Food Preservation

Good morning, friends! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day! Today, I want to talk about food waste and how we can stop it with food preservation.

Food waste is a big issue. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, 10% of the U.S. energy budget, 50% of U.S. land, and 80% of fresh water goes toward getting food from farm to table. Despite that, only 60% of the food produced actually gets eaten.

“So what is the reason for this?”, you might wonder. Subsidized farming (Big Ag) and our behavior. This toxic combination has driven us into a hyper consumer culture, similar to what I talked about in my last post. Things most accessible to us don’t hold as much value as they would if we had to work for them ourselves. Big Ag hands up a big ol’ glass of convenience koolaid, and we drink it up without considering the consequences.

It deeply disturbs me that such a massive amount of food goes to waste and we have people struggling to put food on the table or even starving.

So how can we do our part? That answer is twofold. The first thing we can do is reduce our dependence on the grocery store. Growing/ raising as much food as we can, cooking from scratch, canning, meal planning, making freezer meals, making ingredients at home instead of buying them. There are a lot of food preservation methods out there. I encourage you to look into what you can make yourself. It’s been a shock to me to see just how little is necessary to buy from somewhere else, even as someone who doesn’t have a homestead yet.

The second thing we can do is stop contributing to Big Ag through taxes. We pay for their existence involuntarily and they feed us shitty food and destroy our land. Not cool.

I’ll do separate posts on things like canning and freezing. For now, I just want to encourage you to exercise your resourcefulness. Anyone can preserve food. Everyone can prevent food waste. Let’s all do what we can.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’re having an awesome Thursday! Make sure to look out for my next post where I go in depth about the methods I mentioned in today’s post. 🖤

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Convenience Culture

Fast fashion, Fast food, cheap goods from China. Quick. Cheap. Fast. Easy. Disposable. What’s the harm in a little convenience? Let’s dive in.

First, let’s look at how it impacts us as individuals. Convenience, while it may seem pleasant at the time, robs us of connection. It robs us of connection to our belongings, the food we eat, and the people around us. Why seek out a local potter when you can buy cheap bowls from the box store? Why cook a wholesome meal from scratch when you can go to Wendy’s? Why invest in a great quality sweater from a local designer when you can go to the mall and spend $10? Because you miss out on quality, durability, and most importantly, connection to the items and other people. This is why our landfills are full. I believe that this is a huge contributor to depression and anxiety. We no longer have to put in time, money, effort into our lives. It’s all handed to us for the low low price of our sanity and overall health.

It’s also worth noting that our dependence on that cheap price point, gives corporations room to do whatever they want and treat us however they want.

Next, let’s focus on how it impacts other people. Fast fashion, fat food, and cheap goods from China all have a one thing in common. They require cheap labor to get a cheap product. Someone is doing that cheap labor. Someone is slaving night and day for PENNIES so that you can have that H&M sweater for $10. And for what? For it to last three whole months because it’s made with cheap materials, only to then end up in the landfill.

Don’t forget our struggling artists. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people look at a beautiful piece of art, scoff at it because of the price, and then go to a box store and spend the same amount of money on some cheap mass produced shit from China. Why is it the norm now to rob ourselves of quality product and connection to our artists? I don’t understand.

I’m willing to stand alone here, but I’d rather have a quality product that will last me a lifetime, that I have to take care of, than have some cheap disposable crap I purchased with zero intention. I’d rather know who makes the goods I can’t make myself but still need. I’d rather invest in quality food and cook a good meal for myself, my friends, and my family.

I want to encourage you to slow down this week. Think about the decisions you make out of convenience. Pick one of them and forgo the convenience. Go all out. Set the intention and really connect with what you’re trying to accomplish. Maybe it’s cooking a healthy meal or investing in a local soap maker instead of buying from a box store, or (my personal fav) hand washing your clothes. It can be anything!

Let me know what you come up with. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my post! I hope you’re having a wonderful day🖤

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Minimalism: visual clutter

Humor me. Which one is more pleasant to look at, top or bottom?

How about these two images?

If you preferred the bottom and right images, this post is for you. Grab a cup of tea and let’s talk about visual clutter and it’s unforeseen impact on us.

Minimalism, as a concept, has largely grown from a small part of what it is. We think of owning less physical possessions, but what about the appearance of the possession we do choose to keep around? Could bright, flashy packaging, mix matched colors/textures, and a lack of intentionality be just as guilty of our overstimulation as the number of items we possess?

For me, the answer is yes.

I can’t tell you how to solve this issue in this post but what I can do is tell you what I did.

First, I established the aesthetic that brings me the most joy. My goal in life is to homestead so I want my home to reflect that cozy cabin, home-made feel. It makes me feel at peace and reminds me of my grandmother. I love handmade, sustainably sourced, and functional things. I store my herbs, spices, and baking materials in clear glass jars.

Please excuse the cups I just washed 🙃

The cleaning cloths I have are my favorite kind to use. Just basic terry wash cloths from Walmart. Nothing special unless you’re me lol

Glass, metal, wood, and cloth are my jam. Pretty much everything is second hand and I love it that way. I want to cook, grow, and create everything my family consumes and uses on the day to day. I love an environment that reflects that. My home is growing as I (and my list of skills to master) do.

I believe that this level of intentionality in what I choose to keep in my kitchen motivates me to use the kitchen and to take care of it. I look forward to cooking and cleaning because I love being in the space.

You can apply this to your whole home if you find that this is what you’re missing. Everything, even what may seem mundane on the surface, can bring you great comfort and joy.

I encourage you to look at the spaces in your home and just make sure that it’s bringing you peace. Make sure that things are there because they function and inspire you to use them. Make sure you’re not over stimulated by what you have. Do you LOVE your bath towels? Do you look at your kitchen and look forward to using it? Let me know! Tell me what about your home brings you peace and joy in the comments!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section or tag me on Facebook! I’m always happy to help and/or read what you have to say. Have a great night 🙂 🖤

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DIY Laundry Detergent

Good morning, friends! Happy Wednesday! I got a special request, from a friend of mine on Facebook, to write a post on alternatives to laundry detergent. Whether your concern is harsh chemicals, sustainability, or you just want to save a bit of cash, this post will have something for you.

Let’s start with those concerned about harsh chemicals. There’s a lot that goes into a bottle of conventional detergent. Unfortunately, we as the consumer are not privy to that information beyond an ingredients list that sounds like rocket science. You could stand in the aisle of your local grocery store, or you could try adding 1/3-1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap to your load and then add a half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

If you’d like to up the environmentally friendly factor, you can buy a product called soap nuts! It’s also referred to as soap berries, or eco-nuts. These little gems come in a cloth bag unless you grow them yourself, which is an option! Personally, I would buy some first to see if you like them and then make the commitment to growing them if you do.

Just pop 4-5 nuts into the little cloth wash bag they come with, tie the bag closed, and throw them in the washer with your clothes. Start the washer as usual. Once the load is finished washing, remove the bag and set it aside for the next wash. Pretty simple, huh?

Now, for those concerned about saving money, I have a solution for you! My first DIY laundry detergent ever was created back in highschool. I made more detergent than I bargained for, using Fels Naptha. You’ll need a bar of Fels Naptha, a pot, borax, washing soda, two five gallon buckets with lids, and water. Your favorite essential oil is optional. I personally choose not to use them in this recipe because I like the scent of fels naptha.

Grate the bar of soap first and set it aside. Take a large pot and add 4 cups of hot water to it. Then set it on the stove on medium heat. This is the time to add your soap flakes. Stir them until they’re completely melted. Turn off the heat and fill one of the five gallon buckets halfway with hot water. Pour in the soap mixture while stirring. Once that’s done, add a cup of borax and a cup of washing soda. Then add half an ounce of your essential oil, if that’s your jam. Stir until it’s all well dissolved. Fill the bucket with more warm water until the bucket is full and give it one last stir. Put the lid on and let it sit for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the lid. The mixture will be gelatinous. Pour half of that into the other 5 gallon bucket and fill both up with more warm water. Stir them and replace the lids and you have 10 gallons of ready to use laundry detergent, my friend!

Thanks for stopping by to check out my post! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. If you have any questions, please feel free to hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

You can find me on Facebook by searching Erica Denise Payne or Find me on Instagram @theearthnerdanarchist.

And we’re back!

It’s been a rough road since I last posted but I’m finally back! I missed posting regularly. You guys have been so sweet and supportive. I really appreciate it. I’m still going to create the same content you’re all used to. I’m just in a new location! Like… across the country new location, haha! Going forward, you can still expect lots of environmentally friendly DIY projects, philosophical chats, educational content, and so much more!

I’m spending this week getting set up in the new house. I should have wifi Wednesday so I don’t have to post from a Mcdonald’s. I’ll do a more in depth post then showing you guys the ecofriendly choices David and I are making to help reduce our impact.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day! I’ll see you back here Wednesday!

Navigating Egoism

Let’s start with the definition for those who may have be new to Egoism. Egoism is an ethical theory that treats self-interest as the foundation of morality.

There seem to be two reactions to this. The first of them being a complete rejection of the idea in favor of what one may perceive to be objective morality. This is common in religious and “natural law” circles.

The second reaction is confusion paired with a desire to understand. When you have nothing to lose from having your ideas of morality shaken or you can separate yourself from your own sense of morality, you start to see that there may be something to this.

It’s scary to realize that all you understood about the world is actually not what it was presented to be. The positive aspect is that if you can make it to the other side, there is real freedom and peace in store for you.

You have so much to gain from realizing that all that really matters to you is what serves you. It extends from your beliefs all the way down to the apps you have on your phone and the amount of physical possessions you own.

I think minimalism is the son of egoism. They share DNA but still manifest differently like a parent and their child. Both concepts deal with rejecting all that does not serve you. The difference is that minimalism is a term popularly used to describe policing one’s physical posessions, relationships, and habits. Egoism isn’t popular at all. haha It deals with maybe heavier things like morality and philosophical questions.

What about beliefs that do not serve us? Why do they get to hang around but not that 20 year old parka you found buried in the garage? They both have the same affect. Your unnecessary beliefs are just on a grander scale and able to do more damage.

Anyway, I would love to hear from you guys. What is a belief you have and how does it serve you?

Ecofriendly Alternatives to Household Products

Hello friends! Today, I’ve completely gone nuts trying to procure a list of the best zerowaste swaps for your everyday cleaning needs. I want to encourage everyone to put their current cleansers and products through the lense of the Environment Working Group and the zerowaste philosophy so that we can curb things like plastic use, water pollution, toxicity, and wasting money.

Let’s start with the king of Earth friendly options. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap comes wrapped in paper which is compostable, making it zerowaste. This soap can be used for everything from bodycare to dishes to all purpose cleaning. There is some work involved if you buy it in bar form as you would need to dilute it correctly for different needs. Some co-ops have it in liquid form and they allow you to bring your own container. If you have that, the initial step of turning it from solid to liquid would be taken care of for you. The company does sell large plastic bottles of it. Still better than traditional soaps but not zerowaste. So I’d go with one of the other options.

List if uses and dilution ratios for Dr. Bronners

Now to focus on laundry specifically. Two things come to mind when you’re doing laundry, what detergent you use, and the dreaded dryer sheets. Fear not though, there’s a solution for that as well. You can replace traditional laundry detergent with a plant product called soap nuts. They come packaged in cardboard which is compostable and a small cloth bag which is either compostable or reusable.

Soap nuts

As for the dryer, I limit my use of the dryer as much as possible. I exclusively wear all black and the heat of a dryer will fade my clothes. So I opt to hang dry my clothes most of the time. I understand this is not popular but you might give it a try and find that it’s actually nice.

If you do still need to use a dryer, you can replace those dryer sheets with wool dryer balls and customize the scent using 3-5 drops of an essential oil you like. Any brand of wool dryer ball will do!

Example of wool dryer ball

On to the Bathroom! I don’t have to tell you how nice a clean bathroom is. You can’t get clean in a dirty space! So let’s go over some DIY eco friendly cleaners that will keep your bathroom nice and squeeky clean.

As mentioned above in the Dr. Bronners portion of this post, it can be used for all-purpose cleaner and toilets. As someone who has professionally cleaned houses, you don’t need much more than that to clean a bathroom. Pumice stones can be really nice for getting hard water stains out and if you really have a grimy shower, mix some vinegar and dishsoap with water and let it sit for a few minutes, scrub with a bore bristle brush. Everything should rinse away after that.

I hope this gives you guys some ideas of how to clean with the Earth in mind! If I missed something you need, please feel free to reach out and ask. I love solving problems and will help any way I can.

Thank you for coming back and I hope you have a wonderful day!🖤