Most people desire to be environmentally sensitive to our good ole Mother Earth but just don't know where to start. It can seem overwhelming to jump in with both feet but I'm here to tell you it's not hard if you start small and build on your success as you go. And the good news is that it's not complicated, and it can even be a nice little money saver! Gentle actions can be incorporated into your daily life very easily as long as you start with a few things & add to them as you become comfortable. Before long your days are a smooth transition to an environmentally gentle life. To get the creative juices flowing, I thought it would be fun to show a few simple things I've done to be environmentally aware this week.
What's the difference between crappy pasture weeds & a beautiful floral arrangement? NOTHING! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. My hubby spied these 'weeds' when he was walking our pastures recently. Knowing how beautiful I think they are, he pulled some & brought them to me. They are now in a vase beautifying our home! And these gorgeous flowers didn't cost a dime.
We were invited to several covered-dish functions over the past week. I made my favorite homemade Blackberry Cobbler for a cookout, my Double Chocolate Banana Chunk Cookies for another gathering (where it was requested to bring finger foods), and decadent fudgy Iced Brownies for a supper gathering with our son & his family. Homemade desserts are delicious & these recipes are all simple & very quick to make. And once again I've saved some money. Plus there's no landfill-bound trash like there would be if I was buying from the bakery or even baking from a boxed mix.
We love iced tea and I always brew it using the power of the sun. I have a repurposed hourglass-shaped picante jar that I fill with filtered water & a teabag. Then I screw on the lid & place the jar on our picnic table in the sun. A few hours in that Texas sun and BOOM! I pour the concentrated tea into a glass pitcher, add some water and we enjoy some delicious iced tea. Other drink options such as cola or juice would be more expensive & almost always involve some sort of trash to be produced. But the only trash our sun tea produces is the tea bag which is dropped into my compost bin. In a few weeks that used tea bag will be part of the black gold compost I use in my garden!
Bonus points added since I've made a handy & convenient sugar jar using a repurposed canning jar with a pour spout! The canning jar fits nicely with the home-canning theme in my kitchen and the pour spout was cut from the top of an empty container of salt. I simply cut the top of the cardboard salt container to fit my canning jar, placed it on my jar and screwed the canning ring on to hold it in place. Now when we want to sweeten our tea we simply flip the spout & pour!
With the gorgeous spring weather we fired up the grill recently. My hubby knows I love grilled jalapenos but although my garden is planted it's not yet producing. So we had to buy the huge jalapenos that we wanted to grill from the grocery store. I saved a few of those jalapeno seeds and planted them in the garden. Although they're not heirloom seeds, hopefully they'll sprout and develop into a few more jalapeno plants for our dining pleasure. I also wrote about planting sprouted red potatoes a few weeks ago as well. I often plant from store-bought produce when I have to buy it.
I long ago got rid of all those mismatched and stained plastic food storage options in my kitchen. These days I'm using glass for almost all of my food storage. Sometimes I use canning jars, sometimes repurposed jars rescued from the recycling bin. Storing food in glass helps us to remember what we've got in the fridge needing to be consumed. And storing dry goods in jars in my pantry helps me to monitor my supplies. This week I made some delightful Rosemary Crackers & stored them in some of those repurposed jars.
You know the lids that come from a canister of coffee? Those handy lids are always repurposed into cutting boards in my kitchen. They're lightweight, store easily & the rims easily contain the juice from something like a tomato or lemon. Plus the lid protects my counter top as well as helps keep my knife blades sharp. There's always a plentiful supply so when the lids start getting scratched up I toss 'em into the recycle bin and save a new one to take its place.
These are just a few things I thought I'd share with you. Keeping an eye on the environment doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult. It just takes thinking outside the box sometimes. We can all do a little to make a big impact!
Tammy Taylor is the owner of the ~Taylor-Made Homestead~ blog. Tammy lives & works on a Northeast Texas ranch and writes about home cooking, gardening, food preservation, MIY, DIY and living as gently as possible on this big blue planet we call home. You can visit her Homestead Blog – or follow her on Facebook or Pinterest. Find all of Tammy's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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