For no good reason whatsoever, I’ve decided today is a good day to take stock of where I stand, on all these challenges I’ve signed on for.
One Local Summer:
-Doing better all the time on this one!
We are becoming acquainted with the vendors at the farmer’s market, the kids and I are slowly learning to cook real food, and our diet has definitely improved. Local food sneaks into the majority of our meals without our even realizing it!
I’ve also noticed other people making a point of telling me about places that sell local food, meals they made from farmer’s market finds, etc. I don’t know if this is indicative of an overall trend, or if they just want me to shut up about our own local finds, but I’m excited about it all the same.
One Can a Month Challenge:
-Sigh. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that we need to start a compost pile. The worms, bless their five hearts apiece, simply cannot keep up with all the corn cobs and watermelon rinds. Negotiations with the other adult half of this household are still underway.
Our first week of landfill-bound garbage, which the trash man arrived earlier than usual to pick up and thus I missed photographing for your viewing pleasure, was definitely more than a quarter-can, but I’d guess less than half.
The bulk of it was made up of:
- OJ, heavy cream, and coffee creamer in non-recyclable waxboard containers (bought before signing on for the challenge, have since switched over to recyclables)
- styrofoam packaging from meat (am looking into local meats at small butcher shops, where hopefully things will be wrapped in paper) and from marked-down rescued produce ( bananas for bread, why is this packaged in styrofoam anyway?)
- plastic clamshells that housed our organic strawberries- not recyclable in our area
- those pesky cobs and rinds
- guinea pig bedding (looking for alternatives here as well)
- a ridiculous amount of hard plastic that our new doorknobs and locks came in. We have had these for well over a year and for some reason Jeff decided this was the perfect time to bust them out and install them. I think he just wanted to skew the results.
Our awareness has been raised. Next week will be better.
Keep Your Cool; Skip the A/C:
Technically not really a challenge, more a public affirmation. We went without the air conditioning last year for financial reasons, and it’s our primary reason for leaving it off this year. But, air’s off, so we are holding to the terms of the challenge, whatever our incentive may be.
We have strategically placed fans and stoic natures, and on the hottest of the hot we go to the pool. No big deal, really, but August has yet to come, in all its hot, hazy, humid glory. You may expect the whining to commence in time.
Victory Garden Drive:
- We’ve been harvesting our green beans and our sugar snap peas twice a week, although it looks like the peas are petering out. In combination with our farmer’s market shopping, this ensures that we no longer have to do a mid-week shopping trip for fresh produce.
- The tomatoes look very promising, and I think we’ll be able to put a ridiculous amount by to take us through the winter.
- I may have to try drying the basil, the chamomile, and the parsley so that none goes to waste. (Advice appreciated!)
- The lettuce bolted, so that goes to the guinea pig (she is very happy about this).
- The pepper plants are just beginning to bud, I am really hoping they do well so that I can freeze peppers for the winter…Peppers cost an insane amount out-of-season! I think red and yellow peppers were selling last winter for over $3 a pound. (That’s for conventionally grown; our grocery store didn’t even carry organic peppers.)
- The carrots are not looking so hot, I think they may have been over-enthusiastically weeded and thinned. Perhaps another planting is in order.
I hesitate to call it a victory; certainly what we preserve will not suffice to feed us for any extended period of time. But we are slowly gaining in confidence and knowledge, and next year we will be ready and willing to take on much more.
I am going to have to start freezing them, or start hawking them on the side of the road.
Last night I ate green beans for dinner with a side of spaghetti.
Clothesline Challenge, 100% Line Dry:
-More challenging now that the days are more humid and temperamental.
Often I bring clothes in as big droplets of rain begin to fall, only to have the sun come right back out; since most of it is on hangers, though, it’s not a big deal to move it back and forth.
Of course, I sometime guess wrong in the other direction, and the clothes get a bit rained on, so they spend the night drying on the shower curtain bar, or slung over chairbacks.
As far as using the clothesline photos as test subjects to learn Photoshop, however, I’ve totally dropped the ball on that one. Simply put: not enough hours in the day.
Green Bookworm Challenge:
-Still reading all the time. You know, when I should be doing dishes, or sleeping. At the moment I am loving the writings of great naturalists, drawing inspiration every day from their exuberance and dedication.
Currently on my nightstand:
- Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply by Vandana Shiva,
- The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature by Loren Eiseley (these first two recommended by family members),
- Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It by Elizabeth Royte, author of the vastly entertaining Garbageland,
- Sharing Nature With Children by Joseph Cornell,
- Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia , recommended by Green Bean,
- Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy,
- A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder , which probably stretches the concept of a green read, but I am including it, as it is written by my hero Michael Pollan.
Thank you to those who left me book suggestions!
Christine recommended Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. I’ve already read these great books, but I so appreciate that Christine mentioned them because they were instrumental to my getting noisy. These books are inspiring, they are life altering, and if you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for? Get thee to a library!
Ms. Green Bean also recommended Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility , which sounds like something I need to read but my library’s copy is “claimed returned”, which translates roughly into “could be anywhere”. Anybody have a copy I could borrow?
Leslie put in a word for Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing, but our library didn’t have that one either. They DO have a later title by the same authors, so I have that one coming to me.
Don’t worry, I won’t review ALL these books in depth! You can rest easy.
People, that was a LOT of links! I’m exhausted. I’m going outside to read.
Any advice on drying herbs?
How about recipes for beans that reheat well?
Any more book suggestions?
Any ideas on selling my decidedly un-green husband on the compost pile?
Any challenges out in the blogosphere that I should know about?
How are you doing with your challenges?
Heard any good jokes lately? (That one’s from Jacob.)