The Invasion of the Paper Products

I was amazed the other day watching a commercial claim that, ‘cloth dishcloths only push messes around, one needs a paper towel to truly clean up a mess.’  Are you kidding me?  This might be true if the dish cloth were dry, or soaked, but if it was wet with hot soapy water and wrung out, the paper towel wouldn’t stand up.  Your dishcloth can be rinsed or thrown in the washing machine hundreds of times, while the paper towels are a single use item.   For the goopy messes one would not like to use their dishcloths on, there are always rags, the remnants of the old t-shirts, dish cloths, towels, sweats, safely stored in the place where cotton goes to die.  These rags have been used so much, that should you get something on them that is not washable, they can happily go to the landfill where they will fully break down in a relatively short period.

One might claim that paper napkins are necessary.  I heartily disagree.  A beautiful, cloth napkin is a better alternative. Not only is it eco friendly, but much gentler on your skin when you’re using them, and they don’t rip and stick to you if you happen to be having some very sticky wings or ribs.   A certain amount of style and class is also attached to the use of cloth napkins over products at your table.

Another commercial claims that your hand towel is very dirty, and one must have disposable towels in the bathroom for drying hands.  Again, haven’t they heard of a washing machine?  The world certainly does not need any more disposable items.  The use of all these paper products is not sustainable in the long term.  The production of all these paper products require a great many natural resources and purchasing them on a regular basis, definitely adds to the expense for a family over a year!

Then there are the wipes, which don’t only use paper but also use chemicals and encase their products in plastic.  Do we really need more chemicals and plastics in our homes and environment?!?    The great marketing machines are once again preying on our fears.  They have us convinced that to keep our home and children safe we need to kill all of the bacteria in the world.  Not true.  We live symbiotically with many thousands of bacteria.  Many are necessary for our survival. Some governments are beginning ad campaigns to discourage the overuse of antibacterial product.

The CDC has published an article from Stuart B. Levy of
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA beginning with:

“The recent entry of products containing antibacterial agents into healthy households has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to more than 700 today. Antibacterial products were developed and have been successfully used to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms among patients, particularly in hospitals. They are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person’s microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.” 

To summarize the above, too much use of antibacterial products is NOT a good thing.  Once again, this is all before considering the economic and environmental costs of the products themselves.

So many paper products like paper towels can be replaced with long lasting alternatives.  While it may be difficult to eliminate all of the products you use on a daily basis, minimizing the use and transitioning to more eco friendly alternatives is definitely a great place to start.  Even a little bit of change makes a big difference for our world, our children’s world.  

This:

over this:

 

shouldn’t be a hard choice.

Tracey

Rising Food Prices

Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background
Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background

Watching the news the other night, we hear that China is stockpiling food, corn at the moment.  There was already a shortfall due to the pressures for plant based bio fuel and the absolutely crazy weather over the last couple of years.  Supply and demand; rule one of a capitalistic society.  Corn is an ingredient to so many other things, processed foods, dog food, and fast food.  These prices will all be increasing to reflect the increased corn costs.

We have been seeing a distinct and sharp upward trend in our food prices over the last few years.  The environment has been playing a major roll in it all.  Frosts and snow in the south, floods, well, everywhere, except where there is drought and fire.  Crops on a world scale are being damaged and destroyed by ecosystems that are reacting in record setting extremes.

Lovely and fun news (insert heavy sarcasm here).  Some of us are so fatigued by listening to disaster after disaster, that we have a level of unidentified anxiety about, well everything.  We are tuning out the news or simply shell shocked as we hear of another flood, earth quake, drought, fire, volcano, hurricane, tornado…  The unbelievable thing is that the government is trying to normalize the entire thing.  A 6.8 earthquake is hardly a whisper in the news world.  I remember when a 5.0 quake was talked about for a week or longer.  I actually had a great laugh when we were informed by one news source, that the 5.0 earthquakes in Ontario and Quebec in June 2010, was a fairly normal occurrence.  Really???  The last one on record, I believe, was in 1935.  This does not in my opinion, constitute normal.

The bad news and disasters are, however, becoming normal occurrences.  The question, how to deal with the stress and anxiety of unstable environments and food sources?  At what point do food prices outstrip the family food budgets.  For some, that time has already come.  But, we are not helpless.  Many have lost touch with our food production and preparation.  We have the choice to resolve some of these things.

There are some fairly simple things we can do to contribute to our food supply.  One is to start a garden in your yard, a family member’s yard, or if you don’t have access to a yard, in a community garden in your area.  Even if you don’t think that you have a green thumb, some carrots and beans, corn and peas are fairly easy to grow from seeds (no need to buy starter plants), can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned and taste fantastic, are less expensive, better tasting, and more nutritious than store bought.  A small patch takes no more time to care for than a flower garden, but the returns are so much higher.  The whole family can get involved.  It is fun and rewarding.

What I have started doing over the last couple of years is exchanging the regular inedible houseplants with edible herbs and plants.  When anyone brushes up against an herb plant, the most delightful aroma is released, all natural, no purchase necessary.

It is amazing how many different fruit and vegetables should grow in my climate.  I live in the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada.  The fruit trees and bushes, as well as, the perennial herbs have survived through a very cold winter last year, with very little snow for insulation.  Organic food for nothing more than time and energy is a wonderful thing.  Harvesting seeds is another way to decrease the cost of gardening and food.

I’m excited to see what I can bring home into my control.  Definitely helps with my anxiety, my health, and my food budget.

Tracey

Have You Considered Boiling Water? ­­­­

What an amazing entity.  Beyond a cup of coffee or tea, beyond cooking, the simplicity of boiling water.

People spend a fortune on chemicals to rid themselves of the weeds and grass that grows between the cracks of sidewalks, driveways, patios.  Pulling the weeds and grass is very difficult and does not necessarily get the roots, so very quickly, the weeds and grass return.  How really effective are the chemicals?  Usually to get a really good kill, hours of hot sun is required.  If it rains, effectiveness is cut drastically if not totally.  Consider the damage is done to the environment by using these chemicals: our water and air, our children and pets, wildlife and every other living thing on this earth.  All before considering our pocketbooks.

I believe that it is time to consider methods that have a smaller price on the environment, our children and pets, as well as our pocketbooks.  Now back to the thought of boiling water.  Boil a pot of water and ladle it out onto the troublesome weeds and/or grass.  This is the most effective way of eliminating unwanted plants and weeds that I have ever seen.  None survive.  Even the indestructible quack grass stands no chance against the boiling water.  It kills the entire plant, including the roots.  If it rains shortly thereafter, no problem, if the sun is not shining or you only have time in the evening, again no problem.  The weeds and grass will be gone in a very short time.  The seeds present will be cooked so they will not germinate.  The mature plants and roots will also be cooked so they will quickly decompose and be gone.  New seeds will eventually find their way into the area, but nuisance re-growth will take much more time than if you were using one of the chemicals on the market.

Please be careful not to splash the boiling water on anyone including you.  It will burn or scald.  Also, do not pour too close to plants and or grass you do not want to kill.

If you are doing boarders, experiment with small amounts.  You will be surprised how little is required to get a remarkable result without damaging the environment.

Do you have ants?  Boiling water poured onto the ant hills is the best way to rid yourself of this nuisance as well.  The hill might require a couple of treatments, but I can assure you that the ants will not develop a resistance to it!

Boiling some water and spreading it around.  What could be simpler?

Tracey

Let’s Talk

There is so much going on in the world and so much to talk about.

So, let’s talk about the environment and climate change.
Let’s talk about gardening and edible landscaping.
Let’s talk about products and reviews of products.
Let’s talk about dogs.
Let’s talk about natural healing choices.
Let’s talk about cooking and recipes.
Let’s talk about renos and home improvements.
Let’s talk about making things like soaps, lotions, and cleaning supplies.

Let’s talk about what we CAN do.

Let’s talk about a healthier way…..

Tracey