Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm back!!

I've been very busy. Or sick. Or suffering from a horrible case of poison ivy. Or in a heat and humidity coma. July went by so quickly I can't even believe it's August and I have yet to go to the beach at all this summer!
I have been unmotivated to sit at the computer as my computer room does not have a/c and my giant computer puts off quite a bit of heat. (A benefit in the winter, not so much in the summer!)
Speaking of a/c we are using far less electricity to run ours than I had originally thought. This makes me quite happy. We only run our a/c at night for about 4-6 hours and have it set at 75 degrees. It only cools our bedroom which we have sealed off like we're expecting a flood. Our electric bill in June, without the a/c unit, was $30. Our electric bill in July, which included those nights with a heat index over 90 degrees, was $44.
When I got my horrible case of poison ivy I attempted to find relief through natural home remedies but when the hot salt baths and apple cidar vinegar didn't work and aloe vera made things worse I broke down and bought a bottle of calamine lotion in a plastic bottle. My mom gave me some benedryl pills (in plastic bubble packs) and the perscription for prednisone came in a plastic bottle too. No matter how "one with nature" or "environmentally friendly" it feels to tromp through the woods willy-nilly getting poison ivy is not very green. It definitely increased my environmental impact for the month!
For the most part my garden is doing well. My tomato plants, all of which are herloom varieties, have far out grown their stakes and the stems are flopping and sagging sadly. Held straight up they are all far taller than I am, the largest, called Belgian Giant (I thought that just referred to the fruit!) is over 8ft tall easily. It got so big that it was taking over all of the space for the other 2 tomato plants. I know it's a risky move but I had to transplant it for fear of loosing all 3 plants. It's been a week and it's slowly coming back to life. Many of the branches had snapped under it's own weight and when I transplanted it and gave the branches new support still more snapped. I have slowly been trimming off that which is definitely lost and trying to figure out which parts will pull through and survive. I also moved all of my basil plants to pots as they were quickly loosing real estate due to the tomatoes and zucchinis. My zucchini plants are just starting to turn their flowers into vegetables. My romaine needs to be trimmed. One plant has even grown a stalk up the middle with another head on top of that. My goodness! So far considering my serious lack of space and expertise I think my garden is looking quite nice and will have an excellent bounty.
My compost box is busting at the seams thanks to all of the refuse from my farmer's market bounty each week. I really need to upgrade to a proper compost bin as the cardboard box I've been using really doesn't have a bottom any more!
I have been using the same razor now for almost a month and it is getting dangerously dull. I have 2 more blades and then I don't know what I'll do! I am considering attempting to make my own hair removal "wax" with honey, there are a few recipes online. I think that may be more environmentally friendly than shaving and I do like how smooth my legs have felt when using a traditional waxing product. Hopefully I can achieve the same results.
I've been thinking a lot about green and homemade beauty products lately. At knitting club this month we had an Arbonne rep do a presentation about all of thier "natural" and chemical-free lotions and beauty products. While the company seems like they have safer products than most companies they do all come in plastic and aren't made locally. All I kept thinking during the presentation was "I could easily make that" or "how funny, Beth Terry just made a mud mask!" So I was talking to my friend who invited the rep and we are going to do a "not a dirty hippie" party at a knitting club sometime this fall. This gives me enough time to make and test a few recipes to see which ones are worth sharing. So far I want to try a sugar face scrub, a sea salt body srub, honey wax, a clay clarifying mask and a moisturizing/anti wrinkle mask (I have yet to find an adequate looking recipe for this one, I need to do more research on ingredients that help reduce wrinkles). I am also considering looking into some environmentally friendly nail polishes as one of my friends is currently obsessed with doing her own nail art.
I also need to start experiementing with my hair care routine. I've been doing the baking soda and vinegar thing for awhile now but with the humidity the top of my head has looked greasy and almost grayish no matter what I do. I don't like it! I don't want to wash my hair more frequently as the rest of it still feels dry, it's just the top of my head. I am going to get some corn starch and give that a try. Maybe absorbing the oil that way will help it look nicer. I don't want to look like a dirty hippie, I want to be green chic! If the corn starch doesn't work I am thinking of trying lemon juice instead of the apple cidar vinegar. I have read that lemon juice is a better conditioner for blondes but that may just be because it has lightening properties.

Alright, that's all for now. So much Green so little time!


  1. Hey Nic - I had the same hair problems when I first started the no poo thing. The dry crunchy hair is a symptom of not getting all of the baking soda out... which could either mean that you're using too much or not using a strong enough acid to rinse it out. I've also started using a few drops of jojoba oil on the non-scalp portion of my hair. I just comb it in while I'm still in the bath. I generally rinse with hot water after a few minutes to get any excess out, but the rest absorbs into the hair shaft. And if the ends still seem really dry I'll rub a tiny bit of coconut oil into them.

    The grayish stuff is sebum... and I had a devil of a time dealing with it for the entire first year or two that I was "no poo". I found that I really needed to use a stronger acid rinse to help get it out. Diluted ACV was useless, lemon juice was OK... straight distilled white vinegar was better, but citric acid works the best. I mix 2 heaping tablespoons of the anhydrous variety (not exactly sure what that means, but I think it's stronger than the other kind) in about 500 ml of water, then I use about a half cup on my hair. I have to put it on and then comb thoroughly with a fine toothed plastic comb... It's rather disgusting but when you do that tons of the sebum comes off on the comb. I usually just keep applying more acid and combing until the comb stops picking up crud. It's taken years, but the sebum level is finally starting to come down.

    Hope that helps! And poison ivy sounds majorly icky!!

  2. p.s. If you use citric acid, be really careful and don't get it in your eyes. To say it stings is an understatement!