terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Waste less at the grocery store March 3, 2008

Filed under: cleaning, conserve, reduce, reuse — terra @ 7:00 am

Real Simple has come up with 8 ways to cut waste when grocery shopping. Keep these things in mind to save money, and the environment:

1. Skip single-serving items.

2. Purchase juice concentrates.

3. Avoid disposable goods.

4. Use your own canvas or string bags.

5. Use produce bags only for moist or small, loose items, such as lettuce and berries.

6. When possible, purchase goods in cans or glass instead of plastic containers. Glass can be recycled indefinitely.

7. Look for multipurpose cleaners instead of buying one for each kind of surface. Or, make your own.

8. Close the loop. Purchase products that have been recycled and can be recycled by you.


Veggie Wash February 26, 2008

Filed under: cleaning, food, garden — terra @ 7:00 am

If you feel like you need to wash your veggies in more than just water, try this recipe from Planet Green:

DIY Veggie Wash

1 tbs organic lemon juice
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
2 tbs baking soda
1 cup filtered water
3/4 cup white vinegar

1. Mix well in a sprayer bottle.

2. Shake before use.

3. Spray produce (except mushrooms, because they absorb and retain water) and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

4. Rinse well


The importance of furnace maintenance January 5, 2008

Filed under: cleaning, local, reduce — terra @ 11:52 am

Our house was 53 degrees this morning! We keep it at 61 and use our fireplace to warm up when we’re home, so 53 was pretty frigid, even for us. The furnace went out some time last night. I don’t think it’s related to the furnace filter not being replaced for a while, but it just reminded us that we have not been keeping up on that simple task. (actually, we just bought one, but it was the wrong size, so our intentions were good)

Replacing your furnace filter makes your furnace more efficient, saving energy and money on heating bills. We’re off for a new filter today, and the furnace guy will be coming soon. Fortunately, I recently read that there are permanent furnace filters available. These electrostatic filters simply need to be washed monthly, but they save the hassle of spending $15 on a new filter every month, as recommended. Permanent filters will pay for themselves in less than 4 months, saving you money and reducing the need to produce so many filters. (This place has electrostatic permanent filters starting at $25)

Throwaway filters only remove about 10 percent to 40 percent of pollutants from the air, while electrostatic models—which also happen to be permanent and easy to wash—siphon off about 88 percent of the nastiness, including bacteria, mold, viruses, and pollen.

Home maintenance saves energy by keeping appliances more efficient, which saves money and keeps our homes warmer. Have you changed your filter lately?


Vinegar Cure-All August 28, 2007

Filed under: alternative, cleaning — terra @ 2:50 pm

It’s hard to find a good cleaning product that is safe for you, your children, pets, and the environment. Many products look and smell clean and pure, but you can never be too sure. And most are needlessly tested on animals. Here’s one product you can use with confidence – vinegar!

Vinegar and water can be used with great success to clean just about anything (test a spot if you’re nervous). Clean windows, countertops, mirrors, wall smudges – the list goes on. It may smell at first, but the smell goes away. You could also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your vinegar spray bottle to lessen the smell. Vinegar is excellent for getting rid of ants or fruit flies – wipe everything in the affected area with a sponge dampened with vinegar-water and they’ll be gone before you know it.

Combine vinegar with baking soda and you’ve got an excellent scrubbing cleaner that’s not harmful to the environment, you, or your pets. (use equal parts vinegar and baking soda, and let the foam settle first)

To get rid of weeds, spray the area with undiluted vinegar on a sunny day. They’ll shrivel up in no time. (Remember, every chemical you use in your yard could end up in groundwater… would you rather have vinegar, or Weed-B-Gone?)

Apple Cider vinegar can be used to cure anything from allergies to acne and high cholesterol. It can even help dogs and cats.

I put a bowl of apple cider vinegar with a touch of fruity dish soap near my fruit, and the fruit flies are gone.

Bonus – vinegar is very inexpensive, and a big bottle will last a long time!


Green clean for drains August 14, 2007

Filed under: alternative, cleaning — terra @ 3:40 pm

Here’s a good way to clean your drains – as a preventative measure, or if they’re clogged. We tried it last night and it really works!!

1/2 cup baking soda
1-2 cups cheap household vinegar

Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by the vinegar. Put a plug in the drain and fill the sink with water. Wait a few minutes, then pull the plug and let the water push everything down the drain, cleaning as it goes. Awesome! -Heloise

(more on the magic of vinegar later)


Sweet Kitty Litter August 1, 2007

Filed under: cleaning, conserve, pets, reduce — terra @ 3:47 pm

litterA while back, I was reading Peppermint Lisa’s blog and she wrote about a new kind of kitty litter called Swheat Scoop. It’s made of wheat, ground down to the size of regular kitty litter.

The clay kind was nice at first, but the cats kicked up a lot of unhealthy dust, and a lot of plastic bags were used to remove the mess. Also, the clay kind is mined out of the earth, which is not so nice. This new wheat litter comes from a renewable resource, is biodegradable, and can be flushed down the toilet. It also smells better – more natural. You also don’t need to put a plastic bag in the garbage every day – just flush it down the toilet.

One word of caution: my cat Lemon thought it was food, because his is sometimes given buckwheat pancake mix. To avoid that, sprinkle the old litter on top for a few days, but be sure to throw that out – don’t flush it until it’s pure Swheat Scoop.

be efficient: Wash your car on the grass.