Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Search for Blueberry Plants

We had made a plan yesterday to get up early and go to a local blueberry farm to buy berries and plants. Well as you know not all of the best laid plans work. We didn't get up as early as I would have liked but that's OK. When we did finally get up at 9:00 am, we made coffee then headed out the door with our three dogs in tow.

It was an enjoyable drive lasting about 45 minutes. It's a pretty easy place to find but upon arriving we didn't see anyone around. They had a table set up with plastic buckets and a sign telling you where to go to pick berries and a money box. I was prepared though. I remembered to pack mason jars to put the fruit in.

It was on the honor system but there was no information on the plants. We didn't see many in pots so we went to find someone to help us. It turns out they'd had an emergency so couldn't be there. That's alright. We will find plants eventually.

What we did find was an awesome museum to visit. This is a huge place with a self guided walking tour, full of history and lovely old buildings. We started in the gift shop with a bite to eat then headed out on the trail.

I would love those original no plastic canning jars!

That's me at the home of Dan'L Boone! It was a great day for it. The weather was relatively cool and breezy and there weren't many people there. How did you spend your zero waste day today? 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Zero Waste Lifestyle

What does that mean. Well to me it is literal to the best of your abilities and lifestyle. We are new to doing it completely but are doing our best. The first steps for us are to purge our home of all plastics and non reusable things.

Researching companies to buy replacement items that are sustainable and reusable, like stainless steel drink straws, to go food containers, 100% organic cotton napkins, grocery and veggies bags, mason jars, glass bowls and more.

Reducing all trash by not buying items that are packaged in plastic or made from it, recycling and composting. Using all leftovers before they have to go to the compost bin or get fed to our chickens.

Doing more things by hand instead of using machines to save energy and gasoline. I use a hand crank food mill in canning produce, a hand can opener and walk around our property to do chores and gardening instead of using the tractor. Turning off the AC and opening the windows more often. Not showering twice a day and making more all natural personal hygiene products all help.

Finding organic food for our pets and livestock is something else we are working on. Not taking as many trips to town too. It all helps. We have a long way to go but at least we have started. Have you?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Personal Hygiene Recipes

I make a lot of the personal products that we use here at home. Deodorant isn't one of them. I love Primal Pit Paste. It is organic, all natural and comes in some great flavors. My favorite is the Lavender. They have other products also, like Poo Poo Powders, Lip Balm and more. To visit their site and get information or to order just click on their banner in the sidebar.  

This is a serious thing for me. I'm not putting chemicals in my body if I can help it and toothpaste is one of the worst offenders! It is full of all kinds of bad stuff like sodium fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and hydrated silica!! I don't even know what that stuff is and if I don't or can't pronounce it, it's not going in my body.

I did quite a bit of research and found this recipe that I have been using for about three months now and absolutely love! You can change it to match your own tastes, which makes it even better. I personally love the lemon flavor!

normal2 Tbsp bentonite clay
normal2-4 Tbsp distilled or boiled water that has cooled
normal4 drops tea tree oil
normal5 drops liquid stevia
normal10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
normaltiny pinch of Real Salt


To make peppermint flavor, combing combine 2 Tbsp of water with clay in a non-metal bowl and mix well using a non-metal spoon (the clay should never come in contact with any metals).
Add tea tree oil, stevia and 10 drops of peppermint essential oils. Mix well.
Add pinch of salt, mix well and taste. Add additional stevia and/or peppermint essential oils and/or water to taste and texture, adding oils one drop at a time and water ½ Tbsp at a time.
The flavors will meld together over time, so wait 48 hours before making significant adjustments to the flavor.
Store toothpaste in a glass or plastic jar with a lid.
The toothpaste will dry out over time if left uncovered. To rehydrate, add water 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
See notes for lemon and orange flavors.

** To make lemon toothpaste, reduce tea tree oil to 2 drops, substitute lemon essential oil for peppermint essential oil and substitute lemon flavored liquid stevia for unflavored liquid stevia. Follow the method above.
** To make orange toothpaste, reduce tea tree oil to 2 drops, substitute wild orange essential oil for peppermint essential oil and substitute orange flavored liquid stevia for unflavored liquid stevia. Follow the method above

For more information and great DIY recipes visit Tiffany at Don't Waste The Crumbs.


My favorite foot scrubs are just made with coconut oil, sugar and a few drops of whatever flavor of essential oils that you like. I use peppermint a lot in mine. Go grab a mason jar and experiment until you get the consistency that you like. You can't mess it up! I use mine every day because I hate wearing shoes so my feet get very dirty running around on our homestead.

Face- I personally haven't made this yet but am going to as soon as I get all of the ingredients. It sounds wonderful but again, please do your own research.

1/2 tsp beeswax
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbs almond oil
1/2 tsp of shea butter (or you can just use more coconut oil)
1 tsp vitamin e oil
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 tsp honey (Try to get some local honey if possible)
1/2 tsp bentonite clay
5-10 drops lemon essential oil
*You can double the recipe

In a double boiler, sauce crock pot, or microwave safe dish place first 4 ingredients and heat slowly until melted. Pour into a blender and let cool. In a separate bowl, mix together aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, lemon essential oil, and honey. Once the beeswax oil mixture has completely cooled and become almost the texture of lip balm, mix it with a spoon a little to break it up, and add the aloe mixture into the blender. Blend until well combined. Place back in a non-metal bowl and add 1/2 tsp bentonite clay, and stir with a non-metal utensil. DO NOT LET IT COME INTO CONTACT WITH METAL! You get the point :). Place cream in a glass or plastic container and store in cool dry place.

The reason this is a night cream is because it contains lemon essential oil which can cause photosensitivity in the sun. If you want to make this a day time cream just eliminate the lemon essential oil. You could make one cream for day and one for night!
Visit Amy over at A Blossoming Life for more details!

What's your favorite recipe?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Beginning Trash Roundup

I thought I should show how much trash we generate as a couple with pets and livestock. This was about 1 months worth. Yes you can see the water bottles through the plastic bag. I do know how bad they are for the environment so we won't be buying them ever again. We recently got our well drilled and the water tastes great. That and a Mason jar with a handle and no more water bottles needed. Will have to go on a search for water fountains in our area for the times we are out and about.

Next is the issue of cooking. We were using a propane camping stove for a while until our cabin was finished and these propane canisters started piling up. I suddenly got horrified thinking about how many we had bought and how we could recycle them. I'm not sure there is a way. I knew we could do better. I thought I remembered that we had a large propane tank that wouldn't need refilling very often so I asked hubby where it might be so we could stop buying all those little ones. Turns out it was hiding in plain sight right beside his shop!

After taking stock of all the waste we make in our home and ways to improve we decided to go to the boat and play for a while. It has been hot here so the river felt great.

On the way home from the river we stopped at Kroger's and I asked the assistant manager if I could start bringing mason jars to put fresh seafood, deli and bakery items in like we do at Whole Foods. I already use reusable bags for the groceries and produce.  He didn't know but said he would ask the manager and call me. I hope so because I like the store.

I will post trash updates periodically so you can see the improvements we are making and maybe get some ideas for your home. How do you deal with trash? Does your family make a lot? Do you recycle and compost?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Today's Garden Bounty

I woke up very early this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed! Ready to take on this beautiful Tennessee morning. Coffee had to wait. The garden was calling my name. As I walked out the door my Hanging Tree cowdog pup Tory greeted me enthusiastically wanting to join me on my journey around our property.

Our first stop was at the creek so she could play in the water. She loves to chase the leaves and pounce on the sticks that float by her.

Then it was off to the garden where the jungle of Sweet Potato vines awaited us. Yesterday I pulled two plants and got a huge bag of potatoes. This morning was no different. I cleaned out the other three plants and received another large amount of potatoes. The plants spread out and take up a lot of garden space so I don't think I'll be planting them anymore. After harvesting you still have to take them somewhere dark to lay them out on newspapers for at least two months to dry and cure before you can eat them. Not worth the garden space in my opinion for the amount we use. I will just buy them at the farmers market from now on.

I was getting a little tired by then but still had to harvest the rest of today's produce. Lots of tomatoes, green and red, large and small. Cucumbers, mint, squash and eggplant. We tried white and purple this year and liked both varieties.

I added all the sweet potato vines and any bad produce I found to the new raised beds. It will all compost and add good stuff to them for next year. I had a large area cleaned out so replanted with Basil, Cilantro and pumpkins.

OK done now and definitely time for coffee so Tory and I head to the house with our haul. I almost had to make two trips. On the way there we checked on the rabbits. They needed fresh hay and water. I don't have a hose at their barn yet so carry it to them in 2 liter soda bottles. Yes they are plastic so I need to get a galvanized pail to do it in the future.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

No Trash in the Garden

I woke up this morning and remembered that I had started some fresh green tomato relish last night. It was soaking in the fridge in a non reactive bowl. As I was cutting up the tomatoes yesterday for it I felt ashamed because I was using a plastic cutting board! Well that stops on payday. Our oldest son got married recently and for a gift we gave them a custom wood board that they love. I will be ordering one for our home soon so I can toss that plastic one.

We use raised beds in our garden that we make from cardboard, old leaves, small branches, animal waste and any soil we get from digging post holes or making paths and such. I firmly believe in the no till method. We also practice permaculture and do plant guilds.

Plant yields are out of this world because we don't walk on the soil which doesn't compress it. Weeds are almost non existent too because we mulch heavily using old horse hay. I feed all food to the chickens that I know they will eat and the rest gets composted right into the beds. Coffee grounds work great along with egg shells.

All that planning makes for a lot of produce so I can a lot. The relish that I started had to soak in salt water, then this morning I rinsed it well and added the onions and spices then put it on to boil. You want the moisture to boil out of it. Well a lot of it anyway.

A lot of my canning equipment is plastic or has plastic parts like my tomato mill. The hopper and pusher stick are all plastic and it has other parts that are too. I need to go on a hunt for items to change these out with that don't have any because I do use it a lot.

As the relish was cooking I decided to make myself a caprese salad and there was no trash or plastic in sight. The heirloom tomatoes, basil, cucumber (yes I had one so threw it in) all came right out of our garden this morning and the cheese came from a local farm. How do you garden? Raised beds, pots or in the ground?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's A Start

I went around our home yesterday to access where we needed to improve on our no plastic life. What I found were lots of areas that needed work. I started in the kitchen and have already boxed up my Kuereg coffee maker and added it to the donation pile. Then again, I may list it for sale so I can head on over to Life Without Plastic and get some things to use when we go out.

I was doing a lot of canning recently and used the plastic reusable lids after I opened a jar to store the unused portion in the fridge. That stops now. It's just not necessary. I recently put up a lot of Jalapeno jelly, tomato sauce, juice, BBQ sauce, salsa and sweet pepper jelly. Using the canning jars means not using plastic bags to store that produce in the freezer.

Some of our home grown produce, Large heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green sweet peppers and a cucumber. 

Here is how I store the produce while waiting to use it. There are a lot of ways but this works for us and it recycles the bags I get at the store. I wont be using those anymore either but rather making my own bags from organic cotton.

I found a great recipe for BBQ sauce so after making fresh ketchup I decided to try my hand at it. It uses quite a bit of our home grown tomatoes and turned out yummy. 

Another way to keep produce for the winter is to dehydrate and yes the trays are plastic on mine and until I can find an alternative, its going to have to do but I will go on an active search for one without those. If you have any ideas please leave a comment with the details.

After the kitchen I got to looking at my aquarium. No probably not a typical homestead thing but I love watching the fish. Well there are a couple of things I can do like taking out the one plastic plant and decoration that is in it. I recently added live plants. I'm not sure what I can do about the filter or heater but will keep looking. Now on to the bathroom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beginning Trash Tosser

Welcome and thanks for visiting. I have tried to live a green lifestyle but recently started really trash tossing and seriously trying to get rid of all plastics on our little homestead. That is not as easy as it sounds when dealing with a husband, pets and livestock but I'm working on it. Join me on this journey to live a more sustainable life and help our planet. Yes I really do our laundry in a wringer washer using cold water and line dry it.