Friday, July 11, 2008

How to Reduce Your Trash to One Small Bag a Week

I'm so proud of my family, we have managed to reduce and recycle our way down to ONE SMALL BAG of garbage a WEEK!

Our family of four did it and so can you! Here is the way how:


There are bins around the City and at the Landfill to recycle newspaper, cardboard, misc paper, milk jugs and tin cans. Keep a separate bin in your garage or carport to collect these items and bring them for recycling weekly.

Bring your drink bottles and cans for recycling - you have already paid a deposit on them, so you can collect the money back plus you are keeping good recyclables out of the landfill.

Many of the bottle depots around town also collect glass jars (clean, no lids, can keep labels on), milk and juice cartons. BBK Depot is also accepting old television and computers.

London Drugs will accept all plastics (1-7) and styrafoam. Make sure the items are clean and are without lids. If you have a lot they ask that you separate them by number.

For a list of specific places that accept recycling visit

Give your unneeded stuff to thrift shops or give them to away on Freecycle


Compost your grass cuttings and kitchen waste (no meat, bones or milk products) to make great soil for your garden. Don't have a garden? Give it to someone who does - they will appreciate it!

Not sure how to start composting? There is lots of information if you just google 'compost'

Large yard cleanups (grass, tree branches, etc) can be brought to the landfill for composting. This compost is later sold to the public.


Take time to think about purchasing that new item - is it really needed?
Don't purchase items that have excess packaging
Do more home cooking and baking
If you need that Timmie's or Starbuck's coffee, bring along your own mug
Bring your own shopping bags to the store
If you eat take out - do your really need the wrapped sandwich placed in an additional bag?
Stop using paper towels - use rags that can be washed and used over again
Stop using kleenex - use hankerchiefs that can be washed and used over again

I'm sure that there are many other ways to reduce your impact on the earth. These are the things my family did and within six months it has become habit. We are a normal family and used to use the City's medium sized garbage container. It was usually full most weeks waiting for pick up.

With only one small bag a week, we feel better, have reduced our consumption, and are feeling much more environmentally friendly.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What to do with that Extra Rhubarb...

make barbecue sauce! This is my first Back 2Basics Harvest Keeper challenge project.

My mother-in-law gave us a lot of rhubarb (far more than I can use) and so it didn't go to waste I found the recipe below.

Victorian Barbecue Sauce

8 cups chopped rhubarb
3 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped raisins
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

  • Prepare canner, jars and lids
  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine all ingedients. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to a consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes. (I used my hand blender/chopper to make a smoother consistency - otherwise the rhubarb would have remained quite chunky)
  • Ladle hot sauce inot hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band downuntil resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely convered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Recipe from the Bernardin 'Complete Book of Home Preserving'

My four jars of barbecue sauce (to be stored in the pantry)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stock Up the Pantry

I went shopping to stock up our pantry. I'm lucky, as when we built the house we put in a special little room/closet to use as a pantry. I'm still waiting for Husband to put up 2 more shelves, but otherwise it is useable and pretty full.

When I got home Son helped me bring in the groceries and exclaimed "Mom, are you insane? Do you realise that we have 5 bags of flour?" Yes, of course I know that... flour has increased in price from $5.99 for a 10lb bag to $11.99 - and I remember seeing in one store that it was '1 bag per customer'.

So I'm all stocked up with necessities - flour, sugar, beans, rice, canned fruit and veggies, canned mushrooms, canned soups, peanut butter, canned fish, old fashioned oats, pasta, and the like.

The one thing I still have to store is water. We quickly found out that when the power goes off so does the well pump. Unfortunately, our tanks only hold so much. I have some large water bottles that will be filled in stored in the crawlspace (just in case).

Now, I'm really not a hoarder but I feel that one should be prepared in the event of an emergency. I haven't done it until now... the terrible hurricanes and earthquakes in other countries have shown how awful it is for those not ready. On top that Husband works with the Provincial Emergency program and I know that the world is far overdue for a pandemic.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

While at the park for Canada Day celebrations I had a major allergy attack. I had been doing well until I stood under a particular Cottonwood tree and then all hell broke loose (or at least the watery eyes and nose).

Once home I made the decision to sew up some handkerchiefs with flannelette that I had bought for the purpose (and had washed) back in March. I have resisted purchasing any facial tissues for about 8 months or so, and have been making due with toilet paper when needed.

It took me all of 45 minutes to cut out and zigzag the edges of 20 handkerchiefs which are approx 20cm x 30cm (8"x12").

It got me thinking about why we use disposable facial tissues and have gotten away from hankies in the first place. According to Wikipedia, Kleenex was first introduced as a means to wipe away cold cream, but received many letters from customers using the tissues for colds and hayfever. By the 1930s, Kleenex was being marketed with the slogan “Don’t Carry a Cold in Your Pocket” and its utilization as a disposable handkerchief replacement became predominant.

Now that we are becoming more environmentally aware and have good washing machines, will the general public be able to get over the ewwww factor and start using hankies again?

For the time I spent (45 minutes) and the cost of the flannelette (which was about the price of a box of Kleenex) I have 20 hankies that I can use over and over again. Better for the environment and my wallet!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My parents immigrated to Canada when I was 2 years old and though I still have close ties to my German heritage, I feel proudly Canadian. I love this country and all it offers.
Today we celebrated at the park, enjoyed food from different ethnicities, listened to music at the bandshell and tried to stay cool in the 33C (91F) heat.