Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Greening of the Gaultney Homestead

I’ve blogged before about my desire to be an eco-friendly, vegan goddess. I really do aspire to live simply, without clutter and the distractions of excess. But I know myself well, and a vegan (or even vegetarian) I will never be; and with everything that is going on in my life –
  • Busy job
  • Three demanding classes in grad school this semester
  • Church commitments
  • Maintaining a happy marriage during a season when time together is a rare commodity

– I know it will be a challenge to go balls-to-the-wall “green.”

(If you’re like me, you just kind of cringed at my use of the phrase “balls-to-the-wall.” I can’t help but get a mental image.)

(You probably just did too. Ha!)

I never made an official New Year’s resolution out of my desire to greenify, but I guess it really was early January when we began to implement easy changes to help the environment and our bodies.

For one thing, Brad and I started a sort-of diet. I call it a sort-of diet because it’s not necessarily that we’re eating only certain foods or restricting ourselves, but we have taken steps to eat healthier, less processed stuff, and I’m cooking a whole lot more. We now shop pretty exclusively at Central Market (my Mecca), and buy a lot of fresh fish, tons of produce, raw nuts and seeds, organic dairy, whole and sprouted grains, and the like. It’s definitely ‘spensive, but when we’re not fighting colds, allergies, and flu (?!), we feel tons better than we used to. And I try to buy the most local products that I can. I wouldn’t call myself a locavore, but I’m moving in that direction.

Brad probably wasn’t thinking about the impact on the environment when he took up his latest hobby, but he has begun homebrewing. This is really great for the environment – so much better than buying beer and wine at the store – because of the carbon impact of the manufacturing facilities and shipping heavy glass bottles. So far he has made a wonderful batch of Amarone wine, using my art as the label for his bottles, and two batches of beer which are also QUITE good!

We’ve given up our dependence on paper towels. ::: cue applause ::: I have been a huge Viva paper towels fan since college. If you’re going to buy a paper towel, I have to say that is the most durable, absorbent brand around, and I love how they don’t have stupid doodles of strawberries or puppies on the towel. Just pure white. But we ran out of paper towels a few weeks ago, and I decided not to replenish! This is one change Brad is still struggling with, but I honestly haven’t missed them. I have tons of cute and functional dish towels and rags that do the job. I’d like to think the money we are saving on paper towels offsets our Central Market grocery bills, but… that's probably a stretch.

(In other paper-related news, I've decided to get behind Sheryl Crow's "one square" campaign and use only one square of toilet tissue per restroom visit. That may be TMI, to use a passe phrase, but it really is very do-able, and a good cost-saving and eco-friendly strategy! I thought it was silly when I first heard of it, but now I'm a believer.)

We’ve been recycling for a while now, but I have ramped up my diligence in that area. It’s pretty eye-opening to see how much waste there would be if we weren’t recycling. We fill up our bin at least once a week. (Dallasites, you can sign up here for the city's free recycling program.)

I could write a little more about some of the changes we’re making, but I think I’ve covered the biggies. For the hardcore greenies, this list probably doesn’t look like much, but it’s a start! We’re just trying to be better stewards of God’s earth and our bodies, His temple.

Psalm 24:1 – 5
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it upon the seas and
established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication
from God his Savior.


Stephanie said...

well HELLO, friendlekins! I have been not on a greening kick but a natural kick. Staying with these friends in New Mexico who are amazingly healthy has totally worn on me! Hubster and I are vowing to use more natural/homeopathic remedies, organic food, and more exercise! Feels so good! I'm very proud of you for greenifying your house.

As for the one-square challenge- I have to try it with our new camper toilet. lol.

Jon and Brittany said...

Okay, first, I love that you used the phrase "balls to the wall" in describing your go green mentality! That's hilarious! Second, you guys brew your own beer and wine?! This definitely intrigues me, too! Third, your "one-square" challenge is indeed a challenge...still trying to wrap my mind around that one and considering it myself :) HA!

Also, your blog is so cute! How'd you get that cute stuff at the top? Mine needs a little sprucing up, if you know what I mean.

So good to find your blog and catch up on your life :)

Erin said...

I can't believe I am so behind on your blog!! What a lovely post (as always)...I applaud your efforts and desire to go really are a Seattle-ite at heart!!

I have to admit that "balls-to-the-wall" is one of my favorite sayings....I heard a fellow nurse use it a couple years ago and I now use it to rate my work day with the range being....slow and easy all the way up to balls-to-the-wall crazy.
I think you are using it in a more positive way and I love it...I might have to incorporate into my daily language...I mean who doesn't giggle when they say "balls."