Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grover's Are Going Green!!!

Dat Right.  (that is how my grandson Noah says it)  We have taken more serious steps lately, at doing more to live our lives with less waste, and be more pro active with our "living green."  We have always recycled.  I even won an award given by our city for recycling properly and actively.   I still get teased about that by my sister in law Glenda.   I have been composting seriously for about 1 year now.  Not much goes into the garbage.  The scraps go into the heap, the chickens eat any produce that we don't.  I try to not purchase plastics that I don't need.   And when I do, I reuse them somehow.  I use all of those plastic salad tubs that things like spinach come in, to organize and store fabric in my sewing room.  It keeps it clean, and is also see through for easy access.  I have been making my own laundry detergent for awhile.  It is easy and makes a bunch.  And most importantly, it works quite well.  Today, I made my own liquid soap.  It was my second attempt.  The first recipe I tried did not thicken.  I wanted to use Mrs. Meyers Basil Soap, but could not find it in bar form anywhere.  But if you use a good quality soap, you should have a nice liquid soap in the end.  Here is what I used.
1 bar high quality soap ( I used Yardley, Aloe and Cucumber )
10 cups of water
1 T glycerin
 I used a large pot, heated the water to a medium high, and then got to work grating the soap.  You need only ONE cup of the soap curls, not the whole bar.  I saved the rest in a jar for later.  I grated the soap onto a sheet of waxed paper, and then used that to pour into measuring cup, and then into pot of hot water. Add 1 T of liquid glycerin.  Stir a bit til melted.  Takes only a few minutes.  Shut off heat, and let cool completely.
When it is cooled, it will have solidified some, and look very thick, like this.
I took a wire whisk and blended it, and even added about 1/4 cup water to thin a little bit.  I used a funnel to pour into an empty water bottle to store.  I had one empty pump bottle and filled this up, and will store the rest until I need it.
This made about 1/2 gallon of liquid refill.  Plenty for us.   So for the cost of one bar of soap, 1.79 cents at Walgreens, and some liquid glycerin (already had some) you can make enough liquid soap to last for many months.
I am also trying to use less baggies, and paper products in our house.  I seldom ever use paper plates, because, well, I do not like them.  Summer time bbq's aside, I really don't even buy them.  I can't imagine ever being able to live without using paper towels and paper napkins, but I try to use them infrequently.  The other day we had our "Knitty Bitties" group and we always bring a sak lunch and eat together.   I made my sandwich, and wrapped it in waxed paper.  Packed my crackers in a mason jar.  Lined my Longaberger basket with my cloth napkin, and an apple with some nut butter.  (plastic package of nut butter, NOT GREEN)
We use energy efficient lightbulbs.  Try to conserve on water usage.  Composte and use composted earth in garden.  I use chicken poo as fertilizer for my veggies and flowers.  I put it into the composte bin to break down and speed the decomposition of food scraps and yard waste.  If I use it directly on flowers or veggies, I make a tea.  I scoopa da poopa right into a bucket, then add water and stir to a perfect fertilizer!
So what kinds of things are you doing to leave a smaller footprint on Mother Earth?
Now, before I post these next pictures, I have to preface this by saying that my husband and kids ALWAYS say that I keep our house cold enough to hang meat!  I say....I like the fresh air!!!  Well yesterday we had a cold rain all day.  Noah was sick, so I kept my windows shut to keep him comfortable.  But when he went home, open they went!!!  I love to listen to the rain.  And I was perfectly cozy in a pair of sweats!!  Greg got home and changed to go out and collect firewood for a fire, saying, "YOU CAN SEE  YOUR BREATH IN HERE!"  I just laughed.  And may have called him a sissy.
He came out like this!!!
A thermal underneath a sweatshirt.  A fur lined flap cap, tightly secured at the chin.  And a head lamp for finding his way outside to get wood in the dark!  I was in hysterics!!!  Come on...REALLY?
Isn't he cute?  He got the fire roaring, and I slid into the best seat in the house.  The big easy chair right smack dab in front of the fire.  Ahhhhhh, nice!!
I did not have Noah today.  He is very sick with flu.  Poor baby.  I did go bring supplies earlier and sit with him while Erika ran to the market for some things.  He is so sick.  Sure hope he feels better soon.  And I hope we don't get it!!!! 
I am enjoying this nice chilly weather we are having.  Even though I am preparing for Spring, we didn't get nearly enough winter, and I will enjoy whatever we get.
Have a great evening.
XO  Kris


The Garden Bell - Kate said...

This looks like a fun easy project. I may have to give this a try when looking for something to occupy my mind. Hey, my hubbie has one of thos head lamps too. He just got himself an LLBEAN ball cap with a little light on the bill which he now adores.

I know this might amaze you but we are very green here in the burbs of Chicago too. Or is it that I'm a snob and don't like eating off of paper or plastic too.

Have a good evening kiddo,

Libby said...

Is there anything better than a sandwich wrapped in waxed paper? Reminds me of going to the sewing circle with my grandma when I was young.
I'm prepping to start up my compost operation again - I use worms to speed the process. When I had them before we moved east, I had the best garden of my life *s*

Stacey said...

Hmmmm, this makes me want to be more green.. Unfortunately, I only recycle.. That's about it.. Good for you for actively living green :) It was freezing last night.. hahah.. I can't imagine having my windows open.. I would have looked like Greg :) Poor Noah.. I hope he feels better soon.. There's def something going around :(

Jill said...

Great job living green! I did a few posts on this and one right before school of the resusable sandwich bags I use to wash and cut down on waste. So many ways to make a difference. I'm like you I like it cool, lol. Love his hat!
Enjoy your night! Hope Noah feels better soon!

Also thank you so much for the lovely handwritten thank you note! I received it today and was so surprised! That was so kind of you :-) Brought a big smile to my face.


Debbiedoo's said...

WOW Kris, good for you on living green. Cute hat on the hubs!

Cozy Little House said...

Sure hope he gets better soon. I am impressed with your "green" living! I too love rain. And have it on two sound machines in two rooms of my home.

by Teresa said...

Hi Kris, I love that you're doing your green part. We do a lot of that too. Oregon is known for doing "green" stuff. SAY.. how are you getting the COOL comment area? I still have the annoying one with the hard to read "clues". I want one like yours! :-)
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Lauri said...

I have been trying to be a little more green too but I'm not as good as you are...yet. Share your recipe for laundry detergent, please!

Deb from Denver said...

Good for you for being so green! Our city just recently started curbside recycling, we are amazed at how much we are able to recycle and how little 'trash' we actually have. I'm with you on the paper plates, about 8 years ago, we bought enamelware plates to use for bbq's. Not only are we not throwing trash away, we've saved a ton of money on plates. Same with Christmas china, I felt a wee bit indulgent buying another set of dishes but I've used the same ones for 25 years now. We have a ways to go but every little bit helps.

Hope Noah feels better, soon. Our little Brady is sick as well. I Lysol'd the house after he left this afternoon....I don't wanna get sick! :) Deb

Genn said...

We are trying to be much more green too and I love it!!!
I can't wait to start composting this year. And gardening. I will try that liquid hand soap, what a great price for so much! The way my girls go through it I shouldn't waste my money on the bath and body works soaps right now.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

I first I love this post. We are very alike. I even compost in my little yard. Second, if the flu does come to your house I don't want it Sat. I am a freak about such things. This you should know about me.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I like your green ideas, Kris... I have been wanting to try making laundry detergent and liquid soap, too! Your husband is too funny!

::Nomadic Bee:: said...

Hey Kris, That is awesome you guys are going more green! I need to try out that soap soon, I always go through so much it seems, I never know where it goes. And a college budget sure could use some tweaking from time to time. I could not help but giggle at the photos of Greg. But let me tell you I know exactly how it feels living in a house cold enough to hang meat... my dad always asked us kids "Have you ever met an Eskimo with a cold!?" LOL wish I knew back then to say I've never met an Eskimo period. :)
Hope all is well, I really enjoy reading about your recipes and crafts and of course your adorable grandkids!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

That was a scream, your hubby is too funny. We too can hang beef at night in the house so I keep socks on 24/7 now.

I had no idea you could make hand soap so I will be doing that with some goat's milk soap I have, I already have the glycerin. I have been using rose water and glycerin on my face for years.

Are you a collector of longaberger baskets? I use to be but sold most of mine. I did keep about 10. I adore the market baskets, picnic and pie and purse ones. I did the same thing as you, took my lunch with me in my basket.

We use cloth napkins and dish towels but I wonder?? I now have more washing to do so that takes more electricity/water to wash and dry and then. I know its great for the planet but we have seen higher utility bills. Going green is more expensive in some ways, I need to find more ways so I can counterbalance the higher cost.

I save all jars and use them to store dry goods in and left over dinner in instead of plastic baggies.

Nicolle said...

I laughed so hard at your husband and the headlamp. Boyd and Kevin both have them, I think they are so goofy, but I know they are very handy! :))

Love that you are going green. I need to be more aware and mindful of it all. Every little step we take to protect our beautiful earth is worth it.


Kerri said...

Who knew making soap was so easy?! I might try that! You didn't say how you make laundry soap? As far as paper towels go...you can so do without them! I haven't bought them in almost 3 yrs. I have a bucket under my sink of white cloths that I use and then just throw them in the washing machine with some bleach. Napkins though...not sure I could do without them!
Hope Noah is feeling better today...as my son says, no one likes to be sick do they?!

Heather - The Good Life said...

I've read about making laundry detergent before, but haven't ever tried it. You make the soap making sound easy. We use the energy efficient bulbs in our house too. Hope your grandson is feeling better soon. :-)

Holly said...

I can hardly believe I'm friends with an award winning recycler! Honestly, that is truly wonderful. We recycle but I'm sure I can find other ways to lessen our footprint. Great post!

deb said...

ok is the liquid soap HAND soap or dish soap or both?
I could do better at being green...you have inspired me.....and its great your chickens help you out a lot!!!
i keep my house cold too, right now Im freezing!!!

deb said...

ok I forgot...one thing we do do is use cloth napkins, and I rarely buy paper towels....

DaCraftyLady Debb said...

I love when it rains too and those slippers look cozy. Mr Geeps looks cute..lol....but I can relate, it was really cold here last night, we had the fire going and I had my velour pants on with a sweatshirt and crawled under my fuzzy blanket with my pooch and watched a little TV, my NCIS was on. BB was 12' last nite...burrrrrr....

annielizabeth said...

You guys are doin' a great job of going more green. I'm enjoying the little bit of cold we're getting, too. BTW my sis' family down in San Clemente had that darn flu that is going around and their 6 yr old's fever would not stay down. Finally took him to the doc and got some strong antibiotics for him. This one's a nasty one when it gets a hold of a person. Don't forget to take your vit-c!! :)

Katie said...

I love that you put your lunch in that cute basket!
I am really craving a breakfast bagel sandwich now after reading your prior post! I feel like I can smell it ;) Looks like it was delicious!