Change the World Wednesday; Green Kitchen

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I was busy again today finishing up the sewing projects I had, and now two packages are ready to be mailed later this afternoon.

Wednesday is our day for the farmers’ market.  I returned my empty honey jar (glass) and purchased another bottle, I had my reusable produce bags made from a set of sheer curtains which were filled with broccoli, lettuce, and potatoes.  The eggs were less than half the price the stores want so a dozen came home with me too. The woman selling fruit insisted I had to have a paper bag, I’ll return them to her next week.  I brought home red raspberries, blueberries and these cherries.

cherries

I had to purchase an item from one woman there whose son went to school with mine.  While my boys aren’t vegetarian I love being able to offer them something better than they can get elsewhere, like this raw Havarti cheese.

raw cheeseOn the other hand, the garden is being attacked by pests.  Every book I read said not to worry about squashes as deer won’t eat them.  Tell that to my deer, they seem to love spaghetti squash. I don’t think I’ll be getting any this year now.

spaghetti squash

And the Zinnias were covered with Japanese beetles.  My granddaughter removed them but as fast as she could pick them off they were back.  To say she’s not happy is an understatement.  She’s announced she doesn’t like deer or beetles and won’t leave food out for the deer.  (She often leaves a pile of greens for the deer away from the garden).

zinnias

With the gardens becoming a real challenge let’s move indoors for our weekly challenge with Reduce Footprints.  This week it’s all about our kitchen.

This week, go into your kitchen and look for at least one way to make it greener. You might choose to do something simple like add an aerator to the faucet, convert to cloth towels instead of paper, replace a light bulb with a CFL or LED, or unplug an appliance (especially those with clocks). Maybe you are in the market for new cookware, dishes, etc. and could look for green options. Does your kitchen need paint? Perhaps you grab a brush and use non-VOC colors. You might even be considering a kitchen remodel and could search out the most appropriate Eco-friendly cabinets, counter tops, flooring, etc. The idea, this week, is to look around your kitchen and make a green improvement.

 

My kitchen is pretty good at the moment.  I recently went through everything and donated or gave away anything I hadn’t used in a while.  A couple items stayed such as the potato peeler (I usually use a knife instead) because the little ones bring clay and play doh over from time to time and raid the kitchen for utensils they can use.

I’m not sure what I can do to green my kitchen this week.  For those of you who are new, here’s a short rundown of what I’ve accomplished in the last couple of years.

Things I don’t have

  1. Neither a stove or refrigerator
  2. Microwave
  3. Non-stick cookware
  4. Multiple utensils
  5. Blender
  6. Meats of any kind
  7. Plastic containers or dishes
  8. Junk foods and processed foods
  9. any chemical cleaners
  10. Paper towels or napkins
  11. Clocks

 

What I do have

  1. Small chest freezer
  2. Stick blender or immersion blender
  3. Pur faucet mount water filter
  4. Metal dish rack
  5. Slow cooker
  6. Stainless steel rice cooker
  7. All stainless steel utensils
  8. Lots of organic produce
  9. Mason jars filled with dried beans and legumes
  10. Only enough dishes for everyday use
  11. Two plants (ivy and aloe) to keep the air clean
  12. All natural cleaners (baking soda and vinegar)
  13. Plenty of rags for messes that do happen
  14. Cloth napkins in place of paper
  15. Stainless steel, glass or locally made pottery for dishes and glassware
  16. Small metal pot for heating water

Things I’ve already taken on

  1. All light bulbs in my home are LED
  2. Faucet is low-flow
  3. Watch the water usage, washing dishes I use a small bowl and wash each item one at a time as that’s all that will fit.
  4. Wash dishes with baking soda
  5. I have one outlet in the kitchen area.  In this I have a power strip which only  has items  plugged in when in use.
  6. I did upgrade the paint on the cabinets and used a low-VOC paint that was given to me.

While i am at a loss it’s time for you to challenge me. What have I left off the above lists I should change as my challenge this week?  What will you do to green your kitchen?

33 thoughts on “Change the World Wednesday; Green Kitchen

  1. Aww sorry to hear and see the damage the deer have done to your squash… we are growing it for the first time this year ours it butternut squash, no flowers as yet so don’t know if we will be successful or not.. .. The sweetcorn we usually have a success with, but many allotment holders sweetcorn is going to seed early before they grow.. Ours looks as if it is going the same way too… We have not had that much rain this month, and even though we water its not gone down the soil too far. So we win some and loose some I guess.. :-)

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    • I’m sorry about your corn. Mine was knee-high by the 4th so right on schedule. It’s been nice during the day but chilly in the evenings so I don’t think my corn will go to seed.

      The squash is growing back and I see buds forming so hopefully I will still have a good crop. Yesterday I finally put up trellises over them which will make it harder for the deer to get to them. For some reason they only ate it one night, as it grew back they haven’t touched it. Not sure why but am relieved.

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  2. You mentioned using a food saver. Here in Ontario we get our milk in bags. The outside bags I weave and make into antibacterial sleeping mats to send to africa. The inner bags are food safe and once theyève been rinsed out become great freezer bags.

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  3. Lois,
    I don’t think I read anything about a compost bucket? I’ve always considered this a kitchen necessity, even when I lived in suburbia. If you were to save your scraps (no meat or fat), and maybe get your neighbors to contribute too, you could make some amazing “black gold” soil for your garden. Adding in dryer lint and old natural fibers, and newspapers, can also help to build your soil.

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    • Hi Heather. You are so right about compost, I didn’t even think to add it to my list. I do compost all my food scraps along with hair etc. I’ve written many times about how I compost. I keep a section of my garden unplanted each year and bury the scraps in dirt which really speeds up the decay process. During the winter months when I can’t get out to the garden area I freeze my scraps then take them out in the spring. It’s so easy, no odors or any problems with animals getting into it either.

      My neighbors have contributed to my compost pile but I ask that if they aren’t sure if they purchased GMO foods to not put them in. I’m not sure what effect it could have but would rather err on the side of caution.

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  4. Wow Lois … you have totally greened up your kitchen. I have to say that it didn’t occur to me that anyone would have a totally green kitchen so I didn’t offer a second option to the challenge. You are a rock star! I’ve been studying your list and thinking about it … and I can’t come up with a thing. Very nicely done!

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    • Small Footprints, it’s hard to have wasteful items when you don’t have much of a kitchen. ;-) I was guilty of so many extras and duplicates when my boys were still living with me because we each prepared meals and liked using different things when we worked in the kitchen. Cynthia brought up a good point and that is I need to find an alternative to the food saver for freezing my produce. I’m thinking freezer paper would work for most things, what do you think?

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      • Freezer paper is a good choice. You might also consider glass, like mason jars. They are brilliant in the freezer (I especially like them for sauces) and they are reusable. While I don’t have any, I’d love to pick up some of the rectangular-shaped glass storage containers … the ones with rubber lids. They are a bit “spendy” so I’ll add them, one at a time, in the future.

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        • I am curious about the mason jars, I’ve heard one needs to buy a specific type of mason jar to withstand the freezer temperatures without breaking. Is there any truth to that?

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          • I haven’t heard that. I’ve used the same ones that I use for preserving … they work great and I haven’t lost one. I’m not sure if it matters but I defrost mine in the refrigerator.

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          • I’ll have to consider mason jars then. I only wish there was a better way to get them in the freezer without so much wasted space, which is why I still use the food saver. It allows me to fit much more into the freezer allowing me to have a smaller freezer. I did check out butcher paper/freezer paper and decided against it because it is now coated with plastic. Another idea ruined by plastic.

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          • I have the same problem … a teeny, tiny freezer. Have you considered stainless steel? That might work.

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          • I have considered stainless steel but it’s quite expensive to buy enough to fill the freezer. I need to make a decision but I’m going to see how much I can dehydrate to open up more space in the freezer.

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  5. Many things you mentioned here are familiar which gives me the feeling that I’m on the right path but I was wondering how you wash your plates with baking soda? It is a powdery substance so do you add water to it in order to make it easier to use?

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    • I am sure you are on the right path. You are going to most-likely laugh at this but I dip the plate or glass etc in the the insert from my rice cooker (the pan part) which I have filled with hot water then using a spaghetti jar that I punched holes in the lid to hold my baking soda I sprinkle baking soda on the plate wipe it good then dip and rinse it off in the hot water and done.

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        • I keep a bottle of organic dish soap here because my family thinks the baking soda is a weird way of washing dishes and questions whether they are really clean. It stays hidden unless I need to do a few dishes while they are here.

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          • Glad to hear that it doesn’t only happen to me ;)
            We go our way but not always does our family follow or agree on everything we undertake…
            Nevertheless I still believe we influence them & stir them in the better way.

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          • No you are not alone in this. There’s always a black sheep but I like being the black sheep. I read a quote a few years back and it said (I’m paraphrasing) that if you don’t want the same health issues, the same financial problems etc, then strive to be the black sheep. I smiled realizing how true it was. I am the black sheep, yet my health is better and I’m not in debt like they are. So enjoy being different. ;-)

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          • Thanks for these words of support & this beautiful quote, for one reason… I said it to my family for as long as I can remember only omitting the black sheep expression, I believe that if you have something in life you don’t like, you can always find a way to change it in order to improve the quality of living :)

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          • Funnily enough I hadn’t known it was a quote, it was just my own philosophy without the black sheep part… sorry for not being more precise, but I can understand the peace you found with it as I had too even though I was just a thought :)

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  6. My experience is, nothing but a very high fence deters deer for long. You could try hanging very smelly bars of soap from the $$$ store on posts around the squash. Irish Spring or its generic equivalent seems to be the smelliest and longest lasting scent. Another option is a hardware cloth (it’s really wire with little squares) or chicken wire tunnel to lay over the squash plants. The advantage of this is it can be used over and over and even moved around the garden. I use it to keep the squirrels from taking bites out of squash and pumpkins.
    If you freeze produce from your garden, do you use plastic bags? That is something I would like to change in my kitchen, but canning jars become more fragile in the freezer and I have broken too many. I would love to know if you or your readers have another solution.

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    • Cynthia, I am determined to find a way to deter the deer without the need of chemicals, or expensive fencing not only for myself but to help others who don’t have the money for fencing but what to grow some of their own food.

      The CDs are working great to keep everything else at bay the rabbits won’t even touch my lettuce. ;-)

      Lime works but with all the rains we have had it hasn’t worked well because it gets washed off. Not that it doesn’t help the garden because it adds calcium to the soil. I’m going to keep experimenting and see what works. Right now I’m battling Japanese beetles! Ugh, lol

      I forgot about freezing my foods. I’ve stated before that I use a food saver which uses plastic bags, they are reusable to a point but it was a gift and it does help me put up more food than containers would allow.

      One thing I have been thinking about has been freezer paper,, the kind the butchers used to wrap meat in so it could go straight into the cold without having to be re-wrapped. My grandparents used it a lot. If you used a tray to freeze things like berries then wrapped them I think it would work, I’m going to try. Things like soups and such would still need a leak proof container of some sort.

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  7. hi, sorry to here deer are eating your garden…

    gave this some thought, as when we had our gate open, the deer came in often, and for some weird reason, they left my pitiful garden alone (maybe they felt sorry for me)

    what I came up with, is, there was often seed on the ground from the bird feeders…so they ate that and left.

    I am wondering , if your granddaughter were to make her pile of deer feed, and sprinkle it with bird seed, maybe the deer would eat over there, and leave your garden alone?

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    • Thank you, Lynn. I will give it a try. Last year they were afraid of the CDs and the bags, this year they are so brave, not at all afraid of us, that nothing deters them if they want to nibble.

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      • let us know. I have given this a lot of thought for yrs, and honestly, they have not eaten our flowers/garden. neither deer nor rabbits. yet, everyone on street/area complains bitterly about this.
        I know that we all (here) have always had a knack with animals, and when I see them I have always told them (yes I talk to them) they are welcome to stay/visit, just please leave the garden and flowers alone. By gosh, they have.

        however, possibly a more practical reason might be the scattered bird seed…grin.

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        • Lynn, I would rather pay for more birdseed and have them leave the garden beds alone. We have caught the deer eating from the bird feeder at night so it wouldn’t hurt to place a feeder for them in the field so it’s more accessible than having to come down by the parking lot.

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          • it might help, for sure, to put a bird feeder or two in the field. and maybe sprinkle a bit on the ground.
            What I observed, very very often, (night or day).. the deer would eat from the feeder, then they would go around the yard eating grass (no chemicals on my grass) and weeds. I have often read about edible/noutritious/medicinal weeds, and I think it must be totally true. Both the deer and rabbits would (in my yard) eat weeds before garden. the only exception being, Kale. one year I planted Kale (it was the organic seed type), and it seems to me the rascals did like that. maybe you could (next yr?) spray some Kale seed in the field.
            Once you have placed your deer /bird feeder, if you could regularly switch the things in your garden you hand to scare them off? I think they very quickly get used to things.

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