Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Recycling Experiment

As readers of the blog already know, we have been recycling all of our trash. I wanted to update you on the progress.

Turning our old underground tornado storm shelter into a burn pit was a great idea. Unlike open bonfires, we don't have to worry about embers starting a grass fire. We have had an unexpected benefit from the burn pit. The fire built in the old stone structure gets hot enough that the trash burns more thoroughly than burning in a barrel did for us before. There is only a powdery ash left over. This ash, then can be placed in our garden to amend the soil. If you have a dog run or kennel with a dirt floor, you can scatter the ash on the ground to remove the odor from the dog's urinating on the ground.

Something new is developing though in the recycling. I have found that the gallon size milk jugs, baby formula cans, and baby food jars for example can be offered on Freecycle for teachers to use for crafting with their students. They also can use egg cartons, yogurt containers and many other items. I love being able to pass these things along.

We have worked it all out so that we are able to make the trip to the recycling center once every 2 months. What a blessing this has been! We are saving money each month by not having the trash service and we also are able to be more environmentally responsible.

Laundry - Revisited

Over the weekend, Joe and I talked about our electric & water usage. I suggested that we can make a major change that will help lessen our usage. The change being to stop using our electric washer & dryer completely.

We have been using them too often. Part of the reason I haven't used the clothesline as much as I would like is due to the wasps that have been very active and swarming in the area I have to walk through to get to the clothesline. Joe has finally gotten a handle on the wasps. He has killed most of them and the nests have been treated so that they cannot use them. He has also cleared a tree in the front yard that had provided too much shade for a clothesline. The tree was not healthy and was a risk to our home. Parts of it had already come down in storms and the section left would have taken the front porch of the house if it were to fall in another storm. Now that he has removed that tree, we can move the clothesline to the yard closer to Abbie's play area.

I am now looking for a few items to make the hand washing a bit easier. I am planning to get a wash board for washing out the more stubborn laundry. I will also be searching for a wringer to use to wring out the clothes. My hands have arthritis in them and hand wringing the clothes is not as affective as I would like. A wringer will remove much more water, making the line drying time go much faster. Large items like blankets & quilts will be done on the weekends when Joe is here to help me hand wring them, each of us taking an end and twisting to get the water out. The goal is to be able to do 100% of the laundry without electricity.

I am keeping an eye out for an old wringer washer. Yes, they use electricity, but it will be used mainly on those days when I am unable to do the laundry by hand. The wringer type washers use far less water and in my opinion clean much better than many washers made today.

In our laundry room, we will be able to set up the wash tubs and such in the spot where our electric machine now are placed. A low sturdy table or wide bench will hold the wash tubs with a hand crank wringer attached to the tubs. The water access is already there and the bathroom is next to the laundry which will make emptying the wash & rinse tubs very easy & convenient.

Our local Ace hardware store sells the standing clothes drying racks and washboards. The local feed stores have the galvanized wash tubs. With luck, I may even find some of these items on Freecycle or Craig's List.