Frugality

irrigation_s

Tremendous quantities of food are wasted after production – discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens – and this wasted food is also wasted water, finds a policy brief released Thursday at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Source: Environmental News Service. Read more…

 

In Michigan we don’t think about fresh water as a ration. Not until other States discuss siphoning off water from the Great Lakes. Reservoirs, dams and levies are not concerns here. Which is not to say we don’t care about our water, we do –now.

Michiganians have a shameful history of pollution. I explain it to my kids this way; “industry and people put things in the water that they didn’t want around. The water carried the bad stuff away. No one thought about where the bad stuff went.”

It seems that along with eliminating pollution in the water, we need to stop wasting precious water. We waste water in obvious ways; on our green lawns, during a long shower, and when we leave the tap open needlessly. But we waste water in less visible ways too.

Growing crops requires an enormous amount of water.  No one here is suggesting that you stop eating foods grown in soil. I’m suggesting only that we eat all we produce. When we throw away the food we buy, we toss out all the resources used to grow, ship and produce the food along with it.

Toast_webnew
Our British friends have created a web resource that addresses the need to reduce, or heck, lets set the bar high and say, eliminate food waste.
If like me, you are not British, some suggestions from Love Food, Hate Waste can be puzzling. Example; I have never had leftover bangers to deal with. And I think to “blitz”, means puree in a blender. Really, I like the site’s local lingo, it helps me feel part of a larger community. While written for the UK, the suggestions and recipes are completely doable here in midwest USA.

 

Why does water use matter?

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I bought these apples at the Farmers Market yesterday. Are they some of the ugliest apples you’ve ever laid eyes on? It’s okay- it’s doubtful these apples would appeal to anyone. In fact when I asked the grower what variety they were, she seem genuinely surprised by the question. Maybe because to her, they’re obviously Macintosh apples. Maybe because she’d decided that no one was going to be interested in her sad looking apples. I insisted I was serious; I wanted them for applesauce. (I’d like to add, she was also selling very nice Ida Red apples)

As I see it, applesauce is their destiny.

There is no sense peeling and slicing perfect apples for sauce, right?  So I bought all her ugly little apples for a price that made us both happy.

As I type, five pint jars of  no sugar needed applesauce are processing.  Would I seem self congratulatory if I said, I’m happy I was able to make something useful from unwanted apples?

(cost for each pint of homemade sauce is $1.40)

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April 2012

[update] June 2012

Marigolds, Impatiens, Petunias, and a host of other annuals are relatively inexpensive when compared to geraniums. But if you’re willing to overwinter geranium plants, they are a terrific bargain.

In the past I’ve tried to pot geranium plants, bring them indoors, and keep them in a window – which works, but the resulting plants are tall and frail.

Last October I read about saving the roots in a dormant state. I decided to try it. If this didn’t work and the plants died, at least I didn’t kill them. Luckily my lack of faith in the method had no effect on it. I’m pleased to announce that 12 of the 14 plants are thriving. I was able to plant my front porch planter boxes entirely with recycled geraniums. I’m still waiting for blooms; but when they bloom, my boxes should look like, kinda sort of like, Mackinac Island’s planter boxes; brimming with red geraniums.

Red geraniums are the feature annual of the island. The Grand Hotel began the tradition and much of the island has followed the theme. Maybe because geraniums are dramatic, prolific bloomers and so darn easy to save from one summer to the next.

To overwinter (bare root) my plants I followed instructions on an Iowa State University site. Only instead of placing the plants in large paper bags, I used old pillowcases. I hung them from nails in the garage. Instead of following a strict soaking schedule of once a month. I soaked them at the end of November when I was in the garage to fetch Christmas decorations. I soaked them again early in January when I put the decorations back in the garage. By mid March I soaked them once more and potted them in ordinary potting soil. The method was almost too simple – “to good to be true” simple.

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