Category Archives: Green Resources

Local Giveaway – Greater Seattle Area

One final giveaway before Christmas!

I bought a Chinook Book from my neighbor to help raise money for her daughter’s preschool. It’s loaded with coupons for restaurants and grocery stores and all kinds of other businesses in the greater Seattle area.

Even if you are “green” you will find some great coupons in there (PCC, Whole Foods, and a plethora of natural products.)

To enter the drawing simply leave a comment on this blog post. I will close comments at midnight on Friday, December 24 and randomly draw a winner.

Good luck!

Smashing “Fun”draisers & a New Giveaway

I’ve been busy baking for the Transitioning to a Resilient Seattle function and Goatfest 2010 – a fundraiser for our local Seattle Urban Farmers Coop which both happened over the weekend. I demonstrated chevre, made cajeta and goat’s milk soap, baked goat cheese pizzas with dried tomatoes from my 2009 garden and squash gingerbread muffins from my 2009 butternut squash. In short, it’s been business as usual at chez crazy minus the blog updates.

I loved meeting some of you that I hadn’t met at the garden tour as well! And if you wanted to come for a tour but couldn’t make it last time, I plan to have another one in mid June so you can see some garden progress and we can talk about winter gardening just as summer plantings are ramping up. I’m hoping I can show you how it is possible to find space for fall/winter/spring starts in your full to brimming beds before it’s too late for you to start slow to grow winter crops.

And finally in the midst of all my craziness (I find I’m at my most creative when crazy) I came up with yet another hair-brained scheme for a giveaway that I’m every bit as excited about as the child’s garden giveaway.

I’m giving away a pantry makeover! A What Not to Eat episode custom tailored for you and yours by me. Fun fun!

What Not to Eat—a Pantry Makeover

Go from plasticized processed to local, sustainable, nutritious real food!

  • Win a custom-tailored pantry make-over. I will come into your home* and work with you and your family to replace packaged and processed foods with suggestions and recipes for local, sustainable and highly nutritious real food options.
  • Lower your carbon footprint, increase your nutritional intake, reduce your grocery spend and support local farmers all at the same time.
  • Together we’ll work on replacements or substitutes for the foods you currently eat to make you lean and green.
  • The fine print:
    * within Seattle city limits, otherwise the pantry makeover will occur in a series of phone calls and emails

    To win the makeover simply reply in the comments to this post by midnight on Monday, May 10. On Tuesday, May 11 I will once again use www.random.org to generate a random winner.

    Good luck!

    New Territory – Homemade Lotions, Shampoos, Cleaners

    home-made-salve

    A quick apology for the lack of posts lately – We’ve been entertaining, had a slew of birthdays, putting up food that is coming ripe, lack of school for the kiddos since it’s summer time and I’ve been very busy experimenting with some new things.

    I hope very soon to be doing some posts on lotion making, making household cleaners, shampoos and other things you would normally buy at the grocers. You all know that since we’ve stopped buying most things from the grocery store we’ve been sourcing them directly from the farmers or growing them ourselves.

    The hard part for me is that I still need to buy soaps, lotions, shampoo and things to clean my house with. Even the quality products that I can find at PCC are made from many ingredients that I have no clue what the heck they are. And the cleaners? Don’t even get me started.

    I’ve been researching essential oils, studying their properties and learning techniques for making them myself. I just got a stick blender last week for my birthday and I’ve put it to good use. Since it’s not really cream soup season I’ve used it mainly for homemade mayo and last night I finally managed to set aside a few hours when I should have been updating this blog to make shampoo and lotions.

    This year I had stopped buying my fancy pants European face cream and it’s been showing on my over 40 skin. And you can imagine the toil all this food preparation, coop cleaning and gardening has been taking on my hands. I am happy to report that I’ve successfully made an amazing face oil that helps fill in those cracks, found a quality MSM supplement and US mined dietary minerals which I mix with my drinking water and now conquered the lotion barrier.

    True I’ve only made one body lotion so far but it is the most luxuriously rehydrating lotion I’ve ever encountered. And it’s true that I’ve only used the shampoo once and my hair isn’t quite dry yet but my cuticles and hair are behaving abnormally well. I have curly hippy hair that requires a ton of product to keep under control, especially now that natural highlights (in the form of silver) are cropping up.

    All of the ingredients I used for the lotion, cleaning agents, shampoo and conditioners (along with all the other lotions, salves, hydrosols, toothpastes, salts and mouth rinses, soaps and bubble baths I have bookmarked to try) are grown and produced in the US, with the exception of some of the essential oils, the coconut oil, the shea butter and the cocoa butter.

    Many of the herbs and medicinal flowers I’m using now I’ve started in my garden and am hoping at some future point to be able to distill my own essential oils. For now I’m infusing carrier oils with the dried flowers and herbs and adding that to my lotions. Hopefully next year when we get bees the beeswax will even come from my own hives!

    For now I’m content knowing what I’m using in my house and putting on my and my young children’s skin and hair. It’s such a great feeling to know that everything I’ve made is from food grade ingredients. Not that you would want to eat something made with shea butter but at least it wouldn’t harm you if you did. The cleaners are made from high quality essential oils mixed with various ingredients, occasionally vodka for disinfecting or vinegar for changing the pH that allows bacteria to grow so you wouldn’t necessarily want to taste those – but if you did you wouldn’t need to be rushed to the hospital to have your stomach pumped.

    Stay tuned…although looking at our July calendar it will likely be August before I’m confident enough in all my recipes to share them. If you are interested in making a Weleda-type lotion along with me you may want to start now by buying some chammomile flowers in the bulk section at PCC, putting them in a glass canning jar covered with olive oil and letting them sit in a sunny window for 3-4 weeks. That is probably when I’ll be getting around to posting the lotion and you’ll be ready at that point to follow along.

    Sustainable body care – both inside and out!

    Sustainable Home Cleaning and Paper Products

    My own Chicken Little’s funloving, guitar wielding chicken raising Montessori teacher gave me some great handouts today from a workshop she attended on Eco-Healthy Child Care.  It goes along great with a post I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time now about making your own cleaning products using mostly essential oils, borax, baking soda and vinegar.

    Now that we don’t shop for food at the grocers most of my purchases are dried goods.  It’s so much easier questioning your product choices when you only have a few items to think about!  When Chicken Little was first born I had a dedicated cleaning closet – toilet bowl cleaner, sink scrubber, floor cleaners, windex, wall cleaner – you name it. 

    When he started crawling and we had to baby proof I took a good look at what I had purchased over the years.  I weeded it out and pared it down to just a few products.  Over the years I’ve tested those products against more natural products, then finally against baking soda, vinegar and sometimes even plain water.

    In very few cases were incredibly toxic products like 409 that much more effective then just plain old soap and water.  In some cases baking soda outcleaned clorax products.  And the more I’ve read about disinfectants the more leary I am of them.  I do still occasionally use bleach – judiciously.  I use it mostly to sterilize cheesemaking equipment that can’t be otherwise boiled clean and I do use it to sterlize my meat cutting board.  There is evidence, however, that even bleach needs contact for at least 30 minutes before it’s effective, and even then may be less effective then a combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

    So what do I do then? I personally make my own cleaners using mostly alcohol and essential oils from recipes from a favorite website, Flutterbye Aromatics. The Oregon Environmental Council has some great simple recipes for housecleaning and so does the Washington Toxins Coalition. Last week Cheeseslave posted a great recipe for homemade laundry detergent as well.

    One last point about paper products – ancient forests are being used to wipe your bottom and blow your nose. The Greenpeace website has got a list of brands of household paper products ranked by how destructive their production practices are to help you make more informed buying decisions. Don’t think your toilet paper choices make a difference in the bigger picture? Greenpeace states that “Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought a roll of recycled toilet paper – just once.”

    I used to make fun of my grandmother for misering the toilet paper. Jokingly, I came out of the bathroom at her house one time and said “Grandma, I used the toilet paper.” She quipped back – “how many squares?”

    I find as I become more aware of the consequences of my buying choices and consumer behavior that I’m adopting many of her same attitudes. If more of us treated our buying power as voting choices things would change. Finally – your vote counts! Make it the right one.

    Green Drinking Straws

    By Mother’s Day in Seattle my lovage is just big enough to afford several drinking straws for the brunch bloody mary.  Lovage is a great herb – easy to grow, perennial and hardy.  It smells like a strong version of celery and leaves can be used in soups when you find that celery in your produce drawer is a bit under the weather.

    The best part about lovage is that it’s hollow inside. 

    se-hollow-lovage

    This makes it perfect for drinking something like a bloody mary.  Since so much of taste is smell, every sip you take imparts the perfect amount of celery-like aroma that makes it the most memorable bloody mary of the year.  And how fun is that – to drink out of something green?  When you’re done it goes in the compost heap.  Mother Nature’s drinking straw – on Mother’s Day.  So fitting.

    se-green-straw-bloody-mary