Monday, January 23, 2012

Green Living Ain't Nothing New

Going green... living green... green living... green this and green that.

Marketeers are making a fortune with products and books and all sorts of things we can buy to teach us how to "GO GREEN".  Talk shows and news anchors espouse the ways that living greener will improve our planet, make us live longer and any number of things that can be dreamed up to promote this new lifestyle.  Well... I hate to break it to them... but country folks have been doing this for centuries. 

First of all, I live a fifty mile round trip from the nearest store; which means an hour and a half out of my day just to get there and back, not counting the time to actually shop.  So, the first thing I do to "live green" is to limit trips to town and get what I need when I'm there.  I drive in only a couple of times a month, and during this past month only went in to town once. 

No, I don't have this huge pantry or have enough stuff put by that I could survive a nuclear holocaust.  I DO usually know what's in my cabinets, refrigerator and freezer.  And if I don't have something, I make do with something else. 

Let me give you an idea of what I mean.  Last night my youngest came home for his weekly "visit" (meaning he drove here to wash his clothes and get some of Mom's cooking) and I had some chicken breasts taken out for supper.  I wanted to do something a little different and got to poking around to see what I had... and stuffed breasts sounded pretty good.  So... let's see... what to stuff them with?  Well, I have some Laughing Cow cheese wedges left over from Christmas and figured they needed to get eaten.  Out on the counter they went.  Now, what else.  No bread crumbs.  Well, no worries.  I have a box of crackers  and a stack of them will make the perfect amount of crumbs.  Add three eggs from my beautiful silver laced wyandotte ladies and I was ready to cook. First the breasts were pounded out to a 1/4" thick and a wedge of cheese was rolled up into each one.  Each roll was dipped into the beaten eggs and then into the cracker crumbs seasoned with salt mix I make myself.  Let them set for a bit so the crumbs make a nice coating, and then baked at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  That was it.  And they were wiped out at suppertime.

We don't eat dessert when it's just the two of us here, but when my youngin' comes home, I like to have something made for him.  Again, I don't have a big selection of things, so what could I find...  Hmm... I found a box of vanilla pudding.  Some bananas I'd frozen when I'd found a huge bag of them in the markdown buggy a couple months ago.  And a graham cracker crust that again had been a Christmas leftover ingredient that had gotten lost in all the shuffle.  In short order I had whipped up (pun intended) a banana pudding pie. 

Now how in the world is this living green, you may ask?  First off... I didn't have to drive to the store to pick up anything.  I used what I had, and it was eaten without wasting anything.  And that is just one example from one meal. 

The "going green" movement also sings the praises of saving energy and finding ways to lower our consumption.  I reckon that we do a few things toward that end.  To begin with, when we built our house with our own hands as money came available, we put in the best energy efficient windows and doors that we could afford.  Ditto for insulation.  Our tankless water heater that we  bought on clearance works perfectly and uses very little gas. We turn off lights and keep the heat low, and our electric bill reflects our efforts, which amounts to between $35.00 and $50.00 year-round.

More words that you hear bandied about are recycle, reuse and repurpose.  Again... I guess it may be new to some people, but to most of us that live at in the boonies, it's just another way of getting by.  If you need some kind of fastener for something, rather than driving into town for a whatzit, you go to the shop, barn or shed to see if you have a coffee can that might contain just such a whatzit that you saved from another item you took apart and saved the parts from.  Spending $10.00 in gas to go pick up 50 cent whatzit just doesn't make sense, so you make do with what you have.

I always have projects going... and they normally have a connection to the kitchen or garden... my two favorite places in the world.  One such project I have in the process at the moment is collecting milk jugs that I will use to make mini-greenhouses to start my garden seedlings in.  When I get those started, I'll take photos and make a post of what I'm actually doing. 

A second project is to convert a Directv dish that was given to me into a bird bath.  It came with the pole and the bracket that just a few modifications will allow it to be perfect to mount the "repurposed" dish back on in its new form.  I'll also pass photos of that as it progresses.

Once more things that are simple and are a lifestyle for many, and for generations before them, are being repackaged and sold back to us as something new and improved. 

So, my friends, as you endeavor to "live green"... you can smile and know that you are in fact Living Country.

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