Frugal

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Doing more while spending less money

Composting in the High Desert

Wood Pallet Compost Bin

Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is one part of living a healthy lifestyle. Eating all of those fruits and veggies produces a lot of seeds, cores, peels and husks. Some people think that leftover fruit and veggie bits are trash and don't realize what they could be - fertile, organic soil. Composting may be the perfect use for fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, spoiled foods, yard waste and other organic materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Why I Garden #5

Planting Garlic

Allium sativum L.

Planting 10 cloves of Bosque Early Garlic from the Santa Fe Farmer's Market ( a little late I know ) for harvest next year. Hopefully.

Gear Up For Winter

Crossed Skis

What: Santa Fe Ski Team Annual Ski Swap
Where: Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 3221 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM.
When: November 9, 10 & 11, 2007
- Friday 9th, 8 – 10pm Preview Sale, Admission $25 + $5 per family member
- Saturday 10th, 9am – 5pm, Admission: $2 per person
- Sunday 11th, 10am – 1pm, Admission: FREE!

Why I Garden #4

Indian Popcorn ears

We've had the first hard freeze of the season, so the garden is done for the year. Unfortunately, a few green tomatoes went straight to the compost bin as I didn't pull them early enough. Now it's time to turn the compost and start planning for next year.

Here are a few colorful ears of Indian Popcorn that we'll be popping pretty soon.

Paper or Plastic? Canvas!

Canvas Tote Bags

Paper or Plastic? I'm asked that simple question about once a week and I now have a better answer - Canvas. I've known for a while that neither paper or plastic is a great shopping bag choice. Paper bags, as they are currently produced in the U.S., require cutting down about 14 million trees each year. The 30 billion plastic bags Americans use each year require 12 million barrels of crude oil for their manufacture. Why not short-circuit the debate between the lesser of the two evils and use a canvas bag?

Cheap vs. Frugal

Pruning Clippers

Buy it once and make it last.

I like to save money. That's not unusual, but my desire to be frugal can lead to being cheap. Unfortunately, being cheap leads to spending more money, because cheap items often don't work well or last long. I seem to have this cheap/frugal problem any time I have to choose between two or more widgets in a store. When I look at a range of items, I tend towards the lowest price. I should know by now that the cheapest item can become the most expensive item in the long run.

Use a Reel (Real) Mower

Reel Mower

I am in the process of establishing a native grass (buffalo and blue grama) lawn in part of my backyard. Beyond the weeding of undesired plants and occasional watering I have been reintroduced to mowing after several years. Because I'm working to reduce my ecological impact I decided to go with a Reel (not "real") Push Mower. As I am the power for this mower it needs no fuel (other than a good breakfast for me) or electricity to run. Well, after a few weeks of mowing I can tell you about the pros and cons of using a reel push mower.

Fresh from the Tap

Drinking Fountain

How is it that so many people want water from their beer from a tap, but they want their water to come in a bottle? Well, folks who know and love beer extol the quality and flavor that comes from a keg rather than a bottle. I'll talk about beer another day, but interestingly enough, water from the tap also has advantages over water from a bottle. Water from a municipal tap is tested more often and more extensively, it is from nearby source(s), uses no packaging and is radically cheaper than water from a bottle.

Line Dry your Clothes

Clothes Line

This idea is so simple that it didn't occur to me until I moved in to my current house. I had used a clothes dryer for years out of habit and inertia until I moved into a home with a clothes line. After buying a package of clothes pins I was ready to dry my clothing the simplest, cheapest and best way I have found yet. Of course, my grandmother has been drying clothes on the line since before I was born, but some things are rediscovered by each generation.

The advantages to line drying clothing are straightforward and numerous.

Food from the Backyard - Edible Weeds

We all know how important eating fresh greens is, but those bags of "mixed greens" in the grocery store can be a bit pricey. Well, of course you can grow your own salad greens, but sometimes nature provides fresh greens in unexpected places. For instance, your front lawn.

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