Hello again! I wanted to start with a quote from George Washington Carver:
“Learn to do common things uncommonly well; we must always keep in mind that anything that helps fill the dinner pail is valuable.”
This pretty much sums up what I want to do right now. I want to learn how to garden organically, including how to compost and what really constitutes organic (for example, if you use cow manure in your compost but the cows at non-organic grain, is your crop still organic?), so that I can produce more of my own food. In addition, I want to learn to make more of my own bath and beauty products both to save money and to try and use fewer damaging chemicals (this does not mean that I am going completely natural – I still have highlighted hair and acrylic nails for now). That’s not to say that I think that all chemicals are bad – homemade soap uses NaOH or KOH by necessity, but I would like to limit my uses of artificial fragrances and preservatives. If you are making your own lotion, for example, and are planning on using it immediately, you can always make it in small batches and thus not end up needing preservatives. It is all an experiment, though. If something doesn’t work well after about a month of trying it (to allow a transition period), I will move on. And that’s not to say that if something works for me, it will work for you. I have read a lot about the no-poo method of hair care (wherein you wash your hair with a mixture of baking soda and water instead of shampoo) and I doubt it would work for me, just because (as anyone who knows me can attest) I have incredibly thick crazy curly hair and I wear it relatively long. I think I would have a lot of trouble working the mixture into my hair properly. If you want more information on going no-poo, this page chronicles one woman’s experiences: My No-Shampoo Hair Saga .
I am moving in about a month to another town in north central Florida, and that is when I really intend to start working on these things. Right now I am contacting a community organic garden up there to see about getting my own plot. That would be a new experience for me, since previously I have always done container gardening only. I will have a south facing balcony up there, so I will continue some container gardening, but I want to try to expand my knowledge into in-ground gardening. Hopefully the community garden has space for me :). The only plants that I am taking up there are two tomato plants from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomato Plants, which will hopefully still be producing by then (they currently have a few green little tomatoes each). Tomorrow I will try to dig out my camera to post some pictures of them. I will admit right here and now that I used non-organic potting mix with them, but I will try to be better about that in the future. I only use organic fertilizers on them and thus far *knock on wood* I have not had to use any pest control on them. They arrived in early March and we ended up having a few unseasonable cold spells, so while they are still growing they don’t seem to be as hearty as I would like (not that I blame them, the poor things).
Once I move up there I also intend to really start experimenting with different bath and beauty recipes. The first thing on my list to make will be a good hand lotion/cream/salve/butter because I can’t seem to find one that I really like. My hands get very dry for some reason, even in the summer. I will also start making soap, but since cold-process soaps take at least a month to cure it will be a long long time before you hear anything about that.
Meanwhile, I am continuing to read read read about all these topics. Thank goodness for libraries!