Today we picked up our year’s supply of grassfed beef from a local farmer. This is the fourth year we’ve done it, and I can’t say enough good things about the experience. Buying local is good for the farmer, good for your health, and good for the economy. And it sure beats paying $18 a pound for a steak.
However, you have to do a bit of research to navigate the farm-to-table world. Here’s an overview of our process.
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I’m currently listening to a This American Life episode about harvesting natural gas as an alternative energy source. According to some scientists, it’s not as “clean” as natural gas proponents would have us believe. But for a small town in Pennsylvania that is learning to live alongside this new industry, natural gas means prosperity not just for moguls, but for them, the little guys.
It reminds me of a scene in Sabrina, the 1954 movie with Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, & William Holden. Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) is explaining to his brother David (William Holden) the virtue of moving their plastics industry into the Caribbean: “So a new industry goes up in an underdeveloped area and once barefooted kids have shoes, washed faces, and their teeth fixed.”
I would certainly consider myself an idealist. It doesn’t matter how much something costs in the moment if long term the benefit outweighs momentary outlay. I say let’s invest in research for the best green energy possible (solar, wind) rather than settle for another fossil fuel source that will carry us for the next 20-50 years. Cradle to Cradle innovation is far and away better for everyone and everything than recycling plastic, for example, and merely postponing its eventual death in a landfill.
But there are those times when a 90% or even 70% solution is the best right now. Compromise is better than stagnation. How do you decide if idealism or compromise is the win?
The Mister and I are not ones to skimp on quality. No no, my entire family will confirm my champagne taste. But with things like toiletries and cleaners, I have learned that a high price-tag does not equal high quality. The salon is not formulating their sodium lauryl sulfate better than CVS.
And so, I began making my own concoctions. I’m voting for health with my money. Every dollar I spend on raw ingredients for toiletries & cleaners means less toxins in my body. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s cheaper. Now I’m paying LESS for a better product.
Place mixing bowl with ingredients over warm water in the sink—EVCO* is solid at room temperature, but melts when warm. Mix until ingredients are combined. Pour into deodorant container and place in refrigerator until solid again. Refrigerating the deodorant ensures ingredients are uniformly mixed and that EVCO doesn’t rise to the top.
Elements Bath & Body has lovely little deodorant containers for those of us who don’t want to reuse an old deo tube. I like the 2 oz. Natural Twist Up, but this deodorant is also easy to apply with your hands. In fact, you can just rub the leftovers on like lotion.
1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
2 cups water
1/3 cup salt
1 cup baking soda
Warm water, salt, and baking soda in a sauce pan over Low-Medium heat on stove until mostly dissolved—the baking soda will not completely dissolve. Pour into a gallon container with Sal Suds (I use empty distilled white vinegar bottles). Fill rest of bottle with water, and shake well. The baking soda will settle to the bottom, so shake bottle before each use. Use 1/4-1/2 Cup of detergent for each load of laundry.
For a natural fabric softener, whitener & color brightener, and to remove static cling, use 1/4-/1/2 cup distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle.
(Thanks to Lindsay Edmonds at Passionate Homemaking for these recipes. They work like a dream!)
Inspired by Lindsay Edmonds at Passionate Homemaking, I decided to make my very own toothpaste. What are the benefits of making your own toothpaste, you may ask? Oh, my friends, they are virtually endless: saving money, avoiding yucky/toxic ingredients in name-brand toothpastes, telling corporate America I won’t be duped into buying their marketing nonsense, etc. etc. etc.
Joshua’s former-favorite Crest toothpaste has the following ingredients:
Sodium Fluoride, Sorbitol, Water, Hydrated Silica, Flavor, Disodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Hydroxide, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Polyethylene, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1 Aluminum Lake, Yellow 10 Aluminum Lake.
Our new homemade minty toothpaste has the following ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda, 1 Tablespoon Salt, 2 teaspoons Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap.
Just place a mixing bowl over warm water, stir ingredients together, and put in a resealable container. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so the warm water melts it to make mixing easier. Brush daily!
Organic products often cost more than “traditional” ones.* So how can a family do right for the environment and their bodies without going broke? Well, here’s how we Blankenships do it.
When you plant heirloom seeds in your garden this year, you’re protecting America’s biodiversity and culinary heritage. Seventh Generation’s blog shares what heirloom varieties mean to us and where to find them.
The Story of Stuff is the story of world consumerism and why now is the time to change. Call its agenda environmentalism, Christian stewardship, or just common sense, but the message is the same: Do not be ruled by the stuff you own. “Keeping Up With The Joneses” is a marketing ploy to make you unhappy, wasteful, and ignorant.
I am here neither to prove nor disprove global warming. I can only point out that my Christianity and belief in biblical creation seem to stand at odds with evolution, and therefore, global warming. But I absolutely consider myself an environmentalist. Then how, you may ask, can my Christianity and environmentalism coexist?
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Many personal care products claiming to be “organic” aren’t. So the National Organic Standards Board is asking the USDA to enforce the same organic standard on beauty products as it does on food. The Organic Consumer’s Association has the story and a list of brands perpetuating the fraud. Visit Skin Deep’s searchable database to find almost any beauty product’s toxicity level.
This recipe for cranberry dye from ReadyMade Magazine looks scrumptiously easy and fun. The idea of creating my own papers and textiles is always enticing.