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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit |

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Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit |


Here leaves, there leaves, nothing but leaves, leaves, leaves!

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We made good work on Saturday getting in a bit of yard work before dark by blowing and mulching the leaves in the yard.  I mowed part of the lawn and added the bagged cuttings to the garden coffin that has become the compost coffin until spring.  I am hoping the leaves will help the composting process over the winter.

Nature's fertilizer.

Hubby got the blower and corralled another heaping pile that he ran over with the mower and added them  to my flower beds.  To think that last year I did not even consider the leaves as a garden commodity.  We ran them over and left them to fertilize the grass, what a waste!  This year I am putting my new-found knowledge to use by utilizing every last leave to help in the effort of amending the icky dirt we have in our yard.

Gold to the gardener.

Putting the leaves to work in you garden is an easy project.  You can just add them to your compost pile, whole or shredded.  Shredding leaves helps them to break down faster.  You can make leaf mold by packing the leaves in plastic bags and letting the leaves break down for 6 months to a year.  The leaf mold mixed with the garden soil helps amend the soil and aids in water retention.  Read more on how to use leaves in the garden here.

However you choose to use them they are an asset to your garden and a free one at that!  Happy raking friends!

No more paper napkins here!

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Napkin Basket

Yes, they think I am crazy.  I am not buying paper napkins again.  I have decided that there is way to much waste going on here.  Not really but there is always room for improvement and this is a good product to eliminate.

I have been cleaning out the house looking for items to reuse, recycle,  repurpose etc.  I have used old t/shirts for the obvious  dust rags, cleaning rags, even a dog toy from a knotted one.  This time I cut them into squares for cloth napkins.  Wa la soft , reusable napkins.  The husband and son refuse to use them.  Husband likes his sleeve better, he told me.  Son, well he is just plain ornery at times.

They are soft and they smell nice and fresh, I still use fabric softeners.  Can’t make all the sacrafices at once you know.  I did try to buy some real but basic cloth napkins at my local thift store but they must have thought they were made from a fancy cloth of gold threads, because the price was higher than buying them in Walmart NEW.  Plus I had just bought 15 branded sweat shirts and other assorted warm weather “I am not turning on the heat” clothes,  from their bargain bin @25 cents a piece.  Even scored a brand new nike golf polo for my son.

So you can imagine my distain when ten  8×8  cloth napkins we  going to cost me 50 cents a piece.  Nope forget the fancy ones…I like my soft old t/shirt napkins. I still may be able to change hubby’s mind too!  After all it is  one of his old shirts, just not the sleeve!

Levi’s Jeans Made With Rocks, Not Water –

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Levi’s Jeans Made With Rocks, Not Water –

Reblog: A Cheapskate’s Good-Smelling Energy Audit

Since I work from home, my wife sometimes wonders what I do all day. I’m a writer, so the fruits of my daily labor aren’t always apparent to her, and I’m pretty sure she thinks I spend most of the day goofing off.

That misconception was fueled when Denise came home early from work last week. She found me in my bathrobe, looking like a shaman while I paraded around the house with a handful of smoking incense sticks.

The bathrobe wasn’t a surprise. Denise knows that I’ve always claimed to do my best writing while wearing my “comfy robe.” But the incense had her, well, rather incensed.

“What, precisely, are you doing Jeff?” Denise asked in a huff. Read the rest of this entry

What? Still no lights!

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At the mercy of the lines!

My oh my do we ever rely on gas, electricity, oil, etc.   I have yet in my 50+ years to experience having my utility lifeline severed.  I do though have complete sympathy for those who have been forced due to the weather, to live without power.  I truly believe that from here on in we are going to live at the “mercy of the weather”. 

I feel the dramatic changes we have seen in the weather are here to stay.  It is understood that societies’ reliance on utilities has caused many of us to become complacent.  If you have never had to go without,  how can you know what it’s going to be like?  Even the choice to live a greener or more sustainable life will not have most of us looking to live such a primitive life.

Being  born and raised in the north I have many friends and family who have seen their share of catastrophic weather this year.  From a tornado in the summer to the snowtober event of last week they have had to endure considerable amounts of time without electricity.  Keeping tabs on many of them has forced me to think about the real effect this loss of power can have on a household.

While my elderly father has a wood stove, I forgot he had a well and septic, this means no water because the pump runs by electricity.  He is forced to truck by pail snow up to bathroom tub so they can have water to flush.  Just a simple flush becomes a  problem.  The old rule of letting the yellow mellow is being observed, you can not go weeks without flushing.   A basic routine for most of us.

 Living without lights for a few days is survivable, but thinking about all the other so called necessities we now use to get through the day makes one realize that preparing for these events takes strong will.   Being prepared to live without our cell phones that need charging, the refrigerators that need to stay cold, the generators that should be the saving grace, even needs gas to run….and if you can’t get the gas from the service station because the power is out well then you are the SOL.

It is times like these that push some of us to consider what we can do  to make life a bit less inconvenient when we lose our power source.  It has been done  many many years before us and can be done again with a little old thing call ingenuity.  A basic move is to have foods that do not need so much preparation.  More fruits and vegetables that do not need to be kept in the fridge would help in a situation like this and would even slim a few waistlines!

Another simple a tip I found  online, if you use solar lights  in your yard they can be a source of safe indoor light when it gets dark.   I know it is just a matter of time before I get to experience life without power, hopefully it will not impact me as much since I am working to live a simpler life.  I will be jonesing on the loss of the net though!

Got any other great ideas?  Let me know.

Don’t Poo Poo The Doo Doo

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Imagine the concept of saving your own poo!  ICK! Double ICK! There is a movement (heehee) going on in this department.  But the jury is till out on the concept called humanure.  You can read all about it here.

The Humanure Handbook – Center of the Humanure Universe 

Given that most of us have a hate relationship with our excretory system, I am pretty confident that this will be not become the norm.  But for the truly self-sufficient soul it may be just another way to put the poo to good.  From the earth back to the earth.  There are a number of ways to utilize the poo, you can purchase a composting toilet. 

Save the Earth!

Companies like Outdora sell self containing or full out composting systems for those interested in the humanure concept.  There are more primitive solutions such as the old style outhouse that will also work.  You can read some interesting history about outhouses @ The Outhouse’s of America Tour.

If you truly have a desire to compost your waste you must check out  Joseph Jenkins blog and books on the subject.  He appears to be a leading expert on poo uses.  He is the author of the book the Humanure Handbook listed above

While this concept may seem foreign to many of us it seems to be the logical conclusion to the  “in the mouth out the pooper “process.  And for those who practice it I am sure most adhere to an organic diet by being a vegetarian or a vegan.   But it is still important to  fully understand the process and not just dump human waste into your garden.  We do have many harmful bacteria that can be deadly living in our digestive track.  If you follow the rules and compost properly it believed  that the good bacteria will kill the bad. 

 For more information on the process you can also read what Grandpappy Robert Wayne Atkins writes on the humanure movement.  🙂

Happy Dirt!