Monday, March 30, 2015

March Appendix: Objects Out- Trash & Recyclables

I've removed this unwieldy segment from my coming (and always exhilarating) March Resources Consumption report and present it here as an appendix of sort. 


We finally took a trip to the dump transfer station. We think the last time we went was early-December. We remember timing it so we went well before the world goes crazy with "holiday spirit," which prompts us to make like hermits each Thanksgiving through New Year's. So it was about three months of trash down there.

Like a totally normal person, I weighed it all.

My scale didn't register the boxes/bags on their own, so I had to balance the box/bag with one hand, try to stand properly on the scale for a good reading, and take a photo of the weight with the other hand. I could've just written the weights down on paper but I'd brought my camera downstairs, not a paper and pen, and well, I'm lazy (and reintroducing myself to where Apple was playing with Joe rather than being underfoot wasn't a high priority for me). Balancing on my bathroom scale holding various giant boxes of cans and clamshells was a great way to spend some quality time with my basement cat and to laugh at my own existence.

Trash Weighing Fun
Just-weighing-my-trash-and-photographing-it-like-a-totally-normal-person portrait.
You can't see the scale under my feet, but it's there. 
Trash Weighing Fun
Totally easier than going back upstairs for a pen, right?
Try and recycle my paper, two-legs. See what happens.

What the acrobatic act was not good for is accuracy, but what ya gonna do. I didn't tare out container weights or anything, either. These are somewhat inexact figures.

Our total weights for what went to the dump this month:
  • Paper & cardboard: 52 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 58 lb
  • Trash: 18 lb

Reckoning it's about three months of stuff, monthly averages are:

  • Paper & cardboard: 17 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 19 lb
  • Trash: 6 lb

So my rough estimate of our waste per person, per month:

  • Paper & cardboard: 5.8 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 6.4 lb
  • Trash: 2.0 lb

Trash Weighing Fun
6 bags of trash trash sit in a landfill for eternity trash
Trash Weighing Fun
paper and cardboard
plastic and glass

We noticed over the summer, when we produced much more than zero percent of our food (roughly our current figure), we seemed to make much less trash. Most of our "trash" is actually recyclable, as you can see, but recycling is not a free pass to create waste. I've done my best to opt out of the endless incoming junk mail, even paid an anti-junk-mail service for a year, but there's apparently no stemming that tide. (A PO box maybe?) Cardboard from packages in the mail is not an insignificant portion of this pile. But the trash from our food packaging is the largest portion of this all, unquestionably. I pay more for less packaging some times, or I just opt out of something, especially if it's just completely loony- like the organic peppers and zucchini at my chain grocery store, which come on a thick paper tray wrapped in plastic. "No!" I say to unnecessarily packaged produce, and then I remind myself it's winter in New England and thus fresh peppers and zucchini are ridiculous anyways. But still the piles are high. Our goal is to cut down in outputs and inputs as we go along... but first we need that quiet ten acres in a rooster-friendly town, and CT just isn't delivering.

I plan to repeat this exercise each time we go to the transfer station, and we'll see how summertime's waste compares to our winter run.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scenes from CT

Joe is at the computer in the bedroom. Jack is nearby, getting ready for bed. 

Apple: *wanders past the open bedroom door, repeating delightedly:* Fickit! Fickit!
Joe: *astonished accusatory look at Jack*
Jack: *laughs up her sleeve* Nonononono, you misunderstand. *launches into song*

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Things you can add to my "life accomplishments" list: racing inside the house on a cold morning with a hunk of frozen maple sap in my hand to share with my very trusting family.

Here, suck on this thing I brought from outside without explanation or context!

handed to my beloveds wordlessly and enthusiastically

tentative humoring of mother; yes that's paint in his hair left over from the day before

bowl-moving approval; choosing maple sap hunk over hot chocolate
finishing off entire hunk; good thing I shared with Joe first

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Weekend

I gazed imperiously at the four inches of snow that fell.

I stood out in freezing temperatures and blasting winds so my son could watch icons of industrial agriculture trundle down the road and back.

I hit my head on the underside of my kitchen counter while standing up from picking up my brooming pile and days later still have a tender goose egg and a headache.

I finally bought a bucket of my own so I can do things that require a bucket.

I must have read Julius Lester's John Henry to my son twelve times, I've got a rainbow, RINNGGG! RINNGGG!

I bought our annual supply of maple syrup.

I was ignored by men whose attention I was clearly waiting for.

I was conversed at by a man whose past weird, sexist bullshit still burns me up.

I vowed never to leave the house again.

I was fully aware that I will leave the house again.

I wrapped presents for my first-born's third birthday celebration.

I mourned the loss of opportunity caused by yet another plot of land with snobbish deed restrictions.

I answered the call of "Mama, play Little People" many, many times.

I read a funny memoir that taught me three new words: sybarite, patellae, and hegiras.

I overindulged.

I learned the origin story of the Blacktail Mountain Watermelon I plan to grow this year.

I celebrated the first chicken egg of spring.

I was grateful for the sun.

I did things that require a bucket.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Seed Therapy





Some kale and some lettuce seed, seed starting mix, and moisture, a few days before the equinox. Today's temperatures might not even slide above freezing but the general trajectory here is spring. There's only maybe six inches left out there? The freezing temps and the 20-50 mpg winds yesterday and today are keeping us in for sure, as is Apple's wet cold, through which he simply needs held and read to and kept in a steady stream of fresh hankies. 

What do you mean, I've talked about nothing but the weather for like three weeks? Oh. Yeah well, who hasn't. 

Of course, as soon as I get out there, it's gonna be Tick Paranoia all over. 

Goddamnit, Connecticut.

In my daydreaming, my Dream Home(stead) is designed with tick management ideas and equipped with a flock of free-ranging guinea fowl. In reality, I expect it'll take years after we've even moved in to accomplish that. Clearing acres of trees (since any land we buy is likely to be wooded), removing brush, installing fence, building shelters. Did I mention we want to have more children? 

And there's absolutely nothing I can do to hurry it all along. We're in the Waiting Place and no amount of peppy You're Exceptional! talk will put the perfect piece of land on the market and lead us out of that Dr. Seuss hell.*

But this post was about starting kale and lettuce seeds, right here where I am now.

Seeds. Started. 

Daydreaming so when we get there, we hit the ground running.

Right where I am now.


*Apple's book rotation currently features Oh the Places You'll Go!, a book I find grating, but I like saying "Though the Hakken-Kraks howl", it just unfurls from the tongue in a lovely way. I like to imagine the Hakken-Kraks are mixed-species offspring of the Kraken, of course. Or Krakens doing the hakken dance (which I only know is a thing cuz in a fit of stuck-under-a-sick-sleeping-toddler, I google things to see what comes up. Don't judge me, I was in that rocking chair from roughly 1pm utill 5:30 yesterday.).

Monday, March 16, 2015

In Which the Void Listens Politely

If last Wednesday felt like spring, yesterday sounded like it. Something about the birdsong in the evening clearly spoke of summertime. None too soon for anyone, I think. Less than a foot of snow on the ground now, I estimate, and time to get on with it.

Like many others I know, I think I have a winter funk every year. Yet somehow each year it catches me by surprise. Maybe some winter I'll figure out how to kick it without just waiting helplessly for spring. We'll see.

The market for land parcels screeches to a halt under a couple feet of snow. My momentum on pursuing our new home crashed down to nothing. I hope with the melt to crank it back up. Way back initially we had hoped to be selling in April. I was extraordinarily naive about how much land is available in this place. At least, land in our budget.

Today I plan to get going the first starts of the year. That's always a big moment, even if the actual work is modest. Psychologically, it's huge. Over the winter I did an experiment with a bit of leftover potting soil from the runaway failure that was my 2014 container garden and a bunch of food packaging garbage.

Day 1


Days whatever through the end

It was not a success. We had a rotation of broccoli sprouts going every so often, but somehow that doesn't go very far in relieving the craving for fresh food.

Sprouts sprouting. 

It's still about two months though before we'll pull anything out of the garden. The garden which we still cannot see or enter, much less work. 

I actually don't have a lot of thoughts to share lately. I feel pulled to post even when I don't feel like it, to respect the efforts of anyone out there who comes to listen. (Maybe this pulls down my blog's overall quality; maybe it enlivens it! Whatever.)

Apple's third birthday approaches, so I'm preparing for that. We'll have some guests at the time! A big excitement. Apple's growth, both physical and psychological, has been very apparent recently. I've had to start cooking multiple dishes each night to keep everyone's appetites satisfied. Apple has stopped wrestling with our insistence that the only appropriate place to toilet is the toilet, which is a fantastic development. He is so close to weaning that for a week I thought he had completely weaned. (A photo of his newborn self nursing inspired bedtime milkies again.) I've taken a break from seeking any medical counsel about my Lyme disease but I have been faithfully taking my tinctures, alongside some supplements promised to aid my body's healing efforts; even if it's not fully gone yet, it's much better than it was. I've spent a lot of energy (to say nothing of money) trying to ban unexpected toxins from my family's environment. After monitoring Apple's diet for a month with high-dairy low-wheat, it's time to reverse it and see what happens (note: if nothing else, free-range cheese eating by the two-year-old leads to a very constipated two-year-old). Apple has discovered a love of American folk music, and a day isn't complete if I haven't experienced his rendition of "There's a Hole in My Bucket" or "John Henry." 

No particular moments of noteworthiness yet every one of them precious and sacred. 

So whoever's out there, thanks for spending a few of yours listening.