Archive for Reducing

New Toy!

Posted in Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Rethink with tags , , on August 30, 2008 by xxxicana

I FINALLY got the toy of my dreams!

Ok, I know, it is a little twisted to get so excited about a mixer. But, I figured I deserved a new toy since I’ve been really “good” lately. How, you ask, did I do it?

First, I had a long corazon a corazon platica with my Mexican Devil. He is my house protector and gives advice on living and cooking (he holds my hand back when I want to put in too much salt). Anyway, here are some of my rationales for buying the mixer:

1. I have resolved to ride my bike to school instead of driving. I live 2.5 miles from the university, the weather is perfect right now, and I need 30 minutes of exercise daily anyway. So, el Diablo said, “Nalgona, ride your bike to school.”

2. I have been recycling like a fiend for a long time now. We are averaging less than one bag of trash per week with our intensive composting and recycling program.

Here’s my homemade compost bin (I couldn’t justify spending $$ for a composter)

and here’s part of our recycle system:

We recycle glass, cardboard/paper board, paper, newspaper, cans, and #1 and 2 plastics. Lincoln does not have curbside recycling (although one can pay to have someone pick up your materials). So, every so often, we schlep our trash to the recycle bins around town. I have been trying to cut down on plastics — I reuse plastic bags and don’t buy overly packaged foods. But it is almost impossible to NOT buy some plastics. As a result, non-recyclable plastics are the bulk of our weekly trash.

3. Organic gardening. Although my garden is limited to a small raised bed and a swath along the driveway, I have been able to produce a little bit of our own food. I am still a fledgling farmer and learning to deal with bugs in a non-pesticide way (not always with success). Our lawn is NEVER watered (it is Zoyza grass) and I plant mostly locally adapted flowers for the front beds that don’t require much water.

Here’s round 2 of my raised bed. I just planted beans, chard, spinach, lettuce, and carrots. The eggplant is still flowering, the tomatoes are still producing, and I have lots of herbs that need to be cut and dried for winter.

4. We have adopted a “Flexitarian” diet. Tom and I still can’t bring ourselves to entirely eliminate animal products from our diet. However, we have really limited our consumption of meat. I buy cage free eggs (and don’t forget, by next year I plan on raising my own hens), and try to buy only fish that is non-endangered and/or raised with ecologically sound practices or wild caught (i.e., Pacific rather than Atlantic salmon). We eat vegetarian meals at least 3-4 nights a week (no fish, pork, poultry, etc.). I have to credit my daughter and her partner (they are vegans) for encouraging us to be more conscious of our use of animal products.

5. Higher energy efficiency. I have replaced at least half of our bulbs with CFLs. Some fixtures in the house don’t work with CFLs, darn! Tom also just replaced the furnace, AC, and water heater with high efficiency models.

6. A mixer will allow me to bake my own bread! This will reduce the amount of plastic we buy and we will be able to eat fresh, preservative free bread made with organic flour!

In sum, I think I have convinced myself that I deserve my new toy!