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Here’s to a Healthier 2009 for the Planet

January 3rd, 2009

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I set goals of things I want to get better at each year. I usually make financial, health and environmental goals each year (and usually my environmental and health ones are the same, what’s good for the planet is also good for me).

Last year my environmental & health goals were:
1. To eat more locally & sustainably.
2. Replace regular items with more environmentally friendly alternatives when they needed replaced.
3. Reduce the amount of toxic products used to cleaning our home.
4. Grow some of my own food.
5. Reduce the amount of garbage we produce.
6. Become more conscious of our water usage and find ways to use less in the home and in the garden.
7. Reduce the amount of electricity that we use and find ways to do without electric items.

I was able to make great steps on all of these goals. We started buying food from the local farmer’s at the farmer’s markets, we started drinking raw organic milk from a local farm, and we purchased our poultry from a local farm as well.
We also grew a good amount of our own food, which is as local and sustainable as it gets! We probably were able to grow about 10% of our own food this summer.
This year started replacing items in the house with environmentally friendly items as they needed replacing and we will continue to do that this year. We were able to reduce the amount of garbage we were producing to 2 bags a month (we’re hoping to get that down to 1 this year). We accomplished this by trying to buy items with less packaging and by recycling and composting much of our waste.
We also built a rain barrel system to collect rain water for our outdoor water used. We were able to reduce our city water usage in the garden to almost 0 with this system. We also line dried our clothes this summer in our efforts to reduce our energy usage. We were also able to not use our air conditioner as much since it was a cool summer. Overall we were able to reduce our water and electric consumption by about 20% (our natural gas usage was down as well).

This year my goals are very similar:

1. To eat more locally & sustainably, particularly learning to eat more seasonally.
2. Replace regular items with more environmentally friendly alternatives when they needed replacing, paying particular attention to personal care products.
3. Learn to make my own environmentally friendly cleaning products and to find even better green alternatives than the ones I’m using.
4. Grow even more of my own food, hopefully around 20%, use more heirloom plants in the gardens.
5. Reduce the amount of garbage we produce to 1 bag per month.
6. Reduce the amount of water and electricity that we use.

I’m already working on a few of these. I have been reading a few books about green beauty products and I am replacing our personal care items right away (more on that next week). I have been researching making my own cleaning products and I already have used a few (vinegar works even better then my non-toxic toilet bowl cleaner). We are replacing our toilet tissue with Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue, 2-Ply Sheets, 500-Sheet Rolls (Pack of 48)and we are trying to use more rags and towels instead of paper towels.
This year we’re also hoping to plant a few fruit trees and vines and to build a few more raised beds so we can grow even more of our own food. We’re also going to focus on using more heirloom vegetables and plants in the gardens.
We’re also going to keep trying to reduce the amount of garbage we produce by continuing to buy things with less packaging, buying second hand, or not buying things at all. We are going to switch to World’s Best Cat Litter because it’s compostable (you can compost the litter itself and the cat urine, all other goodies go in the garbage). This will not only reduce the amount of garbage we produce but it is a much more environmentally friendly product than the cat litter we currently use.

So what about you? Do you make resolutions or goals for the coming year? (notice the new poll today)

Something Good for the Planet

November 30th, 2008

This time of year most of our mailboxes are stuffed with catalog’s for various retailers. All of them offering the latest and greatest things to spend your hard earned money on. I dislike getting junk mail in general, not just catlogs. For one, it’s a waste of my time. Second, it’s a waste of paper. Third, It’s a waste of money for the company that sent it (and mine if I happen to order something).

A year ago, I came across Catalog Choice. It’s a great site for deleting your name from various retailer’s mailing lists. All you have to do is sign up for an account and every time you get a catalog, you sign on, find the catalog and have your name checked off of their list. Easy as can be! I signed up in January of this year and I am receiving noticeable fewer catalogs (particularly this Christmas season). I must say, I’m a big fan (and I’m sure the earth is happy as well). Now if only they would offer it for credit card applications.

Is your mailbox overflowing with catalogs this time of year?

America Recycles Day

November 15th, 2008

Today is America Recycles Day, a day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle more and buy recycled products.

We recycle here at Chiot’s Run, always have. All of our plastic, glass and metal goes to the local recycling center about once a month (no curbside pick-up here). All of our organic waste goes into the compost pile as does all of our newspaper and cardboard. This is the best kind of recycling if you’re a gardener. All that stuff becomes black gold, it feeds your plants better than any fertilizer you can buy! We also try buy recycled products and try to buy products with less packaging or do without the product at all. This has made a huge dent in the amount of waste we produce. Our actual waste that goes out to the curb only takes up a grocery bag each week.

What are you doing to reduce your waste footprint?

A Different Kind of Flower

November 7th, 2008

In an effort to be a little more environmentally friendly, Mr Chiot’s and I have been drying our laundry outside this summer. At first we were apprehensive since Mr Chiot’s has terrible allergies, but the outdoor drying didn’t make them any worse.

I’m going to miss this chore, it’s always such a peaceful time. I’m also going to miss all the extra colorful flowers in the gardens (the kind I don’t have to weed & water).

Am I going to hang my clothes indoors during the winter? Probably not. We don’t have space here in our little home. So I’ll be retiring my clothes line and clothes pins here pretty soon until the weather warms up a bit next spring.

Anyone else drying clothes in the gardens this summer?

The Green Fair

September 14th, 2008

We try to be pretty environmentally friendly here at Chiot’s Run. Our gardens are all organic, no chemicals, no pesticides, only all natural products are used. We have a rain water collection system and we save some gray water for our watering needs. We recycle what we can and try to reuse products as well. I’m always thrilled when I find other doing the same. I was pleasantly surprised by all the green I found at the Wayne County Fair last Sunday. In the school art barns some of the projects were about recycling and being more environmentally friendly.

There were little sprinkles of green throughout the fair (though no recyclables trash cans were to be found, we’ll have to work on that).

As we were leaving we noticed the Sustainable Energy Network Booth, so I stopped to pick up some literature. They had a small solar panel and a wind turbine powering their booth.

Hopefully this will raise awareness in Wayne County on the importance of being environmentally friendly. Now, I wonder when they’ll have an organic produce barn?

Here are 2 of the handouts I picked up at the fair. If you live in NE Ohio, you might be interested in attending a few of the events listed in the Greening Your Home Series. The Ohio Solar Tour is October 4-5, I may be touring a few of the homes.

SEN Directory of Resources, Incentives and Support

Greening Your Home Series

This concludes our Wayne County Fair coverage, tomorrow we will resume regular posting.

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.