Spring Show Weekend!

Let’s take a weekend off from Earth Month and look at what’s going on around the O.K. Chorale. Chuck’s spring model train show is done, and we were all focused on the barbershop chorus’ spring show. This is a Big Deal. Pre-pandemic, the guys would put on two performances – an afternoon and an evening show, often selling out one or both. Then came Covid19.

Covid19 cancelled everything. Shows, rehearsals, social gatherings, and the works. Singing was a super spreader event, so in-person anything was off the calendar completely. Eventually, Zoom rehearsals and social events began. After a long, long stretch of rehearsing through their computer screens, the guys were able to gather and sing – as long as they wore masks. Vaccines became available. Virus numbers went down. Concerts became possible once again.

In 2022, the spring show came back. Yesterday, the 2023 spring show came back with a full crowd and a great concert. They had a James Bond parody theme called James Blond; Anyone Does it Better. The bumbling James staggered his way through a casino, totaled the Aston Martin, and gave an excuse for lots of songs. The audience loved every minute.

It’s a post-pandemic relief to have the chorus on stage again. This is a bunch of amateurs who love to sing and do it pretty darn well. Amigo thrives in the group, as do many, many others. We are all very grateful to have this part of our lives back in place.

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And more Earth Month! Go, Green Freaks!

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Day 14:  Read the Directions on Products

By reading the directions, you can avoid overuse. For example, you probably don’t need as much detergent in the laundry as you think you need.

But I’m not focused on reading packages (or manuals) right now. We are having a rare streak of warm, very warm days, and I’m getting outside every chance I get to do yard work and garden prep. So far today, I’ve loaded up a few large containers (five gallon ceramic crocks, for example) with yard waste and compost. This fills each one about half way. The rest will be potting soil, and I will transplant pepper plants and cherry tomatoes into these containers so they’re easily accessible for cooking and salad-making.

On that note, I wish I could find the manual for the worm farm set-up sitting in my garage. It’s a perfect example of good intentions being the way to you know where. In a handbasket, no doubt.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month: No Food Waste Today

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Day 13: Have a Zero Waste Food Day.

This one will take some focus. I’ve never insisted my family “clean their plates” if they’re not hungry, but I can still address Zero Food Waste. Come to think of it, my habit of using the last drops of leftover coffee to water my plants prevents dumping it down the drain. That counts. A few more suggestions:

  • Serve realistic portions.
  • Save leftovers to eat or add to another leftover later.
  • Serve carrots scrubbed, not peeled.
  • Save odd scraps for broth.

It’s all fairly practical. We can do this.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month Continues with Non Dairy Milk

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Replacing dairy milk with non-dairy milk in my coffee could cut my carbon footprint in half. However, I drink my coffee black. Chuck has been using oat milk since he developed a strong lactose intolerance, so I could dip into his carton for my cereal to give it a try.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month – Dispense with Paper Towels

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

For today, Treehugger suggests people try out Swedish dishcloths. These reusable cloths are super absorbent, can be washed more than 50 times, and eventually get tossed in the compost. I haven’t ordered mine yet, but the Treehugger folks swear by them.

I do make an effort to use rags and ordinary dish cloths as much as possible. We keep paper towels in the kitchen, but we don’t use many. I don’t think we use many. The best way to find out might be to put the paper towels somewhere less accessible so I don’t reach for them automatically.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month: Day 10 – Laundry!

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

I hinted earlier that I addressed Day 10 a bit early because it was laundry day. Day 10’s action suggests that we Think About Air Drying. I’m glad Treehugger said “Think” because I just don’t need to feel guilty about not having a clothesline. With the environmental allergies in my family, there is no way I can hang sheets and most clothing outdoors to dry.

I can, however, use a drying rack indoors for a lot of our laundry. One of my habits is to wash jeans and heavy items first, hang them to dry during the rest of the process, and put them in the dryer last. By then they’re partially dry. The jeans won’t shrink as much, the wear and tear is minimized, and they’ll dry faster, too. The drying process adds a bit of humidity to the indoor air, too. What’s not to love? All in all, it works for me.

When my dryer was on the fritz and we could only use it for short periods of time, I was hanging everything on drying racks and dressers and end tables to shorten the machine drying time. It was a bother, but I realized I could do this if I had to. I’m grateful, though, that I don’t have to hang everything every time. I’ll keep air drying jeans and heavy sweaters to save energy and save wear and tear on the clothes.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month – Day 8

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Yesterday was laundry day, so I jumped into Day 10: Air Drying Laundry. Meanwhile, let’s go high/low tech for Day 9: Resist Double Spaces Between Sentences. According to Treehugger, the extra spaces in a published book really, really add up.

I learned about single spaces when I completed my graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I was typing the old-fashioned way, the way we did in the 1970s and 1980s, when typewriters were the tool. It took me a while to adjust to the updated requirements (dang muscle memory!), but I’ve adjusted.

In terms of computer use, email, and text communications, that double or single space may not be as critical. However, if you’re in a position where emails and newsletters get printed, the single space could save pages and pages of papers.

If you’re still typing the Baby Boomer way (dare I call it Mid Century Modern?) with two spaces between sentences, make the effort to cut down to one. You’ll be glad you did.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Catching Up With Earth Month

I posted Treehugger’s suggestions for April 1 – 5, and then got lost in real life. Here we go; days 6, 7, and 8 of Earth Month’s actions.

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

April 6: Check for leaky faucets. One dripping faucet can waste a lot of water – treated water. This is an environmental and frugal action. Check the faucets and the toilets for leaks!

April 7: Cook pasta in its sauce, not water. This, again, is a water saving and money saving action. I’ll add my own suggestion: use homemade broth for cooking pasta – or rice. It adds a hint of flavor and uses a resource that’s available and created from potential waste products. At least, my broths are made from scraps that would otherwise land in the compost.

April 8, today: Skip meat and cheese for a day. This one is tougher. I can handle skipping meat or minimizing meat to a side dish portion, but cheese? I’m a true blue Wisconsinite. Cheese is everything! But since Chuck developed a lactose intolerance, we haven’t eaten as much cheese as we used to. I don’t top the spaghetti with parmesan and mozzarella automatically – just to my portion and maybe Amigo’s. And where do eggs stand in this challenge? I had leftover rice and beans with fried eggs for lunch. Delicious! I need to give this some thought.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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And More Earth Month!

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Today’s advice is interesting: Read an owner’s manual.

Indeed. I do keep mine. I have a stack of manuals in a cupboard, just in case I need them for reference. Appliances, especially the big ones, operate more efficiently when used according to directions. What a concept! I’m still learning the details of my new dryer so I can waste less energy heating it. Reviewing the manual helps me choose the best settings to do that.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month, All Month: Day 4

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Here’s another action that many are already doing. It reminds me of the energy crisis of the 1970s. Yeah, I was around then, people. I’m old enough to know better. Suggested action for April 4 is this lower the thermostat (while the heat is on) by one degree. One simple degree Fahrenheit, folks. It’s an almost undetectable difference for us humans, but it makes a significant difference in the amount of fuel used to heat an entire home.

Heck, if you’re lucky enough to have a programmable or Smart thermostat, set it to a lower temperature when you’re gone to work and turn it up just before you arrive home. Make sense? Of course it does. It made sense in the 1970s, too.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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