Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day is Every Day

Happy Earth Day! It is wonderful that we as a country are experiencing a collective consciousness in that all of us are more aware of the need to help the earth on a daily basis.

Due to budget restraints, I learned about cutting energy usage from my parents. If you were not in a room, that light better be turned off. No radios were left on in bedrooms, either. Our garbage was separated...paper in one bag and plastic, foil, cans, etc, in another. Dad burned the paper. Never would he burn plastics or other harmful materials. Dad limed the grass; he never fertilized it. We had to reuse our brown paper lunch bags until they fell apart! Seriously! We weren't perfect by any means, but those little things that were money savers ended up helping the earth in a small way.

I must admit, my own family is not as diligent as other folks, but I have developed some good habits that hopefully help. My pet peeve is plastic grocery bags. I despise them. I have about 8 cloth bags that are awesome. I can get so much more in those bags and they do not strangle my fingers. No more weak handles that tear apart splattering the goods all over the dirty parking lot. I ask for the groceries to be packed to the hilt which provides good exercise for my arms to carry them up the steps and onto the kitchen counter. I rarely see anyone around here with those bags when I go to Walmart, Kroger, etc. What a shame.

Our lights are not on until the evening or unless bad weather darkens the house. I turn out the lights immediately. The good husband (bad!) does not. I turn the TV off. The good husband leaves it on. We are both guilty for not unplugging our cell phone chargers which I understand uses electricity regardless if it is charging or not. My outlet is behind a piece of furniture. Excuses, excuses, I know! We do use those special light bulbs but they have mercury in them which prevents normal disposal. I no longer buy bottled water unless I am on a trip. We have a well which we love so we do not use city water. It is advised to close the doors of unused rooms; I do that anyway to prevent curious kitties from distributing their fur in the clean guest bedrooms. I try to buy milk from cardboard containers and not plastic...but what about the trees? I tell myself trees can be planted, cardboard can be burned but plastic stays in the ground forever. We have energy star appliances, and the list goes on and on...
My diesel car is being repaired at the moment. Diesel...ughhh. When I visited a friend in Vermont a couple of years ago, that was the first thing out of his mouth...why are you driving that thing?? Well, think of it this way, my car has 166,000+ miles on it since my good husband bought in 1994. How many cars did he buy in the past 15 years? Are his old cars lying in junk piles now? I figure a repair here and there beats a huge monthly payment. I learned something amazing from my car doctor last weekend...he uses old oil from area restaurants to run his vehicles. He strains it of course, but I think that is the ultimate!

I have a great idea for cat litter. I used to use wood pellets for the horses bedding but it got too dusty and Jess would cough. Now I pour some in the barn cats litter box and they love it! The box does not stink even if you haven't cleaned it for several days. The pine absorbs the odors very well. I tried it with Princess' box and of course, she didn't approve. Bad kitty! But there is that dilemma again...which is worse...contributing to cutting southern pine trees or cat litter that does not disintegrate and is not earth friendly? The 40 pound bag costs $6.49 and last for months... yes, months!

Have you ever heard of juicing? No, not juice from fruit...juice from horse manure. Yep, horse puckies! Last year our neighbor wanted some of those brown balls and of course I said yes, go to it! He explained that he lets several sit in water (not sure how long) and then waters his new plants with it. His tomatoes plants were green as could be but my good husband said that they didn't yield much...Hmmmm....I have some in a bucket soaking for four days now. I think after a week or more, I am going to water my flowers with it and see what happens. Of course, we have a nice long manure pile that has sat for 5 years. Time to get that good black bottom material and spread it on the vegetable garden in May. And by the way, I read that we should not till the earth as it contributes to topsoil erosion. Do you till before you plant? We always have...

So, what do you do to reduce your carbon footsteps? I would love to read your suggestions about how you help the earth!


Ali said...

I have heard that you should only till once and not too deep. Yeah, ya gotta till a little, especially when adding in manure in the fall! =) Farmers disc the fields in the spring, although they don't always do it. When we have beans planted they don't usually disc...Anyway... I am going to have to try the juicing thing, never thought of that, but it sounds like a great idea...wonder if you could sell it jarred? hmm...Great post and happy Earth Day!

Pony Girl said...

You have some great ideas. Sounds like your parents did well with you! :) I try to do my share, but I could be better. I bought a few of those cloth grocery bags, but often forget them when I go to the store. I do recycle plastic bags. And I sort my trash into recyclables. I don't have a lot of lights on, ever. I use small lamps around the house, instead of bright overhead lights. I turn the heat down at night, when I'm at work, and when I'm on vacation.
One thing I'd like to do more of is buy products that aren't packaged in a ton of extra cardboard and plastic. I mean, at Costco I bought mascara that was packaged in the middle of a piece of 11x10 cardboard. Huh? Couldn't figure that one out! I feel guilty now!

Paint Girl said...

I try to what I can. We recycle, turn off lights etc. I know there is so much more we could be doing. I am guilty of leaving cell phone chargers plugged in, I use those plastic grocery bags, well, my other half uses those plastic grocery bags, he does the grocery shopping. Interesting idea for cat litter! I also love your poop in the bucket of water, let me know if it works!

Anonymous said...

What a great blog, I'm so glad that I found it!
You're absolutely right, basic frugality that some of us were taught at a young age...made us "green" without even knowing it:) Nothing in my house was disposable (with the exception of the obvious). The thought of simply replacing things all the time, didn't exist.
I love Blue, paints have always been my favorite!
...and the juicing idea is pure genius. I have plenty of access to horse "puckies" so I think that I'll give it a try.
Truly enjoyed the read:)