Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today it's still a bit chilly and raining, so I'll spend the day inside doing some reading. When Lisa gets home, we're going to spend the afternoon sitting around the table going over some more plans for change around the little homestead. Some of these changes we have talked about before, but some of them are new.

We're already trying to be as plastic-free as we possibly can, and what isn't reused goes to recycle. We compost all of our food scraps, that is what doesn't go out to the chickens. We make some of our own household cleaners, and have started to make and use more. Common ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or cornstarch are working just as well, or even better, than the commercial chemical-laden products we used for years. It's easier to use, non toxic, and we aren't bringing in yet another plastic bottle every time we need something for cleaning. We're taking this step now into bathroom products, starting with Lisa making our soap, and now, using vinegar as a hair rinse rather than conditioner. We've both been using it for over a week, and hair is actually softer than it was with conditioner. The scent does go away, so no worries about walking around smelling like a bowl of wilted lettuce, lol.

It's not just the frugal part of it, and it's not just the back-to-basics idea either, we're looking more into ingredients found in common bathroom/cosmetic items. The deodorant I have been using for a few years is labeled "natural", but the ingredients list shows "Propylene Glycol". For those that don't know, that's ANTI-FREEZE! Why the hell am I rubbing anti-freeze under my arm? Normal deodorant and antipersperant contains ALUMINUM, which is what blocks the pores to prevent persperation. Our bodies sweat for reasons, it cools the body and releases toxins. There are some studies that show long term use of this stuff *can* cause lymph node problems and/or lymphoma. All in the name of vanity, eh? We're experimenting with alternitives to some products, especially after reading ingredient lists and finding out what they are. A common toothpaste ingredient is also used as a laxitive and for ulcer treatment....WTH? It's scary stuff what we put in and on our bodies, and we're planning on looking at all of it.
Something else has now reared it's ugly head, and that's animal testing. The spectrum of animal testing is very broad, and of course groups like PETA want them all banned completely. I'll say it now, I am in NO WAY associating myself with these nutjobs, they are far too out there for me to begin to understand, but I do see SOME points that they make, and this is one of them.
I have no problem with animal testing for medical reasons. If someone can find a cure for cancer by having to kill a few rats, than so be it. If a rabbit can somehow find a cure for parkinsons, then go right ahead. But if it's to test a new diet pill, then no. There should be guidelines, and common sense involved, but there isn't, and this is the part that bothers me.

I've read articles and watched video clips on animal testing, and some of them are downright disturbing, even to me. I have no problem lopping off the head of a chicken with a hatchet for the dinner table, but intentionally spraying hairspray in the eyes of a rabbit bothers me. It's two thousand and freakin' nine, we know what chemical ingredients cause eye irritation, that's just unnecessary. I've seen rabbits with mascara shoved in their eyes, cats shoved in a tube thats filled with hairspray or cigarette smoke, dogs with muscle tissue removed to see how the growth is from a certain un-named dog food........and it's all just sickening. We sat around last night and looked at lists of companies who do these kinds of tests, and sadly many of their items are here in the house. Well, for now at least.

We plan to look into this more, and purchase from companies that don't do these kinds of tests. The lists on the internet are sometimes hard to read, because they list ANY kind of animal testing. It could be spraying a cat in the eyes with perfume, or it could be just as simple as seeing which of 2 foods a beagle likes better. We started a list of companies that do the lab testing, and another list of companies that do not. Both are pretty long lists, and shocking at times to see what/who is doing lab testing. I'm not going to post any links to these lists, simply because I don't want to be associated with some of these groups in any way. Anyone reading this can obviously use a computer, and find these for themselves. Give it a try, do a search for companies that do animal testing. Find the videos on YouTube, it's horrible scary stuff.

To close what I had no intention on being such a long post, I'll just say this. What if your dog had puppies? What if you cared for those puppies till they were old enough to adopt? What if those same puppies ended up in a lab? Imagine those same puppies being sprayed in the eyes with the hairspray you put on this morning, fed the toilet cleaner you use to see if it's poisonous, had your aftershave rubbed on them to see if it burns their all of this what you saw when you first held that puppy?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today was a loooooong day outside, 9am till around 6:30, non stop except for dinner. (mmmm steaks on the woodstove over more apple wood with baked potato's & garlic butter) It was 80 degrees, and sunny all day. Can you say sunburned? Oh yea, I've got the normal spring farmer tan goin', and I'm practically glowing lol. No matter though, a nice warm shower with patchouli soap took the sting away.

I manged to get the gas leak on the International fixed, it was just a stuck float, yippee! This week I'll get a battery for it and get the mowing deck mounted and greased. My neighbor stopped over to borrow my weedeater and told me he would fix the John Deere for nothing, so there's another worry gone. He also brought something to show me that he found in an old desk at work when he was moving things onto a truck. Apparantly, the engineering/blueprint company he works for bought a REALLY old building full of antique office furniture, and he was moving a desk when he heard something metallic hit the floor. He picked it up and discovered that it was an 1865 2 cent piece. I knew right away that my uncle would love to have it, so I'm swapping him some hand tools for it this week. My uncle loves civil war era collectibles and old coins, so he should really like this coin. I'll probably take it to him on Tuesday when I make the weekly mom n' dad visit.

I got the new 8x8 bed filled with topsoil, tilled it, and planted some greens there for the rabbits. So far there are 2 rows of spinach, one of leaf lettuce, and one of a mesculin mix. Later this week, luckily since I can't mow yet, I'll wait for the dandelions in the yard to go to seed and collect a bucketfull to put in the rest of the bed. Yep, you read right lol, I'm busting my ass to grow supplimental rabbit food......spolied critters. I used more of the mulch from the new chipper and put it between the rows of seed beds. Lisa laughed at me mulching a bed of rabbit greens, but I figure that it would end up being the least maintained garden area, so I'm just staying ahead of the weeds now.

I ran more through the chipper and got Lisa 2 big wheelbarrow loads for her to do the larger flowerbed by the side door. She got to one of them after thinning and weeding the bed out, then dissapeared to the basement in her newly reclaimed sewing room. I had to snicker a bit while I spread the second load by myself, she's in her own little world down there. A world of quilt squares, unfinished/ unquilted tops, more fabric than a small Joann's store, candle molds, paints, dog beds, dried gourds, and just about anything else crafty you can think of. That's all fine by me, she's happy down there surrounded by all her "goodies", and I do love to see her happy.

I got the cold frame cleaned out so we can use it for more summer herbs, and tomorrow I'll get a load of topsoil inside it, and get some seeds started. I got the last of the firewood cut, split, and stacked, and ran more through the chipper. WOOHOOO, halfway through the brushpile! I moved another railroad tie down by the new bed and made a new area for the solar dehydrator. It's facing sue south, right at the edge of the open end of the field, so other than sunrise and late evening it will get full sun. I did a lot of yard raking and cleanup, moved more topsoil, (I REALLY miss being able to use the tractor and trailer lol I was using a wheelbarrow), cut back the old blackberry canes, cleaned up Lisa's flower weeding piles, ( she knows I will so she just leaves piles in the yard lol), took the snowblade off the International, and finished my outdoor time by painting the dehydrator.

When I got inside, Lisa hinted about another pile of her stuff that needed to come downstairs. NO biggie, just a few boxes..........WRONG!! Last year on a service call, a man gave me one of those hospital medical carts. You know the ones that hold all the needles, meds, bandages, and other hospital like stuff? Yea, thats it. Do those things look like they weigh around 150 pounds? Trust me, they do. I loaded it in the old van by myself, unloaded it by myself, brought it up the 8 stairs into the house by myself......all cause I knew it would make a nice cart for her craft stuff that was upstairs. Of course, there was a big sigh when I looked at this thing and remembered how $%*%^$&*)#^#$ heavy it was. There are 13 stairs from the side door/kitched to the basement, and everyone of them was brutal. You ever try moving a 150 pound cart full of crafty stuff down 13 stairs tied to a dolly with a flat tire? NOT FUN!

That fun little moving experience finished my day, lol. I sat with Lisa for a few minutes while she played with some fabric with the same inensity of a NASCAR driver in 1st place on the final lap. I walked upstairs, took my relaxing patcouli soap shower, poured the biggest glass I could find full of iced tea, and here I sit. (did I mention that somewhere between coming inside and moving things, I ran to the store for a box of popsicles? LOL I did, we both decided we're 44 years old and we can eat a whole box of popsicles if we want...)

So.......what am I going to do tomorrow? lol

We'll be starting the vegetable garden this week. The neighbor bought Lisa's rubber stamps that I've had on Craigslist for over a month, and that money is going straight to seed potato's and onion sets. We used up the last of last years storage right before Easter, so we decided to nearly triple this years plantings. We'll have a 45 foot row of potatos, and the same of onions. I'll have another area for onions for me to eat when they're young and green, they ARE my #1 garden weakness, and Lisa always tells me I eat too many and we never have enough to put up. Well....we're not gonna have that problem this year! LOL I'll have a few area's raked and ready, and she is stopping to get them on her way home tomorrow.

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