A year without trash

12/31/2008 at 9:16 pm (thoughts)

I found this blog — 365 Days of Trash — a couple days ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

It was his goal not to throw anything away for a year. 

When I first heard about it, I thought “this is a fellow I could really like.”

And he made some basic steps. He purchased a folding bowl, utensils and a drink carrier to use instead of disposables.

But then I found a photo of his basement where he’s been storing all the stuff he would’ve normally thrown away. And I was a little disappointed.

Noel and I have been working on reducing our trash load for some time. At one point a couple years ago we were producing less than a grocery sack of garbage per month. We’re making a little more than that now, but we’re working our way back down again.

In fact, my first words of advice to folks trying to live frugally is to cancel your trash service.

When you have to personally find something to do with every bit of material you bring into your home, it really changes your buying habits. You avoid things that were made to be thrown away, all these disposable wipes and swiffer things that are all the rage right now are off your list immediately.

You switch to buying in bulk and providing your own reusable containers. You look for product in packaging that can be reused in some manner. Did you know you can still get many staples in cloth sacks? You can buy flour sack towels at Wal-Mart, or you can get your flour in them and keep the sack for free.

It always irks me to have to pay extra for a product because of its pretty packaging and then pay someone else to haul the pretty packaging off as trash.

So I would encourage everyone this new year to make less trash. And I would suggest to the 365 guy that his next step to go a year without purchasing anything that would need to be disposed of at all and not to just store the garbage in his basement.


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12/30/2008 at 8:08 pm (food)

A dear friend of mine, from Texas, gave me a box of black tea once. She had only known me for less than a few weeks and already knew that I loved tea! I miss her! Well, when I tried the tea back then I found it too dark and strong. So, I stashed it away in my tea tin and saved it. Sure glad I did too, because Nick loves it! It’s one of his favorites.

How did this happen? Well, back when Nick still worked at Walgreens he was really enjoying drinking the Arizona teas specifically one with ginseng and honey in it.  He didn’t want to always have to buy it from them. They were fairly cheap but still cost us money. So I got him to try a cup of the tea from Sarah and he liked it.

Now, he was enjoying it and so  when we ran out of it, I substituted some generic brand of tea that we had always enjoyed iced before. The standard kind you buy in the tea section, I think it’s black and orange pekoe.  But it was too late, he’d had the good stuff and couldn’t stand it! It was so flavorless.

Then one day I tried it and now, I look forward to waking up to have a cup. Since then, I have been drinking tea like crazy and enjoying trying new ones. Which is great, because I recently received a nice sample of different kinds of tea from a good friend that I met through the local co-op I joined. (She has a love for herbs like me and I’m really glad I met her.)

I haven’t tried them all yet but  so far my favorite is one called  Rooibos vanilla. I don’t know if it’s caffeinated or not, but after drinking 3 cups of it, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Now, I’ll be sure to drink it in the morning and not right before bed.. Oh, it is sooo delicious!

I also just found out that Arizona makes hot tea now. I’ll have to see if they have our favorite in bag form.

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Days and months

12/29/2008 at 7:06 am (bible)

And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

— Exodus 23:13

Isn’t it funny that we are commanded not to even speak the names of other gods. Yet everyday we call the names of the days and months by (mostly) the names of pagan gods?

We even call the Lord’s Day “Sunday.” A direct reference to the sun god.

And many of churches hold “Sunday School.”

This is what happens when I have too much time to think on my hands.

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Putting on the door

12/28/2008 at 7:38 pm (animals)

Finally got around to putting a door on the lower half of the chicken coop so that I can get their feeder and waterer out without lifting the entire coop up.

Here’s some funny video Noel shot while I was working.

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Hand drill

12/28/2008 at 6:40 pm (tools)

Remember that hand drill that some friends gave me? Today I had my first chance to use it on a real job!

Less than 15 seconds to go all the way through a 3/4-inch piece of external OSB and not a drop of electricity consumed for it!

I love it!

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City on a hill

12/27/2008 at 9:51 pm (bible)

Noel and I have chosen to follow a distinctive manner of dress.

The primary reason for our decision was the desire to separate from the world and not follow the world’s fads and fashions.

But because of this choice, we have — in the past — been accused of trying to draw attention to ourselves.

And that sincerely bothered me, so I had been diligently seeking the Lord in this matter. And he recently gave me an answer.

The answer was this:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

— Matthew 5:14-15

In other words the answer was; yes, it is wrong to “dress weird” in order to gain attention for yourself.

But if you are following God’s will then there is no way that you can hide the light that shines within. The distinctive dress is not that light, but it can be an indication.

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Isn’t it easier?

12/26/2008 at 8:27 pm (thoughts)

When talking to certain family members about what we’ve been up to, we often here the question in the title of this post: “Isn’t it easier to … ?”

For example we’ve been helping a friend of ours butcher more turkeys recently.

Relating the day to family on the phone Noel was asked the question, “Isn’t it easier to just buy from the store?”

First of all, it is NOT easier to purchase a turkey from the store.

It only appears to be easier to the consumer because so much of the process involved in putting the bird on the shelf is hidden from the consumer.

If you take the entire process of taking a factory farm turkey from farm to store into account it is absolutely and unquestionably easier to raise your own bird, kill it, clean it, and put it in your freezer.

Secondly — and more importantly –, it isn’t about what’s “easier” it’s about what’s better.

The turkeys were kept in a more natural environment than factory farm turkeys. They were fed a more natural diet. They were not pumped full of chemicals to make them grow to unnatural sizes in unnaturally short periods of time. These turkeys were killed humanely. They were processed in a clean environment.

These turkeys will taste better. They will be more healthful and nutritious. In short, everything about these turkeys will be better.

I’ve been pondering why we hear this question so often. And I think the problem boils down to a difference of definition.

We put a lot of emphasis on living the “simple” life. And I believe the folks asking us this question define “simple” as “easier.”

But as I talked about earlier, the modern life isn’t really easier. It only appears to be easier because all the things making that life complicated are hidden from general view.

I say hidden, but that’s not even really true. The thing is not hidden so much as it is so big and so complicated as to be incomprehensible.

And that’s the key to my definition of simple.

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