Tag Archives: alternative

Christmas Gift Sacks

Consider a reusable alternative to gift wrap.

Gift wrap is lovely, and fun to be creative with, but it does take time to fold all those corners.  Personally I’d love to be a mall-wrapper, at least once, but not everybody enjoys wrestling with gift wrap.

Paper is single-use, and generates waste (bigtime).  img_4660

There’s enough time left before the holidays to make some fabric bags to “wrap” with.

These use up scrap fabric, can be gifted back and forth, utilize waste, and frequently are part of the gift, as they might get used year-round to put things other than gifts in (like my Kindle, socks, and headphones).

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It’s just a square or rectangle of fabric folded in half, sewed up bottom and side, and turned inside out.  The pinked edge is a nice touch, and a ribbon can be tacked on, as shown, or…

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You can get fancier and sew a pocket with one or two drawstrings.

My mom made all of these, and many more.  They arrived in last year’s Xmas box, and some of them will go back this year (sneak preview!).

She also used new dishtowels and  facecloths (the small bags that just fit a hand, or a bar of soap, were promptly used in the shower).  Some had shoelaces for drawstrings (getting masculine – bootlaces in corduroy bags).

The smallest are the washcloths, and they range up in size and dimensions to … very large.  The size of a big pillowcase (speaking of which, a pillowcase would work great with a ribbon).  The sky’s the limit really.

Porcupines to grubs

I’ve put two roadkill porcupines in the grub generator now.

There are often porcupines dead on the road here.  This little rodent is not loved in Nova Scotia.

I’ve been skeptically eyeballing roadkill with grub generation in mind for a while now, but on the chance occasion that I actually had a shovel and a bucket in the truck, I acted on the impulse.

However, I was not super keen on being sighted in the act of collecting a mangled corpse off the asphalt, sooo…

Pull over, feigning a cell phone call.  When the coast is clear of vehicles, dash into the road with a shovel.  Dash back with bloody cargo and slam it into the truck.  Leap back into driver’s seat (cell phone call very important).  Rejoin traffic.

So far, so good on the sneaky roadkill snatching.  I have not been seen.

The porc-épic‘s in the bucket are excellent for making grubs.  Day after day, the grubs keep climbing out, far more than the dead chicken and small rabbits.  They must be quite dense.  What’s very interesting is that as the grubs ooze out of the crack in the upper bucket, they push quills out with them!  How?  What is happening?  A whole handful of loose quills comes poking and falling out with the grubs (!?).

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Every day, the hens get grubs for breakfast before their grain.

Grub generation: flies lay their eggs in carrion.  The eggs hatch, and at a certain stage of growth and motility, the grubs feel the biological urge to bury themselves in the earth to enter their next stage of growth.  So they climb out of the carrion bucket, in order to drop to the ground.  Alas, they are caught and trapped by the second bucket, and fed to the chickens.

Grub generation

The grub generator is in action again, this time stocked with an unfortunate young rabbit that met its end at the mouth of an unknown assailant.  If our dog had killed it, he would have waved it around proudly and eaten most of it, but I discovered the body on a path in an attitude of sleep (there was trauma to the side it was lying on though).  It will be transformed to chicken food now.

Vegetable chainsaw bar oil

I’m so excited to be done with the last jug of petroleum based chainsaw bar oil.  It’s disgusting, spraying that red thick oil all over every living thing, including oneself, every time you run the saw.

Every other kind of motor oil has specific protocols for disposal, but bar oil is designed to be lost during saw use.  Just vaporized, sprayed out, and dripped on the ground. Lovely.

Time to start using vegetable oil instead.

A friend told me it was possible, and I was startled.  You mean, no adaptation, just, substitute veg oil?  Yes.  Corn or canola oil, right off the supermarket shelf.  Not to mention, it’s about 1/4 of the price.  Only difference is viscosity, so the oil flow screw may need adjusting.

Wow. That’s a gamechanger.  One small change=major difference.  Better experience operating, and better for the earth.