Monday, March 10, 2014

Truth, Justice, and Cleaning with Vinegar

In which Heather, The Parsimonious Princess, introduces herself -- and shares a quick gardening tip.

Back in 2009, when I first coronated myself as The Parsimonious Princess and started my blog about saving money and frugal living, I would have been a little surprised at the idea that I would someday contribute to a blog about environmentalism and eco-friendliness. Then again, I would have been surprised by a lot of things I've ended up doing in the last five years, like cloth diapering, beekeeping, raising chickens, and composting with worms, to name a few.

The reason why I would have been surprised is this: I never set out with the intent to be eco-friendly when I began writing about my frugal lifestyle. Granted, I've always carried an appreciation for the beauty of the earth and feel compelled to be a good steward of it. Even with those convictions, I would have never considered myself an environmentalist. I mean, aren't those types of people the hemp-clad hippies that chain themselves to trees?

But as I continued on my frugal journey, I realized more and more that the most frugal way of living also happened, in most cases, to be the most environmentally friendly, too. Realizing that my interpretation of frugality and simple living also begets a green, eco-friendly lifestyle has made my money-saving endeavors even more interesting and exciting. I've come to learn that living frugally helps me live responsibly and sustainably; it gives me the financial freedom to make choices I feel are best for not only myself and my family, but the planet as well.

And now here I am, so excited to be a part of The Green Phone Booth and to claim eco-hero status once a month. I think I'm going to like hanging out here.

So why The Parsimonious Princess? I picked the name years ago for two reasons -- 1) the English major in me can't resist alliteration and 2) I am convinced that one can live frugally but still live well. Maybe not like royalty, but in a way that is fullfilling, interesting, engaging, and even exhilarating at times. I strongly believe that frugality and an eco-friendly lifestyle can go hand in hand. Want to save trees? Use less paper and more cloth! Troubled by the practices of the food industry? Grow and raise your food! Wary of chemicals in cleaners? Make your cleaners! I'm a big believer that little actions add up, in both financial and eco-friendly ways; it's the little things that can end up making some of the biggest differences.

Most days you'll find me in my home in Utah, being Mom to two awesome (and, might I add, handsome) boys and wife to my best friend (also handsome and the artist I commissioned for my super-hero picture). I take care of a cat, three chickens, and thousands of Italian honeybees. I am a bookworm to the core -I read fiction, non-fiction, anything. I love to cook/bake from scratch, canning makes me kind of giddy, and I've dabbled in homemade dairy. I love gardening and the inherent miracle of it all. (PS - are you saving your milk jugs for seed-starting yet? That was my first post on this blog!) An aspiring homesteader, I enjoy learning about self-sufficiency and making the most of what I have. I get an odd sort of pleasure out of making my own cleaning concoctions and I have an ardent love for vinegar (sigh...what can't it do?).  I also knit and sew but not nearly as well or as often as I'd like to.

In short, I love learning, experimenting, and creating and I am so glad I get to share some of my insights here at The Green Phone Booth.

And now for that quick gardening tip...

Now is the time to start planning your garden, whether you're plotting out a quarter-acre homestead or a windowsill herb garden.  If you're anything like me, you've amassed a fair share of seeds. Problem is, seeds are viable for only so long, depending on what type of plant the seed is for and how old they are. One easy way to tell if your seeds from seasons past are still good: wrap ten seeds in a damp paper towel or cloth and stick them in a zipper bag or glass jar (do not seal the bag or jar all the way). Be sure to label your bags/jars so you know which seeds are which. Put the bags/jars in a sunny location, making sure that the paper towel/cloth stays damp.

After a few days, if the seeds are still viable they should start sprouting. Some take longer than others, so give them about a week. If 9-10 seeds sprout, plant your seeds as the packet instructions direct. If only 8 sprout, you've got a pretty good chance they'll still work out. If only 6-7 sprout,  you may want to sow more seeds than directed as a back-up. If you get five or less seeds sprouting, buy new seeds.  (For more complete step-by-step instructions, you can check out my post about it here.)

Trust me, seed testing is good for your soul -- it's wonderful to see new life emerging after the long winter months, even if it's in the form of little seeds wrapped in a towel. As Henry David Thoreau said, "I have great faith in a seed. Convince me you have a seed there, I am prepared to expect wonders." 


Green Bean said...

Welcome, PP! I'm excited to have you in the booth and to read your upcoming posts. We share a love of chickens though you have me beat on the bees. I intended to keep bees and instead just planted a pollinator garden. I didn't have the bandwidth to start with honeybees but I look forward to being inspired. I just might change my mind ...

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Yes! Frugality and eco-friendliness so often go hand in hand. Especially if you take the more authentically frugal (IMO) long view rather than the cheap short-term view (e.g., buy quality over quantity).

I'm hoping to plant a few things myself this year, in a couple of containers.

That pic is awesome. Welcome to the Booth, Parsimonious Princess!

Christy said...

Nice to meet you! Thanks for the great tip about old seeds. Will be using it over the next week with my seed collection.

Heather Dixon said...

Fantastic! I'm looking forward to trying these tips. Also--AWESOME picture ^_^


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