Reduce Footprints – Change The World Wednesday Challenge

Originally Posted at Simple is Working 8/4/11.

The past month I have participated in a challenge series every Wednesday over at Reduce Footprints. The challenges have been interesting and doable, even for someone who is just coming into the “greener” world and staying more on the sidelines, until I figure out more of where I fit philosophically in today’s green world.

On Wednesday readers are challenged to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW on Twitter) and do some small thing that is within our power to do, that will help reduce our footprint a bit. The community is funny, at times a bit irreverent (I like), but wants to do some small thing to do something a little more green and change the world just a little.

While I haven’t participated as much as I should, I am still a newbie and don’t want to step on toes or come across as too crass/or an ass, so as I get more comfortable with the others and understand their sense of humor and they understand mine, I will take part more.
This week the challenge is:

This week, use what is in your cupboards, pantry, freezers, etc. before buying new food items.

(A few people have asked for a little clarification on this challenge so here’s my view of it – ideally one wouldn’t need to shop at all and would make do with what’s in the cupboard. However, if that doesn’t work for you, then using what you have and buying a little something to go with it would be fine. If you do buy something, be sure that it isn’t stashed away and forgotten but rather used up this week. I hope that helps!)

Now I think for most people this is a great challenge, however, the wife inventories and checks the seals on our food stores 2-3 times a year and we either eat what needs to go away within a few weeks or if it is bad it goes to the compost bin/trash/recycling. She just did the summer inventory/freezer defrost last month so we don’t have a lot of food items that have been in the back of the freezer or pantry, that have been forgotten or unused.

The other thing is that we believe in having a certain amount of food available in the case of emergencies and these are rotated through our food inventories to make sure that they don’t go to waste or if they are bad, that they are properly disposed of before they start to spoil and stink up the house or make us sick if we tried to eat the “bad” food.

Also remember to look in your camping/backpacking supplies, you remember those things you left packed “for next time”, but haven’t been camping in how long? Are they still good, even freeze-dried food doesn’t last forever, especially if the bag is not air tight for some reason or other (you sat on your backpack and punctured it with…etc.).

I would like to challenge the #CTWW group to take the time (I know that this is a busy time of year – most of us are harvesting some sort of crop or other) to do a written/computer inventory of the food stuffs you have, which will force you to actually look at what you have and then use up the stuff that should be used up this next week or s, but if you discover food that is bad dispose of it properly before you buy new food.  Remember the food you have designated for emergencies, doesn’t count in this challenge.

To make it a little more interesting – that includes buying food to eat out for the next week :P.

Having an actual inventory of what you really have and then crossing it off, when you use it does two things:

  1. Let’s you know what you have left
  2. What you need to re-supply, so that if you are planning a meal you “know” whether you have it or not.

Do we keep our inventory perfect – hell no! This is me you are talking about (the wife is always giving me grief because I didn’t cross something off the inventory add something to the grocery list that I used up, but it is close enough that we don’t have too many surprises.

I hope that this is in keeping with the Change The World Wednesday challenges. If not I tried 🙂

Skunked = Not Much Sleep

Image by prawnpie ~ Volker NeumannOriginally posted at Simple is Working 8/4/11.

We sleep with the window open this time year (yes it has a screen) and every so often Bennie, runs over and barks out at some critter in the yard at odd times throughout the night.

Last night at around 2:30 A.M. (yes in the morning) he did his barking routine and suddenly stopped. He made a funny noise and jumped back on the bed.  In an instant I knew why.

There came the very strong aroma of “aude de skunk” and it reeked.  I wasn’t sure if it had sprayed through the window or not, so I lept out of bed and slammed the window down, to limit what was coming in or could be coming again – but the damage had already been done.  The bedroom had been skunked. We smelled Bennie and he didn’t have any skunk smell, but the skunk had definitely sprayed close enough that it was unpleasant in the bedroom to say the least.

After about half an hour of laying there trying to get back to sleep, we gave up and moved out of the bedroom – it was that bad. I had a major league pounding headache and the wife was feeling nauseous due to the skunk smell.  We sleep with the door shut at night to keep the 5 cats out, so the rest of the house didn’t smell too bad.

I found out that sleeping in my recliner sucks.  It is great for a nap or even an hour long snooze, but trying to actually sleep in the chair just didn’t work.  I did sleep intermittently, but not the deep sleep needed to restore a body after a long day.

This morning I am more than a little groggy, short-tempered and tired.  After waking up, we went and checked the bedroom out and it wasn’t too bad, but still had the skunk’s odor, when I went outside and checked around the pole cat definitely sprayed, but it appears that it missed the house (or got the corner of it), but didn’t miss the lawn right by the wall at the head of our bed.  Well it will take a couple of days to a week to get rid of most of the smell, so no sleeping with the window open at night for a while.

This is the kind of day that I better do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking.  This is also part of the aging process that I don’t like.  If I don’t get my 7-8 hours of sleep, I really don’t function all that well, which is a lot different than those younger days when we would party to 3-4 in morning, get up at 6 and be ready to work a full day and do it again the next night.  Well those days are definitely over!

Hopefully, I am not too cranky today, because for the first time in a long time I actually am going to be in public and have to interact with others (dentists and going away party for someone) and of course it happens on a day that we got skunked 😦

There ain’t a whole lot you can do to prepare for a skunk spraying in your yard, now if I can just get rid of the headache.  We will laugh about this when we look back on it, but just not today.

Image by prawnpie Volker Neumann on Flikr