Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Compost Trashcan

This year we added some new members to our family- feathered ones that is...

Now that we've started with some backyard chickens (more to come later), we've got a lot of litter around.  So that begs the question, what do you do with chicken droppings??

Enter composting!

I was introduced to composting when I was little.  My dad composted our leaves, food scraps, etc.  As I grew I didn't really participate in it.  But when I knew we were going to get chickens, I knew I had to dispose of their droppings somehow.

So I began to search online and then later in a local class. All information pointed to composting. In fact, chicken droppings make some of the best compost there is.

Only thing, my hubby doesn't have a ton of time to build me a composting bin. Now being trained by my daddy, I could probably build one myself given enough time. But with two little ones underfoot, who has extra time??

So what's a family to do? Trash it!

Literally, grab a trash can and a drill. I picked one up from Lowe's and spaced out about 25 holes around the body and lid. (the one below is not mine, but looks exactly like mine)

Photo Credit: Trashfreeyear

Easy Peasy!

Then I elevated it, for proper air circulation, on two bricks. Now you're set to compost. Great for limited space too.

Now composting can be an art if you want it to be. I like things simple though.

So after reading the science and talking to some experienced composters, I came up with my own little system. Nothing new, mind you, but these are my rules.

I start with a bit of dirt and then I alternate brown and green layers. I follow these up with a bit of dirt.

Brown items: leaves, straw, sawdust, newspaper, yard waste, cardboard, dry glass clippings
-These are high in carbon/low in nitrogen. Make sure to not use treated lumber in your compost!

Green items: fresh grass clippings, fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells, hair, livestock manure, coffee grounds, tea bags
-These are high in nitrogen/low in carbon.

Every week (at the least) or couple days (preferred) we mix it. At first we rolled the trash can. After it got so full, we turned it with a shovel.

Make sure to turn, and it will be hot. That's the side effect of decomposing. If it's too wet add more brown items and be careful with food items as you can attract flies. But if you are properly layering, this is no issue.

Verdict: so far great!

-And easy way to compost that was cheap and had minimal labor.

-Not to mention how little room it takes. Small yard, no problem!

-I don't have to carry off chicken droppings.

-We've reduced our waste significantly! Which means fewer trash bags. Fewer trash bags means more money in our pockets.

-Again the more you compost the less trash. Less trash = less in landfills = better for our kids' futures!

-Finally, in about a month we'll have beautiful black compost for our garden. You have to love that!!

So what's not to like? Grab a can!

This has been a part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #29.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Today we celebrate those that have fought for their country that our no longer with us...

like a special Uncle of Mark's (my husband) that we lost just this year, who valiantly fought in Vietnam,

or my Paw-Paw Looney, who fought throughout the European and Pacific campaign during WWII.  He was on the beaches of Normandy.

Without these great people and their service, I wouldn't get to enjoy my two sweet little ones in the freedom I have. 

But while today is about those we have lost,  I also want to remember those that are still with us who have served our country. 

Like my Paw Smith, who just turned 85 years young.

Thank you, Paw (and Happy Birthday) and all those who sacrificed their time and safety to keep us free. We do appreciate you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mom Monday- Happy Birthday, my peanut!

Four years ago today, I was given the best gift possible.

My beautiful Elizabeth joined us on this day four years ago. 

She is my miracle baby.  With each day, she grows more beautiful,

more vivacious,

and more loving.

Happy Birthday, my darling!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Using Grey Water

About a month ago, I ran across a post from Frugally Sustainable.  It's one of my favorite sites.

In this post the writer, Andrea, discussed greywater. Now I'll admit it, I had never heard of greywater and for those of you like me, greywater is your used household water.  So all that water you just drain from your sink, shower, or laundry machine, that's your greywater.

Now you may wonder what's so great about greywater?

Well, if you're like me you are probably looking for additional ways to save money.  With a little effort, greywater can help you do that. How?

If you save your greywater you can reuse it to water your plants or flush your toilet.  Now that it is hot, most of us are looking for ways to save on water.  Because if you're like me, you've got a lot of garden to water.endometriosis

Now there is a side note here, when watering plants, you need to use greywater that doesn't have anything toxic it in it.  Not only will you introduce toxins into your environment, you'll kill your plants.  So when you use greywater, it's extremely important to use water without cleaning agents etc in it, unless you use natural cleaners.

Once I heard about greywater, I started collecting water from our showers and bath time. For the most part, I've used it to flush our toilets.  But when I've been sure about the content of the water, I've hauled it out to our rain barrel to be used for our garden.

All that water we save, get's used twice.  Think about your water bill, what if you could cut it in half??

That's what you can do with greywater.

Not all of our waste water gets collected though.  With little children, I'm nervous about leaving any buckets out where they might have access to them and one of our sinks has no cabinet around it. So right now, I don't have buckets under our sinks.  But I'm hoping we'll add some in the future.

All that said, I'm guessing you're wondering if it's worthwhile?

It totally is!

We've had a lot of dry days lately, and we've saved a lot of water by flushing our toilets with greywater.  Plus the majority of the time I use the rain barrel to water the garden.

So instead of our water bill increasing this already hot spring, it's actually dropped!  That's amazing considering how much we have to water our garden and folks, we've got a huge garden.

I don't think I could recommend this enough.  It's worth the extra effort and not only are you saving your wallet, but you're helping to conserve one of our most valuable resources- Water!  Which is a scarce resources in some places and is a major focus of a lot of conservation groups.

For those of you interested about learning more, I'd highly suggest checking out the Frugally Sustainable post.  It's a great introduction and helps you learn the do's and don't's of using greywater.

This post is a part of Frugal Ways, Sustainable Days #26.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mom Monday- Sickness go away!

We've officially been sick for over a week.  First Elizabeth, then me and now Evie.  Both Evie and I have had upper respiratory infections and are now on antibiotics.  It's been miserable.

But the funniest part about being sick....my three year old!

 I was laying down and coughing up a lung.  Elizabeth approached me and asked me what was wrong.  I told her I was sick.  Her response:

"I'm not sick because I slept through the sickies, and I'm all better".

Who can argue with that logic?  Speaking of which, I think it's time for a nap.
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