Wednesday, December 25, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #42–Wrapping Up 2013

IMG_2373A long way, we have come.  Pleased with our progress to minimize our waste (our 2013 New Year’s resolution).  Lots of effective and easy habits.  Consistently, have 1/2 a garbage can full every other week.  There is more to be done, but all in all feel we are helping in our small way right now.

This accomplishment seems to only apply to our time spent in our home on the Olympic Peninsula.  When we travel, the ability to reduce waste becomes much, much more difficult.   The Peninsula businesses and services help residents A LOT by providing alternative packaging (none in some cases) and accessible recycling locations.  Other areas around the country—not so much.   Wish everyone would help and contribute.  It is NOT that hard.  Really.

The Olympic Peninsula is so spectacular; the vistas take my breath away every day.  Views over the water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island, the dramatic Olympic Mountains, calming lavender fields and rushing rivers.  Why would we want to trash it up with our garbage?

As far as travel, you probably noticed a lack of posts on that subject.  We are rethinking our approach to travel and how to document our time away.  Will say more in a few days. 

Life is short.  Need to make the most of our time.  Time to move on and make adjustments.  Next year is a big one—turning 60, wedding anniversary of 40 years, an overseas trip, some more sister/mom time in the works, and maybe a new member of the family. 

Merry Christmas!  And a very, happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #41–Healthy Diet = Less Waste (and Less Waist)

height-weight-chartLosing weight and exercise have eluded us for too long.  It is boring to write about the progress, so I did not and will not.  (This post is only in context to our zero waste goal.)  Hard work and determination.  Slowly making progress. Slowly.   When we reach our goal weight…perhaps…maybe…there will be a post to celebrate.  Then it is all about maintaining which sometimes is more difficult than losing (in my humble opinion).  Some lifestyle changes, for sure.

What is also rewarding about the process, besides losing weight,  is the reduced waste resulting from eating healthy.  Sticking to vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of protein results in less garbage (we are forsaking breads, crackers, starches in general, and sugar).   All that results are few meat wrappers, orange rinds, and cucumber peelings.   Another reason to stick to the new eating regime.

Not to mention a much reduced outflow of money.  Our monthly grocery spending is around $200 month now.  Not bad at all for us.  If I can start buying in season, the amount can probably be reduced even further. 

Hmmm, I think a new resolution is starting to gel for 2014.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #40–Traveling

Long time, no post.  Sorry.  Catching up now.

southern_ohioSpent a girls’ long weekend with my sisters and mom in southern Ohio this month (one sister is on work assignment in the area).  I have to say minimizing waste while traveling is almost impossible.  Obviously, you can’t take your own water or beverage on your flight.  The options to bring an empty canister to fill later past security are lacking.  Due to health concerns everything is focused on disposable items.  I am not sure how to counter this.  A pretty pathetic situation for many reasons.

But, the visit was fabulous.  My sister bought a historic home in Jackson, Ohio built 120 years ago.  I tend to pooh-pooh the supernatural, but I had my moments.  Was it “smoke” that filled the room the first night or were my eyes tired and unfocused? 

Sister Tracy did a wonderful job furnishing the home in thrift finds and wonderful purchases on  A great front porch for my mom, sister #2, me and the Ohio sister to gather in the evenings for several bottles of wine.  With leaves turning and unseasonably warm weather, we had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #39–Electronic Waste

computerwasteWashington State is working hard to at least recycle e-waste (computers, cell phones, televisions) through their E-Cycle Washington program.  But, I would love to see a proactive approach by manufacturers to “reuse” the shell somehow.  It seems as if the size of the units are now very close to the same as previous version such as flat screen televisions, iPhones, etc.   Probably not practicable—would certainly cut down on the amount waste, though.

For more information on the Washington State electronics recycling program,  visit E-Cycle Washington.

My laptop is nearing the end.  Will be looking into the recycling program to avoid adding to the heap.  According to the EPA’s 2009 figures (the year the program began in Washington), 82.3% of the 3.19 million tons of e-waste generated in this country ends up in landfills or incinerators, where dangerous toxins can leach into groundwater or get released into the air. The portion collected for recycling is largely exported to developing countries, which lack regulations to protect workers or the environment. In Washington, millions of pounds of unwanted electronic products were heading to landfills each year.

E-Cycle Washington has helped to change that by providing a comprehensive and convenient network of free collection sites. For the new program, the manufacturers have voluntarily committed to using recyclers who meet preferred standards developed by the Department of Ecology.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #38–Donate Your Wedding Dress

28-Wedding PictureNext year my husband and I will be married 40 years.  Forty years.  We had a big wedding and I had a big wedding dress (the train behind seemed to go for miles).  My younger sister wore the same dress at her wedding (looking beautiful, of course).  After her wedding, the dress sat in a closet gathering dust and yellowing with age. 

For thirty years the dress moved from house to house as we moved, taking up a good portion of valuable closet space.  Until I read an article about a charity accepting wedding dresses.  This particular charity accepted older style wedding dresses and with the help of talented seamstresses, they updated and sold.  Proceeds are then given to cancer research, breast cancer in particular. 

After a thorough cleaning at the dry cleaners I donated the dress and never had a regret.  Someone else is enjoying a full-blown white wedding dress for their big day and I am making a difference in the fight against cancer.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #37–Hang on to Your Car

DSC_0015 - CopyA different point of view than our green-minded friends buying the latest hybrid…We are holding onto our gas-guzzling car (well, it is actually an SUV).  It is now 14 years old and well over 100,000 miles.  We plan to keep it another 14 years.  And our car commitment is not unusual.  The average life expectancy of a new car in 1930 was just under 7 years.  Many of today’s cars are expected to last 250,000 miles, ours included, if maintained properly and driven reasonably (avoiding an accident).

We like taking good care of our belongings.  We stand up a little taller and prouder when someone is surprised at the age of our vehicle. (We park way out in the “north 40” to avoid dreaded car dings.)   And really that is the way everyone should treat their cars.

Yes, you are right to say our vehicle is probably not getting the gas mileage of a new car.  But, the price of a new car will buy a whole lotta’ fuel.  AND I really like the fact, it is one less vehicle headed for disposal, at least not for a long time.

Yes, there will come a point in our car’s life when the maintenance becomes too costly.  When the time comes, we will invest in a fuel efficient model.  Maybe, when we are ready to buy, the cars will be off gas/diesel all together.  For now we are happy with our SUV--let the good times roll or “laissez les bons temps rouler”.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #36 - Communal Living

IMG_2797Not quite a commune, we live in a neighborhood of townhouses.  (Contemporary U.S. definition of a townhouse means an attached dwelling on land owned by the homeowner. )  In our case, the homes are paired (duplex) and surrounded by a small yard with grass and landscaped with flowers.   Although there are a few downsides to attached dwelling living, for us the benefits far outweigh the bad. 

[Photos of our home]

IMG_2798Ours is a very tight knit community with everyone watching out for each other whether it is helping out someone in poor health, keeping an eye on a vacationing friend’s home, or enjoying regular potlucks, a game of cards or holiday celebrations. 

The lifestyle is very much in tune with the zero waste concept, too.  In a single home, often the yard debris is thrown into large plastic garbage bags.  The grass and clippings will either wait on the curb each week for garbage pickup or the owner drives to the nearest landfill to dump.    For us, the small yards are tended by a single groundskeeper with grass and cuttings collected loosely in the back of his open trailer. 

One trip to the organic recycling location once a week and no plastic bags.  A very nice benefit to “communal” living.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


DSC_0026 (5)The Dungeness River (about a mile from our place) is now overrun with thousands (as many as 100,000) of Pink salmon or humpback salmon known locally as pinks or humpies.  They are small (about a foot to two feet long) and I am told they are the most abundant of our Pacific salmon.  We spent the afternoon watching their migration up the river to spawn.   During their spawning migration the males develop a humped back and yeah, you got it, that is why they are called “humpies”!  (The pink color of this fish's flesh is due to their diet of shrimp and krill.)

DSC_0003At different points along the shallow river, you can watch the females dig a trough with her tail.  The male swims up beside and I am guessing, he then fertilizes the eggs as they are deposited.  At least that is what is supposed to be happening, but you really do not get close enough to see the detailed “operation”.

Exciting to see so many salmon and hopefully they will produce a large hatch available for catching in next year’s fishing season! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #35–Subscriptions

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/12

magazine_2I gave up magazine and newspaper subscriptions many years ago.  Not only do they cost (introductory offers are inexpensive, but eventually it adds up), the continuous receipt day after day, month after month means stacks and stacks of paper.  And the glossy pages of magazines are not always eligible for the recycle bin.  Plus, magazines are so full of advertisements, the articles are practically lost. 

Almost all magazine and newspaper content are now found on the internet.  International and National news are now real-time.  Local news feeds to my Facebook page throughout the day.  Informative blogs on subjects that interest me are everywhere.  You can even access favorite magazines on-line.  Colorful photos of creative ideas are endless.  Instead of tearing out a page to save an idea or image for future reference, the photo and link can now be saved or pinned to a virtual “bulletin board” on my Pinterest internet account. 

Why do I need a hard copy?  I do not.  Stop and save a tree!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #34–No Words

Watermelon Suit




Recent Facebook post from a friend.  Perfect.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #33– Old Fashioned Cake Mascara

“Way back when” in my high school days, one of my girl friends used old fashioned cake mascara.  It was applied with a brush wand and worked wonderfully.  Of course, she had beautiful eyes to begin with; but the cake mascara seemed much smoother with no clumps.  Very beautiful and soft looking.  Unlike my tar-based tube mascara—used back then and now. 

I think I finally found an equivalent cake mascara on Etsy.  Made with vegan products of soy wax, oxide and other natural ingredients.   The cute little tin container can be re-used.  It is unclear whether I can return the empty tin to the maker for refilling, but worth pursuing.  If not, maybe I can learn to make my own?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #32–Keep Purging

The Zero Waste lifestyle takes some time to adopt, especially with the slow purging of previous purchases not following the guidelines.   A friend of mine mistakenly thought we had finally eliminated our garbage pick-up.  Although we are consistently down to one medium trash bag every two weeks, the pick-up is still required.  As we use up products contained in plastic or canned goods, our dry trash fills up.  Slowly plastic is being replaced with glass containers or recipes made from scratch rather than canned/packaged. 

If you have elected to follow along with our commitment to zero waste, I would encourage you not to be discouraged with a full trash bin.  The lifestyle change takes time.  Just the adjustments we have made in the last 7 months have made a huge difference.  Hang in there.

If you need encouragement, watch Bea Johnson’s YouTube video featured by Sunset Magazine. 

Watching this video was my original inspiration to begin!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #31–Souvenirs

T Shirt SouvenirSeveral years before we learned of the zero waste movement, the idea of purchasing souvenirs during a trip was abandoned.   With the exception of one small painting, all the souvenirs we bought over the years were tossed at some point.  T Shirts.  Pens.  Trinkets.  These days we will either buy a consumable--local homemade jam, cheese, bread hot from the oven—or another painting by a local artist.

Another idea someone passed along—buy the T Shirt from your second store before the trip.  Enjoy it and donate it again.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Art Show

The month of October I will be showing some of my paintings at the Olympic Theater (in their “intermission gallery”) in Sequim.  Not sure if I am ready for this, but I guess there is a first time for everything.  Pondering which to hang with the following to consider…and I will probably complete a couple more in the next two months.  There are a few I need to photograph and they are not included below.



SCAN1834 (2)IMG_2765



Monday, July 29, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #30–Food Waste

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/12.

FoodWasteLike us, many are enjoying pot lucks and barbeques this summer.  Friends and family are visiting.  Vacations are underway.  And like us, you are buying too much food and cooking/preparing volumes uneaten.  Lots of food is wasted. 

The “Love Food, Hate Waste” website,, is based in the United Kingdom; but applies to anyone wanting to cut down on food waste.  “When you throw away food you are not just wasting the food, but also the resources such as energy, fuel, time and water that went into growing, harvesting, storing, transporting and cooking the food.” 

Great tips and calculators for planning portions for two or twenty.  Also provides guidelines for food storage.  (Note:  When the website describes saving pounds, remember they are talking money not your weight!  HaHa) 

Not only do we want to cut down on our waste, saving pounds/dollars is just as important.  Food for thought.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #29–Nail Polish

nailpolishLike most women, I have tried out my share of nail polish on fingers and toes.  Wild colors applied either by me or at the salon.  Pink.  Red.  French.  Little Jewels.  Painted Flowers.  Who knows how much it has cost to date and how much harmful acetone was used to take it off.

Stop the madness.  Seriously, stop.  As of today, for me, no more.  Just a good old fashioned cleaning with a stiff brush, push back the cuticles (my Dad told me when I was a little girl you had to see the “moon” at the base of the nail), and buff the nails for a good shine.  It looks healthy, it feels good, no harmful chemicals, and you will save a bundle (time and money).   No more hazardous waste in the trash, either.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tall Ship

IMG_2801Our little marina had a special ship visiting today.  A very tall ship, named Lady Washington.  The following is the official website description of the ship.  My picture really does not do justice to the size and the intricate rigging.  Really fun to see up close.

Launched on March 7, 1989, the Lady Washington was built in Aberdeen, Wash., by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public development authority. The new Lady Washington is a full-scale reproduction of the original Lady Washington.

In 1787, after the war, she was given a major refit to prepare her for a unprecedented trading voyage around Cape Horn. In 1788, she became the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America.

A pioneer in Pan-Pacific trade, she was the first American ship to visit Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. Lady Washington opened the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and Asia when King Kamehameha became a partner in the ship.

The modern Lady Washington was thoroughly researched by historians and constructed by skilled shipwrights. She was launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration. The new Lady Washington is a U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified passenger sailing vessel.

No Waste Wednesday #28–Oyster Shell Recycling

oystersIn our neck of the woods on the Olympia Peninsula, recycling oysters shells is not only required; but critical to the survival of oysters.  Removing large, edible-sized Pacific oyster shells from a beach removes tiny Pacific and Olympia oysters which are attached to the larger shells.  Removing a legal limit of 18 oysters may actually remove three to five times that number of oysters - young oysters which would otherwise remain on the beach and grow to edible size.

The circle of life.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #27–A Convert

No, not a convict.  A convert.  My husband.


Yesterday, I was about to toss our expired hair appointment cards into the recycle.  The husband says, “What are you doing!?” 

“Well, I am about to recycle these expired appointment cards from our hairstylist.”

“Did she write the appointment in pencil?”


He walks over, grabs a pencil eraser and erases the date off the card.  “Here, ask her to write the new date on the card the next time we go in.  We can reuse these.”

Wow!  I am loving my zero waste man!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Salt Creek–Port Angeles (and the last Fitness Friday)

turtle-islandLast year I did a short hike with my hiking group starting at Salt Creek County Park.   Stunning location.  Vowed to bring the husband back soon.  Today, we made the trip (about 20 miles) and it was just as impressive as the first visit.  Located on the west side of Port Angeles on Highway 112 (a few miles off Highway 101).  The only downside of the trip was the holiday traffic on Highway 101 was horrible. 

World War 2 Bunker, Salt Creek Recreational Area, Port Angeles, WA USASalt Creek Campground includes 90 sites, 72 of which have views of the water. Some are in open areas while others are in forested locations.

The park was once the site of a World War II installment known as Fort Hayden.  Parts of the fort still exist, including a number of small bunkers and two concrete bunkers that once housed 16 inch cannons.

Now a word about my fitness and health plan.  Good intentions, but I need more motivation.  Drinking 32 ounces of water a day--check.  Daily stretching—need a morning commitment.  Daily exercise—shake it up between golf, walking, and biking.  Eating right—yeah, right—gotta work on it.  But, writing about it, is not helping.  Sorry, I thought a weekly commitment made public would help out. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #26 - Entertaining

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/12 –eliminate unnecessary trash from our lifestyle

olive-assortmentSince retiring, we find we do a lot more entertaining.  And entertaining always includes food, at least appetizers!  In the past, I would stop in at Costco and purchase a couple of pre-made packages to serve.  I love Costco both for its prices and the way they treat their employees (good wages, benefits, and management philosophy) but wow, they package the heck out of their products.



Instead I have found inspiration (again) from Bea Johnson (the author of the Zero Waste website) with suggested appetizers from the bulk section of our favorite grocer or easy to make. 

     - Mixed Nuts

     - Cookies (our grocer has three different types of “fig newtons” with either raspberry, fig, or apricot filling)

     - Olives (from the olive bar)

     - Candy (chocolate chunks or chocolate covered fruit)

Easy to make items include deviled eggs, toasted sliced baguettes with cheese, any kind of chopped veggie with a home-made spread. 

We are also collecting wonderful recipes and ideas from others when we join them at their place!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fitness Friday #2

MtWalkerViewWell.  My inactivity over the winter months caught up with me today.  Went for a round trip 5-mile hike on Mt. Walker (2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down).  It is a steep, continuous climb and last year it would not have been a problem.  Made it up 2 miles and that was it.  My legs were like lead.  Coming down was worse.  I have had back issues for about 10 years and this last year it has affected the iliotibial band on the right leg.  So….halfway down the leg simply gave out.  Surprised the heck out of me.  Never hurt; just simply collapsed.  Finally stood up after a couple of tries and slowly made it down the mountain.  

So, what does that tell me.  I need to strengthen my legs, focus on my core to help my back and just begin walking on a regular basis.  No more once a week strenuous hikes until I am confident I have my strength again.

This week I will start with morning stretches to focus on the back and get some sort of daily walking exercise.

As an aside….We did drive up to the Mt. Walker summit once we made it back to the car.  You can look out over the Puget lowlands to the Seattle skyline and beyond.  In June, rhododendrons grow wild along the steep slopes of Mount Walker and they were spectacular. I hear Mount Walker is one of the best places in the state to witness the state flower.  Worth the trouble—driving or walking.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #25–Organization

Halfway through the year, we realize the most important habit in zero waste management is ORGANIZATION.  If you are not prepared with your canvas totes, mesh produce bags, empty bottles, and cotton bags, the whole thing falls apart.  We keep our “kit” in the back of the car, ready to use when hitting the store.  Here is what we have on hand:

Grocery_ShoppingLarge canvas totes (2) – to carry bulky items

Medium canvas totes (3) – to carry eggs, produce, and meat

Mesh produce bags (4) – bags up our weekly vegetables and fruit

Cotton bags for bulk products – bags up oatmeal, rice, spaghetti, flour, sugar, snacks, bread

Reusable bottles – syrups, honey, peanut butter, shampoo, laundry detergent (local stores offer fill your own)

This seems to be working, but we continue to fine-tune the kit.  Our bags are not the fancy packable nylon type that fold up to a small square; but, hey,  they are fine and there is no need to spend the extra money.  After you remember to bring in the bags and bottles for a few weeks, it all becomes routine.

[No, the photo is not me—some sort of publicity for Victoria Beckham.  I thought it was related in a very strange way. HaHa!]

Any one shaking their head at all of this, please know that our kitchen garbage can is still empty and has been for a week….

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fitness Friday #1

The Wednesday blog posts documenting our weekly changes to reduce garbage and attempt to manage a zero waste home have been very effective.  One new habit a week and documenting it, seems to make it stick.  Is it possible to apply this method to other areas of our life? 

Up until now, I have avoided the dreaded weight loss resolution.  Mainly, because I never had a good plan to follow through.  But this one small weekly lifestyle change with the zero waste just may be the approach for working towards a healthier lifestyle.  My doctor said it is time to lose a few pounds.  (At my age, it is not about looks any more!)  Okay.

DependWith help of two friends (yeah, I did some fast talking to get them to join in), we will attempt to incorporate one healthy eating habit or exercise goal each week.  Small steps.  Baby steps.   

This week’s habit:

The most basic.  Water.  64 ounces. 

My plan:  One glass (16 ounces) in the morning, one with dinner, and the other 32 ounces in an insulated thermos going with me wherever I go.

Wanda’s plan:  OK.....Mine is also the 64 (I am going to have to learn how to swim and wear Depend, me thinks) ounces of water a day !!!

Nancy’s plan:  I’ll start with the water!

Monday, June 10, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #24–Central Market

1017About 30 miles from here is one great grocery store in Poulsbo, Washington—Central Market.  I love Trader Joe’s, but this is even better than TJ’s.  They have it all including a very comprehensive bulk food section.  We are able to buy bulk quite a bit closer to home, but Central Market has much, more to select from.  Worth it to visit once every three months, which will include a visit to an out-of-this-world deli for lunch (pick from traditional sandwiches, ethnic food or a fresh hot pasty.)

Bulk foods are, on average, 89 percent lower in price than packaged goods.  It is also a great way to discover new foods with minimal investment.  Remember to bring your own bags!!

  • Spices, grains, flours, granolas, snacks, trail mixes, nuts, beans, rice, pasta and candy
  • Local specialty candies include Fran’s, Seattle Chocolates and truffles by Coastal Mist Chocolates
  • Pour-your-own oils, maple syrup, honey, soy sauce, and other liquids
  • Grind-your-own nut butters

poulsbo_fallBesides the produce and bulk foods, they have a large variety of local seafood.  Very impressive.

Poulsbo is a beautiful little town and fun to visit.  Lots of reminders of their Norwegian heritage are everywhere.  Usually we breeze through on our way to the Bainbridge ferry to downtown Seattle.  Need to spend a little more time exploring. [Photo from the Front Street Gallery]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

No Waste Wednesdays #23–Fresh Bread

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

breadBased in Port Townsend, Pan d’Amore, bakes wonderful bread.  We buy the bread either from their satellite store in Sequim (and when we visit Port Townsend) and from grocers selling local products.  They sell their breads in paper bags rather than plastic.  Easy to recycle or burn in the outdoor fireplace. 

Perhaps I can take the next step and eliminate the paper altogether.   With a clean pillow case stenciled with the word “bread”, two loaves can be purchased about every other week.  No need to deal with double plastic packaging when you get it direct from the baker.

Sometimes we buy the sourdough and other weeks the baquette.  After slicing, it goes into the freezer to keep fresh (the refrigerator dries out the bread).  The thick slices are used for French toast or smeared with butter and garlic to eat with the spaghetti.   The thinner are for sandwiches or sopping up soup. 

Better tasting than the fluff you buy in the grocery chain stores.  What is not to like?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Whimsical Birdhouses

IMG_2770Every Saturday at the Sequim Farmer’s Market, we would oh and ah over the birdhouses sold by local craftsman, Val Jackson.  Made from fallen trees and branches, old barn wood and driftwood; each birdhouse is unique made with love by Val. 

birdhouse_val_jacksonWe finally broke down and bought one, but we had the opportunity to visit Val at his home to pick out our favorite.  Val and his wife, Nancy, live on 14 wooded acres next to McDonald Creek.  During the summer months, their time is devoted to building birdhouses, gnome homes and bird feeders.  When the weather turns cold, Val devotes his time to the business of consulting as electronics engineer with his wife also very much involved in the business.  Creative and analytical. 

IMG_2771Now if we can get a occupant in the birdhouse, all will be well.  Maybe we will list it with one of the local real estate offices and put a tiny “for sale” sign out front.

You can see more on Val’s website:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #22–No More Paper Napkins

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

napkinsThis is easy and adds style to your table.  Colorful cloth napkins or sparkling white are so much nicer to use than paper.  A bit of class at the table.  Toss them into the wash when finished.  If you are especially finicky, buy only white and add bleach to the wash.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #21–Honey, Honey

Just north of our home is an large orchard and apiary (home for honey bees)—the Sailing S Orchard and Apiary.  The farm has a small shed (known as the 'Honey House”) next to the road selling pints and quarts of local honey.  Purchases are on the honor system and you return the empty jar when your honey is gone.

IMG_2769We love buying locally grown, raw honey.   Once you taste high-quality, local, unpasteurized honey you will not buy syrupy, grocery-store honey in the little bear bottles again.   Not only is it delicious, but local honey contains the immune stimulating properties needed for your body to adapt to its environment (helps alleviate allergies).

Read the following post from the Leaf and Grain blog for more information on raw honey benefits:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #20–Homemade Lotion

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/12

homemade lotionI use a lot of lotion.  Every morning after I shower,  I slather up my arms and legs with body lotion.  I moisturize my face and lips every day.  Plastic pump containers.  Plastic tubes.  Plastic jars.  Have you noticed all the chemicals in the listed ingredients?  I decided there had to be a less expensive, healthier and plastic-free approach.

After searching websites for homemade lotion recipes, I found an wonderful blog containing all kinds of recipes for homemade products.  And probably the best and truly simple recipe for homemade lotion.

After gathering the ingredients to make lotion (there are only three—beeswax, olive oil, and essential oil scent), a friend and I set out to make our lotion today.  And I am happy to announce it turned out fantastic!  Maybe only one downside is the color—made from local beeswax the color is yellowish-brown.  Not pretty, but the moisturizing result is great. 

What I especially like are the multiple uses—body lotion, lip balm, and facial moisturizer.  AND the storage container is the same container you use to “cook” the product. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #19–“The Green Thing”

The following “joke” has been circulating on Facebook for a while now.  Funny, but sad.  I know I am part of the problem.  I think the “older” generation had it right.  We have lost our way in our quest for what we think is progress or efficiency.


Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days“.

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations“.

She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have….

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #18–Carbonated Beverages

dietcokeDiet pop (or soda, depending where you live) has always been a staple in our diets.  And there are more and more studies out there on how bad this drink is for you.  We have finally weaned off the stuff and not really missing it any more.

In terms of waste, the aluminum cans were easy to recycle.  Lots of receptacles collecting to raise money for charity or clubs.  But, it is much better to avoid in the first place. 

Not cheap either, so we are saving quite a bit by not buying. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Painting with Pastels–Rooster #1

Monday Project – Need color above our kitchen cabinets.  I would say this will add some color.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Painting with Pastels (Chalk)

IMG_2763Just tried painting with pastels (chalk) and I love it!  It may be my favorite medium now.  The painting is from a photograph taken at the Oregon Painted Hills. 

There was a rain storm in the mountains so the clouds were a bit dark, but the sun was still peeking through.

Desert hills in the foreground with the mountains in the distance.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #17–Progress

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/2012

earth-dayWith the efforts mentioned over the last 16 weeks, we are already down to about a medium bag a month, if you exclude the compost bags.  The compost bags are about the size of a sandwich bag and we average one a week.  Gathering more ideas to decrease the medium bag.  Unless we start some type of real composting, the small bags are here to stay. 

Progress!  Earth Day observed knowing we are doing our part. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #16–Butter

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

butterBig Box grocers sell butter wrapped in wax paper and then placed in a small cardboard box.  Not too bad in terms of waste.  You can deal with a small amount of paper and recycle the cardboard.  If you buy margarine, unfortunately you have to deal with the plastic tub. 

There are a lot of dairy farms near our place, and we are able buy large blocks of locally produced butter at our small, local grocer--Sunny Farms.  The block is wrapped simply in cellophane.  We place the block in a sealed, reusable container to use over a couple of weeks.

It would be tough for us to go back to margarine in the big tubs.  Fresh butter is the best--very tasty.  Lots of product with very little waste.  And unlike plastic, cellophane decomposes.  I can live with that.

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