Jul 2, 2012

SBC 7/1 Eco-friendly Things I do

I'm so happy to have become a part of this blog challenge in one respect---I've discovered that young moms are carrying on the tradition in which I raised my family. As a "Baby Boomer", I was raised in a time that was considered relatively prosperous. I can't say that that was the case for my family, and because of that, I actually learned a lot about living economically.

My grandmother saved all the bacon grease (lard) and once a year made lye soap in a big tub out behind the house. I have just faint memories of it, but the tub was huge, set over a fire, and the soap was stirred with what seemed like a broom handle. Of course, I was young and small, so everything probably seemed bigger to me then. Our washer was a wringer type, and we rolled it over to the kitchen faucet to hook it up. There was a compartment for washing and a compartment for rinsing. In between the two was a wringer that you operated by hand. I can't find a picture of one, but you've probably seen pictures. Of course, all the clothes were dried on the clothesline.

When I was looking for a photo, I was stunned to find numerous posts on how to hang your clothes on a line. I thought everyone knew how, because I grew up doing it. I didn't realize you had to be taught.

She also was the first composter I met. She had an aluminum pie pan that sat on the kitchen counter. All the scraps would go in there, and then she would bury the scraps around the yard and flower bed. Nothing went to waste, either. I still have her button jar that is a collection of buttons that she and my mother clipped off garments that were no longer usable. The garment fabric was used for another garment or became a rag. I used to play with the jar, sorting the buttons by colors or shapes. No video games for me.

This is similar to the one I have.

We cooked all our food at home. Going out to eat meant going to a friend's or family member's house to eat. My grandmother used to complain about store-bought bread, but I didn't know what she meant. Commercial, sliced, white bread had become popular and cheap. I thought we always had white bread. I remember going to the day old bakery and getting four loaves for one dollar. Then later in my life, Roman Meal bread came out with a whole wheat version. I think that changed breadmaking for the better. Look at all the choices you have now.

I was very surprised to find out that this bread, which had its start in Tacoma, Washington, has been around since 1912. I guess it just took a long time to make its way down to South Texas.
Back to today's moms...by the time I had my children, the tide had started to turn with regards to choices in birthing. I was brought into the world while my mother was unconscious from anesthesia. Because of that, she was unable to participate in the birth. Since she couldn't push, I was removed from the birth canal by way of a pair of  metal forceps that wrapped around my head so the doctor could literally pull me out.

I had read some books on natural childbirth, and my husband and I chose to have our babies born at home with a midwife. I breastfed my babies in a time when mothers were still being given formula to take home with  them from the hospital. Formula companies couldn't make money if women were breastfeeding, and one of the easiest ways to ruin a breastfeeding relationship is to introduce a bottle when the newborn is learning to suckle.
A little propaganda time. If you don't know about this, you might want to look into it.

I also used cloth diapers. We didn't have diaper covers then, we had plastic pants. They were awful. It was about then that a company started advertising diaper covers in Mothering magazine. My friend who had just had a baby got the idea we could make our own, and we did. Ours was also the first group of moms to wear our babies, using a long scarf---rebozo--- tied in a knot. My rebozo came from Guatemala. I had a bright idea that I was going to make a bunch and sell them, but then they came out with the kind that were all padded and adjustable, and my little scarf didn't meet the demands of these newfangled moms.

This isn't me, but this is how our rebozo worked. I used it from newborn on up, even on my back.
 I still try to live as green and economical as I can. We recycle, compost, raise chickens and use their droppings in the garden. I can't garden much anymore because of my poor health, but I had a heck of a crop of okra last summer. Right now, I'm trying to sell crocheted items. It seems like I'm always making something and trying to sell it. We wash our dishes by hand, use a pellet stove in the winter for heat, use reusable water bottles, and eat foods in as natural a state as possible. I don't mean raw, just unprocessed.

Our newest chick, at the feet of its mother.
 So, hats off to you moms in this blog challenge. You have picked up the baton. Pass it on to the next generation.

1 comment:

  1. I recognize many of the things you wrote about - about the moving washer and wringer (though ours was electric, my mom still hand-fed each clothing item through the wringer). Sh also saved bacon fat and had a little metal container on the stove top with a strainer on top. I'm trying to pass along as many eco-friendly ways to live (that my parents taught me) onto my daughters. Hopefully they'll pass them onto their children so the legacy will continue.


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