Okay, so it’s not that slow. It’s happened all at once. I would say that my transition into being a crunchy hippie started with the decision to use cloth diapers with Lily. I’ve talked about that before on the blog, but it more or less came out of a desire to save a pretty good hunk of change in the long run, but also from a previously absent desire to save the planet. I felt a huge pang of guilt every time I threw a diaper away, because I knew it was going to be tossed into a landfill, never to decompose. I know that cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, and Josh and I were very doubtful at first that it would be for us.
I asked the all-knowing mothers of Facebook about any tips for getting started with cloth diapering, and I’m about to give a shameless plug for one of my favorite stores ever. They all recommended I do a “cloth diaper trial” at The Natural Baby in Athens (this shameless plug is for people who live in my area and are thinking about trying cloth diapers but aren’t sure if they want to commit. Allison will take care of you!) Basically, she let us try different styles and brands of cloth diapers for three weeks. After doing that and deciding what I liked and what I didn’t, we made the plunge! We exclusively cloth diaper after building our stash up over time. We have 24 cloth diapers now, and that amount allows us to do it full time, without needing disposables.
It’s surprisingly easy to do, at least, the way we do it. We got the “all in one” style diapers, which are very much like a disposable. You take the whole diaper off and slap a new one on, without the need for stuffing or liners. Then, I throw them in a wet-bag until they need to be washed! The hardest part for me, and I suspect for a lot of people, is staying on top of the laundry. But, when these are the only diapers that we have, it’s hard to forget to wash them, because then Lily just won’t have diapers. The other slightly annoying thing about cloth diapering is that they need to hang and/or line dry, which takes time. I have to schedule enough time to get them washed and then air dried before I’m going to need them. All in all though, I really love cloth diapering and I’m so glad what we made the switch.
FYI, those are indeed diapers drying on our couch. Since things have been blooming, I feel weird about all of the pollen getting stuck in the diapers outside so I’ve been putting them inside for the time being. Don’t worry, they’re very clean.
Okay, so, that’s how it all started. Then it moved on to the decision to recycle. As a matter of fact, recycling was Josh’s idea, but I was very much on board with it. It’s seriously the easiest thing to do out of all of this. It’s as simple as keeping our trash separated. I put all of our cardboard in one bin, plastic in another, and cans in another. We don’t use enough paper or glass to constitute me creating an entirely separate space for them, but I do generally put them aside if we use them. Then, once I have a few bags, they go to the recycling place. In all honesty, for as long as we’ve been doing it, my dad has taken all of our stuff to the place. I actually don’t even know where it is. I have a vague idea, but I probably couldn’t get there without someone helping me.
Pay no mind to the Krispie Kreme and Papa John’s boxes. We’re very healthy eaters around here.
For me, the next logical step from recycling was composting. Honestly, I thought it was simply throwing all of your kitchen scraps into a pile outside and..leaving it there? I don’t know what I thought it was. Turns out, it’s a little bit more involved than that, but once you get going it’s not that bad. Basically, I save all of our veggie and fruit scraps (and things like eggshells and coffee grounds), in a bag, and when it gets to a certain point, I take it out to our compost bin. The way to start composting, according to the internet, it to make a layer of “brown stuff,” (dry leaves and stuff like that), then a layer of “green stuff,” (kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, etc.), soil, and moisture, and repeat until you have a pile about three feet high. Then you leave it for a while, then stir it. This process is repeated until you have “sweet-smelling brown stuff.” That brown stuff is what you put into gardens, to help things grow.
It took me a while to get it set up, as I mentioned, but now that I’ve got it going it’s more about maintaining. I just started a couple of days ago, so nothing is really happening yet, but basically I just have a plastic storage tub baking out in my backyard.
The jury is still out as to whether or not I’ll be successful with this, but I followed all of the directions I found, so I’m feeling hopeful.
Aaaaaaand finally, the most recent installment into my Hippie Saga, the beginnings of our garden. Growing things has always been pretty easy for me, so I feel a little guilty when I buy a lot of veggies at the store that I know I could grow. In the past I’ve grown tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, rosemary, basil, mint, and cilantro. I would say that’s a pretty basic Georgia garden, and most of those things grow really easily in our climate without too much upkeep. I haven’t had a garden since we lived in Hartwell, and now that we have such a nice big yard with plenty of sunlight, I figured it was time! My dad is going to build us a raised bed (he’s also making me some window boxes for flowers for the front of the house), but I was tasked with preparing the yard for the raised bed. I pretty much just measured out a 5×8 plot, then took a shovel and dug up all of the grass. It only took about 45 minutes, but good grief, I must be terribly out of shape, because my arms felt like jelly. A bonus to that, though, is that I dug up plenty of worms, which I added to my compost because worms are, apparently, a great thing for compost. I don’t question it.
I’m really quite excited about planting my herbs and veggies again, and I’m excited about the new territory of window boxes! I’ve never had flowers before, but I love them and the color they add, so I’m really looking forward to caring for them.
So there you go. I’m really pleased with how things are going as far as our sustainability practices, however small they may be. It’s mostly just very tiny changes, but I reckon that if we make enough small changes, over time, it will amount to a big difference!