Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #5–Recycling Egg Cartons

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

Banty Rooster2One of the best ways to reduce trash and support your community is to buy locally.  You will hear this theme over and over in my “No Waste” posts.  And most likely the local food you purchase will be better for you.  Less chemicals.  Fresh. 

In our semi-rural area, there are quite a few gentleman/woman farmers, and it seems everyone likes to have a few chickens in the yard.  (Love hearing that big Banty rooster crow a few blocks away.  That guy has lungs.)  We have a local gal who makes a Tuesday delivery to the house with a dozen, fresh brown eggs.  (They are so large they barely fit in the carton.)  She needs empty cartons for future egg collection and distribution; so when she drops off the eggs; we pass along the empty cartons. 

Does not get any easier than that.  Delicious.  You may not get egg delivery to your home, but I will bet most of you have access to local fresh eggs.  Often you can arrange for a carton exchange.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Retiring Early

Shoulder-high portrait of smiling man in his fifties wearing a black turtle neck shirt with a day-old beard holding a phone facing the viewer in his left handOne of the best motivational speeches ever given, in my opinion, is the one Steve Jobs (co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.) gave at the Stanford commencement in 2005.  His encouragement of living each day as if it was your last (he was battling cancer), was one of my catalysts for retiring early and pursuing interests that I did not have time for previously.  Yes, waiting for age 60 would have allowed us to have a bigger house and more elaborate trips, but they have not been missed.  No, not a bit.

The following is a portion of Steve’s speech that had an affect on me.  For the complete text of his speech, read

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Some food for thought for those of you struggling with the timing of your retirement or pursuing your dreams…

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #4–Refillable Spices (and Tea)

Next to the “downtown” coffee shop, Hurricane Coffee Company, is a small unassuming tea and spice store, the Sequim Spice and Tea Company.  A pretty young lady owns the business selling loose leaf tea, spices and rubs.  She happily fills my glass containers with tea of choice or salt/pepper grinders with sea salt and pepper corns.  Also very knowledgeable about natural remedies.

Always smells so great in there.  A very pleasant and fresh solution on the No Waste Quest.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ducks Afloat & Boats Ashore

Daytime winter temperatures tend to hover in the mid-40’s on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula.  Not bad for January in the northern parts of the US, but even a slight breeze off the ocean makes it a brisk walk.  Lots of bird activity—ducks (many kinds), eagles, owls, Trumpeter swans.  Really enjoy seeing the white Trumpeter swans.  Sorry, no pictures, but they are stunning.  Ballerinas in the sky.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #3–Popcorn

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

Felknor_Popper“Advancement” in our society is not always better.  We say microwave popcorn is NOT better.  Half the popcorn pops, the insides are loaded with artificial butter and microwave version usually contains tons of salt.  (There are low fat, low salt versions—ugh)  Then a bulky paper bag is left to be placed in the trash. 

Although many enjoy the air-poppers, we found the old-fashioned stove top popper with a stir mechanism makes the best popcorn (purchased on eBay for $10.99—it was new).  And you know what?  The popping time is no longer than the microwave.  We pour on real butter and the amount of salt to our liking.   No trash.  Better tasting.

We purchase popcorn in bulk from our local grocer (filling a bag we bring to the store).  Makes it mucho cheaper.

Monday, January 14, 2013


cloudsA few years before we retired and moved into the 5th wheel RV, I began a campaign to scan in all our snapshots.  All 12,000 of them.  I did not finish before we began our travels, but I did complete the scanning a few weeks ago.  They are saved “in the cloud”, on an external hard drive and on the laptop.  All pictures are cataloged in folders and tagged with key words allowing multiple sorting. 

Then, I threw away the hard copies.

You may be gasping, but I feel 10 pounds lighter and relieved.   Those photos have been taking up loads of space, hardly ever looked at, and fading fast.  Photos can now be viewed easily online, friends and family can view and they are probably safer than in the storage boxes.  (Please note:  older black and white “historical” photos and formal photos were kept)

This is so empowering, especially for those living on the road.  Think about it--our music is digitized, movies are digitized, our records are digitized—no more bulk.   The amount of physical space we need is shrinking every day. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fortune Star

Craved some Chinese noodle soup today and popped into the Fortune Star Restaurant for lunch.  While slurping up a delicious hot and spicy bowl, we heard a soft classical piano piece playing in the background.  “What nice background music.  Not the usual for the restaurant today, is it? 

Fortune Star entryLeaving the restaurant, in the atrium, was an small, elderly woman playing a baby grand piano.  (Why didn’t I notice the piano before?)  She was smiling with her eyes closed--clearly enjoying the sharing of her gift.  Just lovely.  Left a small tip in the jar. 

Hope she is there again when we get hungry for soup.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #2–Kitchen “Composter”

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

Kitchen ComposterOnce “organics” like potato peelings, egg shells, or dinner remains are placed in the kitchen trash, they begin to decay and stink.  If they happen to make their way into a fresh garbage bag at the bottom, it will begin to smell long before it is full.  The usual answer to this, is to take a semi-full bag out—resulting in many large plastic bags headed for the landfill.

So, we searched for a solution and found the kitchen composter (see picture).

Two weeks ago we purchased the kitchen composter and it is perfect for our scrap collection. A one gallon compost pail can hold two weeks’ worth of food scraps (depending on how many fruit and vegetable cast-offs we have).   It includes an activated carbon filter inside the vented lid for odor removal—no smells whatsoever.  It sits conveniently next to the sink.

This is an easy and efficient way to collect/recycle kitchen food scraps that will later be transferred to the big trash bag.  Or if you are really with it, the scraps can be transferred to worm compost bins or other composters in a natural garden.   Some day the outdoor composter may be a purchase—more research needed to make sure this will work out for us.

This little composter will be fantastic in our RV.  Such close quarters, you smell anything sour immediately.  Definitely will be packed along with us as we travel.

Mike was really skeptical about this new tactic, but we are both loving it.  Not only reduces our waste, but keeps the kitchen area fresh.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Love living on the Olympic Peninsula, and it IS beautiful here all year round, it is not crazy cold and lots of indoor social activities with friends during the winter.  BUT, we are missing the full-time RV life and traveling, in general.  Staying the winter here this year on the “O”, but next year we are heading out.  To repeat a local phrase, “If you are here, you are not all there.”  Which normally means we are in the perfect spot.  Ha.

PhotoWill start looking for a house sitter and workamping jobs for next year and get it all lined up.

Fun in Florida last winter, but the destination will be a little closer to home in the Borrego Springs area of California or somewhere in Arizona.  Must be near hiking and a golf course, and not too heavily populated.  Like to spend some more time in Napa, California on the way down and visit a few new Utah locations in the spring (after the cold; before the heat) on the way back north. 

SO…workamping is a new experience for us.  Will be investigating the methods for applying and open positions.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #1–Grocery Bags

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

Canvas Grocery BagsBea Johnson’s “Zero Waste Home” focuses on refusal as her first line of defense (  One of the easiest ways to cut down on trash is using your own grocery bags.  We learned very quickly living in the RV that those plastic grocery bags provided by the grocery store can take over our space and clog the trash can.  We have been practicing the following trick for a few years now.  By keeping 5-6 canvas bags handy in the back of the vehicle for a quick grab before charging into the store, the groceries can be bundled up and safely carried to the car.  Most stores even encourage the canvas bag use by giving you a 5 cent credit on your bill for each bag. 

And do not forget this applies to all shopping, not just groceries. 

First tip of the year – REFUSE plastic bags by providing your own.

Now, that was easy!

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