I sometimes feel like I've been slacking on this challenge but when I make out a recap list, that feeling disappears - quickly! Deep breath and here's my update:
Those unpronounce-able ingredients have just about disappeared from my kitchen shelves. Instead of boxes of processed snacks, I'm making my own bread, pasta, crackers, and granola from scratch, using organic flours, etc.
I still get my java jolt from cold-brewed coffee (no electric usage), and now it's only from Fair Trade brands!
I eat very little beef, chicken, and pork, enjoying the different grains and legumes as proteins. So my support of factory farmed animals is nearly cut off. An occasional take out meal is where I have no control of this.
The space in my living room where the television was located has a stack of old suitcases loaded with vintage sewing trims, notions, and supplies. I've regained the hours that I used to spend sitting in front of that electric box.
My utility usage is still very low. I did cave in during the oppressive heat a few weeks ago and bought one of those floor model air conditioners. Waking up to 82 degrees in the house each morning and feeling ill wasn't a good thing. But the a/c does the trick and I only run it when absolutely necessary, and for only a few hours. The electric bill that arrived yesterday shows only a slight increase, so it doesn't use much more than the two electric fans I was using. Very livable! A double relief!
I haven't had paper towels in the house for months, using cleaning cloths instead. And I use cloth dinner napkins instead of paper, even carrying one with my lunch for work.
Lunch is packed in glass canning jars or Pyrex containers (no plastic), and I still have my recycled sandwich wrap. I also bring "real" forks and spoons, skipping the disposable flatware.
I ran out of homemade deodorant and tried another trick that I read online, using a splash of witch hazel and a few drops of tea tree and lavender essential oils. It's easy and works for me!
As far as being self-sustaining, I've got lots of berries (blue- and straw-) in the freezer. And I still make short-storage pickles from the little cukes I get at the farmers market. Not much, but it's okay for now.
Goals not met:
Biking to work. Seriously not a good idea when it's been at or above 90 degrees and oppressively humid. Along with the traffic and lack of bike lanes around here, it gets a little scary. For now my two-wheeling will be confined to the paths (like the one I'll be on tomorrow!)
Goals going forward:
Buying organic chicken and beef. Yep. It's time to support the small farmer growing meats, the same as I support the organic veggie growers at the farmers market. I'll be buying some chicken this week.
Fermented pickles. Before the season is over and I am filled with regrets, I need to get some cucumbers soaking in brine. I'll be looking for a suitable crock/glass jar at the thrift shops this coming week.
Overall, every change I've made has become part of my routine. Because when it's a SMALL change, it's not an agonizing effort. It becomes habit. Thank you, again, Hip Mountain Mama for starting One Small Change! Best wishes to everyone who has made small changes. Keep up the great work!