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: 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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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: Day 3

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Today’s action is easy: turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Fellow green-conscious types probably already do this. Folks who brush their teeth twice a day can save up to eight gallons of water this way.

Handle the challenge the way you might if you were camping. Grab your cup full of bottled or boiled water, and use that to rinse after brushing. Task accomplished – without wasting treated water down the drain unnecessarily.

Try it, folks. We can make a difference.

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

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Blizzard – Thoughts on the Closings

La Petite is grown up now, but I’ll always remember the time I pushed to get her out of bed saying, “Schools are open! Let’s go!” and she countered with, “Moooom, did you check ALL the channels?!”

We’re just watching the evening news followed by Jeopardy, and the crawl at the bottom of the screen keeps going, and going, and going. And even though the closings on the list no longer matter to us, we can’t help but watch.

How is a television news crawl supposed to spell cancelled — or is it canceled? We saw both, on the same station.

Then there were multiple postings for the various branches of the County Library – all ten of them. This could have been consolidated into one post saying All County Library Branches are Closed.

The channel we were watching had a long stream in alphabetical order. I looked down at my phone briefly and missed our school district. The next time it came by – I’m not making this up – was 12 minutes later.

The vintage mall in which we have a booth closed early today and will remain closed tomorrow. This was not on the crawl, thankfully, but on social media. We did coast through a few odd posts such as the Small Town Hypnosis Center closure. Really? Could they not call the affected clients and keep this off the endless list on television?

Meanwhile, we’re grateful to be home, wrapped up in our blankets, sipping our hot beverages, and making decisions like whether to snowblow tonight or wait until the snow ends tomorrow.

Readers, I hope you’re safe and warm, wherever you may be. And always remember to check all the channels.

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Whether the Weather

Whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.

That’s the last line of a song we used to sing at Girl Scout camp. It sure fits this week – whatever the weather, indeed. Last night we had a surprise thunderstorm just before midnight. It kept me up – not the thunder and lightning, but the “oh, no, what if” feeling that came with it. What if the temperature was perfect for freezing rain? Would the driveway be slick as an ice rink? Could we lose power? None of that happened, fortunately.

Today my car’s thermometer read 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so I got in line at the car wash near Petunia’s home and got my mid-winter exterior wash. The interior needs cleaning, too, but I’ll get to that. Eventually, I’ll get to that.

There’s a snowstorm in the forecast that promises to be more slush-storm than anything. Roads will be a mess, and my just-washed vehicle will again be a mess. Oh, well, that’s the weather in Wisconsin.

After the snow and slush another bitter cold stretch moves in. Good thing I washed sweaters today!

As the saying goes, if you don’t like Wisconsin weather, wait a day. I’m ready for tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not!

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Daisy is grumpy.

It’s cold outside. Not just cold, but bitter cold. Below zero cold. Nasty wind chill cold. The kind of cold that attracted a hawk to take shelter next to our French doors and eat the sparrow that was its lunch. Well, this happened a few years ago, but it was that kind of cold.

I’m privileged enough to be able to stay home and wrap up in a blanket and wear fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm. The cold weather shouldn’t make me grumpy, but it does. If I wanted to go anywhere, I’d be miserable.

With grumpy comes impatient. Amigo and Chuck are pushing my buttons constantly. I am normally a patient person, but I’m running out of patience. Have some courtesy, guys! We’re stuck inside and can’t leave each other alone, so be nice, alright? Okay?

I’ve decided that a gin and tonic along with cheese and crackers might help. And I might go hide in a corner of the bedroom and look for old episodes of Homestead Rescue.

The other option is to go down the basement and start a few seedlings. No, that won’t work because it requires going out to the garage to get potting soil and small pots. It’s cold, very cold, outside.

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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Grow Vegetables.

Not my original, I confess. I saw this on social media and said, “That’s me!” Life around me and around the world gets crazier and crazier, and what do I do? I buy seeds. I set up a spot in the basement for starting seedlings. I rearrange the living room furniture to maximize sun exposure and find the grow lights, too.

I can’t stop Russia from invading Ukraine. I can’t stop Kevin McCarthy from giving in to his party extremists. I can’t stop George Santos from cheating and lying – and voters from believing his statements. I can, however, feed my family.

Last year’s garden was meager. We had several setbacks. Foot surgery (twice!) put me in a bad spot. Chuck tried to take over the unplanted section with a three sisters plot, and then the neighborhood deer took over from him. No corn, only one squash, and we relied on the farmers’ market for beans.

I plan to plant marigolds instead of morning glories along the garage. Hopefully, the marigolds will be less appetizing to the deer. Chuck and I are working on plans for a higher fence, too. The challenge will be building the fence in such a way that it doesn’t block the sun. We’re brainstorming ideas.

I can’t stop the roller coaster that is gas prices. I can drive my hybrid car and use less fuel. I can’t stop the clueless conservatives in my state legislature from introducing misogynist bills, but I can vote for a governor who will exercise his veto power. I may not be able to change the world, but I can take action by sending postcards and by writing my (thankfully) progressive state assembly representative.

And when the going gets tough, I can grow vegetables.

 

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Pizza, Always Pizza

We have a fun tradition in our home related to following our favorite NFL football team. We eat the opponent. Each week during the football season, we check our Green Bay Packers schedule, find out who our Packers will play, and then choose a signature food from the opponent’s home city.

In a discussion completely unrelated to the NFL, more along the lines of Hey, Honey, What’s for Supper, we realized that pizza fills our needs for several of the Packers’ regular opponents. Detroit style pizza – from Jett’s, of course – is our go-to for eating the Detroit Lions. We’ve had Chicago style pizza for the Bears, Cowboy pizza for, well, you know, and occasionally even New York style pizza for the Giants or the Jets. Chicago style and Cowboy pizza both come from one of my other favorite sources, Papa Murphy’s. Do they have a pizza we could call New York style? I may need to look through the menu again the next time our Packers play a team from New York.

We do have other options, including molasses cookies for Detroit and steaks for the Cowboys. Since the Jets and Giants actually play their games in New Jersey, we’ve been known to get Jersey bagels for those occasions, too. But it’s nice that we can fall back on pizza for just about anyone our team may face. Pizza is always welcome on my table.

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