Saturday, 30 April 2016

Our Cats' Favorite DIY Projects

If you've ever been to a pet store, you know that there is basically no end to the number of toys available to buy for your pets. For cats, these are, for the most part, various versions of little toy mice, plastic balls with bells in them, and fluffy/feathery things for them to chase around. There are elaborate scratching posts, comfy beds, and of course, cat nip toys. I don't know how many of these toys people buy, but whatever the number, I suspect 95% of them have ended up in the trash or lost underneath of furniture. Every time we pull out our couch, we find all of the dog's favorite things (and a few dust bunnies).

I have made a few things for the cats over the years, inspired by the world of Pinterest. I thought I would share the few projects that are favored by our cats.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Yard Waste Cleanup Time in Calgary

Today's post has two purposes. The first is to let you know, if you didn't know already, that it is spring cleanup time in Calgary. That means that you can take your yard waste (grass clippings, branches, plants, etc) to city landfills for composting. This program runs until May 29th.

If the landfill isn't convenient for you, they are also accepting yard waste, as well as other recyclable items, at the community cleanups which are held throughout the city starting this weekend. Each community's cleanup is different, so it's best to double-check what they're accepting before hauling your stuff down there.

At our house, we throw our yard waste in a compost pile we framed out of pallets, but if you don't have the space for that, the City programs could be quite helpful.

Friday, 1 April 2016

In Lieu of Bulk Oil and Vinegar

If you follow Bea Johnson at Zero Waste Home, you'll know that she has found a bulk source for pretty much everything. Perhaps there are just more bulk stores in California than there are in Alberta, or maybe I just haven't found everything that's available here yet (I suspect it's a bit of both). Whatever the reason, I have yet to find a place to buy bulk oil or vinegar.

Friday, 25 March 2016

DIY Easter Egg Dyes

Today I set out to make a lasagna with what I believed were some beet greens from the freezer. On closer inspection, I found that they were actually a bag of beet stems, the greens and roots already cut off and used. At that, they appeared to have thrown in the freezer on their last legs, as they were stringy and unappetizing.

I thought it might be fun, and in the spirit of the Easters we used to have as kids, to try out making my own egg dyes. We don't actually decorate for Easter around here, but I thought it would be fun to try just dying some hard-boiled eggs that we could eat later in the week.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Replacing Plastic Containers with Canning Jars

If you visit Pinterest as much as I do, you know that mason jars are pretty trendy right now. People are using them for all kinds of crafty little projects, making them into pencil holders, chandeliers, plant pots, you name it. Sometimes I think people forget what they were meant for: food storage. Well, canning, actually, but let's generalize just a little bit.

For a while now I have been trying to decide how to wean myself off of plastic food storage containers. My cupboards, fridge, and freezer were filled with a variety of store-bought and re-used plastic containers holding leftovers, frozen soups, pestos, meats, and scraps for soup stock. We store a lot of food for the winter from our CSA share, and that takes a lot of containers.

There are a few types of glass storage containers on the market, and they all have one thing in common: they are expensive. Plus, they are not designed for mass use; they are usually sold individually or in small sets. If you have a lot of food to store, they are not a practical solution.

Enter the humble canning jar!