Blog Archive

Monday, April 23, 2012

Green Week - For the Homestead

Welcome to Green Week!  Because Earth Day was my birthday, all week I will be sharing some ways in which to "green" your life.  I have been working on my journey towards a more sustainable life for several years now.  No matter where you are on your journey, I hope you are able to use some of these ideas!

The first green idea I have is very current in my life right now.  Keep chickens!  We recently started our chicken adventure a couple weeks ago.  So far, I highly recommend it.  The chickens bring a lot of joy into our lives.  And in a few months they will start to reward our love for them with eggs.  Lots and lots of glorious eggs!  We have a smallish flock of 6 (soon to be 10) and are going to try and feed them mostly with vegetable scraps from our garden and worms and bugs from our yard during the summer, while supplementing with chicken feed.  We hope to be able to sell some of the eggs that we get to friends and family, which will bring our cost of keeping chickens down to around the zero mark.  If you have space, I definitely suggest getting chickens.  Regardless of the eggs, they are incredibly fun to watch and play with!  And their manure is great for the garden - or so I have been told.  This leads right to my second green idea.

Start a compost pile.  I had been nervous about this one for some time.  We live in Maine, is it too cold, does it make sense to start one, how the heck do I do that?  There have been a lot of great posts on starting a compost pile, but I was always still a little nervous.  Then, one day, I just decided to put all of our veggie scraps in a bowl, and then dump them in a corner of our yard where I threw weeds and old plants from the garden.  Voila!  Compost pile.  The key to the compost pile, for us, is to just put veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds and tea bags.  No meats or oils.  We haven't had any issues with animals, although they may not be aware of the pile yet.  And we also bury the food in the pile.  Cover with leaves, and let it be.

My next green idea for your homestead is Hang Your Laundry!  Seriously, the easiest thing to do.  Yes, it certainly takes a bit more effort, but the money savings is definitely worth it.  I put my laundry outside for two weeks this past month, and was able to trim about $20 off our electricity bill.  Now, granted, we do a lot of laundry.  When you are pretty much a paper free household, keeping up with the rags and napkins becomes a chore in and of itself.  But, there is nothing better than pulling off laundry from the line and smelling the sunshine.  Not to mention the sun is about the best stain remover I have ever seen :-)

Finally, Keep a Rain Barrel.  This isn't one that everyone can do.  I know that a lot of cities and towns have laws against harvesting rain water, but it is a very important step in living a sustainable lifestyle.  Of all the earth's water, over 96% is salt water.  That means that the most precious resource that we need for life is not as abundant as we all may think here in the US.  Keeping a rain barrel will help us reduce our need for pumping new water from a well or the city who provides it to us.  You can use a rain barrel to water your garden, or if you have the setup, even to wash your laundry!  If you aren't able to harvest rain water in your neighborhood, try to cut down on your water usage in the home.  Use old water from water cups to water house plants instead of dumping down the drain, turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, put a bucket in your tub if it drips and use it to flush the toilet, or better yet fix the leaky faucet!  Make sure you always run a full dishwasher of dishes, or a large load of laundry instead of a small load.  Any ways that you can conserve water are a plus!

Do you practice any of these on your homestead?  Do you have experience with a grey water system in your home?  That is something we don't have right now, but I would love to in the future!

I am linking up at the Barn Hop.

4 comments:

  1. Laws against collecting water? Crazy! Maybe there was a mosquito problem? We don't have a rain barrel set up yet but we have the barrels. . We do compost but not as much as I should. The compost pile is another whole yard away so I need to set up a container. We do hang laundry and raise chicks though.

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  2. We do most of the same things, Heather, and it really does help not only financially but it's also better for us health-wise. Great post!

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  3. I agree keeping chickens is a must. I was lucky enough to grow up with chickens and now have my own. My kids love to play with them, watch them hatch, collect the eggs and of course eat the eggs. Such a great way to be sustainable.

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  4. My mother-in-law kept chickens for several years. They would lay eggs, and the quality of the eggs by far exceeded the ones found in the grocery. The yolks were a bright, bright orange whereas the ones at the grocery were pastel yellow.

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