Different Paths: Meandering Environmental Hobbyist
November 18, 2020
I’m not listing all the environmentally friendly activities that I’m doing as much on the “Secondary Environmental Net Positives.” I will publish that blog series maybe every other month now. The entire reason I had that series was to motivate me to make those small environmental changes and to give myself “credit” on the blog. It seems like these changes are just happening naturally, and I’m just going with the flow of life.
I had gone for a walk around our HMO parking lot, and found the wild growing rosemary bush. That led me to try to propogate them. There are fancy ways to propogate rosemary with root hormone and special potting soil like perlite, but one blog said just put it in some water – which is what I’m doing. I just check in on it every few days and see if anything is happeneing. I did save a few branches and washed and dried the herbs. I made Rosemary Infused Olive Oil and stored it in a fancy container. That led me to be inspired by our old cast iron skillet, and used the Rosemary Infused Olive Oil as the base of two new dishes I tried. Then I learned that a great way to increase dietary iron is to just use the cast iron skillet I’ve had iron for years that was a hand-me-down from my mom.
My succcess with the rosemary infused olive oil, reminded me that I had the beer vinegar that I had been making for the last few weeks. It was ready to be pasteurized. I first transferred the “Mother of Vinegar” to another beer vinegar project, and then infused the finished beer vinegar with more rosemary (but this one was from the store-bought ones in the pantry that I’m trying to use up). I originally was going to have it as part of a salad, but mostly have been using it clean the kitchen in a 1:1 beer vinegar and water mixture. It works fantastic and safe to use around food, which my in-laws love.
In addition to the beer vinegar, I had made also apple scrap vinegar. It was pasteurized as well and ready to be used in any vegan baking. We stored it in a pretty glass yogurt container that my mother-in-law fished out. It taste actually really good, and I gave my mom samples of both the apple scrap vinegar and the beer vinegar. But apple scrap vinegar can also be used as a hair rinse. 1 tablespon in a few ounces of water. I may try it tonight. It’s supposed to be good for dandruff.
And that led me to my hair. I’ve been wanting to switch over to a shampoo bar to avoid the plastic and honestly mostly to avoid palm oil. I had purchased a shampoo bar at Sprouts and it was a disaster. I finally purchased #hibar shampoo a few weeks ago from Sustainable Republic Shop, an Instagram litter picking friend and farmers market stall operator. They had helped me choose the right product. So I finally tried it and I did my third shampoo yesterday (spacing out the shampooing every other day) and it’s good. My hair feels very clean and I actually do think it’s a bit thicker. The most important part is that I’m not supporting the deforestration of Indonesia, but the unexpected side benefit is that it’s the first time I’ve actually bought a higher end hair care product and it’s actually better for my hair. I was to frugal before to buy anything fancy. And the fancy stuff that was pushed on me by the odd-salon visits never worked and was too much product in my hair. My bathroom is actually also decluttering which is amazing.
After posting this on my facebook and Instagram, I ralize that I’m in good company with other people. I don’t know if I actually am more beautiful or that I just feel better? I think happiness does a lot for ones outward appearance.
And just trying to make more food at home and reduce our waste, has led to a more diverse and rich diet. I discovered the kids will eat celery and carrots if cooked well in the cast-iron skillet. We’ve incorporated celery and carrots more because Retireby40, one of the blog’s I follow, had some Thai recipes that called for them. My daughter actually loves eggplant (which I did not know) if it’s cooked with well seasoned meat as it absorbs the flavors of the meat well. I try to base our meals on averting food waste and whatever vegetable I need to tackle next. So I start with the vegetable and the food that needs to be eaten first, and that serves as the inspiration for that night’s meal. It’s working for us and I think we are all eating better.
I made granola yesterday morning, and it was good. I have some ideas about how to tweak the recipe and will update my cookbook post later. And I wander around the house and check on my container plants. I mostly trying to grow radishes and beets, as I want to try to start eating those vegetables. But I havea pot of basil, parsley, scallions and more succulents than I know what to do with.
And everything is kind of growing and flowing, and I just wander where I think the earth tells me where to go. Yesterday I was paid for 4 hours of work, and I did more than 4 hours of work virtuall for our department. I attended the COVID-19 lecture, vaccine committee meeting, staffed our after hours clinic, made some phone calls, sent a few emails, and finished the VIDEO TEEN PREVENTATIVE VISIT Pilot. The pilot did not work, but at least we tried and I collated the results and finished the flowchart I had promised to do.
And that is how I kind of see life these days. You have to kind of go with the flow, and the flow of nature will tell me where to go and where to turn around. Yesterday I took a good run for 20 mintues to get my heart rate up and ran in the alleyway which is actually dirt and better for my legs. I passed several areas of plastic pollution as I was running back and forth. The area was also shaded since I was out later in the morning. And I then returned back during my “cool down” period and gathered a good bag of litter. The picture of that bag is at the top of the blogpost. And I noticed beautiful birds and flowers in the alley that likely no one else sees.
And the project was an interesting meandering journey, and it’s not the right time and the functionality of our electronic medical record is not equipped for it. So I stopped the department from going down that path and wasting too much money or resources. I appreciate Chief Boss for letting me try this, as I needed to try something to innovate to reduce health care disparities. And she realizes that sometimes you have to try something and it’s okay for it to fail – but hopefully not wasting too much time and resources. But I appreciated finishing that project and at least knowing the answer for now.
And today I will try again. It’s a full climate work day, as I’m not getting paid today by our organization. So I will donate my time to the earth. I have a morning call with Dr. Sally Kaufman to catch up on what the committee is doing. We have our epic Plant-Based Diet Journal Club this afternoon, which is likely the most impactful thing we can do to impact climate change – get people to eat less meat and more plants. And then this evening we have a city council meeting as part of Climate Actions Campaign, and testifying regarding the public health benefits of Encinitis going all electric and phasing out natural gas in their new home builds. So that is it. That was yestserday’s adventures of Dr. Plastic Picker, and that is the plan for today. Hopefully today is a success. But even if it is not (like the VIDEO TEEN pilot or my first attempt at vinegar) that is okay. It’s okay to fail, as long as we show up and try. That is true for so much in life.