Saturday, March 13, 2010

Growing--Creative Green Living

You may be wondering what these two photos have in common. They illustrate, on a small scale, an important feature of a green creative everyday life: the trio of Repair, Recycle, and Reuse. Your favorite applications of this principle will probably be different from ours, but each of us helps preserve the earth as well as our family budget when we follow this path.
When one of our favorite blankets got too worn on the top edge and was shedding little fuzz balls, I decided to find some blanket binding and repair it. For the price of a modest sewing store notion and a little time at the sewing machine, we have a newly usable blanket. One of my mantras, going back to our early married student days, is that things cost either money or time (or sometimes some of each). When time is in short supply, it may not be feasible or wise to spend it mending old blankets. When there is more time (and you're cheap!), a repair may be worthwhile.
The other photo shows our humble compost bin. Since we eat large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables and since Mark loves gardening, we decided to start keeping compost. That very week, Mark saw this bin out at the curb for trash on his exercise walk--a small serendipity for a happy scavenger. Although it had no top, we gave it a try--Mark fearing that animals would get into it and make a mess. Well, no mess after a couple years of use, so it will do. We are lazy composters, not bothering to turn the compost or making much of a project of it. We simply collect scraps in a plastic container with a tight lid, kept under the kitchen sink. When it's full, we dump the contents in our bin, cover it with "brown" material (mostly dried leaves from a pile we keep next to the bin), and pour one watering can full of water over the top. Whenever Mark needs to feed plants or enrich soil, he opens a door at the bottom of the bin and scoops out amazingly rich organic material. Except for eggshells, we don't put any animal related material in the compost, but we do include used tea bags and filters full of used coffee grounds. Our trees and plants flourish on their gourmet feast!
Question of the day: How does your family follow the Repair, Reuse, and Recycle principle?


  1. I so wish we could recycle here, Mary. In town the people get recycle pick up. Here we do not. I haven't a clue where we could even take the stuff as we are out in the middle of the boonies. I've always thought composting was a fabulous idea and it is something I've always wanted to try. You can put papers in there as well, yes? I have always been a rabid recycler when having a pickup. I also am a re-use fan and do it as much as possible.

  2. I agree, Autumn; it is really frustrating when motivated recyclers don't even have a place provided for them to drop things off. I am sure you do everything else you can for the environment. Composting is great, and this is a good time of the year for you to start now that it will be getting warmer in your area. The process (obviously) goes faster in warmer weather. I think you are right about newspapers; our friends who own a small organic farm use newspapers as compost. However, in a compost bin, there may be a certain proportion that is best--you could check around on-line for a more informed answer than mine. Once you start, and especially once several months have passed and you dig out the first rich compost for your plants, you will be glad you did it.