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I am really tired of throwing away good money on cat scratching posts that don’t hold up very long. I have thought about re-covering the old, tattered, worn out ones for way too long….  I finally decided to do something about it.

in need of a makeover

in need of a makeover

The two girls have been really good about using the cat scratching posts over the course of their 13 years, until recently. One of them has decided to use the corner of a chair, so I have four cat scratching posts in that area AND SHE STILL GOES TO THE CHAIR! There is another scratching post in our bedroom that she uses A LOT and that is the one you see in the photo. It is long overdue for a makeover!

I removed most of the original sisal rope

I removed most of the original sisal rope

Why would I want to take the time to re-cover these scratching posts?

  • Frugal
  • It is really easy to do
  • Recycling some of the old (Yes I still had to buy the rope)
  • I am tired of spending money on something that doesn’t last very long anymore. (Scratching posts used to cost $20 or less, now they are closer to $30+

 

making progress

making progress

Supplies I needed:

  • Sisal rope
  • wood glue
  • blue painters tape or masking tape

I started by removing most of the older rope. I unwound the new sisal rope before I started so I wouldn’t be fighting with it as I needed it. Right away I could tell this was going to be a job that would go faster with three hand…. but I only have two. I applied glue to the round tube a little at a time. If I tried to glue a section, I just managed to get glue on my fingers and dripping off the tube, so i just glued enough to wrap the rope around once, hold it in place with my hand, then glue another ring.

When I would get a 6″ section done, I would then take the tape and go over it to help hold the rope in place until the glue dried. I am not sure I needed to tape the entire post, I could have used the tape every 3″ up the post and been fine I think. I will have to try that on the next post (I have a few more to do!)

Done!

Done!

I feel pretty good about how this project turned out. I fell better about being able to re-use most of the original scratching post and keep it out of the landfill. I also feel good about most of the supplies I used. I will take a bit more time to see if I can source some sisal rope made in the USA.

Have you taken on a project lately that has saved you money?

Sincerely, Emily

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Summer has just been teasing us this year. A couple of flirty days up near 90, a mild stretch in the 80s, and then back to cool, cool and raining, or cool and overcast.

Today is a cool and overcast day, with a threat of rain.

You can’t really rely on the weather reports anymore. Not because they’re inaccurate, but because local stations now have such powerful signals that they’re reaching from southern Wisconsin to central Indiana to Chicago’s far collar counties to the south. So they’ll report severe weather that might be happening 100 miles away on “my” weather report, or announce a high temperature of 90 (halfway to Iowa), when it never got over 72 here by Lake Michigan.

I can’t even remember winter, now. Was it wintry or warm or frigid? I think a “normal” winter is a little bit of snow in the Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch, and then murderous cold in January giving way to a snowy February and March. Rainy spring with fluctuating temps, mild rainy May, gradual warming in June.

“But here a small boy says, it snowed last year!…and I reply that was not the same snow.

Like Dylan Thomas, I don’t know if my memory of the weather is true or idealized.

The plants are confused. I think they remember ideal weather too– where the sun gradually warms them in May and by June they’re partying in the park. They’re loving the rain and the thunderstorms— for the most part the foliage is a lush, deep green. But the lack of sun is making for huge leaves as they try to soak up every elusive ray, and the peppers and eggplants are just sitting there going nuhUH ain gonna grow in this cold. (I feel their pain.)

Last year we were enjoying, if that’s the word, the hottest summer on record, and it had barely begun. We’d already had nearly twenty days over 90, and it was early enough in the drought that people (well, the non-gardeners/farmers anyway) were still happy with the lack of rain.

So, weathermen, I think it’s awesome that your ad revenues went up because the market is so much bigger due to your powerful transmitters. And Kankakee is a great town, and so is Sheboygan, and so is Joliet, and so is Lockport.

But their weather doesn’t have all that much to do with me— can you tell me what’s happening in Chicago?

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Over the past few months I have helped a some friends start making up liquid laundry soap. Now that they have seen how easy it is they are asking more questions about additional recipes. One that keeps coming is is Dishwasher Detergent.

Dishwashing powder

My journey to the current dishwasher detergent recipe that I use has been a long one. Mainly that of trial and error. And then more trial…

The original basic recipe that I saw over and over was this:

  • 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1/4 cup Washing Soda (not Baking Soda)
  • 1/8 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 cup Citric Acid

Use 1 T per load in detergent compartment.
You can see some discussion on this during the Real Clean Roundup over at Not Dabbling in Normal from May 2011. Same recipe as you see listed above

Well, that basic didn’t seem to work for me and there are several variables that seem to make this either; sort-of work, work really well, or not work at all. I have been through all of them.

The Big variable is the water. It is amazing how much difference there is in water. We all know about soft water and hard water, and then there is everything in between. All those “everything’s” are huge variables, apparently, in making your own dishwasher detergent.

In all my trials, what it came down to was the amount of citric acid in my recipe and the amount of homemade detergent that I actually put in my dishwasher each time. Here is the recipe that is working for me.

  • 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1/4 cup Washing Soda (not Baking Soda)
  • 1/8 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Citric Acid

1 T per load in the compartment (no more, no less)

If my silverware and glasses come out cloudy – that usually means I got carried away and added to much detergent mixture. If it happens, I am more careful about measuring it out next time I do the dishes.

For a Rinse Aide:

I use regular white vinegar in the rinse air compartment or a citrus infused vinegar (made by taking the peel (no rind) off any citrus and letting it sit in vinegar for several weeks.

Now that I have been making my own dishwasher powder for a few years, there is still one more things I have struggled with; the mixture getting hard in the the jar.

chipping away at itEvery time I wanted to run the dishwasher I would have to chip away at the jar of dishwasher powder to get some of it out. I am a pretty patient person, so I didn’t get too worked up about having to chip away at it, but the final straw was when I couldn’t get it broken up with a spoon like I normally did and I used a knife.

Not only did I chip away at the dishwasher powder, but I took a big chunk of glass out of the bottom of the canning jar it was in. Opps! This patient person reached her limit. Time for a change.

My quick fix to this problem was just to keep the ingredients separate. Ya, that means opening four jars to just get the ingredients out, but each ingredient isn’t clumping up anymore. No chipping away at it. It is working great.

Now instead of 1T out of a big jar I measure out just shy of 1 teaspoon of each ingredient per load and things are working great. No more clumping. No more chipping away. yes, I have to open four jars, but I still think that I am ahead of the game when it comes to frugal and environmentally safe.

Do you make your own dishwasher detergent?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Wind makes the sand ring
by the gray churning water.
Remnants of the storm

Driftwood at the shore
blown across the lake on
Sandy’s ragged edge

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Chicago’s motto is Urbs in horto:  City in a garden.

And flowers are nice. I love the gardens that our city has shoe-horned into every nook and cranny. I love that they give away a million tulip bulbs every year after the bloom is done. I love our world-class park system.

But imagine a city that remembers that gardens do not mean flowers alone. Imagine a city that integrates food production within the existing urban fabric. Cafe lined streets on which restaurants grow the food that they serve to patrons. Homes with window boxes filled with Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes instead of petunias and ivy. Office buildings that eschew tulip beds on favor of tomato-filled planters, where employees pick their lunch, instead of picking up their lunch. Imagine city governments that rewrite codes to make it easy for unused land to be used for temporary community gardens. Imagine suburban city councils and home owners associations that see the beauty in an eggplant and let people plant them wherever the sun is, be it front yard or back.

Imagine Urbs in villam. City in a farm.

Today, people in urban areas don’t know how to grow food, but during WW2 Chicagoans started 500 community gardens & 75,000 home gardens. They harvested more than 2,000,000 POUNDS of food and led the nation in the Victory Gardens movement. What if we reached  back into our past to do it again—to make home and community gardening the norm. What if we created an attitude that could lead to edible plantings in every sunny yard, park, store window, work place, and empty lot in the city, private and public.

Urban dwellers in particular, and all Americans–urban, suburban, rural–cannot keep relying on remote, even overseas, sources for our food. It costs too much in personal, economic and planetary health. It divides us from our very DNA, which evolved for us to be farmers and gatherers. Urbs in villam has planters full of tulips down one side of the street, and planters full of tomatoes down the other. By seizing opportunities like the economic crisis that halted construction, leaving lots empty, we can integrate food production into spaces that we already have.

The key is to educate our citizens about how easy it can be to grow our own food, where we live and eat it.

What is your community doing to bring food production home?

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There are steps to creating a sustainable life.

In our society the realities of sustainability run up against the national character. Rigid self-sufficiency and individualism are the holy grail; in the words of Maxwell Anderson, how you can tell an American is that you cannot tell him what to do, even when it’s in his own best interest. In the current political insanity, any suggestion that we try to save our common heritage–like, for instance, the air–through sensible regulation, is excoriated as “removing choice.”

Enter the idea of the commons–those things that we own together, starting with the air, but also the water, the language, the creative works of humanity.

What I’ve discovered through the creation of the Peterson Garden Project, is that for many sustainable initiatives that revolve around community action, we lack a language. The language of communal action has been removed from the dialog, or vilified as “communist” or “socialist.” But some things, even most things cannot be done alone. The old saying that ‘your right to swing your fist ends at my nose” needs to be understood again to extend to our food and our health.

A new language does exist, in the old language, through the concept of the commons. What we hold together. What we all must use, but also spare, share, and save. Where our right to swing our so-called individual rights ends at the epidemic asthma in the inner cities because of pollutants, or the loss of aquifers because private owners have drained the wetlands that used to belong to all of us. We’ve allowed private bank accounts to be the fist, but haven’t stopped their swing at our collective nose.

Last week was the annual Good Fest Festival in Chicago (formerly the Family Farmed Fest), a really wonderful trade show all about restoring local, sustainable food systems to the urban landscape.  The exhibitors are all local farmers and food makers. It’s where I first learned how to change my diet to nearly 100% local food.

This year my friend LaManda Joy of The Yarden, founder of The Peterson Garden Project, was on the panel “Growing A Good Food Community”, about building urban communities through gardening and creating gardens by building urban communities. The interesting thing was that her fellow panelists were my old high school friend Jay Walljasper and Julie Ristau of On The Commons.

The panel, moderated by Megan Larmer of Slow Food Chicago, was beautifully constructed around the steps we need to take back collective ownership, working in a very American way, through individual action.

It starts, as I say, with the language. Jay talked about first, the need to start thinking again about the commons, and also laid out a basic way to think about the commons again. As important, he talked about how language can lead this new, old way of thinking, focusing right in on the difficulties I have had getting funders in particular to understand that what we’re doing is not a farm with a single owner or board, but collective action for individual benefit.

But it cannot stop with the language; only talking only works for academics. Enter Julie Riskau, founder and former publisher of the Utne Reader and current spokeperson for On The Commons. Julie talked about turning language into policy initiatives of the sort that lead to intelligent municipal ordinances which, for instance, stop creating criminals of people who put their edible gardens in their front yards because that is where the sun is.

But policy is only effective with an army of individuals putting it to work at street level. Which is where LaManda Joy and her Pop-up Victory Gardens come in, as well as the many other community gardening, and community preserving, and farmers markets, local school councils, in fact all of the community-based efforts that will save our cities and towns.

We need to restore the language, so we can affect the law, so we can own the activities that will make our communities livable.

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Sustainability for a middle class American is an oxymoron. Our entire way of life is premised on unsustainability. We live in houses bigger than we need (even those of us in “small” houses). Americans own more cars than households; in fact, more cars than drivers. We are blessed with constantly fully-stocked shelves at the grocery store or even the farmers’ market, which simply leads to mountains of trash to make way for the new stock coming in. We have instantaneous access to any product we need; if we can’t get it at our local Target, it’s on the website.

We live in caverns of trash that we call our homes–basement, storage shed, attic, closets, full of things we might even use, but don’t really need.

And the strangest manifestation of this is what I’m calling “conspicuous sustainability.”

If you only buy t-shirts made from organic cotton, or hemp, but you have 9 of them, you’re indulging in conspicuous sustainability. Your full CSA share, where you end up discarding half the box because you don’t know what to do with all that kale. Sending your child to Eco Camp, three states away. Buying a Volt, when you have a perfectly functional ’07 Saturn in the garage.

The oddest manifestation of conspicuous sustainability is the seed swap.

The sustainability cred is immaculate–it’s barter, it’s local, it’s communal, it’s green things. It’s gardening.

The first seed swap I went to I got completely wrong. I’d been gardening for decades in isolation and didn’t know about “seed fanatics”–people who love seeds for their own sake. I thought seed swaps were for seeds you couldn’t buy, so I brought carefully packaged seeds that I had saved.

People showed up with huge boxes, systems even, of commercial seeds. They were for the most part bona fide sustainable–organic, small producers, heirloom varieties. No Burpee’s here. But commercially packaged, and people had dozens and dozens of them, far more than they could plant unless they happened to be the head gardener at Blenheim Palace. They would then lament at how they always bought too many, and would proceed to swap with other addicts, as often as not leaving with even more seeds than they’d come with.

I never used to do the seed catalogs much. I’d see what I could find at the garden center, then supplement with a couple of packages from Pinetree or Territorial. I had no idea that there were people who spent fifty or sixty dollars (or more) on seeds Every Single Year no matter what they still had in their stash.

It disturbs me.

It isn’t sustainable just because you’re buying from a sustainable merchant for a sustainable purpose. Part of the point of sustainability is to not consume, or produce, more than you need. Seed swaps bother me. I find them at best inconsistent, and at worst a little stomach turning.

There’s a thing in fiction writing called “internal consistency.” The best fiction creates a universe where people behave believably; a universe without deus ex machina fixes, or the convenient sudden appearances of long-lost cousins (can you tell I’ve been watching Downton?).

Sustainability is not a “lifestyle choice.” It’s not a fashion. It’s a philosophy that requires consideration about decisions and actions and purchases, from the tiniest seed to the hybrid Hummer. Perhaps it’s a little self-righteous of me, but I believe that every life should be internally consistent. If you want to live lightly on the earth, all of your actions should be consistent with that goal, to as great an extent as is possible.

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Since my husband and I decided we would switch our corgi, Pocket to a raw diet, we’ve done quite a bit of meat shopping. I’ve never been much of a meat eater, so the whole process is new to me, and much easier when i can find a local farmer who can give me advice and whom i can feel confident buying from. It’s especially nice when i get to see a flock of happy Boer goats watching me drive up the lane. We paid a visit to a local farm last week to pick up some meaty bones for Pocket, and some goat meat for us. Winn’s Livestock and Hatchery just north of Corvallis has affordable meat raised by a 4th generation farmer and his very friendly wife. April chatted back and forth with me via email to decide what was best for us to purchase, and we ended up with a freezer full of bones for Pock, a pound of ground goat meat for us plus a shoulder steak that i’ll cut up into stew meat in the next week or two.

goatsoup2

You can read more about my delicious ‘goat chilly’ at An Austin Homestead. You may be wondering about my choice of meat. Goat isn’t overly popular here in America. But guess what: it’s the most popular meat in the rest of the WORLD. There’s great reason for that: goats are small, able to graze on non-ideal pasture (read sticks and blackerberry brambles), have a relatively high dressing percentage to their body mass, and have some of the most nutritious meat of any livestock. This article has a lot to say about the boons of eating goat meat, as does this one. What you’ll find when studying about goat meat is that it has lower calories than beef (and even elk, venison and chicken!), less fat and cholesterol, and is guaranteed not to have any growth hormones added as the USDA has not approved their use. Goats are easier on the land than their big boned beefy counterparts, and can often thrive in areas that would otherwise require massive amounts of irrigation and pastureland to grow larger protein critters. Due to its leaner meat, goat DOES have to be cooked more slowly to avoid tough texture. Read more about the fat and calorie comparisons of goat meat to many other popular meats at www.elkusa.com.
raw

Another reason to raise goats: they’re really fun, personable and friendly. Along with my change, April came out with a 4 day old bottle baby Boer, and boy what a cutey she was! We plan on raising dairy and fiber goats, with an eye on edible breeds. Miniature Nubians have decent dressing rates, though Kinders are better. We’re only two people and a dog, so we’re less concerned with the larger amounts of meat from the bigger meat breeds. According to April some of her Boer goats can ready 300 pounds. That’s a lot of goat! Goats can be like family pets, and we can’t wait to have some around. We realize that butchering one of those cute little kids will be hard to do, but the nutritional benefits of eating homegrown and super lean meat far outweigh the sentimental drawbacks. For me at least (i’m still working on convincing the husband of that one.)

Goats!

So, with more iron, potassium and thiamine together with less sodium than other ‘traditional’ meats sold her in the USA, 50% less fat than beef, 45% less fat than lamb and 15% less fat than veal…. what reason do you have not to try goat meat for your next meal? None! Find a local farmer’s market or farm and get yourself some cabrito, chevre or goat meat. It does a body/planet good!
Read more about Miranda, Pocket and their adventures in goats and cooking at An Austin Homestead.

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I’ve read many places that indoor air may be more polluted than outside air. This isn’t surprising to me because I’m very sensitive to smells and really notice the off-gassing of chemicals from anything new I bring into the house (the laptop I’m typing this on being the most recent). That’s why this time of year when I start seeing all those articles about sealing up the drafts in your home I kind of cringe – when you do this you’re only keeping in all the pollution!

Over the past couple years I’ve been thinking more about indoor air quality because I’ve been searching for ways to detox my life. We started with food, getting rid of any non-organic, non-local, prepackaged items. Then moving on to personal care and cleaning products. We have also been replacing items in our home that were made from pressed wood, plastic and other materials. Thankfully we never used non-stick cookware, but I have been replacing my stainless steel with enameled cast iron (even stainless steel can leach baddies in some instances). I’ve been using VOC free paint and only painting in the summer when I can have the windows open. I also replaced any CFL lightbulbs with incandescent *gasp* I know – but I’m no longer comfortable with the risk of any pollution they cause and I’ve noticed they also cause sleep issues and headaches for me personally. The FDA and EPA tell us all these toxins and pollutants are within “safe” levels for healthy humans, but I believe that while each individual level might be “OK” they all add up to a toxic overload for our bodies. All the toxins increase our risks for cancer, nervous system problems, lung and breathing issues, headaches, colds and flu, allergies, and all sorts of other health problems.

Since we spend so much time indoors, especially during the winter, it actually doesn’t make sense to over insulate your home and seal out all air flow. This traps all the VOC’s and other air pollution inside. As a result of all of these things here are some tips I came up with for keeping the air a little safer in your home this winter:

  • Don’t seal up your house too tightly, allow some air flow. Spending a few extra dollars on heating is well worth it and you will most likely more than make up your savings in health care costs!
  • Don’t caulk too much (this also off gasses chemicals into the air, don’t over insulate, don’t use draft dodgers). Little cracks here and there throughout your home will allow fresh air in from outside.
  • If you’re going to add more insulation to your home consider using a natural material like wool.  Wool itself can help mitigate VOC’s and other pollutants.
  • Crack a window, even in winter, especially if you’re doing something like printing, painting, cooking, using a ventless heater, etc.
  • Change your furnace filter often and consider switching to an activated charcoal filter, these do a better job mitigating air toxins.
  • Run exhaust fans when cooking/baking/showering (if you don’t filter your water the chlorine and other pollutants in your water get into the air)
  • Do not use ventless free space heaters (especially gas), if you have one make sure you crack windows. There’s a reason these have been outlawed in many states and most other countries beside the US! We have one in our home but it’s only used in emergencies if the electric is off.
  • Do not paint, stain or use any kind of chemical inside your home. Do not store lawn or other chemicals in your house.
  • If you haven’t already make the switch to non-toxic cleaners (you can save tons of money here by making your own).
  • Have lots of houseplants. Plants are one of the best ways to keep the air in your house clean and purified. On average each houseplant will clean 100 sq feet of air. Try to have at least one plant in each room if possible. (here’s an article on my blog about which plants can mitigate different chemical pollutants).
  • Avoid running printers, photocopiers, etc in your home.  If you do have a home office make sure you have some plants in the office and keep a window cracked especially during printing.
  • If you purchase new items, let them off gas in a garage or outside before bringing them indoors.

So if you’re thinking of sealing up your house against drafts to save money on heating – think again.  That exchange of fresh air might just be what’s keeping you a little healthier!

Have you ever considered indoor air pollution? Do you do anything specific to keep the indoor air clean & fresh in your home?  

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Your Day Magazine, and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

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silos

Computers and modern transportation have made this world of ours seem a lot smaller. It makes luxuries that many of us might afford seem commonplace. I can order shea butter made from nuts handpicked by African locals, wool from the “Highlands of Peru”, and water bottled all the way in Fiji and have them shipped to me here in the midwest. But do I need them… especially when I can get a comparable item from somewhere closer to home?

It’s a mixed blessing. Modernization and change can be good thing, but I wonder, “At what cost?”. Not just the cost to my pocket book, but the cost to our surroundings – the local industries and businesses, job rates, fuel prices, and the impact on the environment.

Just like I have doubts about processed foods, I have some issues with purchasing food online. Some of these “must have” herbs, oils, seasonings, and out of season vegetables can hardly be better for the environment with all their fossil fuels and packing than all the pesticides and fertilizer a conventionally grown product may have. I have some concerns with purchasing food from places like Amazon, for example, simply because the items are organic, or they fall under the latest diet fad, or are the latest craze in grains. How can it be any better than picking up packaged processed organic convenience foods at your local grocery store?

olive oil

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that these goods are available to those that would otherwise have no access to local organic products or allergen-free foods. I love that my sister, with her gluten- and lactose-intolerances, can easily find alternatives for her diet. But for a majority of us it shouldn’t be an issue. One of my biggest fears is that globalization (in the sense of marketing and shipping) of the organic industry will hinder the local food movements. When we choose to order food and goods online, I feel like we’re cheating our neighboring farmers even the chance to decide if they want to go organic, or sell at the market or even direct to stores.

With all that said, I admit I’m no saint. I have my coffee and teas; I’ve ordered bags of flour and even Meyer lemons; nuts and avocados from the States and Mexican mangoes frequent my kitchen when they’re in season. I keep balsamic vinegar. And wine… I have not given up my wine (hic!). Let’s not even talk about Peppadews. It’s been said many times before, “Moderation is key”.  If you want to splurge on something, choose wisely and limit your purchases and usage. For example, I try to choose Californian olive oil instead of those imported from Italy, Argentina, and Tunisia. I also purchase in bulk any items that need to be shipped – like flour. But I do purchase a majority of my vegetables and fruits from local farmers – and I buy lots at a time to can, freeze, and store*. Doing so is an investment in future meal. Yes, it requires some time and very minimal equipment, but it sure is an improvement in value and taste. I also try to forage when I can, and I’m not shy about asking family and friends if I can pick extras from their gardens and trees. Those Peppadews I love so much? I limit the amount I purchase and keep them as a special treat: a luxury.

Canning SessionSet your own limits. What is acceptable to you? Would you be willing to spend a couple of Saturdays  at the end of summer to put up the products of a good harvest? Can you fit an hour a week into your plans to go to the farm stand or market instead of the grocery store? Is it really okay to purchase organic garlic from Argentina, when you can wait until fall and pick it up locally? Can you get by with eating foods grown strictly in your own country? Would you be willing to eat seasonally and regionally instead of buying out of season fruits and vegetables from California? What ingredients would you be willing to give up, grow yourself, or purchase locally instead of having them imported? Would you be willing to be an activist and get the ball rolling on a local farmers market?

I think it’s phenomenal that so many more small businesses are cropping up and offering organic goods where they weren’t previously available. I love that there are so many alternatives available for people that have food challenges, like allergies and intolerances. I also think it’s important to stay educated and keep questioning how we can make things better for our families, the environment, and our local businesses. Food quality is very important to me, and I frequently find myself researching what I can do to improve it while reducing my footprint. My time and pocket book is also important to me, and I always have to work on consolidating my projects and errands. So while I may purchase a few key items online, you won’t find me getting box-loads of organic meals delivered to my door. Instead you’ll find me bringing box-loads of organic veggies home from the market to put up for those long, cold winter days and searching for ways to advocate local resources.

Farmers Market

(*A note on purchasing and preparing foods in bulk: It’s amazing how much cabinet space is left when you get rid of all those factory processed and packaged foods. Cans and jars of goods stack easily and don’t have as much empty space thanks to settling. Freezer space is nice if you have it, I’m currently storing a lot in my parents’ deep freeze since ours is long gone. I keep 20 pounds worth of flour in air-tight storage bins and have kept long-storing items like winter squash under my bed.

It may be intimidating to spend the little extra cash up front, but the investment of a little money and time up front will save you money and time later down the road. Less grocery shopping, means more time and more money in your pocket. Start small and add more projects as you feel more comfortable and can afford to add more to your project list. Share projects with someone else to save money and time, find canning jars and storage containers at garage sales or look for end of season sales. Over time you will notice a difference in the amount of money you spend on food, but it may take a while depending on how much you actually prepare and store.)

***

- Jennifer is also at Unearthing this Life, is on Twitter, and has written for Rhythm of the Home.

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