc.
-Clean house with homemade vinegar disinfectant spray, works on all surfaces and uses- bathroom, kitchen, carpet
-Buy in bulk and bulk bins to cut out a lot of packaging materials, bring own bulk bags
-No bags when buying produce, i.e. apples, kale, etc.
-Use our own shopping bags, working on using them not only at the grocery but at all stores
-Try not to use any disposables, i.e. cups, silverware
-Reusable water bottles and coffee cups that go everywhere with us
-Cloth napkins
-Reusing things in new ways, i.e. the bags your tortillas come in have become my freezer bags since I don't buy or use ziplocks, old cosmetic containers can be used for holding coconut oil hair treatments, etc
-Using craigslist rather than buying new when possible

This list isn't to brag or to say how our way of living is awesome or for everyone.  This list is really for me.  I constantly read articles and blogs, or watch youtube's about all these cool things that people are doing and think 'I have to start doing that, I'm inefficient/behind'.  In reality we're living our mantra of being conscious and are constantly learning new ways in which we can make a difference.  Eventually we would like to do so much more; solar panels, wood stove as an alternative way to heat the house, solar cooking, etc. but for now we are really doing it and I'm proud of how we have adapted. 
*Of course we are human and eat out, leave the lights on once in a while, and take way to long in the shower...

2015 Garden.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A big pot of mint acting as center piece before it was turned into mint extract last summer.
Of course I'm already dreaming about my garden and summer, but I'm totally stumped on what I want to accomplish in my garden this year. I usually go overboard with indoor seed starting (planting too many), then have trouble thinning out my seedlings, and I also have trouble giving each plant enough space once its planted.  I just want it all!

This year I've decided I'm A. Not going to buy any seeds- I saved many last year and have a ton already.  B. Use the 'factory planting' guide but actually follow the spacing more accurately this year. And C. Try and get over my analysis paralysis and start drawing up some planting rough drafts.

Although just typing this I realized that I do need to order 'little gem' lettuce.  It did so awesome for me last year that I just can't go without it this year.  It's the only thing I'm going to order- I swear! 

2015 Goals.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My 2014 craigslist 'miracle', this 9ft yucca tree- free! I love it.
As always I love to set goals.  I set them weekly but also like the 'clean slate' feeling of the new year.  This year here's what I'm setting for myself. Here are my 2014 goals.

2015 Goals:
+Run a half marathon- I really like lifting, so this year I want broaden my fitness and challenge myself with a half.  My mom is hoping to do it with me, although she's done a couple in the past.
+Learn how to do a handstand, yogi style- I have been saying I was going to do this for a while now, practice is all it takes and I can do it.
+Live minimal, get rid of stuff- We got rid of a ton of things when we moved last year.  Now that we are renovating the office area I realized how much junk was being stored over there (magazines, old cables, rugs not being used).  I want to get rid of things throughout the whole house, clean out drawers, closets, clutter of all sorts. We chose to live in a smaller house (1,500 sf) for a reason and aren't packed in by any means, but 'stuff' stresses me out! Along with this I want to pare down my closet.  I am a lady with a lot of clothes and shoes.
+Take the pledge to use little to no disposable items- I am so inspired by Erik and Kelly over at Root Simple, on their 29th podcast Kelly took a pledge to not use any disposable cups.  So if you're running out for a coffee you need to bring your own cup etc.  I decided to try this myself, and didn't realize how much 'disposable' things play into my work day.  We use disposable silverware at work all the time, along with running out for a coffee etc. It's much harder than I thought but totally worth doing.
+Of course every January I also do 'no sweets', this includes all treats, sweets, sugary drinks, etc.  I try to get off the sugar train I've been riding since Thanksgiving. 

A few small goals for my garden (since I'm going to start planning pretty soon here in zone 6):
+Plan garden better- Last year things got pretty over crowded making it a bit stressful and hard to get to some of my plants.  I just need to focus on growing what I can't live without- and maybe a few fun things.
+Make garden more sustainable- Use of rain water, frost cloth, etc to get the most out of my space with the least effort and strain on my resources.
+More herbs- I use them a lot so I need to grow more to be able to really take advantage of my efforts.

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