A toasty poll for Crunchy…

September 24, 2007


When I received my first CSA delivery, I was so excited at the prospect of cooking up a local, organic storm — until this funny, stripey yellow thing surfaced from underneath the cabbage. It was a Delicata squash, and I wasn’t too sure what to do with it. Usually, if I eat squash, I like to roast it, or use it in a soup (but even then, it still tastes better when it’s roasted first). The problem is, my oven is currently out of commission.

So I’m wondering if I should invest in a toaster oven. On the one hand, it would sort of throw Change #67 out the window and mean buying more stuff that will probably come with more packaging; but on the other hand, it would mean that, even when my challenge is over, I could heat up a lot of food without having to heat up an oven five-times the size.

Here, then, is a link to the poll for you to give me your opinion (I couldn’t put it directly into my blog because WordPress is dumb). I dedicate it to the Queen of Blog Polls, Ms. Crunchy Chicken, who’s had to deal with some very sad news recently and probably has far more important things to worry about than this. So without further ado,

Take me to the toasty poll!

Save fish a drink, shave in the sink (Day 208)…

September 24, 2007

razors by the sink

Whenever I go on vacation with my sister, she always lets me shower first because I take about five minutes — she takes at least 20. Now, I honestly don’t think I could spend 20 minutes in the shower if I tried, so I often ask her what on earth she’s doing in there for so long. She usually offers a vague response (typical of most people who take long showers), but I’m pretty sure that at least half the time is spent shaving.

Because I’m not a hairy person, I usually only need to shave every couple weeks — and I do so, of course, with my Preserve recycled razor and natural shaving cream (actually, as it turns out, this product has some not-so-cool ingredients like Methylparaben and Propylparaben in it, so when it’s finished I’ll be switching to something else).

Often, I’ll shave after a bath and use the water left in the tub, but now that I’m done with baths that’s not an option. Rather than go about this beauty regimen in the shower, however, I’m going to shave in the sink. I’m guessing that filling it up once — with cold water, naturally — will use less than letting the tap trickle the whole time, but perhaps I’ll experiment a bit and see.

Photo courtesy of stay classy internets on Flickr

Nighttime showers for my flowers (Day 207)…

September 23, 2007

As green as it seems on the surface to have a garden full of flowers, plants and trees, the downside is that a lot of species require watering every day to survive. While I’ve been able to invest in some indoor house plants that only need water every few weeks, the mini trees on my balcony need to be kept as saturated as possible. And although I’m already doing so with greywater — ie. what’s leftover after doing the dishes or boiling a pot of pasta — I’m now going to make sure I only water them in the evening, when the sun’s not out to evaporate any before it gets down to the roots.

Chalk one up for the environment (Day 206)…

September 22, 2007


This past week, I’ve been attending daily writer’s workshops where, for the most part, people seem to be fairly green-conscious, printing their short stories on both sides of the page and using glasses and mugs rather than disposable cups. But one major vice that’s just killing me is the flip chart. We use it to draw plot graphs or character sketches, but most likely, when one page is full, the person flips it over and starts to scribble on the next instead of turning the whole stand around and using the back.

Although our moderator has said he’d prefer a whiteboard, I think even these aren’t much of an alternative, what with the toxic fumes that come out from those dry erase markers. No, the best idea when it comes to illustrating an idea for a group of people is either using your vocabulary and a bit of imagination, or writing it out on a chalkboard.

So from today on, whenever I’m at a workshop, a lecture or meeting, I’m going to make a point of requesting that we illustrate our points the same way teachers do in the classroom — use a chalkboard. Or, if none is available, rely on a lot of sweeping hand gestures.

Photo courtesy of Private Ale on Flickr

Incensed about odours (Day 205)…

September 21, 2007


I’ve never been one for the Glade Plug-Ins, those neon-coloured gel packs you cram into an ugly plastic thing which sticks into a wall socket. They always smelled fake to me, and really overpowering, like there was some odour lurking underneath that you really didn’t want to encounter.

When the Febreze line came out, I initially had the same reaction — why would anyone need to spray stairs and couch pillows with anything? But eventually, Proctor&Gamble’s marketing sucked me in.

“Hmm,” I thought one day at the store, “maybe my couch pillows are smelly but my sense of smell is poor and I can’t notice… I’d better buy a bottle of this and douse them just in case.”

Totally ridiculous. But at the same time, there is something to be said for a house that smells nice, that smells of more than just, well, house. So I’ve decided to forgo any plastic or aerosol cans, not to mention all the harsh chemicals that come with most brand-name perfumes, and use incense or my beeswax candles, instead.

The trick with incense, I think, is to not use the whole stick at once — unless, of course, you actually want your house to smell like hippie.

Photo of incense coils in Hong Kong courtesy of bethlet on Flickr

Do not disturb my green living (Day 204)…

September 20, 2007

door sign

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently enrolled in this writing program at the Banff Centre, which is commendably eco-friendly when it comes to accommodation. But there are still daily housekeeping rounds, which means that while they may not change all my towels and linens, they will empty my garbage, replace semi-used toilettries, vacuum and so on — none of which really needs doing.

So to make sure the staff don’t come in and start undoing all my attempts at conservation, I’m going to leave the Do Not Disturb sign hanging on my door for the entire week, whether or not I’m in my room — and this will apply for every hotel I’m staying at in the future, too.

Unfortunately, the housekeeping staff here is for some bizarre reason comprised of handsome young men (seriously, I’m going to take a picture at some point because they look so ridiculously out of place with their athletic good looks … and pushcarts stacked with toilet paper).

If only there were some sort of sign that said “Do Not Clean Room — But Feel Free to Come In For a Drink!”

Photo above from my hotel room in Madrid this summer

When squeezing just isn’t enough (Day 203)…

September 19, 2007

cutting toothpaste tube

Getting to the end of a toothpaste tube sucks. You have to start bending the top end back and forth, then twisting and turning it, finally giving a big push up the middle with your thumb to make sure you’re getting every last ounce of precious paste before tossing it away.

But yesterday, I discovered a great way to solve this problem — Adam, over at Life Goggles, has recently published a free e-book listing 100 ways to save the planet, and he was kind enough to forward me a copy, which included this handy tip: Cut off the end of the tube so you can scoop out the remaining toothpaste with the tip of your brush.

It may only conserve a tiny amount each time, but it all adds up eventually — and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know I’ll do just about anything to be a little greener, whether it’s getting rid of my car or pathetically scraping out the last of my Tom’s of Maine.

Photo courtesy of muddymoles on Flickr