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...]

Green Your Greens: DIY Convenience Produce

Here’s the thing those plastic bags and clear clamshells of pre-washed lettuces and greens have going for them: they are super convenient. Need a salad in 25 seconds? Done. Need a handful of baby spinach to throw in an omelette? Easy. Need a mix of baby braising greens like kale and chard as a side [Continue Reading...]

Garbage Made Useful: Wire Hangers Into Garden Staples

If you or a housemate work off the farm at one of those jobs that require clean, starched shirts, you probably have a lot of dry-cleaner’s wire hangers kicking around the house. We return our wire hangers to our dry cleaners for re-use (better for the earth and helpful to the small business owners who [Continue Reading...]

Homemade Biodegradable Pots From Toilet Paper Tubes

Our household generates plenty of toilet paper rolls. We’ve switched to cloth on just about everything else, but I’m not ready to make our house a TP-free Zone just yet (sorry, No Impact Man).   I save up toilet paper rolls (by the simple means of not emptying the powder room garbage nearly as often as I should) [Continue Reading...]