When I was a child we sang a song with a line in it that says, “Kindness begins with me”. I believe that a cleaner, better world begins with each of us. Government too often has ulterior motives in all that they do like in green energy. In the areas of being frugal and recycling I think we need to look to the past for ideas, “Less is more “Waste not, want not.”,” Use it up, wear it out, or do without.” are all sayings originating with our ancestors. Some of my inspiration comes from old homesteads. On them I see the most creative uses of items, such as an old rusty car made into a chicken coop. Now I am not advocating making a junk heap out of your yard but I think each of us could creatively recycle things in an artistically way. The old rusty car chicken coop I saw was really cute. We have taken a much more serious look at the metal pile and others junk heap piles too. I spied just a pile the other day that a gentleman had stacked while cleaning up the mess from the previous owner of the property. I made arrangements to get together and go through the pile.
As our income ceases to stretch like it once did, we have tried to become far more frugal.One of the things we have be trying to recycle is the plastic sacks that our livestock grain comes in. I have found the plastic more durable than the blue tarps you buy at the store. I had an entire winter’s stack of sacks to work with this month. I made tarps for our vegetable garden to cover crops this fall when winter threatens. A sewing machine, some thread, and patience with an eye that isn’t too worried about perfection creates some really useful items. Yes, the slick plastic slides like crazy under the feet of your sewing machine and a few not so nice words might slip out of your mouth when making the large tarps but it truly is worth it. I have learned don’t sweat the crooked seams. I’m tell myself that I am not going to fair to be judged on my sewing skills. Functionality is all that counts.
Two winters ago with some of the plastic bags I made a covering for our rabbit hutch. The cages had to stay out in the weather and they were not really the best suited for it not having built in houses for the rabbits to get out of the weather. I cut a few hard shell plastic containers to make do as houses and when it got really blowy and snowy, I slipped the feed sack cover over the top. I used all the same kind of feed sacks just so it looked a little less wild colored. I inset some clear plastic for the front to let in light and the rabbits loved it. Now those cages and a few more are in the insulated chicken coop and the cover torn a little in the corners was sent to the dump. There was a twinge of remorse but six more months of use sure beats buy and throw away.
Others sacks became bags a few years ago. Oh how we love those totes. They hold some of my recycling such as tin cans, glass, and old magazines. A couple more I use to tote all kinds of things around in including empty glass canning jars to the barn’s loft. I have five and could use a few more. Our kids think they want some of their own. I would be glad to make some as gifts but they have started making boring covers on the livestock feed bags. I had really wanted some pretty bags with bright sunflowers on the front like they use to make but I have not seen any lately. Everyone is
cutting costs including feed companies. I will just have to keep my eyes out for some this summer and if the kids want bags they had better start looking too.
I made slip covers for my knitting machine beds to keep them clean with a few sacks. I also intend on making some covers for some of our equipment to keep the dust off of them. The barn's floor is such a powdery kind of dust that it gets everywhere.
Right now I am in the process of making kite slip covers for each of our kites. Our grandkids dearly love to fly kites and the strings and tails are always getting intertwined with another kite not only in the air but especially when we store them. Since I don’t need as much plastic for the project, I am using the sacks our cat food comes in and a feed sack left over from the tarps for the garden.
Some feed sacks I stuff alfalfa hay in and set by the rabbit hutches. Alfalfa hay is a daily feed for them. I have a Rhode Island Red hen that just loves to lay her eggs in them. Be careful though as once she got stuck in it. When I found her she was soaking wet having sweated in the warm temperatures. Luckily she wasn’t dead.
Not all feed sacks are made of plastic. A small amount of my feed comes in paper sacks. They are white on the outside and another brown paper layer underneath. We tear them into pieces to use as fire starters. It would work great as paper for grocery lists, or wrapping paper for a gift especially if a bright red ribbon was added. One just needs to let their imagination run as I’m sure there are far more uses for those paper bags than what we have used them for.
My next frontier in recycling is the plastic encasing the sawdust bedding I use in the goat shed and chicken coop. I’m wondering if I carefully cut them open instead of just tearing if they are the right size to use as slip covers over my cow panel tomato cages. If not, could I not sew a couple together and make them fit?
I think recycling is really about gratitude and respect. Grateful for what you have and respect for the people in the family who work hard to afford items that we enjoy.