Getting Creative

If you are a collector like me, you have tons of stuff squirreled away such as jelly and jam jars, those huge Vlasic pickle jars, and all sorts of useful stuff that seemed like such a shame to throw away. Well, just when you thought that you might as well throw the stuff out, think again. Take inventory and use your imagination to discover new uses for what others might call junk. 

Those glass jars that you have been saving and your husband has been stuffing under the porch for years can be used to can fruits and vegetables. You can also tack the lids of the larger jars to a ceiling beam and place beans, oatmeal, dried fruits or vegetables, etc. in the jars and screw them onto the lids on the ceiling if storage space is an issue. Remember that paraffin you bought at such a good price when you decided to make candles, yet never got around to actually doing it? It can be used to not only make candles and save on electricity, but to seal odd-sized jars that you can use to can your harvested vegetables, jams, and fruits. The worn out clothes you would normally throw away make good patches, purses, wallets, curtains, comforters, and more. If you plant root crops such as beets and potatoes, use your saved store-bought potato bags to store them. These bags typically have holes in them to allow your harvested goodies to breath. Most sheep farmers here get rid of their wool every year at shearing time. They give it away in bags. Even if you don’t spin, raw wool can be washed and felted in the bathtub to be used as insulation for things such as water pipes and muck boots. I make little round felt coasters from leftover wool to protect my tables. Rita, the head Macaw of the family, gets a half-round of pine or juniper on the bottom of her cage. She loves to chew it, and while she does, trims her beak and creates shavings for the catch-tray under her cage. I also save things such as bread crusts, over-cooked cookies and waffles, and dry them under the fan. When they are sufficiently dry, I save them in a jar for Rita’s treats.  

Being a packrat is not such a bad thing. In fact, it can become quite useful when going to the store to purchase another whatzit becomes less than cost-effective. What I am suggesting is a new way of life that dates back to our great-grandparents’ days, and it is good. Conservation needs to replace the “use once and throw away” philosophy that we are bombarded with on T.V. This wasteful philosophy is not only bad for the environment, but also promotes laziness, and we can no longer afford that luxury. So instead, when you go to the store, look for items you need that are in containers that you can use again, such as pickles in the huge glass jars, glass jelly jars with handles, or any other useful items. This way you are killing two birds with one stone, and can recycle to your heart’s content. It’s time to get creative.

Horse Sense

“You can use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your kitchen counters, produce and even your cutting boards. All you need is three percent hydrogen peroxide, the type you buy at the drug store, vinegar (white or apple cider), and two clean sprayers, like the kind you use to mist plants. Fill each sprayer separately, one with peroxide and the other with vinegar (don’t mix them together in one bottle – that makes peracetic acid, which isn’t safe and can give you a bad chemical burn). Spritz the item you want to disinfect, first with hydrogen peroxide and then with vinegar, then rinse off under running water. University tests show that this technique killed more potentially lethal bacteria, including Salmonella, Shigella, and even E. coli, than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.” (C. Gupta)(LINK)


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