Saturday, September 01, 2007

Living a Green Life - At Least Trying To

I think I was somewhat of a hippy before there were such things as hippies. At least, that's the way I felt at the time. I was actually a teenager in the late 50's and early 60's. Joan Baez was my favorite singer, not Elvis. I listened to Classical and Folk Music and consciously tried to not conform. No drugs or free sex, though. Sorry, that's where I drew the line.

As a teacher, I always stressed the Three R's - Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. And we tried hard to follow those principles as Early Marrieds. But over the years, it's just gotten too easy to not Think Green. I think the Microwave oven may have been my ecological downfall. Just think of all the waste, not only in packaging, but in transportation and processing.

The drought this summer has led me to look hard at all our wasteful practices that we have accumulated ever so slowly. Now, I'm saving our gray water to use on our brand new Lasagna Compost area. This is a double Green whammy, as I'm finding a useful way to recycle all the wood chips left over from having 3 trees cut down this Summer. I know our AC bill will be huge this month, as we had something like a dozen days over 100 in a row, but we caulked every niche when the house was built, and we keep the drapes closed. There's not much else we can do to lower that energy use, other than to raise the temp. That's not going to happen, as DH has to be the hottest natured person I've ever known.

But we do recycle all our newspapers, food scraps, plastics, and cardboard, thanks to the compost heap and a neighboring town, which has a large recycling center. I've been doing the research to make 2 rain barrels, so we won't be without water so much next year when the drought returns. We have plans to landscape the yard, and I'll be using as many drought resistant plants as possible, and planning on ways to limit the grass areas.

We buy most of our books, and many of our clothes at a nearby Thrift Store, not because we can't afford better, but because we enjoy the hunt, and the bargains. We buy a lot of toys there, too, which eventually are sold to parents looking to replace a lost or worn out lovey.

DH drives with the Cruise Control on as much as possible, set to 55. People whiz by us, but we get the last laugh at the gas pump. We do a lot of driving on our Date Day, but that's the only time we are extravagant with gasoline. Even then, I map our route to cut out as much mileage as possible, and to stay out of stop and go traffic on Highway 280 (the most congested road in Alabama) coming home.

Our whole eBay business is based on helping people re-use items we buy at Estate Sales, and it's very satisfying to know that we have helped someone find something they have been looking for.

Oh, and I still love Joan Baez songs, but now I enjoy Elvis, too. Thanks to DH, I've learned to enjoy Rock and Roll, Jazz, the Blues, Blue Grass, Southern Gospel, and no telling what else. But I still am a hippy at heart.

8 comments:

jan said...

My daughter and I discovered thrift stores years ago when we were doing props for community theatre. We are still addicted. Often we bring in more to contribute than we buy, but it is still fun to shop someplace where the merchandise changes so often and is never predictable.

Thanks for visiting the Poodles, dogs and me.

Dirty Butter said...

We give a lot back to the Thrift Store, too, Jan. Actually, I need to get busy and send them a lot more! We're pack rats by nature, and that's not a good way to keep an uncluttered house. LOL

Sheila said...

You sound more dedicated than me DB. My husband is on a sustainability committee at school and now he is all "we need to recycle this." For a while when I was sick, I didn't care about the future. Now I do again and will try to do better.

Dirty Butter said...

We've turned it into a game around here, Shelia. We have our weekly garbage down to one not quite full kitchen size white garbage bag. That's not bad for 2 people for a whole week.

It won't work, though, if you have to drive too far to turn in the recyclables. For a long time we didn't have anywhere close by, and we quit fooling with it. If you're using up a lot of gasoline to stop and pick up cans, the way we've seen some people do, or drive a long way to turn in what you've saved, you're just fooling yourself.

Marsha said...

We enjoy the thrift stores as well. Especially with the little one, I think having a variety of toys is a great idea, but she grows out of them so fast. I get most of them from thrift shops and then return them for someone else when we are done. I want to start composting.

Dirty Butter said...

That's the perfect way to recycle, Marsha. No telling how many times some of their toys and clothes get bought. It helps the charity, plus gives jobs to minimum skill individuals, and keeps good things out of the landfills.

Janey Loree said...

Now this is a thought provoking post! Now you have me checking out what color of life I am living!! We enjoy the thrift stores and flea markets, too! And to be honest we have found a few pretty neat items at the dump...

I have a thought for your parents letters...how about doing a series of posts on this blog? You know they are yesterday's memories!!!

Dirty Butter said...

ROTFL! OK, Janey Loree, dumpster diving is where I draw the line! LOL!

I've read of New Yorkers scavenging from the discarded stuff put out at the curb, but have never lived where that would have been done.

I had thought about sharing some of the letters, too, but there are so many it's all but overwhelming. Maybe one of these days ....