Thursday, May 21, 2015

Could You Live with Your Trash?

Some time back,
in a post about saving money,
I made a comment about decreasing your trash.
Also, look in your trash to see what you are spending money on.
Now, it's time to ask a couple more questions.
Where is away when you throw something away?
If you couldn't throw it "away" how would that look?

I would rather not preach, but offer some ideas for decreasing 
the amount of trash we (society) produce.

If you've not yet seen such heart-wrenching things,
put in your search engine and view images...

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I typed it that way to make it easy to copy and paste.
We have been working on decreasing our amount of trash
around here, and the homesteading, sustainable, or DIY lifestyle
actually lends itself in this direction quite well.
We have 3 garbage cans.
I think the last time I went to the dump was just after Christmas.
We are getting close to needing to go again within the next month or so.

Here are a couple charts I found interesting:

So what can we do?
1. Take a reusable tote with you to the store.  That's an easy one.  A bonus is that some stores take a nickel off your total for each bag you bring.
2. Take mesh bags (or muslin etc) with you for produce.  I find these at the Dollar store - 3 for a dollar.  You could also get a veil from a thrift shop and make enough for you and your neighbor.  Or, you could grow your own produce.
3.  Compost your scraps.  Many of us are already doing this.
4.  Re-use items.  Again easy.
5.  Consider the gifts you are giving.  Try not to give plastic as a gift.
6.  Buy in bulk.  Azure Standard is a wonderful site.  Go in with others if you don't need a lot.  Even with shipping, it's usually less expensive.  I have a friend/neighbor who I call and say, "When you order from Azure, can you add 5 lbs. of XYZ or whatever."  Often it's a case of "Oh good, I need some too.  Can we split a bigger bag?" etc.
7.  Cook at home.  It's healthier and creates little or no garbage.  I recently found out (by asking) that the plastic liners around our meat from the butcher/meat packer is even recyclable.  (We get a full beef in the fall.)
8. Yes, I left recycle for way down the list.  Obviously, recycle what you can.  The thing is ~ if you can avoid it in the first place, that means don't bring it into your home, you won't have to recycle it.
9.  Before you pitch an item, ask a friend or neighbor if they could use it.  Or keep a bag to add things to.  When it's full take it to a local thrift store.  (These items can be a tax deduction if you ask at the thrift store.)
10.  And alas, how many of you open your mail over the garbage can?  You can begin to control what comes into your home via the mail box.  The Direct Marketing Assoc. has an opt out choice.  You just go to the link I just provided and decide what you want or don't want to receive.  The only glitch is that if you have donated to an organization in the past, it will not remove you from that list.  You will have to call those places and ask to be removed from the list.  Mail has been an on-going issue for us, but we receive very little junk mail.  Any time you give your name & address out, specify that it is not to be sold or distributed in any way and that you would like to be added to their 'No mail" list.

There are probably many more ways to avoid and/or decrease the amount of garbage you produce.  If there is something that works for you, please feel free to leave a comment and share.  

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitched

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Slow Quilt Movement

Eleanor Burns is fabulous,
but I just don't do quilt in a day.
I'm lucky if I make a quilt in a year.

A short while back,
I posted a quick pix of a few blocks I was working on.

Then Kathy asked, "So what are you making?"
Great question.
I follow quilt patterns about as well as I follow recipes.
I make them my own size and do the math myself.
I did find the pattern I am using though.

I'm not much of a pink person so I decided to make it more
This is Fons and Porter June 2014 issue.
My blocks are a little smaller then what they call for,
but I'm making the same pattern (design.)
That's good for me.
It takes me so long to make it through a quilt, 
I don't really think about it until I'm ready to put it together.
My reason for quilting isn't because we need more blankets for winter, 
and I don't need instant gratification
so I'm not really worried about getting one finished in a day.
It's my therapy. 
I enjoy the process.
The methodic rhythm of cutting, piecing, and the needle and thread.
I usually have one machine quilt to work on
and one hand project to work on.
I'm still working on the Cathedral Window by hand.
About 1/3 of it is one big piece and the rest in strips
so it's getting there.
This one is my machine quilt.
It too will get there eventually:)

Does anybody else quilt this way?

Until next time,
Nimble Finger and Even Sticthes  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Firewood and Morels

Well hello all.
I do hope everyone had a pleasant Mother's Day weekend.
While some women might want diamonds and pearls,
my sweet hubby brought home something a bit more practical.
Precious stones don't really burn as well.
This is out behind the shop where I usually wouldn't show anybody.
We are afraid they are going to shut the forests down early
due to the drought so decided to get wood in the spring this year.
Hubby found a fortunate surprise while heading towards the wood.
He loves them sautéed in butter.
I received a bit of a bonus as well.

This is actually a tamarack,
which is wonderful to burn and the pitch is just as 
beneficial in making my soap as pine.
If you missed that, you can find it right here
I only got about 1/3 cup, but enough to infuse oil for 1-2 batches.
We had all the wood split and stacked by about 7:30pm.

Mr. LB said that he thinks he likes getting wood in the spring
if he can get morels as well.
He was so excited,
he went back up yesterday after work and found a few more.
That's the same bowl as above!
He was just getting ready to clean these up
so never mind the bits of grass and such.
This morning he said he might head back up after work again today.
I asked if he was going to be able to eat them all.
"Oh, yea."
He did take a few to share with a couple of co-workers so
he's not completely stingy.

If you usually wait until fall to get your firewood and you like morels,
spring wood-cutting might be something to consider.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Depression Era Sustainable Ways

Sometimes there are people
who impact our lives in unforeseen ways.
A dear friend will be 95 next weekend.
As you can imagine,
he has seen quite a few changes 
over the course of his life.
I thought I would share just a few of the tid-bits
that I've gained just by "swappin' stories."
When he was about 4-6 years old,
his bed was really a frame with a short lip around the edge.
This shallow 'box' held a mattress
filled with cedar bows.
To me it doesn't sound that comfy,
but he said though he was a child,
he remembers it as being pretty cozy.

There was no refrigeration growing up. 
To keep their butter and cream cool,
they had a wire cage that they wrapped well with gunny sacks.
They would set that in a large pan or tub
with a couple inches of fresh cool water in it.
As the water wicked up into the burlap,
evaporation kept the contents cool.

And lastly,
When they butchered something in summer,
they would hang the pieces (like a quarter of critter)
at least 30 feet high, up in a tree.
He said that is above the fly level.
It will "skin up" and have a skin on it as thick as the hide.
You cut that off and the meat inside is good.
He said he's eaten meat that has hung in a tree for a month,
and it is tender and delicious.

Okay, maybe if I had no other option,
but that one might worry me just a little.
I think the gunny sack cooler is brilliant,
and I bet that cedar smelled fabulous as he fell into slumber.

These are the kinds of things
I consider gems of knowledge.
Maybe that's part of the reason I love talking 
with elderly folks.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches