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Happy Earth Day 2016!!!!!!

3454694528_f1f84b8dec_oAnother month, another week, another day, another day to celebrate! Today just so happens to be earth day! Yay! Happy Earth day to everyone!

I did a little bit of celebrating the simple way. Took a walk to lunch and brought all my own tupperware, utensils and napkin! Haha. I don’t always remember so it was good to do it today. Wish I had the day off from work to do something more fun! But hey, every little bit counts!

What did you do to celebrate earth day?

My friendly neighborhood Possum

Photo Credit: glenn_e_wilson via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: glenn_e_wilson via Compfight cc

 

In my quest to be more earth friendly I’ve tried a lot of different things to get there. Composting is a new one and I’ve been slugging along trying to learn as much as I can and do it as simply as possible. “Everyone” says it’s quite easy on every single forum I’ve run across. Of course nothing is ever as simple or as easy as it seems. If it should be easy then there’s always some bumps in the road, and if it should be hard many times it ends up being simpler than expected!

The simplest form is composting is just digging a hole in the ground and dumping things in. That worked for a while. Then our friendly neighborhood possum came round and decided it was a food buffet to be eaten and we had dug up dirt and food scraps everywhere for a while. From there I had to try something else.

Composting Bin made simple and inexpensively
So the next step was to try out a good old compost bin. Of course wanting to be frugal I went the simplest route I could and just bought a bin that I could remove the top from and dump things in. I punched holes in it with a electric drill and I’ve been good to go since then!

Maybe not so simple…
I don’t know if it’s working or not yet, no compost will come out of it for quite a few months. Plus I highly suspect I’m not doing the right brown to green ratio. Brown being dried items and green being wet food items. The first night of the bin I heard many strange noises. Turns out it was the possum coming round looking for it’s buffet. I spotted it right by the bin after dinner. Crossing my fingers I hoped it would go away. It may look kinda cute and fluffy to some people, but that’s til you hear it screaming in your backyard and see it staring back at you.

Possum isn’t happy…
Weeks later I thought that finally the possum had gone away and found another food source. Til this weekend when I found a present from it. It left me a nice pile of doo doo on top of the compost bin!

I’m just trying to do something good for the environment…
In a way I want to laugh, but also I wanna cry because it’s pretty gross. I never thought that composting would be easy, but I also didn’t think I would have such a problem with a possum! Which by the way is the size of small dog since it’s a fat city possum. I’m going to keep going though and not let this deter me! So far this possum is my biggest obstacle so I have to figure out how to get rid of it. Should I throw food scraps in my neighbor’s yard? Or get a big dog that can live in the backyard to scare it off? Either way I don’t want to kill it but I don’t want it digging up my yard and pooping on my bin.

Round 1 : Possum digs up buried compost : Possum wins
Round 2 : I start a compost bin: I win
Round 3 : Possum poops on the compost bin : Possum wins

So far the possum is winning! I guess I’ll have to say that the possum probably isn’t so worried about saving the earth rather than where it’s food is coming from. Judging from the size of it, I’d really have to say it probably has plenty of options.

What’s something you’ve tried lately that was supposed to be easy, but is turning out to be much harder than you though?

 

Compost This!

Photo Credit: ordinday via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ordinday via Compfight cc

 

Every time I try to do something new I usually start by researching it, get confused, have a ton of questions, and then just kick myself to start it up and learn from trial and error. The first time I ever tried composting it ended pretty quickly after I found some wiggly little white bugs hanging out. I quickly learned from that experience. Now I’m still composting and still learning from it. My most recent discovery? Don’t compost anything with seeds…sometimes they will sprout and I will find random plants all over. Of late I’ve been digging up a bunch of avocado plants.

Why compost?
For a two person household we don’t make as much trash as our neighbors. A good amount of it though is all fresh veggie peels, skins, cut offs, etc etc that is totally compostable! It’s a good earth friendly habit to add that enriches soil and cuts down on landfill trash. Once you get used to it it’s really not very hard. Of course it’s up to each individual on whether or not the time to do it is worth it. If you’re a gardener then it’s an absolutely great way to enrich your garden soil. If not well, depends on how earth friendly you want to be.

Doesn’t it cost money?
This is one of those earth friendly things you can do that actually might end up costing you more money to do it than to not. There are many ways to compost and the method I’m doing is the simplest, doesn’t require any mula, but requires a yard for sure. I don’t do a pile of compost I just dig a hole and dump in my compost and leave it. Oh and cover it with soil of course. Bokashi and worms composting both require some money upfront. For bokashi you have to buy some special ingredients unless you make it yourself. I’ve done that method before when living in an apt and I bought the supplies needed. Over the course of the year it wasn’t much but it’s more expensive than just digging a hole in the ground. The most traditional way of composting is just a simple pile in your yard, but I know that there are composter bins available for sale. Overall though the money for composting isn’t that much unless you buy a fancy bin.

Quick tips
Those little produce stickers are all made out of plastic!!! It’s one horrible thing I never knew about until I started composting. I would find little plastic bits all around until I figured out what it was. Other things that don’t break down well are cloth and nut shells. Even years later I still find bits of cloth that I thought would break down in the soil. Oops. Cutting up everything into small pieces also really speeds up the breakdown process. Don’t have to but if you don’t want huge chunks of rotting veggies then break it down smaller before composting.

 

Does anyone want an avocado tree? I’m definitely still learning as I go! The most important thing is that I’m doing it and it’s going pretty well with a few hiccups along the way.

Are you into composting?

A Rainy Rainy Weekend

Photo Credit: Phiery Phoenix Photography via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Phiery Phoenix Photography via Compfight cc

It’s been a rare weekend in California because it’s been raining all weekend! Smack in the middle of summer in a long drought, this is very much needed water. I’ve been trying to save as much water as possible in so many different ways. Indoors and outdoors we’ve cut back on a ton of water. The yard only gets watered twice a week which works since we had replaced all our plants with water-friendly ones and our lawn is this strange thatchy drought resistant type. Indoors we try to reuse all the water from washing vegetables and take shorter showers. We’re definitely trying our best to save water. Having rain over the weekend really does make me want to go dance out there! Free water!!!! And hopefully will help the drought a bit.

Water is really precious – tried and true quote!
Born and raised in the Midwest I’ve never realized how precious water is. Then of course I move out to LA and water used here is piped in from miles away. It’s a big eye opener to how really precious water is. After becoming a homeowner I’ve really become more conscious of how much water I use. Renting usually has water included so you don’t see the bill. Now I pay every utility bill myself and can see the breakdown. Definitely a good motivator to save water because it saves money.

Changing habits
I’ve had to definitely adjust my habits a bit to not use as much water. I didn’t even realize to what extent I had done this until my family came to visit from the Midwest and Seattle. Both are water rich areas. I had some big eye opener moments watching them turn on the faucet full blast and leaving it running much longer than I would’ve. I couldn’t resist saying something every now and then and their response was that they weren’t using that much water. When you live in an area where you don’t have to worry about running out of water, it’s a lot easier to overlook how precious it is.

Climate correct plants
Most of the lawns on my street are pretty brown by now. There are still a few that are pretty green and they don’t have the drought-friendly grass for sure. Pretty sure they are still watering their lawns a good bit. Many others though have plants like ours and some have even ripped out all their grass entirely. There are a lot of beautiful desert landscapes that are appropriate for this climate. For us there are plenty of plants we don’t bother watering that are still alive and thriving.

Lack of clean water
Even though I’m in an area with a drought I still have plenty of water on hand. Clean water that I can drink and use for food and for showers. No matter what I still have water. It’s crazy how a lot of people around the world don’t have access to clean water! Since my awareness of this has increased I’ve also learned a lot more about that. One of my favorite charity is Charity Water because their mission is to fix that. They use all donated funds for projects that create a way for people to get clean water in their area.

 

It’s supposed to rain all night and tomorrow! It’ll be a great Monday and I can take a few breaks and go dance in the rain.That and I’ll check the buckets I left outside to catch some drops. A rainwater barrel crossed my mind, but then I realized I need gutters to do that (a lot of houses in LA don’t have gutters since it doesn’t rain much here).

What kind of climate do you live in? Do you have plenty of water or you have to preserve it?

2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc

Happy 2015!!!!! It’s pretty crazy to think of how fast the last year went and now it’s the first day of 2015!!!! I was able to accomplish a good amount last year and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do this year. Today is of course a great time to look at past accomplishments, pat myself on the back, and then see what else I want to add to my list. Aka new year’s resolutions.

A 2014 Recap of Goals

Started investing with Betterment
This was a goal I tried to get to in 2013 but wasn’t able to with a wedding and buying a house in that year. I bit the bullet early on last year to start this up. The market hasn’t been very fun with highs and lows and I haven’t earned much unfortunately. I’ve been steadily investing every single month though and this is a long term goal for mula before my retirement age. Hopefully by continuing to contribute each month the stock market will do it’s thing and this will start growing on its own.

Almost maxed out my 401k
I was able to start my 401k halfway through last year and I full intended to max it out. By November I recalculated my contribution rate to make sure I hit that. Unfortunately my 401k company never processed that through! I don’t know why it didn’t work but for a month my rate hasn’t changed. Hopefully in 2015 I can reach this goal!

Budget friendly Honeymoon
I had a delayed honeymoon because we wanted to be practical and buy the house first and then go on a honeymoon. Weddings cost way too much money and having a honeymoon soon after just isn’t realistic. Spacing it out months later gave us more time to find a good deal and to plan appropriately (without all the wedding stress which I’m sure would’ve made us make hasty and pricey decisions).

Started a mini garden
I’m no green thumb but growing my own food is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do! Luckily for me my house came with a lot of fruit trees and edible plants. I’ve been taking advantage of that and making sure that I take care of the plants as well as I can. I’ve had very little success with growing my own herbs but I’m going to keep trying! I have green onions growing pretty well (very very very easy) but I’ve only had one parsley seed sprout.

2015 Goals

Actually have things growing in my edible garden
This is a work in progress for sure. If I can at least have a few more seeds sprout that would be wonderful! If that doesn’t work then I’m going to have to just buy fully grown plants and see if I can keep them alive!

Simplify my beauty routine
For a woman I don’t think I have that much in terms of beauty supplies, but over time new products come out that I add to my morning/night routine and then it takes forever to get ready. I’m all for simplifying to find products that save me money (no more $60 eye cream!) and do double duty.

Max out my 401k
Yep going for it for sure this year!

Get life insurance
Haven’t done this yet and I really need to just go ahead and do it! I’ve done a lot of research and it’s getting clearer but it’s hard to estimate how much to get.

Further cut down my footprint
I recycle basically everything I can but my trash pile can still be cut down. Composting is the next step but it’s not something I would really like to do. Either I have a compost pile in the corner of my not so large yard, a big plastic bin, or I have to figure something else out. My gardener grandfather says he just buries vegetable scraps in his yard to add nutrients. I’ll try that for now! He has tons of fruit trees and vegetables so if it works for him I’m sure it can work for me.

 

What were your accomplishments last year? What are your goals for 2015?