Saturday, April 18, 2009
of rain and being "green"....
This wet morning I went with Hubs and 3rd Son to move the ewes and lambs to a fresh pasture. We took them up the road with Son driving before them, luring them to follow with the cake feeder (see the white box on the back of the truck?) and Hubs and I followed behind in the Ranger. Every now and then I jumped out to walk behind them to push them onward. This is fun for me. I like to walk, especially behind sheep. We deposited them through the gate into "green pastures" just like the Bible says shepherds do. It still looks brown, but underneath that old grass is new-growth green grass just waiting to be nibbled. They were so, so happy. How do I know? They ran through the gate and spread out and put their little heads down and began to eat and eat and eat.
The view through the Ranger window. I like it. It's not snowing, it's raining. It's warm, the snow is nearly melted away, and it feels like spring. I've even found the tips of my tulips, daffodils, and iris coming up.
And now onto "being green;" and I don't mean green as in green grass.
Just yesterday I met up with Only Daughter and we went to a nice little adoption party. We were discussing this-and-that with the guests and Only Daughter announced to a friend that her mother is "very green." She told about a little quiz she saw on Good Morning America that helped one to know how "green" she is. OD told me, "Mom, you weren't 'just green' but 'very green." I asked her how so, and she said that for instance, a person could be un-green by buying white, pre-sliced bread or you could be a little greener by buying whole wheat bread or VERY green by making your own bread. In that category, I was VERY green because I have been baking the family's bread from its establishment. I don't boast in that. For me, I do it for reasons of economy and good taste. Our family prefers the homebaked loaf to the store-bought loaf. Another test for green-ness was yogurt. If you were un-green, you would buy the flavored, sweetened yogurts, greener meant buying plain, organic, yogurt, and a VERY green person made her own homemade yogurt. Again, I win the VERY green honors, and again, it is a matter of economy and taste preference. The other green test was in cleaning products. The un-greeny would buy harsh, chemical-laden cleaning products, the greener person would buy the new non-toxic products you see popping up everywhere, and the VERY green housekeeper would make her own out of vinegar, baking soda, borax and such. Give me another knuckle pound for that! And once again, frugality and preference wins the points for me.
All this said, I am proud to wear the Green Sash over my shoulder, but I do not wear it because I am trying to be politically correct or save the planet one yogurt-making session at a time. I am simply living the way I've lived for a long, long while. Making-Do is one reason for my lifestyle. There are so many times living on a ranch, an hour's drive from the nearest grocery store, when I don't have the luxury of making a quick trip to the store for yogurt or for Mr. Clean so instead, I make do with what I have, and I always have milk and vinegar. Milk for the yogurt, vinegar for the mopping. I've learned to keep the most basic of all ingredients on hand in large quantities for just this reason.....Making Do. If you've got a 25 pound bag of flour and you run out of bread, you simply make-do and bake-your-own. When you run out of Windex while cleaning the bathroom, you make-do --pour out some vinegar, mix it with water in a quart spray bottle and you have instant window cleaner. After you realize that your substitutions work every bit as well (or better than) the brand name products, you begin to leave those items off your shopping list and save money in the process. Three tablespoons of vinegar is cheap when compared to a quart of Windex. In a time when the economy is challenging everybody's pocketbooks, this simple lifestyle just makes sense no matter what your political preference is.
Have you noticed though that most products considered "green" are much higher in price than their counterparts? Consider recycled toilet paper and paper towels with "Eco-friendly" stamped on them or the cleaning supplies marked "all natural ingredients." This makes me wonder if the whole "green earth thing" is about making money or about really getting people to be more conscientious about their choices. If a product is made out of something recycled, shouldn't it be less costly? My blue jeans quilts cost much, much less to produce than quilts made of new materials. I don't make jean quilts to save money or to be "green" but because my kids love them and request them. My homemade all-purpose cleaner costs pennies to make with all- natural ingredients so why does Dr. Bronner's or Method brands cost twice what the bottle of Ivory Liquid costs? I can buy a bar of Kirk's castile soap (all natural) for $1 at my grocery store and a bar of Dr. Bronner's is $5. What gives?
One new cleaning tool I'm singing the praises of is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or it's generic brother found on the shelf next to it) in your cleaning supplies aisle. This sponge is just amazing! If you've got textured appliances or bath tubs with scratches and stains or if your tile grout is looking poorly, grab a Magic Eraser and wet it with a little water and you'll be amazed at what it can do. I like to add a drop of liquid dishwashing soap to mine and I can get my tub and shower sparkling clean -- with no abrasives or harsh chemicals. My fiberglass tub had some blue stains in the bottom due to the many types of cleaners previously used on it. I really thought it was hopeless and accepted my blue bath tub ring until......magic eraser came along. Now I keep several of these sweet cleaning sponges around and hand them out to my kids to take home and try. A few more uses my family has found for the magic eraser are: cleaning dingy tennis shoes, getting out greasy-dirt from the creases in the hands, removing scuff marks from the floor and walls, cleaning the gunk from the sink drain plug, getting stains out of blue jeans, cleaning the oven door window -- just to name a few. For a very lengthy list of ways to use the magic eraser, click here. I can't wait to try it on my deck chairs this summer. Now to me, this is a very eco-friendly way to clean and it's cost effective too. The generic magic eraser costs about 50 cents per sponge.
I was going to tie this up with a little "How Green Are You?" quiz, but I didn't find any that I liked. They were all very political in nature so I decided against them. Instead, would you mind telling some of the practical ways that you are being Green? Perhaps you are like me --you are following in your mother's footsteps, you hate to spend money on cleaning supplies or expensive bread, or you 're broke and have to get by with what you have. Whatever your reason, I'd be interested to hear about how Green you are.... Un-green, Green Enough, Very Green.
Oh, one more interesting thing I heard on the radio yesterday.... did you know that vegetable gardening and the sale of veggie seeds is up 20% over last year? And more people than ever are raising chickens, even in the city! In fact, I just called my local feed store today to find out when the shipment of baby chicks is coming in. The lady said that there has been such a high volume of orders that the hatchery is WAY behind and we won't get our chicks, which were to be delivered in April, until June! I don't know if you'd call this a "green awakening" or an "economical awakening."