Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stars vs. Sierra Club

So, anyway, the other day I was finishing up getting every last smidge of flavor from my piece of chewing gum and wanted to get rid of it; so, like I always do, I rustled around in my bag for a piece of paper to wad up with my gum.  Too late!  I had wadded up my gum in a very important piece of paper!  Let me back up.

About a week or two ago I reported on all the sustainable freebies I got from the Sustainable UF tent on the Plaza of the Americas.  While I was talking to the nice lady at the counter about the group's efforts, I happened to ask her about another topic which I had reported on a ways back and which was sticking in my craw - why did UF not fill out the survey for Sierra Club's Cool Schools Environmental Campus ranking?  What I was told by the nice lady was that UF, along with some other schools, were using a different ranking system, put together by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), called the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating system (STARS) and they asked the Sierra Club to use that survey data, which Sierra Club said they wouldn't do.  Lots of confusing acronyms!  So, anyway, this very important piece of paper that was now-wadded with a piece of chewing gum had the web address for the above STARS program.

Just wanted to get that information up - I'll have to come back to investigating this another time because I am swamped work-wise and I am, as you know, very, very lazy.

The Kickstand

I've reported on this great organization in the past (here and here) - now I'm actually volunteering with them.  I'm mostly doing their Facebook and website updates, but now I'm acting as a greeter at the tent they have set up at the Union Street Farmers Market on Wednesdays.  It's really fun!  And, my favorite bike mechanic, DD, decided to lend a hand, as well, so it was extra fun!  Met the wonderful organizer, Raj, and bicycle mechanic Alex, as well as a whole bunch of new people who needed their bikes fixed.  And no one gets turned away, even if they can't give us a couple of dollars for the bike mechanic work.  And it's kind of scary because The Kickstand needs to make at least 10-dollars a week because that's how much the tent rent is.  If you live in town and have some extra parts, tools, or a couple of dollars to spare, please consider visiting the tent - or just come by to say hi!

New Coin Purse

Got a new coinpurse the other day at Sunflower Health Foods and wanted to show it off.  This is the coin purse size of what Blue Q carries, but you'll see they have many, many styles that are all funky/trendy/retro-like.  The thing I like best about it?  It's made from 95% post-consumer plastic. The worst thing about it?  It's made in China.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sustainable Freebies

No, I wasn't first in line!
 Walked by the Gators for A Sustainable Campus and got some aweseous (DJ's new word, combining "awesome" and "righteous") freebies.  I'm giving the green one to DJ and the orange one to the Old Man, and keeping the pen to show off how sustainable I am (the pen is made from recycled materials, although I'm a little dubious of the wooden clip).  Thank those bike-using, IKEA-making, Swedes for the Light My Fire multi-ware.  Thank you!
This does NOT mean I am a Miami fan!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Ugh Pan

I've blogged quite recently about my woes concerning beloved babybear cast iron skillet and here I am again to confess my shame because I am a secret eco-masochist (okay, not so secret!).  About two weekends ago I made eggs in babybear and this is the result: caked on, burnt egss.  I have never, ever, had such a bad response to cooking in this thing!  Despondent at this development, I then proceeded to ignore babybear skillet and make bagels and cream cheese for the next two weekends - needless to say, farm-fresh eggs are not so fresh anymore in my fridge and they have been stocking up to the point where I need to make many quiches for neighbors, soon, or else!  I don't want to know what the "or else" will be (probably more easter eggs next year - ew.) so this morning I decided to take action.
Cleaned pan after egg mishap

About the same time as I was complaining about my cast iron skillet, I got a comment from Paul Wheaton (tangentially related to Wil Wheaton [I don't know what I just said]) who hipped me to the fact that this is an ongoing point of obsession with many, many people. In fact, this fellow Paul Wheaton wrote a lengthy and thorough rant about using cast iron skillets and, apparently, there is an entire school of thought related to how one cares for their cast iron skillet. It hurt my head to try wrapping it around this mind-blowing revelation, but maybe you can have better luck with it?  Anyway, since I am a visual learner, I chose to instead to watch this video that I also found on, Mr. Wheaton's homesteading website. Caution, it's 9 minutes long which is an unreal amount of time to watch ANYTHING on the internet, but it's really, really worth it! The lady in the video is really cool and if I had a self-cleaning oven (with a purple ceramic top!) I would have a better time of seasoning this thing.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Super Duper Summer Update 2011

It's a sick day here at the AccidentallyEco-compound - DJ is here, as well, and we're just rolling around the house being sick but thought I'd take this opportunity where we are doing absolutely nothing to post on some of the things I've been doing or re-doing.

Composting - started doing this activity again after about a 6-month hiatus.  This time it's going a lot more smoothly as in, I'm not leaving compost containers in the carport to rot after I've left them to rot in the kitchen for too long.  I'm actually dumping the kitchen clippings in a timely fashion and being a little more brave in throwing other woody/leafy matter in with it.  I'm also over the whole stir-the-compost thing and just letting it layer, occasionally stirring if I have something especially stinky (like onion fragments) that I want to bury immediately.  Still haven't made the second compost bin but I think I'm going to drill larger holes in this one so I don't have to drill so many - had in mind originally that I'd make DJ and Trooper (his best friend up the street) do the drilling - power tools and 9 year-old boys?  What could go wrong?!  But they were all like, 'meh,' so I'm going to do it myself, dang it.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Hairwashing - I've been pretty consistent with this since I restarted back up last summer with only a few instances where I used shampoo - tried a Body Shop brand of shampoo and conditioner that a friend gave me but it did not work for me, so back to bs&v.

And my head feels all fuzzy so that's all I got for now.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Heard on Wind 95 that Labor Day is the "day we take off from work to celebrate working."  I'm not working so much as I'm doing school work today, but I also thought I'd update and apologize for being so slack the past couple of weeks - beginning of DJ's new school year and my own have made me less available for blogging.  And so the new school year madness begins.

Been thinking about labor in terms of my recent "made in America" rants; I really wish Americans had more jobs but I wonder if my tactic of bringing manufacturing jobs back to our country is really such a good idea.  I would like to refine my dream of bringing American jobs to the US by qualifying that to mean "clean" jobs, jobs that don't create tons of pollution like in the classic industrial model.  That may be asking for the moon, but if we focus on green jobs we can make a difference.  And Robert Reich (see this video from The Last Word) has been talking about a return to WPA-type jobs (since about 2009) as well as McKibben's idea for a Green Corps (link to a Nation article from 2008) and these are definitely steps in the right direction.

Update: Added link to Nation article and Reich Video from MSNBC's The Last Word