Archive for November, 2010

Vintage Lace Dress for Sale

Posted on November 30th, 2010 by Tonia 3 Comments

For anyone out there planning a wedding…..I feel your pain.  ;)   Pretty glad I’m on the other side of that madness now!  It was so much work, but completely worth it in the end, of course.

Possibly the most exhausting thing about wedding planning is having to make millions of decisions, big and small, every day for roughly a year.  Even for the most opinionated and decisive people out there, making sustained, coherent decisions like that will wear you down.  After a while, you get this thing called Wedding Brain {yes, that is the scientific term for it}.  Wedding Brain is different for everyone, but one of its main symptoms is rash, expensive, wedding related purchases.

I fell victim to Wedding Brain in the form of a beautiful vintage lace dress.  There it was in all its lacy vintage glory, for sale online and in my size!  “It’d be perfect for the rehearsal and groom’s dinner!” I said.  “It’d look so cute if I got it altered to have an open back!” I mused.  “It fits our ‘theme’ perfectly!” I lamented.

I bought it.

And then, due to the fact that our rehearsal was outside on a drizzly, cool September day and the groom’s dinner was a BBQ picnic followed by a vigorous folk-dance…I never wore the beautiful lacy dress.  It has been shut away in my closet for months now, sadly.  So here I am selling it for the same price I so rashly bought it for.

Behold, the very lovely specimen:

Reusing an old dress rather than buying a brand new one would be a lovely touch to a green wedding.  Find out more information about this beaut and see more pictures of it on the OnceWed listing I created.

Backyard Chicken Farm

Posted on November 29th, 2010 by Tonia 10 Comments

As you all know by now- because I basically never stop blabbering on about it- we live on a little hobby farm as of a month ago.  This new and exciting chapter of our lives is going to effect the blog in big ways.

We used to discuss how to cut back waste and minimize our impact while living relatively “normal” urban lives.  But since the urban bit is no longer part of the story, the blog will naturally be focusing more and more on rural life, subsistence farming, and of course as always, low-impact living.

So, today, I am so excited to present our first real farm-focused post, written by…well, actually she does a great job introducing herself, so I’ll just get out of the way and let her do the talking.

Welcome to the IttyBitty chicken tutorial!

chix

My name is Beth, and I am the proprietor of a small and completely over-funded corner of the internet called six orange carrots. My husband and I live on a small, adorably weedy half-acre in semi-urban California, where we grow our own vegetables, cook food obsessively from scratch and raise our own chickens.

Full disclosure, this isn’t the first tutorial Tonia has asked me to do for IttyBitty. We’ve talked about my limited adventures in worm farming, composting, and home canning, and each time I was flattered, but not sure I was the right person to pull together a tutorial. But chickens? Where chickens are concerned, I left dabbling (and moderation, self-restraint, all sensible behavior befitting an adult…) far behind long ago. I can totally do a tutorial about chickens, and I’ve been harassing Tonia for weeks to give me the chance.

{Ha! Yeah, ok, Beth! If I (Tonia) may butt in here- I was the one harassing you, not the other way around.  And I’m SO very pleased you’re doing this series on my blog!!}

chix2

Because there’s a lot to say, we’re planning on doing this in installments. Here in this post I want to talk about my experience as a backyard chicken farmer, why I chose to become one and the reasons I think you might enjoy it yourself. Then moving forward, we’ll cover:

  • Building a coop and gathering supplies
  • Choosing, finding and buying your chickens
  • Raising baby chicks
  • Caring for your laying flock

In addition, Tonia’s been kind enough to set up an FAQ page here, which has few starter questions that we’ll add to as we go.

Why chickens?

A good question to start with. Though they are surprisingly easy and rewarding pets, the most common answer is eggs!

Delicious, delicious, delicious eggs. However, given that a dozen eggs is clearly something you can find in your corner supermarket, the real question might be: Why go to the trouble of raising chickens yourself?

See the FAQ page for more about this, but eggs you raise yourself are tastier, better for the environment, kinder (x 1,000,000) to the chickens that lay them, and are actually more nutritious than eggs you buy in the store. This year’s salmonella epidemic brought the low standards of industrial egg production into the spotlight again, which makes it very easy to doubt the safety and humaneness of eggs widely on offer.

You could say that the goodness of your egg depends on the life of the chicken that laid it—and therein lies the part of raising chickens that’s good for your soul. They’re no Einsteins, but chickens are alert, personable animals. They talk among themselves, have distinct and occasionally hilarious personalities, and some (like the one napping on my Billy’s lap above) take obvious pleasure in human companionship. Most of all, they have an incredible capacity for pleasure and enjoyment of life—good food, their time outside, and their connection to each other.

What I thought would be a hobby has become a great and unexpected source of happiness in my life, because it comes with the knowledge that the food that sustains my family is based in happiness and health of animals we know by name. Not everyone has the space, time or inclination to add chickens to their family, and that’s completely okay. For those that can, I hope what this has meant to me will inspire you to set out on a new adventure, and that our tutorial helps you out along the way.

Thanks very much to Tonia for letting me share my hobby with you—feel free ask questions in the comments, especially if there’s something you want to make sure we cover. Until next time!

Reuse Tues: Puppy Dogs, Paper Bags & Plastic Bottles

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by Tonia 3 Comments

It looks more like Christmas than Thanksgiving outside my window right now.  We got totally dumped on with snow last night…the light, fluffy, sparkly, fun-to-play-in kind.

And since there was a request for more long-and-low-puppy photos, here is Charlie Brown {who has been forced into this new farm-dog life by his subsistence-farming-obsessed humans…poor thing.  He’s trying to have a good attitude about it for our sake, but it’s clear he misses the Duluth house he grew up in with its carpeted floors and the sunny spots that hit at exactly 10 and 1 in the middle of the living room every day.  But he agrees that the new-found hobby of staring at the wood pile for hours waiting for a chipmunk to show its face makes up for everything}:

"What is the new white world?"

Interesting smells and sounds everywhere...

Someone's starting to get cold...

Let me back inside!!

With all this new snow, I am definitely feeling the holiday spirit…so today’s Reuse Tues post is featuring a fun little project for the kiddos, just in time for Thanksgiving:

What a cool way to use a couple paper grocery bags that are probably haunting your pantry right now!!  Step by step instructions for this project right here.

Also, LowImpactBetty tweeted me a great #ReuseTues idea: “Save your bottles from cleaning products & fill them up with your new DIY cleaning supplies!”  And she provided a link to all the DIY cleaning supply recipes on her blog.  All her recipes are natural and non-toxic so I am a big fan, of course.  Can’t wait to make the wood cleaner in particular, now that we live in a home with wood floors!  But the main point here is that reusing the plastic bottles that cleaning supplies come in from the store is an excellent way to reduce the waste expelled from our households.

Mike and I are off to Chicago for some turkey eating with the family and a wedding, so most likely the blog will be quiet until we return.  But don’t despair…big-fun-farmy-posts are in the works so check back soon!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Short Hair is Green

Posted on November 22nd, 2010 by Tonia 9 Comments

I’ve been threatening to do it for months now, and I finally did!  Farewell long locks that clogged up our shower drain and caused me to take ridiculously long and wasteful showers!  Goodbye and good riddance {ok, fine, I will admit long hair is pretty.  I like it.  I’ll miss it, but this is for the best.}  I no longer have to complain about biodegradable shampoo not working as well as the regular stuff, because with this haircut it hardly matters…the messier and “dirtier” it is, the cuter it looks, actually.

I feel lighter, and greener!

BEFORE

AND…

AFTER