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Over the last six months to a year, Jeff and I have been making… 
4th-Jul-2006 12:02 pm
Over the last six months to a year, Jeff and I have been making efforts to live in a more green and sustainable fashion, and support our local economy more. It's the beginning of July, and the mid-point of the year, so it's a good time to think about what we've been doing and what we would like to do.

What we've done

- switched to biodegradable shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, laundry soap (which happens to be local, too), toothpaste, body wash and body soap. We're still using up the last of the crappy household cleaners.
- switched to non-disposable menstral products
- switched to non-disposable razors
- put flourescent bulbs in the lights that will take them
- began eating more locally, more organically, and eating less prepackaged foods; cooking more and going out much less
- began using earth friendly cat litter
- started a small container garden

What we'd like to do

- switch to a local credit union. This will happen before school starts, though I'm going to have to keep my bank accounts open until November, because they owe me money from an incentive program that's going to get paid out once a year.)
- start riding our bikes again, and for me, making biking part of my weekly transportation routine
- continue reducing our dependence on prepackaged convience foods. Things we want to develop or find recipes for, and then get into the habit of making, include homemade breakfast bars, yogurt, sandwich bread, croutons (already have a good recipe and technique, just need to make it a habit), frozen pizza, tortillas, cream of X soup, onion soup mix, hot chocolate mix, mayonnaise
- learn how to make our own butter and cheese. This won't be an all the time thing, but it would be nice to do occasionally.
- continue eating more locally and more organically and spending money at local businesses on food. In May, 61 percent of our food dollars (food dollars includes some non-food items, in our case; I want to start splitting those out in the accounting) went to conventional, non-local sources. For June, it was 71. I'd love to have that down to 50 by the end of the year.
- learn to can and preserve
- spend more local money in general. Try to spend less money at big box stores and more at local businesses.
- eat less meat
- learn to maintain a healthy compost heap
- expand the container garden
- try biodegradable cat litter
- try to make a solar oven
Comments 
4th-Jul-2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
While I haven't got the oomph (yet) to live more green/locally, I think it's really cool that you've been doing so! Also, I have questions:

- switched to non-disposable razors
What sort, and do you have to sharpen them?

- started a small container garden
What's in it so far? :)

- switch to a local credit union.
Are there any serious inconveniences as a result of doing this?

- start riding our bikes again, and for me, making biking part of my weekly transportation routine
If I can figure out how to get on and off my bike without falling down, I want to do a lot more of this. I would love to make my bike my primary means of local transport, because all the places I really go, I can either reach on foot -- or nearly so, and a bike would make it easy.

(You guys have bike helmets, right? I had a friend who took a fall, not even a bad one -- slow speed, onto grass -- and lost his short-term memory for three days as a result. He was very much like the guy in Memento for those days; he did things like flip people off if they annoyed him and say "I can do that, because I don't remember you". For three days, he kept asking if he'd just woken up, and when people had shown up. I like brains too much not to espouse helmets after that, because it could have been much, much worse.)

in the make-your-own category: yogurt
You can do that? o_O!!!!

in the make-your-own category: tortillas
Wow, really? Which kind -- flour or corn? Or both?

in the make-your-own category: hot chocolate mix
Is that something you want to have a mix for or are you just planning to chop up chocolate and whisk it in?
4th-Jul-2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oh! And J's girlfriend, chaiya, makes her own yogurt. I will ask her for information for you.
4th-Jul-2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
I can get you a recipie for insant hot-chocolate! I used to make it in big batches and store it in zip lock bags.

I second Sheep's question about razors! I would really like to get away from disposables but everyone I've talked with about straight razors seems to think I'd be crazy to try to use one on my legs or other bits.
4th-Jul-2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Non-disposable razors sound terribly inconvenient to me, too. I tend to wax everything but my legs anyway, though, and waxing's pretty Earth-friendly. Using a homeade sugaring solution even more so.
4th-Jul-2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
We live as green as we can, but not nearly so as you. I'd like to start getting to the farmer's market more often, but the closest one is 1/2 hour away, and I don't feel like I have the time/energy right now. But that's a lame excuse; I should do it anyway.
5th-Jul-2006 01:47 am (UTC)
*shrugs* You have kids, you have school, you have family issues. Do what you can, and you're doing better than 99% of people. :)
4th-Jul-2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Cool. How is the earth friendly cat litter? What kind is it?

I made a solar oven once at a day camp and made cookies in it. That was kind of fun.
5th-Jul-2006 01:36 am (UTC)
The cat litter is this stuff. It also happens to be the best stuff we've tried so far; it controls odors well and doesn't have a huge dust problem. Unfortunately, Earth Fare is discontinuing it, so I'm going to have to call around and see who else carries it.
4th-Jul-2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
I like the bread recipe that's in Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Dometic Goddess. It's quite easy and tasty, although I have to decrease the salt from 1tbsp to 1tsp because it's waaaaaay to salty otherwise (which makes me wonder if it's a typo).
5th-Jul-2006 01:39 am (UTC)
And the library has it. Woot! :)
(Deleted comment)
5th-Jul-2006 01:41 am (UTC)
All of the above would rock. :) We're good at pizza, but being able to make our own homemade frozen pizzas would rock.

And I would love to join you on the great cheese making experiment. :)
4th-Jul-2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
Homemade breakfast bars - Alton Brown did a "Good Eats" where he made all sorts of food bars. Check out foodnetwork.com, they ave most of his stuff up there. He's done yogurt as well, the kind where you don't need a yougurt maker, and jam, which is the basic intro to preserving.

Alton is my food god. Good luck with your goals.
4th-Jul-2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Alton's a great resource for these things. For some of the more cmplex stuff, you might want to check out the episode transcripts at goodeatsfanpage.com--there's a lot more instruction in the shows that often doesn't show up in the recipes.
4th-Jul-2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
good luck with that. we will continue to be the consumer whores that we are.
4th-Jul-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
I'd never ever use flourescent lights. I'd sooner go back to wall sconces with candles in them. Flourescent lights always give me a headache and make everything look sick.
4th-Jul-2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
PS: Thank you for the link to the Diva cup. I didn't want a Keeper because it was rubber and I have Sensitive Skin From Hell, but I'm pretty much going to run right out and pick up a Diva cup as soon as I can.
5th-Jul-2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
http://www.seattletilth.org/resources/compost

Composting is really interesting and I've sold bins with the people from seattle tilth who are so helpful.
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