Tag Archive | zero waste

Less Waste Food Storage

This year we have been focusing on our environmental impact and our human impact. We want to live a life that respects God, his creation and other people. It has not been easy. There are so many things that I did not think about when I made this pledge, like underwear. Have you ever tried to find underwear made in the USA from materials that are harvested and grown in a sustainable manner. Not possible. Toothbrushes have also been a challenge. There are so many things that we use everyday and take for granted. Small things like salt, highlighters, shoelaces. How do I source these things locally and sustainably? It has been a challenge. We are still learning to say the least, we have so much room for improvement. What we have learned is that the best thing to do is live without or with less and consume less. We have made several swaps to try and reduce our impact. Today, I am going to focus on food storage in the kitchen.

Food Storage: Plastic, plastic, plastic. It is everywhere. Everything comes wrapped in plastic and then we repackage it in plastic and then store it in plastic. Plastic, plastic, plastic. We have not thrown away all the plastic in the kitchen. Plastic is really useful and if I already have it I am going to use it. We are trying to not buy new plastic. We wash and reuse our plastic zip lock bags. Once there is a hole in it, we will throw it away. I also do not reuse it if I stored meat in it. I also wash any plastic zip type bags I get from the store. Almonds are an example. When I buy almonds, they come in a resealable bag. I wash that bag and reuse it. These bags are stronger than the clear storage bags you can buy and they are “free”. Win, win for me.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=reuseable+ziplock+backs&i=garden&crid=315XTIPOS1IM0&sprefix=reusea%2Cgarden%2C169&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_6

Wax fabric wraps: If we need to cover something instead of using plastic wrap, I use wax fabric wraps. We make these using the bees wax from our hives but you can also buy wax from a local bee keeper or Amazon if you must. Most grocery stores actually sell the fabric wraps ready to use. So next time you need plastic wrap, try a fabric wrap instead.

https://www.amazon.com/Bees-Wrap-15317231-Breadwrap-single-x23/dp/B00GK3QTCE

Butcher paper: We have continued to try and work with our butchers to use paper instead of plastic. It is not always an option, but I will continue to ask. We have found one place that will use paper and we use them when we can. If we butcher ourselves and when we store butter, baked goods, or cheese in the freezer we use butcher paper. I can burn it when I am done or compost it. Zero waste and plastic free.

https://www.amazon.com/White-Freezer-Paper-Roll-1000/dp/B01LXEG58H

Mason / Ball jars: We can a lot of our food. We are blessed to have a healthy supply of canning jars. We use these jars for everything from milk storage, leftovers and salad dressings.

https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Mason-Jars-16-Bundle/dp/B07P981TCR

These are just a couple of swaps that we have made in our kitchen to help decrease our plastic usage and consumption. Are we zero plastic? No! We use and reuse as much as possible. We are still seeking alternatives and I still buy potato chips. We are trying and I am proud of that! What changes have you made that you can share with me? We are all in this together and have a wonderful chance to learn from each other.

Sunday Snapshot for Jan 24. 

I am horrible at keeping up with the blog, I am sorry for that.  There are so many things that I do as part of the dance that we call life and I dont think of them as extraordinary.  My loving husband reminds me that our life is not ordinary and I need to write about it.  So I am just going to write about our weekend.  A normal weekend!  

We are down to only 6 bars of soap, so it was time to make another two batches.   Our soap is very simple, it is lard, goats milk and lye. We also have a few variations that include lavender oil or tea tree oil.  My family has sensitive skin and we like to keep our skin care simple.  We use this basic soap as hand soap, body soap and shampoo.  I prefer the lavender oil and during the summer when we have poison ivy and bug bites that tea tree oil is amazing.  This weekend we made a batch of with lavender oil and a batch with just goats milk.   We do this every couple of months, when we notice our supply is running low.  Start to finish it maybe takes us about an hour.  The bars of soap have to cure for about 6 weeks after they are made. 

Next, we organized and cleaned out one of our barns/sheds.  We use this building for many things throughout the year.  Right now, we are using it to get our wood splitter and lawn mowers out of the winter weather.  

The afternoon was brisk but the sun felt great.  We took advantage of the sun and split about a half a cord of  firewood. There is going to be a wintery mix of weather headed our direction this week and we wanted to get some firewood on the porch ready to use.  

As we approach the end of January, it is time to start planting for the high tunnel. Lettuces, kale, leeks and celery were started today.  We will be starting seeds now weekly till August.  It just becomes part of our weekly dance.  For the next few months the seeds will be started in the house, but eventually we head out to the high tunnel.  Our bathroom is our temporary winter  grow space, which means that we will not be fostering kittens for a while.  When we foster kittens we use our bathroom as the kitten room. We are sad to not have them, but thankful for the break and ready for the next season of our year. 

In addition to making dinner and planning out the details of our meals for the week, we made the dog’s food for the week.  Our dog has been put on a special diet by the vet.  It is rice, chicken and pumpkin to supplement her store bought dog food.  We buy the rice in bulk but the chicken and pumpkin come from the farm.  We feed the dogs old laying hens, roosters or male ducks.  This helps to keep the flock controled and allows everything to go to use.  Crock pots or the woodstove  make short work of cooking the squash, rice and chicken. We are thankful to reduce the amount of dog food we are buying at the store.  I do not think we will ever produce all our animal feed on the farm, but we are working to supplement not only the dogs food, but the pigs and chickens feed as well.  This year we will be planting a garden just for the animals.  A few seeds, soil and sunshine can save us hundreds of dollars in grain.  

This year we are still working on making as much as we can on the farm.  I have told you how we are replacing store soap with our soap.  Another simple replacement we have made to reduce waste and save money is paper products.  We use cloth napkins, washcloths, and handkerchiefs.  The toilet paper we use is bought in bulk and there is no plastic in the packaging.  Reducing our pastic useage, which is one of our goals. 

These are just things that we do as we go about our day.  The dance always changes as we the needs of the farm change.  I dont always know the steps or the song, but I dance my way through it anyway.  

Life is a Dance, You Learn as You Go. ~John Micheal Montgomery