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December Sustainability Challenge Continues

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's December 1st!! How did you all do on your November goals? I got my spinach and lettuce seeds planted and went ahead & added arugula, broccoli and radishes, too, since I had all the stuff out anyway. As for the solar info. I did do some research and circled about 3 that I'm considering, but need to get my dh's opinion and wait until after Christmas, since our budget is tight (so may add the "purchasing" part for a February goal??)

I was inspired by you gals, and am putting in some of your ideas for my December goals:

1. Walk/ride using our bike stroller/trailer for errands at least twice this month.

2. Going to build a worm bin to continue composting through the winter. Need to find a good place to buy the worms, too. I've scoped out my dh's garage for the wormies to stay warm in the winter

3. Going to make at least one meal in our slow cooker this month. I have gotten out of the habit of using it, and need to get back to it as it's a great time/energy-saver (electric & human ).

4. Am going to look into adding wind energy to our electricity consumption through an option with our elec co. to see if I can offset our carbon footprint.
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Michelle, you asked if a slow cooker can do refried beans since you don't have a pressure cooker...so I checked my cookbooks and found one that I modified:
Refried Beans (serves 8)

2 c. dried red OR pinto beans
6 c. water
2 garlic cloves, mince
1 lrg tomato, peel/seed/chop
1 tsp salt
3 T canola oil
(opt: shredded cheese, to taste)

1. Combo beans, water, garlic, tomato, salt, & oil in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours, stirring occasionally. When beans become soft, drain off some liquid.

2. Mash (or puree in food processor). Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
post #3 of 17
I bought some seeds for my sprouter.
I was given an indoor composter. I don't know what to do with it when it gets full though. Do I dump it outside or leave the scraps in it until it turns to dirt

ummm-thats about it for day one of December
post #4 of 17
subbing for now, I hope to come back later with some goals of my own.
post #5 of 17
subbing for now...
post #6 of 17
DH and I are contemplating one major sustainablity improvement for Christmas. Either we will get a wood stove or insert OR we will get a handpump well (our well is currently on electric) . . . I am leaning toward the hand pump well. It won't add as much to the house, but we live in North Carolina. If we didn't have heat, we still probably wouldn't freeze to death.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie anne View Post
Michelle, you asked if a slow cooker can do refried beans since you don't have a pressure cooker...so I checked my cookbooks and found one that I modified:
Refried Beans (serves 8)

2 c. dried red OR pinto beans
6 c. water
2 garlic cloves, mince
1 lrg tomato, peel/seed/chop
1 tsp salt
3 T canola oil
(opt: shredded cheese, to taste)

1. Combo beans, water, garlic, tomato, salt, & oil in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours, stirring occasionally. When beans become soft, drain off some liquid.

2. Mash (or puree in food processor). Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
This is perfect, thank you so much!! I bought a bunch of dried beans instead of canned over the weekend, but we still got some canned refried b/c I wasn't sure how to make them (couldn't go without until I learned!!).

OHT, so I'll come back with goals later.
post #8 of 17
subbing,
We are moving into a new apartment next week. So my goals may be few until we settle.
-find a nice used crock pot (IL's extra one?) and use it! Mine died about 6 months ago and have not replaced it.
-Go back to meal planning and cooking from scratch. This has stopped because of staying with our IL's for the last 5 weeks:
-figure out where Im going to line dry and look into purchasing a wringer (used) to cut drying time
post #9 of 17
So I'm finally getting back to this thread.

Julie Anne, thanks for the beans recipe and the whole wheat dinner roll recipe from last month. I can't wait to try them both.

Goals for December... hmm... there are just so many things around here that need improving. So many things that I know are wrong and I do them anyway for the sake of convenience, or my DH who isn't nearly as into this as I am.

One goal is to turn the computer off every night, turn the lights off every night. Since DS was born and I'm often up in the middle of the night, I got in the habit of leaving things on. I need to break that habit. So far, I've turned everything off every night.

Another goal is to rely less on disposable products. I'm much better about the paper towels. I'd like to just not replace the other stuff when we run out - no more paper napkins, never paper plates again, etc. There just isn't any reason for it. I'd like to get to cloth TP, but I'm not sure I can bring DH in on that, I better start small.

Finally, I want to learn to cook more from scratch. Less convenience foods. I didn't garden or compost after getting preg in 06 b/c I felt horrible. This year it was too much with DS. Next year, the kid can stand, he can come outside and watch/help me garden. Anyway, I'm thinking more about that and getting ready to add that back in.

There is more I need to do, but I don't want to overwhelm myself.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BunnySlippers View Post
I bought some seeds for my sprouter.
I was given an indoor composter. I don't know what to do with it when it gets full though. Do I dump it outside or leave the scraps in it until it turns to dirt

ummm-thats about it for day one of December

When it turns to soil, empty it in your plants, garden, flower bed ect.
post #11 of 17
Hi all! Glad to see so many interesting directions people are taking!

I'm continuing my November goals of reducing plastic usage...I asked my dad for stainless steel bottles for all of us for Christmas, and he loved the idea, yay! I've also started pricing water bottles we could use at home...and might give that a try (right now, I buy gallons individually). While it would be nice to invest in a water purification system, I just don't have the money Someday, perhaps! Also, I keep trying to buy the cloth grocery bags that were suddenly everywhere for $1 each...the first week, anyway! Since I saw them and was broke, suddenly I have a few dollars and don't see them (one cashier even looked all over the store for me after I said I didn't want paper or plastic ) It's a few small steps! I'd also really like to set up a small garden, at least for salad greens, baby spinach is soooo yummy!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Elizabeth- Thank you so much for the recipes for the tinctures. I forgot all about them and saw them when I double-checked Nov's thread. Where do you get your herbs?

Bunny Slippers- from what I've read, your compost should be ready in approx 2 wks and you can use it as a top dressing or till it into your garden.

Welcome dinahx and beansrice. Glad you jumped in.

beansrice- you might find a wood stand to dry your laundry will work nicely for apt living. We use ours in the winter to dry clothes. One of the nice things is that you can move it around to wherever the sun spot is including onto your porch. Also, the shower rod with shirts hung on hangers and using clothespins to hang pants upside down (from the leg holes) onto the bottom part of a hanger work, too.

Michelle- power strips work well for computers/tvs because they stilll draw energy even when they're turned off. Something like over 600 lbs of CO2/yr will be eliminated using a power strip.

Well, one of my goals this month was to walk/bike which we did (approx 6 miles round trip)...well, I am SO SORE!! But, hey, we did it. Think I may try biking next time, though . Our seeds are coming up, so that's fun & exciting to see. The kids have been having a great time watching this happen in front of their eyes. Am so glad we started seeds so early this yr.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie anne View Post
Elizabeth- Thank you so much for the recipes for the tinctures. I forgot all about them and saw them when I double-checked Nov's thread. Where do you get your herbs?
I got them at our local health food store, but they were Frontier. Next time, I'll plan ahead and try ordering them online. The hfs didn't have some of the stuff I needed, so I still haven't finished the one for the winter blues. Thank goodness, actual winter doesn't set in here for another month! LOL (It's going to be sunny and in the 80's almost all week here ... does it make me a bad person to be longing for a gray sky and some chilly weather? I want: : I HAVE )
post #14 of 17
YAY! Okay, this is such a small thing, but today I went to the grocery store with totally reusable bags. It was so satisfying! And I saw a few other people doing it, too. It's really nice that stores are selling bags now. And we have a plan in place for drinking water as well...

I really appreciate this thread, it's helpful to have a one step at a time approach!
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie anne View Post
Elizabeth- Thank you so much for the recipes for the tinctures. I forgot all about them and saw them when I double-checked Nov's thread. Where do you get your herbs?
You could also grow them. We grow our own in doors. Most of our seeds come from Mountain Rose Herbs http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ and our local farmers market.

Off to check out the November thread :
post #16 of 17
i'm in! my goals are
-to start an teeny herb garden in my room. ds and i are in the process of moving rooms, and our new one has tons of sunshine. am i going to have to order seeds online because of the season?

-walk and bike everywhere. i have been doing this, but since the snow set in i got lazy and have been driving ds to school every morning. no more!

-read lots on sustainable living/gardening.

:
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalya View Post
i'm in! my goals are
-to start an teeny herb garden in my room. ds and i are in the process of moving rooms, and our new one has tons of sunshine. am i going to have to order seeds online because of the season?
You might.

Is the gigantic farmers market over? The one at the loop? I believe it was hosted in a museum or something.

Also, go to the digging in the earth forum. Many seed saver mamas over there that love to swap
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