Jasper is such a little guy that his belly rubs in the medium length grass and his nose (even when lifted in the air) is only 6 inches off the floor. I don’t want anything in my yard or my house to be a potential source of poisoning for him, so my commitment to safe cleaners continues.
Monthly Archives: September 2016
I’ve added a new piece to my line-up of “stuff to take when going out kit.” Now, along with my Klean Kanteen, bandana/napkin, and wooden spoon (because I seem to have misplaced my silicon spoon) I have a stainless steel food container. It has a really tight fitting lid and clamps to hold the lid down. I can take lunch or a snack with me or . . . Super exciting I can use it like a doggie bag without the styrofoam container. This makes me super happy. I don’t eat out very often, but when I do I always have a good bit of the meal leftover. Sometimes I bring it home despite the styrofoam. But this thing, it is a game changer for me!
As is probably getting obvious, I find most of my inspiration to live responsibly from things I see on my daily walks. Knowing this area so well helps me spot the new little things (and some not so little) as they change.
I maintain that there is nothing more heavenly than pulling on a t-shirt that smells like fresh air. In my life this scent doesn’t come from a bottle or a sheet. It comes from clothes that hang in the fresh air to dry.
Each morning, from March through November, I do a load of laundry. I use 2 Tablespoons of Sal’s Suds, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, and a dash of washing soda in the machine. Hanging laundry is an almost meditative part of my day. There really isn’t much to think about the mechanics of hanging laundry, it’s all muscle memory by now. Instead I reflect on the morning Psalm, think about what chores might need to be put on tomorrow’s list (because today’s list is already being accomplished), or sometimes I just watch as Jasper does his survey of the yard.
Each afternoon I bring in the same laundry, check over each piece as I fold it and sort it into piles for each person to claim. The clothes are usually quite warm from the sun and if folded/rolled neatly right away I don’t have to deal with wrinkles. I do not like to iron.
December through February is a rougher laundry time. I tend to wash the load in the evening, and then hang it on drying racks over heater vents and around the wood stove. I also put a few drops of sweet orange oil in with the Sal’s Suds. It takes much longer to do laundry (not as much heat + heavier materials) and I don’t find it nearly as relaxing.
This picture shows a few of my shopping bags. I carry them all in the cooler bag in the back during the warm months. During the cool months I just shove them all down inside of the smaller canvas bags. After each shopping trip I wash them so they are ready to go the next time I head out the door.
There are two really big canvas bags (yellow and green), three regular canvas bags (all that normal canvas color), and two bags that fold up into very small pouches. I keep one of these in my purse at all times. That way if I make an unexpected stop I have a bag with me.
The second small bag gets filled with things I need to do on errand day: mail, library books to return, purchases to return, my water bottle, a snack if I think far ahead enough, and whatever else needs to be done. The bag empties during my running and by the time I get to the grocery, always my last stop, it’s empty and ready as a spare grocery bag if needed.
I’ve been using the same bags long enough that I can gauge my normal grocery trip and fill all the bags without running over. The two big bags hold a week’s worth of produce, the smaller canvas bags hold staples, the cooler bag holds frozen veggies, almond milk and eggs, and one small foldable bag holds everything from the other stores.
My eco-friendly cleaners come from Grove.co and are delivered once a month. I like this because I’d have to drive twice as far to get them as I normally do on errand day. Each month I get 1 Sal’s Suds (Our laundry soap), 1 Mrs Meyer’s dish soap, and 1 Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. Every other month the shipment includes walnut scrubbers, cellulose sponges, bamboo toothbrushes, an extra Sal’s Suds, and an extra dish soap. Once a year I get Argan oil, a salt stone, a new canvas bag, and Dr Bronner’s liquid peppermint scented soap.
Sept 4, 2016 — Inspiration
Sept 3, 2016: Water Bottles.
I have two insulated 16 oz Klean Kanteen water bottles. The green one is a tumbler with a lid that you can sip from or put a straw through. I mainly use this one at home. It’s almost always sitting on the table so that I can grab a sip every time I walk through. It also goes on bike rides with me because it fits perfectly in my bike’s cup holder.
The silver one is actually my favorite. It keeps things amazingly cold or hot, doesn’t leak, and I have a carabiner on it so I can attach it just about anything. This is the bottle that leaves the house with me.
Taste: I love the way water tastes out of a glass, but I’ve broken so many glasses around the house. I’m happier with my non-breakable tumbler. As long as the Klean Kanteens are kept clean, and occasionally rinsed with vinegar, I don’t notice any off-taste.
Insulated: I prefer the insulated water bottles for a couple of reasons. The first is that water that sits in a hot car or a hot house will end up warm. I don’t like warm water. I like it slightly cool and occasionally icy cold. The second is pretty similar, sometimes I want to tea or even coffee with me in the morning. It’s nice knowing it will still be hot when I get where I’m going.
Take-Out: I fill it up at home and usually sip the whole time I’m gone. If it is a really hot day, I can just fill it up at a water fountain. Our local coffee shop (Heine Bros) is really terrific about making tea and coffee right into the bottle. Subway and Quiznos both let me get iced tea straight into the bottle too.
No Plastic: By always carrying my own water I never have to worry about plastic bottles. I don’t have to buy them, recycle them, and wonder what they are doing to my health. If I bought a bottle of water each time I went out on errands I would probably use 100 per year. Over the 10 years I’ve toted my own water that is 1000 water bottles kept out of circulation.
September 1 to October 4 :: The Season of Creation
Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children — Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief
I’ve written so much on here about our endeavor to reduce our environmental impact. Often I wonder if my individual efforts make any difference at all. My conclusion is: it doesn’t matter. I cannot step aside from my responsibility to make this life and planet as whole as possible for those who will come after me. So I continue on in my efforts to leave as small an environmental impact as possible.
Others are in a position to call the big corporations and nations into action and accountability. I am proud to be part of a church that takes this responsibility seriously. Churches of all types are gathering together for a Season of Creation from September 1 to October 4.
I will be praying, but I will also be posting pictures throughout the Season of things that help me, encourage me, and inspire me in this endeavor.
September 1, 2016
My primary Bible: The Green Bible. I love this Bible because every day when I pick it up it is a quiet reminder to do my part. The front includes some essays from a variety of writers and the back has a study section. Passages that emphasize Creation are in green ink.
Purchased in 2009, Cotton cover with recycled pages and soy ink.