Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Environmental Slip N Slide

Since I haven't posted much in the last six months, I thought I'd keep you up-to-date on what I have and have not continued doing when it comes to my environmental and toxin-avoidance pursuits.

And, I figured it just would be easier to just go ahead and list them:

1. We turned the heat up. After 5 years of Freezing My Buns off, I decided that turning the heat up a notch wasn't going to make anyone complain in our house. So, instead of chilling out at 62 degrees, we're rocking it more around 68 during the day. We still keep it at a bone chilling 55 at night, but during the awake hours, I'm toasty. Now, this doesn't mean that I'm walking around in my skivvies. I'm still wearing wool sweaters and blankets, so don't think this is too much of an indulgence. It's only a couple hours during the day, the dog stays more comfy and we have less problems with mold.

2. We switched back to a petroleum-based laundry detergent. I just couldn't stand the stink. Our front-loading washer, combined with eco-friendly detergent, was just making our clothes smell absolutely disgusting. Granted, we are using a Free & Clear sort of detergent, but it's made all the difference in the world and I don't have to burn my clothes.

3. I ditched the homemade deodorant. If you have no sweat glands, then consider yourself lucky. I, on the other hand, was born on the Isle of Ripe and no amount of plain old deodorant is going to combat that. If I had no stress in my life, and no job to go to, then I would rethink this decision but since I ain't and I don't, it's back to the aluminum. It's the only questionable thing I put on my body, however.

4. I don't worry as much about organics. Usually it's a result of availability, cost and looks, but sometimes I reach for the conventionally grown fruits and hope a good scrubbing goes a long way. I still try to avoid the dirty dozen but sometimes it's better to eat what's available/appetizing and try again next time. We almost always buy organic vegetables. I'm not sure why.

5. I don't let it mellow. We have super low water toilets and I'm not sure how much in toto we were actually saving by not flushing the toilet. Plus, now I have to clean it less often and the lack of smell is delightful.

That's about the bulk of it. I'm sure I'll get an earful, but everything in moderation? 

Photo courtesy of TonTonJohn.


Unknown said...

You sure won't get an earful from me. We each do what we can do and you have honestly been an inspiration to me. You're human!

Robj98168 said...

Ditto unknown's comment. I too have the heat cranked up a bit more.I still yellow mellow the toilet but I think that is more of shear laziness rather than Eco-consciousness.I still try and buy my fruits and veggies as locally as possible, but don't bust a nut when I buy an orange now and then. Deodorant- not a problem over here- I don't sweat much, usually Mr. Kitty's soap works good enough for me.And I still use trader joe's "next to godliness detergant, but have switch from liquid to powder, as I find the powder box is easier to deal with than the liquid bottle. SO none of us, much as we hate to admit are perfect, but I feel I am much better than before I started reading you.

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Agreed with all above. Reading your blog inspired me to be more gentle towards the environment, but sometimes I just have to "choose my battles", too.

El Gaucho said...

It's good to know that you're like many well intentioned environmentally oriented folks, you're not perfect, but you're trying. Even if you aren't doing everything you possibly can, the fact that you're doing something still makes a positive impact.

A little bit of positive action is better than a whole lot of nothing, and it's good for others to see that it's not an all or nothing decision. Leaving your daytime heat at 68 is still better than 70.

Wendy said...

I think the hardest part about being out-there in the public as a forerunner of eco-friendly living is that, since you actually live in the same world as the rest of us, sometimes it is difficult to maintain that level of living environmentally friendly that others expect of you. It must have been difficult to write all of that, and I applaud you.

I hope things have been well - your voice has been missed.

Adrienne said...

I have to say I'm surprised about the deodorant, not b/c of any eco-issues, but b/c the cornstarch/baking soda/coconut oil mixture works *incredibly well* for me. Better than any "regular" deodorant, really. No matter how hot and sweaty, I just don't stink when I use that stuff. Amazing really. I spent all summer sniffing my own armpits and exclaiming to my friends how non stinky I was!
Unfortunately, I developed a sensitivity to the baking soda and if I use it very often it gives me a rash. =/ So I mostly use regular deodorant too, and use the homemade stuff once or twice a week, which is about as much as I can tolerate it.

Cherie said...

It's all a journey and it's about doing the best we can with what we have. If more people were just aware of their impact on the environment - and on their own health - and began taking steps to eliminate harmful practices, it would be a better world.

Rachel said...

OMG, now I don't feel nearly as guilty for doing some of the same things, like having our heater up a bit higher when we're home (we have a small house that only takes about 5-10 minutes to get to temp.), flushing the toilet (I HATE the stink), and not worrying about organics as much (I've resorted to buying non-organic feed for my animals because it saves us so much more money). I still use homemade detergent in my front loader. I found that if we leave the door ajar between washes it helps exponentially with the stinky-clothes problem. And the homemade deodorant works better for me than any commercial stuff I've tried, but I don't sweat much.

Lisa Zahn said...

@Adrienne, I so wanted the coconut oil/cornstarch/baking soda/lavender essential oil homemade deodorant to work for me but it doesn't! And it kind of gives me a rash too, which I think is the coconut oil since I seem to react to it as a "lotion" as well.

The Crystal Rock works best for me, but at times I need Secret and I use it.

I've also turned the heat up to near 70, Crunchy! Since we don't have any type of wood stove or fireplace for warming, I just couldn't tolerate the freezing cold hands any more. And yes, I'm still in wool sweaters and socks too. My house is very drafty so even with the thermostat at 68ish, it's still plenty cool in here.

CallieK said...

I never found the crystal or baking powder deodorants work for me either but what does work (and is really easy to make) is witch hazel with a couple drops of essential oils in a spray bottle. If you are a heavy sweater, I suggest tea tree as one of the oils, I also like rose geranium and lavender.

Crunchy Chicken said...

@Adrienne - The baking soda works really well, but it does such a number on my armpits that it's incredibly painful. And then your armpits turn into shoe leather.

Just the other ingredients alone work fairly well, they just don't help on the sweating. And, because, 90% of the time I'm a Nervous Nelly, I need serious sweat control.

Delora said...

Interesting to read the comments about the homemade deodorant. I had made some last spring, and used it off and on over the summer (hated having to keep it in the fridge, but it melted otherwise). Come fall, I started using it daily, and then I got what I thought was a chemical reaction and the skin in my armpits turned red and itchy, and then peeled off! The whole time I assumed it was either the tea tree I added (since it's so astringent) or the Bentonite clay since it wasn't something I had ever used before. Interesting that it's probably the baking soda... after I finish this batch, I might try making it again with only using a pinch and see if my armpits survive.

Counselor Cox said...

No earful from me... though I am surprised about the laundry detergent. My stinky sweaty family has noticed NO difference with our DIY Natural Laundry detergent consisting of borax, washing soda and grated ivory soap. We too have a front-loading washer we just leave the door open when not in use.

Sometimes I just cannot match the commercial products. I keep trying to add lavender essential oil to my own creations and it stinks. When I buy Aveeno Lavender soap, it smells lovely.

Roz said...

I'm too scared to use homemade laundry soap in my front-loading washer, but I totally love my homemade shampoo bar...although everyone I've let try it hates it. I guess we all have differences but being mindful is what's important :)

Roz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad K. said...

I am still on the 59 degrees heat inside, unless the sun warms the house, and I don't bother chilling that down artificially. If the house is warmer than the thermostat is set, I just sort of grit my teeth, kind of. ;-)

I sponge bath. When I get up, and when I change for work in the afternoon, I wipe down with a clean wash cloth and clear water, then power with cornstarch baby powder. A couple-three years, now, and it still seems to be working.

In the summer I take showers regularly, and use Suave shampoo, but that is all.

I remember that growing up our shower was always in the basement, in Iowa, and the towels always had an odor. I always thought that was the humidity, but someone on the radio claims that is dead skin cells decaying -- we always used a towel for several days before grabbing a clean one. So I picked up a stack of cheap wash cloths, and each gets used once before rotating into the laundry.

Now, the hand towel I use on my hands and hair, that gets several days each tour of duty.

Ameia said...

I'm so disgusted with the price of organics that we now buy much of our produce from the local greengrocer for a fraction of the price at Whole Foods. I still buy organic greens, though.

Why did your laundry stink before you switched to petro-based detergent? We use a homemade detergent that is dirt cheap and the best one I've ever used, bar none, plus I never need softener. I love how well it gets smells out but add borax if I think there's going to be a lingering smell. Btw, did you know borax kills mold?

Re: deodorant, I never use it and don't stink very often ( I keep scrubbing with soap/essential oils if I'm stinky). But my daughter loves one sold by Saje in Vancouver. They've been out of stock for about 6 months and keep promising to get it soon - we'll see. I've tried to get her to use natural deodorant for years and have bought her a few different natural ones, but she's never liked any of them till the Saje one. It works differently than most of them, and she says it's really effective.

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shecouldbe said...

It's good to see you're not taking this whole thing too seriously. I think some people suffer through life trying to be perfect environmentalists, especially those who think wearing "plastic shoes" is eco. HA HA HA HA!!! I always got a good laugh outta that one, shit, if it wasn't for animal hides, NONE of us would even be here (ummm survival).

Anyhoo, I still let it mellow even though I've installed a dual flush adapter - I just LOVE to save water!!! I still take one shower a month and washup every day - I offset this practice by using Toms alum/deo/anti which works wonders. I, TOO, could NEVER NEVER NEVER wear silly home made or store bought deo only products, my life is just too stressfull and NO ONE would want to be near me if I didn't. I try to be eco in ways I find to be manageable without going crazy and I strive to be MORE eco every year in one or two ways that work into my scheme. I don't MURDER myself for NOT being the most eco lady on the planet. it's not a competition, and my life is great because i DON'T have eco-stress. cheers and enjoy your life!

shecouldbe said...

p.s., can we please please please have a freeze yer bunz challenge this year tho? i love those. even if it's 68 that's fine! : )