Archive for the ‘Tree-hugging Tuesday’ Category

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Tree-hugging Tuesday ‘s Word of the Day: Upcycle

I keep seeing this word “upcycle” everywhere.  MY everywhere, that is.  I guess it would depend on where you go online whether you have seen it or not.  Just this morning at etsy, I typed in upcycle and used the “all items” option.  91,299 returns.  WOW.  The first item is a blue upcycled wine bottle.  You should check it out.  How do they do that?


By the time I could talk about this one item and went back to etsy, the count was 91,237.  Evidently some folks out there are taking this whole green, tree-hugging, frugal living, repurposing thing kinda seriously.  And are making a living at it.  Hey, there’s another word that keeps popping up in my surfing: repurpose. Spellcheck doesn’t think it’s a word, but I assure you it is. At etsy I found everything from  jewelry to notebooks to well…crap.  But hey, one (wo)man’s crap is another’s cool upcycled, recycled what-not! Repurpose hasn’t caught on like upcycle I guess – there were only 38,382 listings.

But no matter what you call re-using things, it’s not a new concept.  I think my BonDon (paternal grandmother) used everything she owned at least 3 times for 3 different purposes before letting go of it.  Yet, she was not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination.  Everything had a place and her house was neat and tidy and not cluttered.  She just didn’t buy a lot of …well, crap. She was probably the most frugal person I have ever known and was green before it had a name.  I know for a fact she wore dresses she had worn for 30 years.  I have pictures to prove it.  Waste not, want not.  And, she had only clothes she wore and her closet was not stuffed full.  Everything hung neatly by item and then in the bottom was a line of maybe 4-5 pairs of shoes.  My BonDon had no idea what was in fashion.  I NEVER saw a fashion magazine in her possession.  She got Progressive Farmer, Better Homes and Gardens and a church issued bulletin.  So there was no magazine refuse to deal with.  When she was finished with these magazines, she took them to the hospital or dr office to share. When her clothes wore out and I do mean WORE out, she cut them up for quilts for her and Granddad to piece during the winter when he wasn’t on a tractor and doll clothes fabric for me and my cousin to sew.  Now don’t get me wrong, she was also not stingy.  She would buy for us, things we needed and certainly things we only wanted.  She could go into her kitchen and in an hour put on a meal to feed whom ever was there even though it was 25 miles to the grocery store and there is no telling when the last time she had been.  She wasn’t like me and run by the grocery at least 4 times a week.  Nope, not necessary.


I have been told many times I am a lot like her.  Not enough.  Not told enough and not enough like her.  This picture is of my dad and her.  Man, I miss both of them.

The one thing I remember her  really fussing at me about was wasting water.  Oh, that would get her going quick.  See she lived in rural Throckmorton County Texas and when it didn’t rain, they didn’t have water.  And it didn’t rain much.  I can remember her and Granddad buying water when we were there because we wanted things like baths every day and wanted more than 2 inches of water in the tub.  I know it must have hurt her deep down when we would run a tub of water to soak in.  But dang it was HOT there!  And I don’t mean they bought jugs of water.  A water truck came and filled up the tank that stood next to the house and held water for household use that was pumped from a tank (pond) by a wind mill.   And they had a cistern but honestly, I am not sure how it all worked together.  I know I never did without water when I was there but I am pretty sure there were days she didn’t use a drop.  What kills me is that I didn’t ask her more.  More about her life and how she managed.  Because I am telling you, I don’t think I could have. The longest I have gone without “facilities” is about 3 days.  That was about 2 days longer than my mental limit.

My mom’s family was city-folk.  Enough of everything and an abundance of most. New was a big deal.  I am a mixture of the two philosophies I think.  There have been times I had to be more frugal so I know I can do it.  And it’s not so much about saving money as it is not being wasteful.

So I am not upcycling anything today but I am recycling several bags of clothes.  We are making a trip to the orthodontist and are swinging by Goodwill and dropping off.  It is just the beginning.  This will be a long and difficult task but I would really, really like keep what I need in the way of clothing and shoes and such and donate the rest.  There is no need in having this much stuff. NO need at all.

My next research project is to look into FreeCycle.  I think I will tell you about it next Tuesday.  I have a friend that might just be able to clue me in.  Maybe over a cup of coffee.  Nan, you there?


Hey Treehuggers here’s a challenge or two…

I wrote recently about my quandary over recycling my garbage.  My home state is known for lots of things.  Our “colorful” politics.  Our fabulous food.  Our friendly folk. Gators.  Hurricanes.  Oil.  But it isn’t known for being green.  As you may know, I actually do a little research for these Tuesday posts and I found this information today that I cannot wait to share with Jerry. This is from Global Green‘s website:

Louisiana can surprise you. Who knew that this petrostate boasts by far the strongest solar tax credit in the country? Passed in 2007, the 50 percent credit cuts the cost of installing a solar system in half. Combine that with Obama’s 30 percent federal tax credit and a Louisiana homeowner gets an 80 percent discount to go solar and live off the grid—not a bad choice in a region where storms regularly knock out the conventional power supply.

I have to say, I am impressed with this information.  I like “real” info.  I can’t jump on a bandwagon, even a green one, without some facts.  Sometimes I am turned off from an organization or group when I feel they have made a religion out of being green. I try to view being green with the same eyes I view my own beliefs about religion.  Calm yourselves, I am not going to preach or confess!  While the future is a little frightening, to some a lot frightening, when looking at our dependency on oil and natural gas and what it takes to get it, refine it and use it in safe and clean ways, the quickest way to shut my ears is to try to scare me.  For one thing, I don’t scare easily so, one will have to keep piling on threats and what ifs.  Secondly, I don’t take to being threatened and what iffed??? What if a frog had wings?  He wouldn’t bump his little green butt every time he hopped.

I do believe the “globe is warming” and I do believe we have caused some of it.  I also firmly believe the Earth is cyclical and we are pretty arrogant to believe we can destroy her.  Oh we can definitely make her uninhabitable for humans.  We can poison our environment and make it impossible to grow enough food and produce enough clean water to sustain us.  But Mother Earth will just keep on spinning and traveling around the Sun with or without us.  Well, unless an asteroid hits her and she bursts into a bajllion pieces.  There’s always that if the real news doesn’t give you enough to worry about.

Now where was I?  Oh yeah, the three Rs of green living.  Reduce, reuse and recycle(see note below). What a huge challenge it is for me.  As much as I love antiques and collectibles I also LOVE new things.  New vehicles, new clothes, new shoes.  New books! I have already challenged myself to no new clothes for a year and broke that challenge.  I “accidentally” ordered two t-shirts.  And then yesterday I deliberately ordered some new corduroys from Eddie Bauer.  Look, truth: I ruined the only pair of “leaving the house” jeans I had working outside and had to wear them to the oral surgeon’s office yesterday anyway.  So, my heart wasn’t totally in it.  Obviously. Maybe I over estimated what I am capable of in the long term.  Maybe I should give myself better goals.  I did not purchase the Timberland Berber lined hoodie I wanted really, really bad.  It’s not like I am a clothes horse.  I actually hate shopping for clothes.  If I wore a size 4 I might be dangerous.  But truth be told, I want functional, sturdy clothing.  I don’t sit around all day watching TV and eating bon-bons and I need clothes appropriate for my activities.  So since I have already lied to myself and you about not buying clothes for a year, my next best plan is to recycle clothes I haven’t worn and will never wear.  I have winter weight clothing that I bought for trips that I will likely never wear again.  I have friends that live in colder climates that I think might enjoy a wool sweater or three. I cannot even hang all my clothes in my side of the closet.  Now, it’s not a huge closet but it has more than ample room for more than ample items of clothing.  And shoes.  Oh my.  Shoes.  I do love shoes.  But no one and I mean no one needs 1/5 of the shoes I have in my closet.  So I have to weed my shoes as well.  Have to.  Must.  It would be a sin not to.  I can remember very well having one pair of shoes to my name.  So it’s not like I don’t know how not to have 30 pairs.

So here are my personal challenges and you can play along if you like.

  1. Recycle seasonal clothing
  2. Donate all excess shoes
  3. Weed my bookshelves again and donate.
  4. Look for the kindle edition of books before buying the hard copy…guess this makes me completely rethink my cake book, now doesn’t it.  E-books??? They are the future. Man, I love books…this will be hard for me.  Very hard.
  5. Weed all school books from the past and find new homes for as many as possible.
  6. Look for online subscriptions to magazines before buying paper copies.
  7. Find out if there is a school that will take recycled cardboard and such for art workrooms.
  8. Start a compost pile.
  9. Remember my cloth grocery bags when I head to the grocery.  I don’t know why this is so hard for me.  If I would just unpack them and go put them back in the vehicle that would solve this problem.

And one more thing,  as the temperatures begin to drop (I do this every year)  I will try to see just how long I can hold off turning on the heat.  I usually last longer than the girls but with them being gone all day now, and Ben being so hot natured, I think we can make it till December 1st at least.  I have made it past that but good grief at the complaining!  Jerry might never turn it on if he had his way.  But with all the insulating we have done, the house should hold its heat better – so we will see.

Did you know? The recycling symbol you see today with three arrows in the triangle shape was designed in 1970 as part of a contest sponsored by the Container Corporation of America (CCA) (now Jefferson Smurfit Corporation). As a special event for the original Earth Day in 1970 (started by John Mc Connell), CCA conducted a contest for graphic art students to design a symbol representing paper recycling. The winning entry was submitted by Gary Dean Anderson, a 5-year architecture student at the University of Southern California at Los Angels. Later that year, William Lloyd, modified the contest winning recycling symbol to create the present-day image.

Now last but certainly not least, you have to come by tomorrow and meet  Wednesday’s Woman.  You will love her, her work and her commitment to environmental responsibility.  Make her feel welcome and enter to win a great prize!


What does it mean to be Green?

So Tuesday has rolled around again and it’s time to hug another tree. Before I forget, I want to show you one of my new green pictures.  Aren’t my tomato plants growing beautifully?  I know this may not be a big deal to anyone but me.  However, I really am excited.  I can’t even eat fresh tomatoes but Jerry can, and he loves them and we always say when eating our delicious winter salads…”I really wish we had a fresh homegrown tomato to go with this.”  Now, maybe we can!


If you look really close in the last frame you can see a little bloom…awwwww.  Cute huh? And yes, I know my tomato cages are upside down but I wanted them for keeping kitties out.  I will actually stake the tomatoes soon.

But back to Treehuggin’…Being Green‘s meaning has changed over the years.  When I was much younger, if someone called you green it was more of an insult.  It insinuated that you didn’t know what you were doing.  Or that you were naive.  Also, you could have been said to be “Green with envy.”  That was certainly not a compliment if being said about you.  Nowadays, totally different.  In fact I had to really wonder if my own kids would know that there was more than one meaning for “being green“.

In my own life, honestly, I am more green at heart than action.  Where I live really, really makes it very difficult to be as green as you might like.  There is the whole unbearable Summer heat and humidity that completely negate any thought you have of not using energy to cool your home.  I mean are you kidding?  106 and humid.  I am going to have the air going full force. Winter is a little different.  As I have always said, I can get warm, getting cool is another subject all together.  I can add layers, bundle myself, but I cannot get nekkid enough to be cool! Nor do you want me to!

Then there are the pests.  Serious pests.  People who don’t live in the South can’t imagine how big a mosquito can actually get.  Not to mention the diseases from mosquitoes. Or how how horrible fire ants are.  In fact they can be deadly.  My brother is horribly allergic to a fire ant sting.  Too many and I would worry that he might not survive.  I cannot tell you how much I hate fire ants.  I have tried “natural” pesticide recipes .  Oh, I haven’t given up – I just read something about soy oil and cornmeal.  I will try anything once.  But at present, I use Ortho.  Yes, it is extraordinarily poisonous.  But don’t judge if you don’t have imported fire ants.  They can ruin so much and I am convinced there is one original colony still in existence somewhere in South America  and they are all still just making a trail north.  Did you know they will get in your air conditioner and short it out?  Phone company equipment, water well mechanism?  AND there is no natural predator of the imported fire ant in the US.  Now some scientists are trying to get permission to introduce the fly that is the natural enemy in Brazil…but I personally think that is a BAD idea.  Stop with the introducing things into an eco system!  Kudzu in Mississippi??? Rabbits in Australia, pythons in Florida, aquatic plants in Texas Lakes? Some done illegally, but in the case of Kudsu, it was brought in and introduced as a erosion deterrent. No I am not a scientist – har har.  And WOW I can get off on a tangent so easy.  Sorry about that.  Where was I?

Being green, going green, living green is one of those subjects I thought Jerry and I disagreed on, kinda like politics.  Live with a man 25+ years and never know what political party he would join if he joined things, which he doesn’t and ought to have been a hint.  I am slow on the uptake sometimes 😉 You see Jerry is a man of few words.  Especially if he doesn’t have the facts to back up his statements.  Having worked in the petroleum industry for nearly 32 years and that industry providing us with every material possession, I just assumed I knew what he thought of  renewable energy and such things.  I suppose I should ask instead of assuming.  I will learn one day maybe.  Being a man of few words, his response to one of my “speeches” was “Well, we are going to have to do something.  There isn’t an endless supply of oil. And even if there is,   we can’t get to it.”  Okey dokey. Well put.  Sort of like our “discussion” about the BP disaster in the Gulf.  His response “Of course some part of it was human error, Suzi.  Humans were involved.”   He went on to say much more about it and elaborate on his thoughts on how and why it happened.  Sometimes I know he would like to smack me upside my head – not really but he seems to grasp the reality of things much better than I do.  I get all emotional and such and want to adopt a “just do it” attitude, that rarely works.

Pesticides have been the topic of many a discussion lately.  As has recycling.  He just told me this morning, he was going to try a soap concoction for garden pests this Spring. Interesting.  I suggested tobacco tea but he turned his nose up at that.  He’s not a big fan of tobacco.  Period.   And then onto recycling.  There used to be bins in the Walmart parking lot.  No more.  There used to be a “can man”.  No more.  If I drive my recycling collection 80 miles one way, what have I done right?  Granted landfill is a HUGE problem and one I think about often.  I think really our consumerism is the problem but I won’t go there – I hate hypocrisy 😉 Especially in myself.

So this brings me to the end of my post for today.  I am not by any means thru talking about all this and thinking about all this, but I do have to do something else today!  For one thing make soy candles.  Yep…trying to get all crafty again.  More on that later.

Day after tomorrow is the first day of Autumn – sweet! And I hope to have the new give away posted…you know, the one to knock your socks off!

One more thing.  I am looking for fellow bloggers/writers to write guest posts for me for Tree-huggin’ Tuesdays in the future.  I would love to know what you or your community does to promote Being Green.  Just drop me a note if you are interested.

OH…don’t forget to get your green photos in too.  End of the month! Oh yeah…and there will be a prize…duh!

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