The Friday Feedback Forum

February 19th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Oi oi! Hello there, and hello weekend!! It’s time again for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

What have you been pondering this week? Have you made any recent life changes? Any new green resolutions? Have you been saving your change??? (I’m trying really hard but I keep emptying my purse for the homeless people who stand at the traffic light near my hospital, which I’m visiting bi-weekly. Ah well, I suppose they need it . . . ) So what’s on your mind?!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

And just a note – I’ve written before about the upcoming Swap-O-Rama Chicago, and since I think it’s such a cool event, I wanted to let you all know that they are currently accepting submissions from Midwest fashion designers, for the show that will be featured at the event. So all you aspiring designers in the area, check out the info page here.

Have an wonderful weekend all you dears!!


  • Tenise Rae

    One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is: How am I going to resist buying plants and seeds this year for my garden when we’re expected to move anywhere from April to June? This year is gonna be hard. :-\

  • Lily

    Tenise: Buy a few plants and put them in pots?
    Then you can move them whenever, and you haven’t missed out?

    One of the things I am thinking about is, how to make sure I have better soil in the pots on my deck than last year? So my seedlings grow more than 3 inches. Can it be fixed by mixing something in, or do I need to replace half the soil?

  • Tenise Rae

    Well the thing is…I live in an apartment. I have very limited gardening space. So I already use pottery for just about everything. I have several of those half wine barrels that I put my tomatoes in and what not. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to do tomatoes or strawberries this year cause the plants can get so huge and gangley. I want to be able to empty my pottery/wine barrels and move them comfortably. So yeah, I’ll have to use smaller plants and pottery this year I guess. :( What I’m hoping for is maybe if I do get a tomato plant it won’t be all that large by the time we move??? :D I also wonder what would happen if the tomato plant could be uprooted in April-June and then transplanted once we’re settled…..would that be too much shock for one little plant? Probably, huh?

  • Lily

    Oh, I see. I live in an apartment as well. Yeah, it’s possible that your tomato plant won’t be too big by June. Maybe just enjoy your tomato plant and some flowers once you move to your new place? It might be too much to uproot a plant, but you could always see what happens? Nothing like an experiment! :)

  • Kristen

    Our recent changes have been in making the best food choices we can for our family (and one child who now has to live gluten free due to Celiacs disease) So we joined a food co-op near us where we can get organic and local farm fresh dairy, veggies & fruits and lots of other fabulously healthy stuff, plus it supports local farmers! We are also still on the quest to eliminate plastic as much as humanly possible from our home by making our own cleaners and personal care stuff….
    Have you ever hear of the fair trade coffee called Equal Exchange? Check them out, great coffee, chocolate and tea that is organic and fair trade
    I also want to thank you for the way you run your blog advertisement free…I have a blog and website and was running ads on them, but when I read your comment about PBS, I realized how important it was to remove them and not have corporate sponsors to my cherished thoughts and work…thanks for that inspirational moment….you are doing such amazing stuff, thanks for documenting and sharing it all!

  • Squiggle

    Hey Sayward,
    I’ve been looking into getting a few chickens this year and I’m particularly keen to adopt some ex-battery girls in order to save them from ‘the chop’ (poor little darlings!). Any chance you could give us some more insight into the daily lives of your chickens and, as I am struggling with this, how your hen house is designed? I plan on making my own out of recycled (wahey!) wood and chicken wire and I’m trying to find as many examples as possible! Thanks :)

    Oh, and roll on spring…there’s planting to do!

    B x

  • Annelise

    We’ve been thinking a lot about organics lately, and about taking our remaining chemicals and packaging out of our lives. We’re buying shampoo bars from a seller on etsy today, and I just bought some fabric to make our own bags at the bulk section. Also, impatiently waiting for the time when we can start our seedlings, and figuring out exactly what we want to plant.

  • Tenise Rae

    OH yeah…..another thing I’ve been thinkin’ about is YOU, Sayward! Aren’t you close to your due date? You must be HUGE by now. :D

  • Valerie

    I need help. There are these very cute rain boots I want to buy. The problem is they are not made from recycled materials and they are not recyclable. They are from a big-box store. They are imported. I do not need them, as I already have a pair of big ugly black boots. This pair would add some cheery brightness to my mundane chores. I have looked and not found boots made from recycled materials.

    I run into this problem often. I want or need an item and can’t find it made from recycled or sustainable materials. Where do I draw the line? I know this sound like whining, and it kind of is. How do you all deal with this situation? How do you keep motivated to be green when the option just isn’t there?

    Thanks for all your help and support! As Kermit the Frog would say. “It’s not easy being green.”

  • EroSan

    @Tenisse: How about planting hot-peppers (chiles)?

    Take it from a Mexican, chiles are a GREAT addition to any and all dishes, and the plants are usually small and very “portable”.

    Try Jalapeños, Serranos or even Habaneros depending on weather you like “mild” or if you really like heat.

    And even if you don’t really like eating them (which would be a shame), the plants look very nice as decorations… once the chiles are ripe and red/yellow.

  • Sayward

    @ Tenise Rae – I love everybody’s ideas. A collection of smaller pots (you can score great deals on Craigslist) with various single plants may be just the ticket. What about focusing on an herb garden this year? I always do my herbs in containers – parsley (great for homemade soup stock and also in green smoothies), chives, basil plants are awesome for homemade pesto, cilantro, thyme, oregano, etc. Fresh herbs are sooo amazing! Peppers are a great idea too and EroSan is right – they are really pretty! =)

    @ Lily – You should be able to re-use soil but you may want to mix n some perlite to keep the soil aerated and well drained. I’d also recommend adding an organic fertilizer (a couple times through the season) – I like kelp fertilizers because they’re organic, sustainable, and one of the few that are vegan!

    @ Kristen – Doesn’t it feel amazing and empowering knowing you are making the best food choices for you and your family?? It’s such a great feeling, I just love it! And I know of (and love) Equal Exchange. Their coffee is great and their chocolate is mmm divine.

    And thanks so much for the accolades on the advertising. It was a tough decision to make but I really feel like it was the right one. I’m so glad to hear that it resonates with people. Let’s start an add-free, user-supported blogging revolution!

    @ Squiggle – Great questions, I know I’ve totally neglected representing the ladies here on the blog! I do plan to write a few articles on them this spring.

    Craigslist is a great resource for both unwanted hens (sad!) and coop building materials. We constructed a large run all along the side of our house. That way they have a lot of space even when they’re ‘caged’. Inside the run is a series of branches for ‘tree’ roosting (which is their natural instinct) in good weather, as well as a small nesting box for poor weather. The box was built by my husband and is super simple. You don’t need anything fancy – 4 walls with a chicken access door that closes (to keep in warmth) and a hinged lid for people access (to refill food and water and remove eggs).

    Them’s the basics, but Ill be writing real articles soon. Good luck with your ladies!

    @ Annelise – It’s an ever continuing process, ya know? Congrats for keeping at it. =)

    And I agree – I WANT SPRING!

    @ Valerie – I feel your pain. And unfortunately, I can’t tell you where to draw your line. That line will be different for everyone.

    But for me, I find that the internet can be great in cases like these. For example if you go to Ebay and type in the name of the boots you like, you may just be able to find them secondhand. Same with Etsy – they have a ton of secondhand dealers. It’s like thrifting on the internet! =)

  • Tenise Rae

    CHILI PEPPERS! Fabulous idea. I’ll definitely try that out this year. I love a little heat in my meals. :D Thanks Erosan!

    I also second the Etsy comment for boots. I LOVE love LOOoVE Etsy and can’t tell you how surprised I am whenever I search that site for something. People are flippin’ amazing!! :D

    I got a question for ya Sayward….are your chickens messy or hard to clean up after? I can’t imagine how they would be…I mean, they have the tiniest poops ever, right? lol. See, I was talking to my husband about getting a couple when we move to a house and he was flat out like “NO….HEEEELLL NO!” :( He says he had chickens and ducks when he was growing up and they were dirty and “shit” everywhere.
    I thought it would be cool to get a duck maybe too. My friend has a couple, along with some chickens, and she says the ducks are more friendly and social.
    Any advice I can use to fire back at my husband? LOL

  • Valerie

    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I also want to thank you for not just giving me the answer, but giving me a kick in the pants. I know you’ll make a great mom!

  • Ansley

    Actually, now that you mention it…

    I gave up gluten. Pfft, you wheat! I’d been keeping track of the food I was eating and my body’s reaction. I was thinking that when I ate pizza it was the grease that gave me trouble. Mmm…not so much. What finally did it was a friend bringing homemade bread and a few hours later me being in such horrible pain that seriously debated going to the hospital. For 6 hours. No bueno!

    Since then, my belly (etc) has been was happier. And I’m discovering new-to-me foods. Like…coconut covered dates and quinoa!

    Needless to say, I won’t be starting my day with Wheaties. :-P

  • Sayward

    @ Tenise Rae – I was actually surprised at how *little* maintenance the ladies require. We hardly ever need to clean out the chicken run and it never smells. When it is time to clean, you just rake out the hay, which has caught all the poop, and then dump it into the garden (great fertilizer!) or compost pile. It really is super easy, and we rarely have to do even that. I almost wish they made more mess, because then I’d have more of that perfect fertilizer! =D

    But from what I hear, ducks can be *really* messy and *really* stinky. I don’t have personal experience (well, we had ducks when I was 3-5, but I don’t think that counts) but that’s my understanding. I’d look into it more before getting ducks (even though they are SO sweet and cute! If I had more land I would definitely keep rescue ducks as well)

    @ Valerie – Heehee, thank lady. =)

    @ Ansley – I’ve considered trying a gluten-free month or something to see how my body reacts. I’m quite curious. Good luck with your wheat-free adventure!

  • Jackie

    This is a pretty belated follow-up to Swap-O-Rama-Rama. IT WAS FLIPPIN’ AWESOME!!! I wish there was one every single month. I came away from it with several “new” items of used clothing, plus I screenprinted, dyed, cut and sewed. So much fun!!!!