Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stormy day projects & going green

All day it has been foggy, raining or misting and thundering. So much for my idea of doing some tilling today while the girls went to the woods to look for mushrooms. Meanwhile, the potatoes and horseradish continue to sprout on my dining room table....(yes, I am aware they were supposed to have been planted in March, but it rains every time my husband is off work to work the garden soil up for me...)

So instead, we are cleaning house, sewing and hitting the books.

My current project is trying to figure out how to make a shopping bag out of men's bib overalls. I have several pairs that JD has worn the knees or rear end out of, that would make good shopping bags.

Reusable shopping bags are just one way we try to be "green" in our home. Being green not only helps the environment, but also keeps our utility bills lower as well. Here is a list of some of our ways.....

1. reusable shopping bags
2. CFL and LED light bulbs
3. rechargeable batteries
4. garden/can/freeze our own food. We reuse the same jars every year & save packaging as well as fuel to and from the grocery stores.
5. Baking from scratch and using reusable silicone pans, liners and cupcake liners.
6. Keep our heat between 63 and 67 during the winter
7. Keep the AC off unless it is really hot and humid. Then the AC is around 75.
8. Lights off when not in the room
9. Combining trips
10. Bulk shopping. I make an Aldi's run once every 4-6 weeks and buy items we need by the case when possible. This eliminates the shorter in between trips. I also buy flour, sugar and such in larger containers.
11. Reuse bags--smaller plastic bags are reused for trash bags. Large feed sacks and dog food bags also make good trash bags for the large sized kitchen trash cans.
12. We replaced our traditional Kenmore clothes washer with a Bosch front loading washer. Even the largest size load (which is twice the size load of the old machine) only uses 8 gallons of water. At 3 loads a week, it costs only $13 in electric per year to run. It has dropped our rural water bill by 60%.
13. Line drying when possible, although this spring, with the rain, it has not been possible. I could dry them in the basement, but right now our basement has baby ducks and chickens in it.
14. Combine baking. I usually bake several days worth of bread at the same time, and in with something else, so the oven is not used daily.
15. Use the crockpot and microwave more.
16. Refill ink cartridges at Walgreen's or recycle them for $3 coupon at Office Depot.
17. Print on both sides of the paper--that is a simple setting change on the printer, also set it to use less ink in the draft mode.
18. I am a mean mom--I limit my daughters showers to 5 minutes each. If I didn't they would be in them all day long!!
19. Keep your window glass and light bulbs clean of dust and dirt--it lets in more light and saves having to turn another light on.
20. Change your heating and cleaning filters more often--or buy the type you can wash.
21. Keep your dryer vents clean as well as the area under the refrigerators and freezers--it allows the motors to not have to work as hard and saves electric.
22. Aim for 1 or more "no drive days" a week.
23. Once a month have a "Little House on the Prairie" Day. No TV, and read as a family by candle or kerosene light (be careful!)
24. Check out freecycle, craigslist and thrift stores before buying new. It saves someone else from possibly putting a needed item into a landfill.
25. Don't clean with chemicals--I do most of our cleaning with lemon juice, salt, baking soda and vinegar.
26. Make your own soaps --I make our own laundry soap, dishwasher soap and sometimes hand soap.
27. Cut down on disposable items--such as disposable razors--use ones that only take a blade instead, cloth diapers for disposable ones.....


T. Rasher said...

Hmmm... I'm trying to picture worn out overalls fashioned into shopping bags. The shoulder straps would make sturdy handles. I'm going to start thinking more about this one.

These are great simple easy tips that won't inconvenience or cost much. Unless it's easy, most people won't keep up the green habits. One doesn't have to suffer to be green. And there are a lot of great ideas for family bonding and creativity.

I have a comment about # 3, rechargeable batteries. In addition to using rechargeable batteries instead of disposable alkaline batteries consider all the other cordless electronics that are powered by rechargeable batteries: laptop computers, cell phones, cordless phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, camcorders, power tools, two-way radios, electric toothbrushes, electric razors, just to name a few...

While these batteries can be charged up to 1,000 times and can last between 2-5 years, they can also be recycled after they can no longer hold a proper charge. Visit the nonprofit program,, type in your zip code to find convenient neighborhood drop off locations.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I really enjoy your blog! I will be adding you to my list.

Thanks for the comments you left on my blog!