DIY Wall-Mounted Clothes Drying Rack

DIY Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack (5)

The ad on Freecycle said, Wooden Baby Pen, and described some sort of a freestanding baby jail made from dozens of dowels. With visions of a garden cucumber support in my head, I said I would love to have it, and could promise reliable pick up. Before I could worry about trellising cukes, laundry room inspiration hit [Continue Reading...]

Battle Coffee Pot vs. Microwave: An Energy Cost Analysis

In this corner: the coffee pot's keep-warm function!

For Christmas this year I got a new coffee pot. Among the wonders it offered over and above our old coffee pot (in addition to working) was a fabulous keep-warm feature that holds a pot of coffee at steaming hot perfection for four hours! Amazing, what will they think of next? While I love the [Continue Reading...]

Build A Lower Waste Lunch

Lacto-Fermented Pickles

A friend asked for some tips on packing lower-plastic and lower-waste lunches for her school-age son. This rather surprised me, since this particular friend is genuine cloth-diapering, Keystone XL Pipeline-protesting, etsy-craft-selling kind of girl. And in fact, when further questioned, it turned out my friend was already packing a pretty green lunch, but was looking [Continue Reading...]

Avoiding Plastic Wrap In The Kitchen

I’m not dogmatically anti-plastic, but I try to be thoughtful about how and where it is used in my house, and I am trying to cut down. My garden at this time of year grows under a tunnel cloche of plastic. Freezer stuff gets entombed in plastic, because it’s the best at preserving the bulk orders of [Continue Reading...]

Make Your Own Scented Liquid Soap – Cheap and Quick

For good or for ill, it’s Bath & Body Works season, L’Occitane season, Anthropologie season, Savon de Marseille season. It’s fancy-soap-with-fancy-smells season, and even my normally bare-bones, ascetic sensibilities when it comes to home and self care can loft a bit to the girly side. But not $32 plus $6 shipping for a 2 cups of [Continue Reading...]

The Only Good Fruit Fly Is A Dead Fruit Fly

Piles of ripening, and occasionally over-ripened, fruit, such as have been gracing my kitchen for about the last six weeks, bring with them fruit flies.  Man I hate those little bastards. Fruit flies just…appear. And once you have some of them calling your kitchen or your peaches or your compost home, they will swell to disgusting proportions [Continue Reading...]

Not Your Grandma’s Plastic Bag Dryer

My grandma used to wash and reuse plastic bags. This Depression-era action epitomized, to my parent’s generation, cheapness and time wasting. I distinctly remember my own minimalist-minded mother laughing about the hoard of used plastic sandwich bags her mother-in-law never threw away. Well everything old is new again, and now I’m a bag washer and re-user. Say [Continue Reading...]

DIY vs BUY Dishwashing Detergent

We were unloading the dishwasher yesterday and Homebrew Husband pulled a sparkling wine glass out of the top rack. Forgive me that ad-copy imagery, it irritates me even to write it, but there it is: the night before we had enjoyed wine with friends, and my man willingly unloads the dishwasher. The new look of better [Continue Reading...]

Chicken Crack: Homestead Upcycling

I am not the first to observe that livestock are an excellent way to convert waste scraps into food. But seeing your chickens go to town on a big bowl of, essentially, garbage, really hammers home the adage that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. This past weekend, like many, Homebrew Husband spent five leisurely hours [Continue Reading...]

Of Watts and Watt-Hours

This post has nothing to do with gardening – but it does have a great deal to do with sustainability and environmental awareness. It follows up to Erica’s experimentation with the Kill-A-Watt with a (brief) engineering lesson. Please, don’t be scared. I studied engineering for three years before realizing I hated it switching to English [Continue Reading...]

Can You Get Arrested if You Kill-A-Watt?

My local library system has partnered with my local power company to make Kill-A-Watt energy meters available for check-out, just like a book or video. A few weeks ago, I checked out a Kill-A-Watt. These things look like a remote control and a power strip had a baby. You plug your appliance into the Kill-A-Watt, [Continue Reading...]

Garbage Made Useful: Milk Jug Garden Scoops, Two Ways

Got Milk? Then you’ve got milk jugs. We don’t drink a huge amount of milk, but I do buy several gallons at a time to make yogurt. That leaves me with a lot of these: Empty plastic milk jugs are recyclable in my area, which is good, but they can also be made into handy [Continue Reading...]