Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Steaming Pile of ....Earth

There are a few other descriptives you can add after the first four letters of this entries title, some savory others not so. Today's topic is about one that can truly make a great impact on our lives in terms of recycling, re-using, garbage elimination and for me satisfaction and that is composting. This has got to be one of the most easiest things in the world to do if you live in a home and have a little bit of yard, (and even if you dont, check this gadget out, http://www.gardeners.com/Kitchen-Scrap-Composter/37-711,default,pd.html?SC=XNET8419).

Doesn't it just make you crazy when you have to go the store and buy a bag of dirt, I mean come on, dirt. OK, maybe if you need a truckload, but for most uses, like filling flower pots or making a garden, you can easily save money, have fun and feel satisfied that you are doing something positive for the environment by making your own.

We all have leaves, grass clippings, green organic stuff from our yards, that we can throw in a pile or bin, turn occasionally and turn back into good old fashion enriched soil. But did you know that kitchen scraps can make a great addition to any compost pile. So instead of throwing away your organic scraps, excluding meat, put them in a bowl or buy yourself a fancy decorative container. When full, dump on your pile or in a backyard composter, throw a couple of leaves or other organic matter on top and let it cook you up some dirt. If you keep the scraps covered it wont smell or attract animals. Keep repeating this process and by the end of year or next spring, you will have some of best base for a garden money can buy.

One of the positive outcomes of behavior like this, coupled with a townwide recycling plan, is that it takes more items out of the trash pile, our landfills and incinerators. In addition, it is a great example of completing the cycle of use and re-use and returning things back to the earth in their natural state.

There is a ton of places to read about composting on the web or at your regional land cooperative and more places to buy accessories than you can shake a stick at, so do some browsing and start a steaming pile of glorious earth on your own...Now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Give It Away, Dont Throw It Away

There are things that I come across in my homestead weekly that have not been touched, moved, used for quite some time. Every time I look at them a debate ensues, can I use it or should I chuck it. Well, I found another option, give it away.

Lightly used or even heavily used items that I have no use for anymore now gets listed on my local Freecycle board in NJ and invariably everything posted seems to find a home. It works like this, follow the link www.freecycle.org and find a local posting site for your area, follow the directions and post your cast offs, request or search or hunt for items for yourself. You will also see Curb Alerts in your area, posts of large piles of stuff placed at the curb for Garbage Pickup that can still be useful and can find a home.

Recently my wife and I cleared out the basement and attic and gave away a large number of items. The benefits to doing this are many fold, the first and foremost is we are not creating more garbage, we are allowing others to re-use our things. Second, you can help those who might be less fortunate and can really use the goods. Third, you meet some interesting folks, some kind of cool, some kind of scary. Last, you might find some cool things you really need from your area neighbors.

Just the kind of thing we need more of these days, communities coming to the aid of others and helping the environment.

Try it out and tell me what you think.

Looking for Good in Garbage

As I drive around, running errands, dropping the kids places, whatever, my eyes scan the sides of the road on Garbage Day to see what my neighbors are throwing out that I can somehow reuse.

It doesn't happen every week, but once in a while, jackpot. A discarded item sits beside the road, my eyes catch a glimpse, my mind races on what re-use can be made of it. Quickly my foot is instructed to move from accelerator to brake, then by backing up the car or pulling a quick u turn. I pull beside the discard pile and yes, I can use that thing, so pop the trunk, load it up and away I go.

The re-use of the item is some time very obvious, like the perfectly good hammock that now swings between two trees in my backyard and provides peaceful moments of swing. Other times, a long length of black perforated flexible drainage pipe or some pressure treated lumber from an old swing set wind up back home.

They may sit for many months until some re-usable reason presents itself and the items are put to re-use once again to serve humanity or atleast me for awhile longer. In this case the drainage pipe went to diffuse water from my gutters to prevent erosion and the lumber went to building a trellis for my garden.

The circle remains unbroken.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gotta Love My Towns Recycling Program

Man, I have to hand it to my hometown, Wyckoff, NJ. The recycling program keeps getting better and better.

Plastics 1 through 5 added recently, it feels so good now as most of what I find can now be recycled. Now if only the producers of these items will get rid of #6, I would be all set.

Finally, my town just instituted Co-Mingling paper and containers including glass, plastic and metal cans.

My weekly garbage cans keep getting lighter and lighter, they will be floating away soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Has it rained in Atlanta lately

Early morning in Atlanta after a late flight arrival and hardly any sleep. Through my brain haze, remembered from last year there was a bad drought here, so I felt guilty about running the water while shaving.

Filled up the sink and swished away with the razor.