Today is Blog Action Day, and thousands of bloggers will be posting about the environment. I’ve been thinking about the past, present and future. My grandmother grew up in a family of 14 in Scotland and moved to Canada at a fairly young age. she raised her family with a war and a depression. She had an entirely different perspective on the world than I do. I remember these things that she used to do. She saved scraps of bar soap and those net bags that onions come in. When she got enough slivers of soap she would make a little bag out of the netting and sew it up with the soap inside. That was a pot scrubber.She baked and when she made pies, there would be some pie dough left that was trimmed from around the pan. She would either roll that into strips and brush with cinnamon and sugar or she would roll it with currants (sort of like raisins) and make little tarts.
My grandmother knit. I still have a copy of the original sock pattern that was the official pattern from the red cross to knit socks for soldiers. I managed to knit one sock and lost patience. She knit many socks and sweaters. She would take scraps of left over yarn and knit strips about two inches wide. She would just keep adding on new pieces of yarn so she would end up with a long multicolored strip of knitting. She then sewed this into a tube which was stuffed with cotton and then coiled and sewn together to make a pad for a wooden chair
Nothing was wasted, you made things, made do, re-made, patched. Now we work hard away from home so we can afford things to throw away. Recycling doesn’t always have to be about re-manufacturing. I think we need to have more conversations with our grandparents.
I was better about recycling when I was a stay-at-home mom. I had more time and less money! I made a lot of my own baby food. I discovered that you could cook vegetables and then line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and drop “plops” on it and freeze them. You can then put the “plops” in a freezer bag and take out what you need. We had a vegetable garden and I sewed a lot when the kids were little. I made playdough, and I used a roll cardboard that was a “second” being discarded by a factory in the area to cover the kitchen table for the kids to finger paint.
Now we have paper towels, disposable everything, even automobiles are manufactured to have a shelf life. My grandmother was greener than I am.
I’m going to make an effort to do better. We already added insulation in the attic to help on the electric bill and I am slowing replacing light bulbs with the CFL bulbs. We bought cloth grocery bags to try to cut down on the plastic bag waste. We replaced old faucets that dripped and we have plans to replace some appliances with newer, more energy efficient models but that will happen as we can afford it.
I’m going to use some of the hints from the Green Geek and make adjustments on my computer as far as turning off the screensaver and other energy saving computer tips! I’m also going to research ways to save water since our water bills have gotten outrageous, and that even though we buy bottled to drink and cook with because the taste of the water locally is so bad at certain times of the year.