Archive for October, 2010

Reuse Tues!

Posted on October 20th, 2010 by Tonia 6 Comments

Life on the farm has been great so far!  We have had a steady stream of visitors ever since we moved in, and it has been a blast to show our friends the place, fire up the sauna numerous times {like, every single night}, and cook meals together.  We have gotten nearly zero unpacking accomplished, however………hence why I have not posted any photos of the place on here yet!  It is still a jungle of boxes and laundry baskets full of STUFF.

Ugh…stuff.  Don’t get me started on stuff.  Well ok, since you brought it up:  we have too much stuff.  Most of the stuff looked good/made sense in our old house…but in the new house it doesn’t look right.  I want to decorate the new house a little differently…yet, I’m not about to go out and get ALL NEW STUFF, so I need to find ways to use the old stuff in new ways.

Therefore, I am coining a new Twitter hashtag:  #ReuseTues

Use the tag to tweet about reusing old stuff to make new stuff.  There’s way too much throwing away happening in this country.  I’m not condoning a pack-rat mentality at all, I’m just saying that we should think twice before we dispose of items that, with a little wit and creativity, could serve a different function perfectly.

Ladder turned bookshelf:



Rug made from old t-shirts:



 Cookie sheet turned clock:



Have you ever reused an old item in a new way?  I’d love to see and share your projects/pictures with everyone, so send them my way for future ReuseTues posts!

{P.S. Even though it is pretty easy to lose track of time and days here in the woods, I am actually aware that today is Wed., not Tues…but I came up with the idea for ReuseTues one day too late…and “reuse” doesn’t rhyme with Wed.}

Itty Bits: Making the Move to Biodegradable

Posted on October 12th, 2010 by Tonia 6 Comments

It’s official- we live on a little farm.  We completed the move last weekend with the help of many friends and family.  It feels absolutely awesome to finally be home in this place we have pined over and dreamt of for nearly a year.  Now, if only we could sell our Duluth house, we’d be REALLY happy!  I promise, a whole big long awesome post will be coming soon with pictures of the new place.  I want to get it somewhat set up and looking cute before I let you all see it!  Currently there are still big boxes…everywhere.

Day 1 at the farm, it became pretty obvious that our lives here are going to be very different than before.  First of all, this place is much more rustic than our Duluth house.  It’s an old, charming, romantic farmhouse…but with all that charm comes certain idiosyncrasies.  The stairs are squeaky, for example.  There is a colony of mice living quite the comfy life in the walls of the guest cottage {an issue that needs to be remedied immediately, if we ever hope to rent it out.}  And the previous owners converted the plumbing to a gray-water system…meaning we have to use biodegradable soaps and cleaning supplies. 

This last issue might not seem like an issue to some of you.  You might be thinking, “awesome! everyone in the world should be using bio-deg stuff!”  And you’re right…it’s ridiculous that it is normal for us to pour products with toxins and all kinds of terrible pollutants down our drains daily.  I know this, and yet I am finding it difficult to part with many of my favorite products.


Photo from:

For example, personal hygiene products.  Let’s be honest…bio-deg shampoos and conditioners JUST DON’T WORK AS WELL.  I’m speaking from personal experience here.  I have yet to find a bio-deg brand that doesn’t leave my hair feeling kind of sticky, looking flat, and definitely not shiny or smooth.  Boo!  What’s a girl who desires to live a low-impact life, but enjoys soft, silky hair to do?

I wrote Aveda’s corporate office an email, asking if their hair products are bio-deg, in hopes that I would not have to kick my Aveda addiction upon arrival at the farm.  They wrote me the following confusing message…

Dear Tonia,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Aveda.
Aveda products contain biodegradable surfactants, essential oils and other ingredients which are readily treatable by municipal sewage treatment plants, and are considered non-toxic.
Hair care products in general should not be released or discharged directly into the environment.  Even if the product is biodegradable, states like Minnesota do not permit usage of shampoos or cleaners in open lakes, rivers or ponds.
Should you need further assistance, please contact our Consumer Relations team at 800.328.0849 between 8am-5:30pm Central Standard Time to speak with a Customer Service Representative.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns.


AVEDA – Customer Relations – Blaine
Aveda Global Consumer Communications

Ok so, your products are bio-deg, but I shouldn’t use them like they are?  Hmmm… Maybe this is just Aveda’s way of subtly reminding us that gray-water systems are not exactly legal.  That’s right, most state governments- lacking any real way to control whether or not people would just dump all kinds of toxic crap down their drains- made gray-water systems against the rules altogether. 


Photo from:

So, shhh, don’t tell anyone we’re doing this.  But maybe there’s a real good reason for this law?  I mean, how much harm are we doing by depositing all this soap into the ground?  Even if it is bio-deg, how quickly does it break down?

Of all the environmental buzzwords ‘biodegradable’ has perhaps been the most misused and the most difficult to understand.  Because in the past there have been no guidelines or regulations, many products have called themselves biodegradable without any real justification.”

This quote was found on this website, which has a great article on the matter.  It’s true, you can’t take these claims at face value, you must always read the ingredient list to make sure there’s nothing nasty in it.  I also read this article that states that bio-deg soap made with essential oils {like avocado oil} breaks down quickly in soil, and will actually help your compost pile decompose quicker, if you add a small amount to it.

All the research I can find says that soil does an excellent job of breaking soap down quickly.  But we will have to be extra careful that none of our soapy water is getting anywhere near a fresh water source.  Soap deposited directly into a body of water {like, if you take a “shower” in a lake or river} does not break down.  SOIL is the key elements here.

It looks like I am just going to have to deal with sticky hair from now on.  I am sure I will get used to it, but hey, if I have to suffer- so should you.  😉  The Itty-Bitty Challenge this week is to use bio-deg soap {in the shower, for your dishes, everything!} for at least a week.  Make the switch permanent if you can!

Married and Stuff

Posted on October 7th, 2010 by Tonia 3 Comments

We’re back from our honeymoon!  We’re married!  We’re so happy! 

AND…We’re moving to our hobby farm this weekend!  I promise there will be a whole post, drippy with wedding details, soon.  I can’t wait to set up my home-office in the new farmhouse and compose my first blog post from there! 

We’re going to have so much fun together, you and me, discovering this whole new world of living the married life on little farm.