Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Money and Action

The past several days the canvassers have been around campus, their clipboards say Environment Colorado and the question they have - "Do you have a moment for the environment?" The answer to that question should be obvious "Yes, everyday I have several moments for the environment."
The truth is I avoid them, I walk on the far side of the walkways and stare at the lawns. The truth is they are not asking for moments, they are asking for money. The moment they have with you will not be used to mitigate your environmental impact, or change public policy, or assist in lifestyle change; that moment is for them to pay their salaries, and to fund the lobbiest group they represent.

I will not insult these people, nor those who give them that moment (and a small donation, tax-deductible). But this is a case of people giving money as proxy, changing your lifestyle is difficult and requires great awareness, handing someone five dollars and signing a paper is quick and painless.
But what about the rest of those moments? I have never felt that my lifestyle is difficult. I have never felt that living in an eco-conscious way is painful, or expensive, or punitive. In fact, my life feels every bit as rewarding and easy as I imagine it should be. But everyday I take a moment (well many dozen moments truthfully) and consider "What is the impact this has? - on me, on the air and water, on the biosphere, on other creatures, on other humans etc..."

So if a person takes a moment to hold a young idealist' clipboard and dig into their pockets, how can we convince that person to take a moment to look at their own actions? What sort of moments do you take in your life to look at the full impact of your life?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finds - Harvest

Sorry for a lack of updates blog friends, changes are in the air with the crisp Autumn wind! And much of my "free" time (free? ha!) is used processing and bringing in the harvest! Here's a quick pick of my favorite goods for the season...
An excellent piece from Bomobob
Fabulous decor for any window, by WhirlGirlGlass
Fine hair decor by Nomsa
A delicate accoutrement from CreationsByEileen
For your Mabon enjoyment (any many other harvest rituals) from WhiteMagic
Lovely napkins, perfect for tucking in to your favorite Autumn dish! From NapkinLapkin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celtic Fun at the Highlands' Fest

This weekend we hit the Highlands' Fest in Estes Park, it was a lovely day in the mountains! Pipes and drums, plaid everywhere, men tossing heavy things, fully contact professional jousting, cute scotty dogs, and men in kilts as far as the eye can see! Sadly there was a serious lack of decent beer, next year we'll have to bring our own...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

End of Summer

Summer is drawing to a close, and so too is my summer section of my wheel of the year project! I've completed the tree and added a vine around the outer edge. I need to go back to the needlework shop for one more color, as I decided to add the names of the high days to the wheel.
In a few weeks when the autumn equinox hits I'll be starting the Fall tree in a new set of colors! I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly this went, which bodes well for completing each section in it's allotted season. It's quite relaxing to know I have a year to do this, and there's no rushing! Perhaps all my craft projects should have laid back time lines?

Monday, September 5, 2011


It's harvest season here, my peppers are ripening, the green beans are everywhere, and the tomatoes never end! Twice a week I've been making chili, pasta sauce, tomato soup etc. and freezing several quarts of it; and every day more tomatoes come in off the plants. My mother has even been dumping more tomatoes on me, as her stomach can only handle so much acid foods...

A friend gave my a large bunch of fresh local cilantro from her farm share, so salsa is the tomato solution of the week. But frozen salsa is not so useful! Fortunately my canning gear is handy for such things! The salsa is chopped tomatoes, diced cilantro, onions and poblanos from the garden, with a touch of salt and pepper. I like to keep my flavors simple!

Even tho we tend to eat tomatoes with savory food, and thus consider them vegetables, they are in fact fruit. They also happen to be high acid fruits, and therefore I can use simple water bath canning methods instead of pressure cooking for precise amounts of time (made more complicated by the altitude here.) I wanted to make lots of little jars, just enough for one sitting of chips and salsa, but I ran out of the small ones. We can call the tall jars "party size" right?

Ready to be labeled and put away... I guess I need to run to the store for some chips right? Behind the salsa is my spicy bread and butter pickles (made with apple cider vinegar and honey). The plums will be ripening soon, and I expect to make plum jam again! What are you putting up for the cold winter months ahead?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Closet Check

Now I don't consider myself a fashionista, but I do love fabulous clothes. I've been enjoying The Good Closet blog and several post on the Etsy Blog by Elizabeth. She is challenging readers to examine their clothing habits and environmental impact. Fact of the matter is, we cannot go nekkid around our society, and the ways that we costume ourselves has changed hugely over the years. Most changes seem to push away from simple sustainable coverings, and towards disposable (but not biodegradable!) clothing.
So I thought I'd jump in, what's in my closet? Well to start with, I haven't a closet proper, just a hanging rod for dresses, shirts and coats. But even this is an interesting cross-section of my clothing habits. First, 16 dresses, 8 button up shirts, 8 dress coats. Secondly, 10 are handmade (one by my mother, the rest by me); 11 are vintage, 8 were bought used from a thrift store, 3 were bought new. I've owned (as in, possessed in my household) each piece for an average of 5 years; the oldest was about 12 years old, the most recent dress was made less than a month ago.

But that's all just a bunch of numbers right? Well, when you consider the amount of textiles that are discarded everyday in the U.S. there's more to this picture. Have you ever stood in the back room of a charity thrift store and watched boxes pile up full of old clothes? Not all of it will make the shelves, some may be thrown away if it looks beat-up or undesirable. Some will go to outlets to be picked over by opportunity shoppers. Much of that is bailed and shipped to the developing world, dumping last years styles on the world's poor.

And what of it's final destination? Even an old-fashioned mender such as myself finds things may eventually go to a landfill. Cotton, linen, silk, wool and such natural fibers may breakdown eventually, tho the anaerobic environs in a dump aren't conducive to that sort of decay. Synthetics however, are forever. Even as the plastic polymers crumble, the molecules rarely breakdown into base components. Synthetic fabrics such as nylon, rayon, polyester, spandex and the like will never truly return to being organic material.

So what does that have to do with one's closet? Buying less, keeping it longer, and reusing the textiles can help reduce the environmental impact we all have, and it can be done without sacrificing much style! What's in your closet? Check out The Good Closet to read more about Elizabeth's research, and to get more ideas about how your fashion sense can become more eco-friendly.