Monday, December 29, 2008

check out the beginnings of my chicken coop

I was going to wait to upload a picture but I couldnt stand it anymore. Yesterday Rob and I finally found some time to start on my chicken coop. I hope to have chickens by the end of January. I am so proud to say that everything so far has been re-used. We have not spent a dime. The fence posts were left over from 5 years ago when we moved here and fenced in our backyard. I was using them as landscape timbers in the meantime. Suprisingly they were still in perfect condition. The wood for the supports was left overs from a job sight that Rob's brother gave us. The fence (it is not on yet) that we are going to us is also left over from 5 years ago. We are going to have to buy 1 sheet of plywood for the roof but it doesnt look like we will have to buy anything else. All in all it looks like it will only cost us about $10.00. I am going to build the gate myself with 2x4 and fencing. We already have hinges from a couple of rotten gates my grandfather gave me years ago and for the back hatch of the coop (So I can collect eggs without going inside) we are going to make using left over board on board fence panels my grandfather gave us years ago. An old neighbor was getting rid of them and he paid $20.00 for 8 panels. We used 3 of them already when we built our dog house. I am so excited. We hope to work on it some more this weekend. It will be a few months before we have eggs but it will be nice to have our own supply. I will post more pictures soon once we do more work.

find a new use for that shredded paper

If your like me you shred every bill or piece of mail that comes in with your personal info on it. Be sure and separate anything that does not have your info on it (insert, envelope etc...) and put that stuff in your recycle bin. Once your shredder fills up the shredded paper is a great alternative for bedding for rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils & mice. I had a guinea pig and a rabbit and did this all the time. You'll want to make sure you avoid shredding credit cards or CD's or at least pull them out. If you dont have a small pet ask around your neighborhood or childs classroom. You'd be surprised at how thankful the parent will be to be able to save money on the bedding. The paper, once wet, tends to clump together which actually makes it easier to clean the tray out. Also those toilet paper tubes are great for gerbils and other small rodents. They love to chew on them.

avoid wasting paper... use E-vites instead

This is something I have done for years. Go to for electronic invitations. It works great. Guests can rsvp online and it even sends a reminder out 2 days before your party. You can include directions and even a food list if you are asking your guests to bring a dish. Best of all it is free. I love doing this. Of course if you have a few people who do not use e-mail you will need to send paper invitations but still think of all the paper you have saved!

Friday, December 19, 2008

be creative with your Christmas gifts...

I have to share this. My wonderful secret santa (thanks Michelle) at work, wrapped my Christmas gifts to cleverly for me. First off my bag was a reusable grocery bag. Then inside each of my gifts, instead of tissue paper, were wrapped with beautiful Rooster kitchen hand towels. I loved it. She also shared with me that most of the little gifts she left on my desk these past weeks leading up to the big exchange today, were purchased at area thrift stores. Now if you know me, you know how much I love buying used versus new. I have to say Michelle knows me pretty well. Just thought I would share this unique idea with you all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Try a natural alternative for a cold

Many people know about echinicea but did you know that ginger is also great for reducing cold symptoms? Boil some freshly grated ginger in water and drink 3-4 times a day. This will help with cough and headache and I have even been told it even increases libido.

Vitamin C is also a great alternative to allergy medicine. Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine. If you suffer from seasonal allergies try drinking a glass of OJ a day. See what it does for you. Another good addition is a spoon full of honey. This helps with coughs especially those caused by post nasal drip. Be sure and buy local honey though made from honey bees in your area.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sending your holiday greetings electronically this year

A few years ago I started an annual holiday newsletter. What started out as an attempt to give friends and family an update on what my then newly-wed husband and I were up to has now turned into something I love to do every year. 3 years later I not only realize how much I enjoy writing (and think that our friends and family enjoy reading) the newsletter but I also realize what an environmentally conscience choice I made. I try to make it very personal and include pictures from trips and events through out the year. I do print a few copies for close family (like grandparents and parents) and a few copies for the few non computer savy people in my life, bust mostly our holiday greetings are now sent electronically. Newsletters are easy to do. Go online and search for Microsoft word newsletter templates. You can make all kinds of changes but at least it gives you a starting point.

Think about how many Christmas cards you have accumulated (or thrown away) over the years. I for one love receiving the cards with pictures and notes inside. But many cards just have a name signed to them. An alternative to just tossing these away each year is to keep them and cut out cute pictures on the fronts. These pictures can be used next year to make handmade cards or gift tags. You can do this with birthday cards too. Its a lot of fun and of course it keeps them out of the trash.

I'd love to hear any other ideas anyone has.


Why not use the Sunday Comics to wrap your Christmas gifts this year? I put an employee classified on our city employee website and asked that people send me their comics from the Sunday paper. They have started rolling in and I have started wrapping my gifts with them. It feels so nostalgic. I love it. Best of all it is saving me money. I am going to attempt to post a picture with this post. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

dont forget the forgettables....

I have to say that when I first started becoming more environmentally conscious I had no idea what road it would lead me down. I realize now that my biggest concerns are with waste. I hate seeing things go to a landfill when they can be reused or recycled. When it comes to recycling there are a lot of things that people forget can be recycled. Cereal boxes are a great example. They are cardboard. Remember to remove the plastic bag from inside first, then break the box down and put it in your recycle bin. Oh yah and dont forget to look for those Box Tops points too. Cut them out and give them to someone for their school. Each one is worth .10. The plastic bags that bread comes in is another example of a forgettable. Look at the bag and you should see the infamous triangle. There will be a number inside the triangle and as long as your recycling company accepts that # the bag can be recycled. If your not sure what your company accepts give them a call and they should be able to give you a list. If your company can recycle styrofoam (ours does) a lot of the containers that meat comes in are recyclable too. Another example is your mail. If you pay online and dont use the envelopes that come with your bill, those as well as the inserts can be recycled. This goes for the magazines, catalogs and various other junk mail you get. Dont forget to shred anything with personal information on it. I keep a bin under my desk and when it fills up I pull out the paper and put it in my recycle bin. Be sure and wedge it between something so that if it is a windy day you are not picking it up later from the neighbors yard. The cardboard rolls from toilet paper are recyclable too. Keep a bag in the bathroom for them to make it easier to separate from the rest of your trash. Also check with your local schools to see if they would be interested in them for various projects with the kids. Especially around Christmas time. They work great for reindeer ornaments. I have a few courtesy of my nephews.

As I mentioned earlier, I realize now how passionate I am about reducing waste. Seriously think about what you are putting in your trash and alternative solutions for disposing of them that way. I continue to reduce my waste. I put out 2-3 recycle bins a week while only having 1 bag of trash every 1-2 weeks. It makes me feeling pretty good to know that there is something I can do to help ensure a "trash-free" future my daughter and her cousins. Not to mention that when things are recycled it reduces the need for non-renewable resources to be used to make more of those items.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

what to buy organic when you cant afford to buy it all

One of my biggest hurdles is that I cant always afford to buy organic. I dont buy organic just to protect the earth I do it mostly because I do not want to subject my family to pesticides and preservatives. Here is some information about the dirty dozen from Sara Snow. If you cant afford to buy all your produce organic at least try to buy these:

There have been a couple of studies done on fruits and vegetables to determine which are the cleanest (without pesticide and chemical residues) and which fall the other way. The Environmental Working Group did one such study and it resulted in a list they call the Dirty Dozen. It makes sense to buy organic for the items that fall into their dirty category; and that you might be able to save some money by sticking with conventional varieties of their cleanest twelve. According to the EWG list the following fruits and vegetables are the dirtiest twelve: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. On the other hand, onions, avocado, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya are the cleanest.