Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sleeping Naked Is Green: Discussion 2

Sleeping Nekkid is GreenWelcome to the second discussion post of Vanessa Farquharson's book, Sleeping Naked Is Green. For those of you who are just joining us, Vanessa is the writer of the green blog, Green as a Thistle and the book summarizes the 366 green changes she made over the course of a year. In this installment we'll be covering the summer chapters.

June: During the month of June, Vanessa tackles making changes to her beauty routine by switching to a natural bar soap, using natural, mineral-based sunscreen, letting her hair air dry, not using nail polish, using natural hair dye, treating sunburns with pure aloe and using only one bar of soap for her face and body.

I believe when I read on her blog that she was using bar soap on her face, I also switched myself. I'm pretty sure I've been using Dr. Bronner's bar soap on my face since then, with much success. Another notable change she makes this month is sleeping naked (hence the title), although she laments that she has no one to share this nekkidness with except her cat.

However, the biggest change o' the month has to be selling her car. Instead of private vehicle transport she relies on her bike and public transportation and the occasional use of a Zipcar.

July: In July, Ms. Thistle attempts to build a compost bin, buy only locally and sustainably made clothes (good luck with that one!), use biodegradable garbage bags and quit social smoking. I'm sure her lungs are thanking her for it. As for the compost bin, Vanessa turns out to be construction challenged and wrangles her literary agent to come over and build it for her.

During this month of her project, she discovers how green her grandparents really are when she goes for a visit, strictly because they live according to a lifestyle they grew up with, having lived through the Depression and wartime. They grow much of their own food and her grandfather hunts and fishes. When it comes down to it, Vanessa realizes she has a lot less to complain about with her green changes since many people live or lived this way not as a matter of choice.

August: At the height of summer's heat, Vanessa skips A/C and chooses only a hand held fan, uses only cold water for her laundry, switches from paper napkins to cloth and makes her own jams and preserves. Apparently, my jam recipes convinced her to give canning a try and she successfully made some peach and plum vanilla jam without poisoning herself and others.

Unfortunately, her love life isn't as sweet and Vanessa resorts to giving GreenSingles.com a try. It sounds like she ran into some real winners there and ends up sticking to a romance with someone she already knows, albeit not exactly the right match for her. I mean, really, who doesn't know what a Mini is anyway? (You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about here :)

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Random discussion questions:

  • Would you be willing to give up your car?
  • How about your A/C?
  • Do you use only cold water in your laundry?
  • Do you have a compost bin?
  • If you are single (or married, you naughty reader), have you looked into Greensingles.com?

    Related posts:
    Sleeping Naked Is Green: Discussion 1
  • 27 comments:

    Robj98168 said...

    Would you be willing to give up your car? No, not exactly. While recently I have been discovering the joys of public tranportation and the Light Rail And S.L.U.T.,Unless I quit working, I am afraid I can't give up my car. Well maybe one of them.

    How about your A/C? There again, no. I am using it less and less, but I must think of my little dog and kitty.

    Do you use only cold water in your laundry?Finally a yes question! For some time I have used sold water only when washing clothes, I soak the whites overnight with Vinegar (White wine Vinegar not balsamic)And all day long I remind myself of a salad.

    Do you have a compost bin?Yup, worm bin too

    If you are single (or married, you naughty reader), have you looked into Greensingles.com? Nope. Don't have much luck wiht singles sites. Can't stand being that dishonest. Even if I am a dead ringer for John Holmes.

    Suzan said...

    I share a car and we try to combine trips. As for air con I am sorry but in our corner of Australia it is so hot. We still have a low bill and we try to conserve water and power. If the air goes on it is at a higher temp and we seal the house. Cold water wash in a front loader is the daily deal. No compost bin but we have a pile and a recycle bin. I have just left my husband and have no interest in finding another partner.

    Heather said...

    I've really enjoyed reading the book. Many changes I've already implemented but I did get some ideas to also try.

    As for this week's questions:

    I gave up my car over a year ago and use public transit, walk or bike. I sometime borrow or rent a car but I'm happy to say that has only happened twice in the 15 months of living car-free! It wasn't as big a transition as I thought it would be and I'm very happy with my decision.

    As for AC, I only use it when heat-waves (very high humidity) last longer than 3 days. My asthma can't take longer than that. When I do have it on, I keep the temperature set at 78-79 degrees which is warmer than many homes. Last year I had the AC on 2 days, this year, unfortunately its been on for 11 days and counting!

    I have had a compost bin for years and use the compost in my garden. Where we live also has city compositing so between that, my compost bin and recycling, I rarely have garbage to put out (1 bag about 3-4 times/year).

    As for the single site, no, I've never tried it but I'm in a relationship so no need.

    knutty knitter said...

    Can't give up car until public transport improves. Don't have a/c or built in heating - both unnecessary here. Always use cold water. Have hens = have no waste. Married with children.

    viv in nz

    Joan said...

    I can't give up my car b/c I don't live in a city. I do implement no driving days and try my best to consolidate my trips. A/C - we live in southeastern part of US. We go as long as we can w/o a/c but it gets pretty hot. We are building a big screen porch. I hope it will allow us to use less a/c downstairs. I do use cold water in my laundry and air dry some. My compost bin and I have been together 1 year.

    My favorite part of this section of the book was as you mentioned - her grandparents. It shows just how far off track we have gotten.

    Kate said...

    Giving up the car really isn't an option for me or my husband. Living in a place with an awful public transportation system and completely different work schedules means we both need cars.

    The AC we could give up but (with no offense to Vanessa intended) it's probably easier to give it up living in Canada than it is in Oklahoma. We prefer to keep the temperature relatively high in the house (78-80). We also never turn the AC on until after the average temperature reaches over 90. Our house absorbs so much heat that one day I came home (and had forgotten to turn on the AC in the morning) and the house was 94 degrees. ugh!

    I do usually cold water for the laundry - have for years without even really thinking about it being green. I wash the whites with cold and a splash of hydrogen peroxide to brighten them up as my homemade powder sometimes leaves them a little dingy. The rest of my clothes just get the vinegar and powder treatment. I sometimes will use hot water - for example when I'm washing something I'm afraid is bacteria ridden. I just prefer using hot water to bleach for my peace of mind....

    Ah, our compost bin. The mighty mishap. Actually, it's not going so badly but we need to find another solution for where we are keeping it. I've been looking into a worn bin and hopefully once things settle down we can get one!

    I'm happily married and haven't been on the single scene in over 8 years but I will say my friends who are single haven't had good luck with dating sites in general. They have, however (similar to Vanessa's stories about greensingles) have provided us with many hours of entertainment over cocktails!

    Am rereading the book as we go along and find I love it even more the second time around!

    Billie said...

    Give up my car? It is unlikely I will sell it as it is the cheapest way to go see my parents who live 600miles from me. But in terms of my daily commute? Starting in September, I intend on getting a weekly pass and busing it to work. They just redid the bus routes and there is now a bus stop in close proximity to work.

    Give up my A/C? Not on your life! We pretty much turned off our heat last winter but there is no way I could live in a condo that starts the summer at 80+ degrees in April. I don't even want to think about what the temperature would be in August.

    Cold water? Been doing that for years and years.

    Compost bin? Not really possible in a condo. I would like to start a worm bin instead. One day... I will get to this.

    Greensingles.com? Right now I am married. Should that end (and it is very shaky), it will be some time before I attempt to look for another partner. Online or otherwise.

    Eco Yogini said...

    Andrew sold his car when we moved to Halifax- we decided that we could function as a 'one vehicle' household- he uses the bus and walks. As I have to drive 20 minutes on the highway for work, giving up my car isn'T really the best option. BUT I do car pool, so I've saved 50% on gas and cut down on CO2. :)
    We don't have A/C, and even though it has been HOT and HUMID these past few weeks, we haven't caved and bought one.
    We only use cold water in our laundry.
    we do compost- but our municipality has a weekly compost pick-up (composting is required by law here). so no biggie there.

    I have yet to find a 'natural' shampoo or face wash that I like. BOO THAT.

    I thought it was awesome that she sold her car, but truly- she lives in Toronto, a very large city with excellent public transportation. I also didn't own a car while I lived in Montreal- why would you need to? Rural Canadians often require at least one car- and my hope is to have an electric in a few years. Mine right now is UBER efficient and that's as close as I can get :)

    Eco Yogini said...

    oh, a quick note about the weather in T.O and Montreal- most summers go above 35 and up to 40 (celcius) which in Farhenheit would bring it close to 90-100... and that's without the humidex.
    I know while living in BC (Okanagan) which is semi-desert, the summer also began at 25 in April and quickly moved to above 40 degrees.
    Fredericton NB (which I lived for four years) also had similar 30-40 degree summers.
    This summer in Halifax, although cooler (as Nova Scotia tends to be) the past two weeks have been steady above 30 with a humidex of upwards 38-40 degrees.

    So 'Canadian' doesn't always equal 'colder summers' :)

    Anonymous said...

    As for the A/C question - yes I realize it can get quite warm in the summer even up north. But there is a difference between "touching" 90-100 degrees in the middle of the afternoon on some days and constant 90+ from 10am to 10pm with temps that never get below 78 even in the middle of the night for weeks at a time like we have in the southern US. I realize people lived here for a very long time before the invention of A/C made it tolerable, but I giving up A/C here is unrealistic, just like giving up your car in a place without adequate public transport. I enjoyed Vanessa's book, but I have to say I think living in Montreal made a lot of Vanessa's more possible than if she'd lived somewhere less Green friendly to begin with.

    SusanB said...

    Car -- never owned one. My partner has one, and he takes for an errand run once or twice on the weekend. Right now it's not practical to eliminate those errand runs.
    A/C -- I pretty much loathe it. But when the temp stays above 85 for days and the humidity is very high, we need to use the window air in the bedroom and office at night. My partner needs it a little more than that since he's home all day. And the last week we've been running air to cool the house down to 80 since we can't cool it by opening windows at night.
    Compost bin -- two.
    Dating service -- n/a

    Eco Yogini said...

    actually- the temperature stays at 35-40 all day... :) After living in Florida for 1 month (August at that!) I can safely compare the hottest month in Florida to being similar to the hottest month in Montreal (never having lived in Toronto- where Vanessa is from, I wouldn't be able to comment directly). :)

    Amber said...

    Would you be willing to give up your car? - No, though I feel guilty about it carting two kids around on public transit does not appeal to me.

    How about your A/C? - I don't have A/C, so yes, I would TOTALLY give it up. ;)

    Do you use only cold water in your laundry? - No, I use hot water to wash the cloth diapers for hygiene reasons.

    Do you have a compost bin? - Yes, I have a compost bin. It's one of the ready-made plastic ones, but it works & I use it.

    Anonymous said...

    My bad -- You are right about Vanessa being from Toronto. :-) It's currently (a very pleasant sounding) 79 degrees there today. It's currently 94 in Houston TX and 103 in Phoenix AZ. My point was that up north it cools down at night which it doesn't do in many parts of the southern US during the summer. I don't feel guilty about about running our A/C (we keep it set on 80) because we go most of the winter without using our heater. I'm guessing that's just as unrealistic for folks in the north as turning off the A/C is here.

    Sandy said...

    Would you be willing to give up your car? - No. Maybe a more efficient car, maybe a hybrid, but where I live you gotta have a car.

    How about your A/C? -- I keep my A/C at 77 degrees or higher. We've had record hot temperatures in Oregon in July and August and my electric bill total was $75. My neighbor's bill was over $300. I do my bit.

    Do you use only cold water in your laundry? -- I use cold water in 95% of my laundry. Some really dirty items need warm water. Like yard work clothes and nasty throw rugs that have been in the garage.

    Do you have a compost bin? -- no. I wish I did, but it's on the list of things to do. Along with rainbarrels.

    If you are single (or married, you naughty reader), have you looked into Greensingles.com? -- No. I'll stick with e-harmony!

    Olivia said...

    Give up my car? Not possible. There is literally NO public transit where I live but I drive very little. DH just bought a hybrid.

    AC - NEVER had any - and to Anonymous - when I lived in Southern Ontario (where Vanessa lives), the temperature in our brick house during the summer months NEVER went below 30C, even at night. (This year is highly unusual). Where did you get the idea that it cools off at night? Even in Atlantic Canada, where I now live, my bedroom temperature has not gone below 25C in weeks and is often higher. I use a fan. No covers. Bodies adapt.

    Cold water in laundry? Usually, plus I make my own laundry soap - non toxic and all natural - and only use vinegar as a rinse. Have a small front loader and never use a dryer.

    Compost - yes. There is no option where I live. Also refuse, re-use and recycle. Cloth bags for shopping - there is a surcharge for all plastic bags.

    Married - 37 years.

    Sonja said...

    Give up car- not possible, we live in the country with not a public transportation anywhere to be seen. I am, however, always evaluating our six person schedule to see where I can avoid extra driving.
    A/C- only used 3 days this year and not much more than that last year. Only turn it on if the heat really starts to bother our daughter (genetic reasons)
    Cold water, you bet, 95% of the time and I now have a clothes line. However, I refuse to hang out 2,000 pairs of socks...
    Soap, just switched to all one bar, will see how that goes.
    Compost bin- yup, home built using free barrel and a couple supplies from hardware store, saved $125 over pre-done model.
    Greensingles.com-happily married with 4 kids, so not so much...
    Loved the grandparents! Reminded me of how I grew up.

    Thistle said...

    Omg, there's a lot of weather debate happening here! Anyway, the only point about that to make is this: Yes, I benefit from four seasons in Toronto, which not only means requiring less A/C (I actually credit the condo building for this because its communal hallways were air-conditioned whether I liked it or not and some of that cool air would inevitably seep under my door), but it also meant I could use my balcony as an outdoor fridge when I unplugged my actual appliance (well, for a few months at least... not in the winter or summer). Anyway, regardless of the fact that my location made some things easier, it also made other things more difficult -- try eating a 100-mile diet in the middle of February in Canada or cycling in a blizzard (and hello? Moving the worm bin inside for the winter? Not as lovely as it sounds). And yes, living in a city also has it's advantages, too (like public transport), but it also meant that I had no room to plant a vegetable garden or have a rain barrel.

    My point is this: Every climate and every environment has its pros and cons when it comes to green stuff, so you just have to make the best of what's available. My only qualm is with the suburban thing... I loathe urban sprawl and the whole SUV-dominated-cul-de-sacs-with-no-sidewalks business.

    LynnieBee said...

    At this point, giving up my car isn't feasible, but I do try to car-pool and combine trips as much as I can.

    Yes, I would be willing to give up my A/C, in general I prefer open windows and fans for venitlation....

    Yes, I made the switch to cold water in the laundry a little over a year ago, and I'm very pleased with it :)

    I don't currently have a compost bin, because I don't have my own garden, hopefully next summer...

    I've never heard of GreenSingles, but I'm in a long-term (hopefully headed for marriage) relationship with someone who is very supportive of my green-ness :)

    Sarah said...

    I don't have a car or A/C. I do use cold water for laundry, and I don't have a compost bin, but we bring our compostables to our CSA farm.

    amy Estrada said...

    give up your car? Nope. We live South of Portland and although there is transportation- it is anything but convenient. It would take my husband almost 2 hours to get to Portland by light rail and would cost him twice as much. (Right now his commute North is about 30 minutes.)

    A/C? No. When it gets above 90 we turn it on to sleep. We live on the 3rd floor so it's pretty toasty.

    cold water in your laundry? Yes please, even our cloth diapers.

    compost bin? Not allowed at our apt complex.

    Greensingles.com? Not needed, happily married.

    Love the weather talk! I'm always trying to convince my hubby it gets warm in Canada. =)

    Sadraki said...

    I've never had my own car though I use the occasional borrowed car or Zipcar.
    I've never had AC living in both Eastern and Western WA you can do without it quite easily if you use fans and open/close windows at right times of day.
    Only cold water in laundry 99% of the time. Occasionally I'll do a load on warm. I use my dryer sometimes but not most weeks.
    I just moved so no new compost yet but I'm working with apt managers to get one. In the mean time we take some compost to a bin near my partner's work.
    Currently in a relationship but if I was looking I'd check out greensingles.

    seppie said...

    I'm not willing to give up my car completely (four kids, Colorado winters) but my goal is to go as many days as possible without driving. We've got a little bike contest going at work and that is highly motivating to keep me out of the car for the daily commute (between 5 and six miles one way, depending on which kids I'm dropping off where -- it's so nice now that all of them are old enough to bike, too! The bike seat and trailer were fine, but I'm glad to be down to my saddlebags now.)

    AC, off except on the hottest days, and then set to 78 with the house sealed up.

    Cold water -- still working on this one. I use cold for darks, warm/cold for lights, and hot/cold for towels and napkins. Back when I still used Tide with bleach I could do all cold water, but I haven't found a nontoxic detergent that seems to work as well in cold. Suggestions? Remember, four kids, one of whom is seriously like Pigpen in the peanuts cartoon.

    Worm bin for us!

    And I haven't ever tried greensingles.com, but I did meet my husband on eharmony!

    Little Green Penguin said...

    I live in Toronto, and I live downtown. While I could see giving up the car, my boyfriend can't manage without it. He is a contractor, so depending on where his work is, he sometimes needs the car to get there. Plus, he's a hockey player (goalie) and a musician. Both of these hobbies require a lot of gear, and the gigs/games he plays are often far from public transportation. But as for me, who spends most of her time downtown, sure, I could live without a car. But not without my Harley.

    I turned off the AC a while ago, and I don't miss it. My boyfriend turns it on every now and then, but has discovered that having it on aggravates his allergies. It's off more often that on, because we've seriously had one hot week of summer here, and rain the rest of the time. In the winter, we don't need to turn on the heat at all - our condo is 12 stories up, open to the weather on one side, and a southern exposure.

    I was using cold water for all of my wash (save the really nasty loads that I want to use hot water for) until I got this all natural, locally made laundry soap that recommends I use warm water. I dunno.

    The compost bin came into service one week ago, and I'm going to get another one today. I produce so much compostable waste! It's all these veggies I'm eating! No idea what I am going to do with all this compost. I coudl do a rain barrel, but then again I think I would have more water than I need for my plants and stagnant water isn't a good idea.

    Green Singles? It just may come to that.

    Radioactive Duck said...

    Would you be willing to give up your car? --> I would love to give up my car, but public transportation in my area isn't the best. It would take me nearly two hours to get to work via two buses where it takes me less than 20 minutes by car. However, I am considering giving up my car for a moped if a job overseas doesn't come through soon.
    How about your A/C? --> I can't completely give up the A/C, but I have set it to 75, which means it's about 85 before it kicks in. In the winter I'm happy to bundle up in my down blanket and walk around like that.
    Do you use only cold water in your laundry? --> I use cold on everything but my towels, wipes, pads, and underwear.
    Do you have a compost bin? --> Sadly no.
    If you are single (or married, you naughty reader), have you looked into Greensingles.com? --> I've never had a single dating site work for me, I seems to stumble into relationships when I'm not looking for them.

    Spice said...

    Give up car?
    Actually yes! I know weird for a country girl, but I'd love to go to horse power and only use the car when traveling more than ten miles.

    Give up A/C?
    Already have. We don't have it anywhere in the farm. And I mean anywhere. Even the car, when the A/C broke, we chose not to fix it, because we never use it.

    Cold Water for laundry?
    Since it comes from a big stock tank pumped by an Aeromotor windmill that's be a definate YES!

    Compost bin?
    Yup

    Obviously married, but Greenpa's always taking applications for a red head!!
    We actually did meet online...

    Jennie said...

    I would totally give up my car for in town driving, but I love getting to see my family around the state and would be sad to give up those weekend trips.

    My hubby and I managed last summer with only two evenings of AC and this summer with the same. If we had to go without it we could.

    I use cold water on everything except the diapers. But the diapers always air dry outside, so it evens out a little bit.

    I have a compost bin and a worm bin. I am supplying worms for fellow gardeners in my community garden. I have plants growing in compost and worm castings that I made in my bins. :-)

    Never looked into Greensingles.

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