This isn’t really a change, it’s a change back.
You see, a while back (several months) I had too much on my plate and figured something’s got to give, and since Toronto’s green bin program actually composts diapers, I made the switch to disposable diapers. My apologies… everybody’s human. Then about 2 weeks ago we ran out of diapers and I couldn’t face the crowds at my local grocery store, so I just switched back to cloth. I figured, it’s summertime and I can hang them on the line again instead of running my energy sucking dryer every other day and we’ll just see how it goes. Besides, we’re at potty training age now and I’d rather the little guy could feel when he’s wet than never feel a thing like it is with disposables.
Well, today the city workers went on strike, including garbage collection. So what better time to be using cloth diapers and not keeping a bin full of stinky diapers around.
My only major problem with this garbage strike is that you can actually go and drop your garbage, recycling, and green bin off (details here) but they are all together, not separate, meaning that they’ll all be heading to the landfill. I can hang onto my recycling, and even my garbage, for a long time, but the green bin could get seriously nasty and maggot-filled within a week or so (because it’s already been in there a week as our pickup is Tuesday mornings). We compost, but that’s just veggies, tea leaves, coffee so the green bin with all of its other nasty food scraps could get pretty icky in this heat. I guess if that happens I’ll bring it down to the transfer station… Let’s hope this strike isn’t a long one!
Well, as I don’t have any new challenges, I figure a way to help anyone who might be trying to do their part by eating locally (either through your local CSA or trips to your local farmers market) might be to share ideas on what to do with the current seasonal fare.
This week and last week in our CSA share we received, among other things asparagus. Last week we had it with shrimp and pasta in a lemon cream sauce similar to this epicurious recipe (we actually used a slightly modified Donna Hay recipe), which had our very picky 4 year old eating asparagus for the first time (not just trying one because he was coaxed). This week it was a side of steamed asparagus with tarragon mayonnaise (tarragon mayo from this Williams-Sonoma recipe, but we didn’t have smoked salmon) which again, had the 4 year old eating some asparagus. The tarragon was from our own garden, but wasn’t fresh. We dried what we didn’t use last year.
I also found this video on the Guardian site regarding asparagus which is fun and informative and found this link to Dori Greenspan’s food blog entry on asparagus through twitter’s @frombecca.
Happy seasonal eating!
My 4 year old son loves to draw and paint. We went on a mini-holiday last month and were poking around in a bookshop and I came across something for my son that was a great alternative to colouring books. Colouring books can be entertaining, but frankly, they don’t involve a whole lot of creativity and once you’ve marked up a page, it’s done. One more tree down..
The book I found was the Klutz Draw-It-Again book of simple photographs to embellish into something different using dry erase markers. It comes with some small markers and an eraser and is just the right size for bringing everywhere. It provided entertainment in the car, in a restaurant, etc. and a month later he’s still very entertained by it (which is pretty good for a 4 year old). It’s hard to explain, so you’ll have to take a look.
As he loves drawing and painting, we do appear need paper around. Lots and lots of paper. So when we got a package a week or two ago that used piles of brown paper for packing instead of styro peanuts (yay!), I carefully folded it up and put it in the closet. Voilá, we have art paper for a while, and we’re re-using. He balked at the brown paper at first (it’s brown, it’s a little wrinkled), but yesterday we did some painting and today he created a book with it, so I guess he’s over that.
Well, I haven’t had much to write about lately since I haven’t actually taken on any new challenges, or if I have, I haven’t really noticed. That’s the thing, once you’re down this path, you just keep on keeping green, and it becomes second nature. I’ll give you some examples to show our life in the green lane (or maybe it’s life in the bike lane…):
- I picked up our naturally raised local beef from Beef Connections on the weekend (it comes frozen) and brought a cooler with some ice packs in it so I could empty the cardboard boxes it comes in and give them back to the farmers to re-use. They were very happy to have them back and said they could definitely re-use them.
- We re-use ziploc bags (they’re sturdy and easy to wash) and I bring them with me to the Bulk Barn for my bulk shopping to reduce the number of plastic bags we use.
- We sometimes get sausages on a bun at the farmers market which come in a napkin inside a half styro shell. I tell them to keep the shell.
- I bring my tiffin boxes any time we get take-out and they are always a conversation starter, which is great. I’ve told lots of people where to pick them up and am hoping they’ll catch on. I also bring them as our lunch and picnic boxes and am passing the plastic-free message on to local parents.
- I always try to consolidate car trips… like today’s trip to the doctor which took us near Grassroots where I brought my own containers for bulk cleaning vinegar and cleaning baking soda and the Big Carrot where I bought bulk fair trade organic dark chocolate.
- I finally got myself a new bike. Yes, I do try to buy second-hand but for a good quality bike I’m a little nervous buying second hand as I fear I may buy something stolen. I also wanted some advice and to test drive a few. The new bike will get me out even more than before since it rides easier and is lighter (and faster, making a huge difference when the trailer is behind). Oh, and I registered it with the Toronto police bike registry already.
- I finally got my mobile phone bill (which was a ridiculous 5 pages in the new silly-layout-with-large-print format) switched to an e-bill.
- I keep up with my green news online, much of it through Twitter… (another reason I haven’t been blogging: pure laziness since micro-blogging is quicker!) and I’d love to pass on a link to a must-watch TED talk on mass adoption of green-powered (i.e. solar or wind battery charging) electric cars: http://bit.ly/1tRsu
- I had my husband re-hang my laundry line which fell down in a storm last fall and am back in the habit of hanging laundry outside, taking advantage of the warm wind days when you can dry stuff out there almost as quickly as you can in a dryer! I also try to get my laundry in during the low usage times now that I don’t have someone living in the basement anymore (which stopped the late night laundry for several months).
- I found out Not Far From the Tree is picking fruit in 2 wards this year – one on the west and one on the east side of Toronto, so I will look into going out for some picking this summer.
- I have signed up for our CSA (Plan B Organic Farm) again this year since they did such a stellar job last harvest season and throughout the winter. I look forward to completely local organic produce delivered to my door weekly (we get it bi-weekly in the winter and only a portion is local) again starting this week!
- I’m going through my old clothing (the rest of the stuff in the basement is next) and mending (I’d never have done that a couple of years ago) and purging clothes. Purged clothes, depending on their state, will be given to charity or turned into rags or patches, and the suits will be given to Dress For Success, an organization (with affiliates in Canada, US, Netherlands, Poland, UK, New Zealand, and maybe more) that gives suits to low-income women for interviews and employment.
That’s all I can think of for now, but I just wanted to give a glimpse into the attempts at green living here. Nothing really new, but just trying to incorporate this into all aspects of life.
Sorry for the long lapse in entries. If you have any new challenges to suggest, please leave a comment!