Natural Living Des Moines

Natural Deodorant Solution by sarahtar
August 19, 2008, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Products

I will say, I’ve not had great luck finding a natural deodorant that keeps me stink-free all day.

So, Inspired by Amy at Angry Chicken, I made my own deodorant last week. So far, I have to say that I love it. I have struggled to find a deodorant that worked very well for me and that wasn’t full of crap that I don’t want on my body. THIS stuff is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Or, at least, it would appear that it is, after less than a week of use.


I used the recipe Amy wrote out on the post linked above.


An experiment by sarahtar
March 25, 2008, 7:52 am
Filed under: Products, Waste

I have, in my possession, a few items I never thought I’d have. Three plastic cans of disposable single-use clorox wipes.

yikes, right?

Well, they were from my mom’s house from when we cleaned it out after her death. She had to use them in her dialysis room (to wipe down every surface before connecting or disconnecting from the machine – the biggest risk to her health was infection entering the dialysis port). We basically had a choice between just throwing them away (what a waste) or bringing them home and using them. Ultimately, we decided to bring them home.

And I thought it would be interesting to see if they really are that much more convenient.

After over a month, here is my report.

I have used the cloths to wipe down the toilet a few times. Overall, I much prefer cleaning the toilet with a rag and cleaning solution. For starters, my cleaning products smell really nice (not like Clorox), and also the thickness of a rag keeps my fingers comfortably far away from the toilet surface. (Sorry, I really don’t like toilets.) I did not find that the wipes did any better or worse job of cleaning than the usual rags. I did need to use two or three to do a really good job. So…rags win.

I also stuck one can in the bag that has Wally’s potty. We keep this bag in the car. It’s got a potty, the toilet seat reducer, wipes, and now also the can of Clorox wipes. I have used the disposable wipes a few times to wipe down the toilet seat reducer before putting it back into the bag. I was really grateful to have them, though, on our recent road trip through rural Illinois and Missouri for a few funerals. We were in a caravan and for some reason, our caravan leader stopped generally at small rural places with incredibly nasty bathrooms. I was able to use the disposable Clorox wipes to wipe down the public toilets so W could use them. (He has recently started refusing to use his little potty, which is MUCH MORE SANITARY than those public toilets were.)  In this case….wipes win.

But I have decided that for future car trips, I’ll just toss a small bottle of disinfectant and a few rags into the bag that holds the toilet reducer. No need for disposable wipes if I have a rag and cleaner!

That is the sum total of the times I’ve used the disposable wipes. I have no idea how long it’s going to take us to go through all three cans!

Progress report AND cookware safety by sarahtar
February 20, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Personal Stories, Products

Well, this week, I added a paper recycling bin (aka paper sack) to my office in the basement. It will serve as the central paper recycling bin for the whole basement (which also includes our family office).

And – I know! How could I own a business for 4 years and NOT have a paper recycling bin in the office? I don’t know. We have one in the kitchen with the rest of the garbage. Any whole sheets of paper, I toss on Wally’s art pile. Small scraps of paper, I guess I’ve generally thrown away. Shame, shame. Large stacks, such as what are generated when cleaning out the files, have always been either shredded (then recycled) or brought up stairs to the recycle bin. But having one in my office has already proven to be quite handy…

As for plastic, not a whole lot of progress there. I dream of some day getting rid of all of our plastic food containers and replacing them with glass like this or this. or this. But, alas, new food storage is not yet in the budget.

I did get to bring home my parents’ old pots and pans last week. They are nice, heavy cast iron. I loooooove them. They are basically nonstick without the nasty nonstick coating. Our old pots are a thin stainless steel, which I guess there’s nothing actually wrong with them…I just like the cast iron better. Particularly the skillet.

Interested in reading more about which metals are safest for cooking? This is a good summary.

Happy Farmer™ Kitchen Composter with Bokashi by nuevogreen
September 21, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Products

Happy Farmer™ Kitchen Composter with Bokashi

My first compost bin! Makes me feel like a grown up greenie rather than the baby one I really am. After much research I decided on the Happy Farmer™ Kitchen Composter with Bokashi additive and so far, I love it! Its a recycled plastic bin with spigot and a bag of Bokashi (a dry breadcrumb texture additive).

Its much larger than I expected taking up almost all the height and 1/3 the width of my undersink cupboard space (official dimensions: 16″h x 10″w x 10″d). The idea of this composter is that you place all cut-up food scraps including chicken bones and meat (I have only done fruit, veggie and bread scraps so far) into the bin and cover it with a layer of Bokashi inoculant. Once the bin is full, keep it closed for 2 weeks and voila you have a fermented product that can be added directly to your garden or into an outdoor compost bin for further decomposition without attracting critters to a free dinner.

You may be asking, how does it smell? Well, when the bin is open there is a strong, mildly unpleasant smell, but when the bin is closed I don’t smell anything at all. It seems to me that I don’t smell the food spoiling, what I smell is the Bokashi. Its kind of a beer/yeast odor.

There is also a spout on the bottom which allows you to drain a rich liquid fertilizer that I’ve been using on my house plants, and they’ve never looked healthier. The documentation says to drain every couple days, I tend to forget and only drain once a week or so, and still its only about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid. I dilute this in a gallon of water which must be used immediately.

Today I opened up my compost after its two-week hibernation. All the food is black, but you can still kind of tell what everything is, its not a soil substance like you find in an outdoor compost bin. The top has some white mold, but the documentation says thats normal (black mold is not okay).

The cost is a little less than a manufactured outdoor unit as well. I purchased mine for about $45 at Sustainable Community Development out of Kansas City, Missouri. I was concerned that the Bokashi wouldn’t last long but its been a couple months and I think I’ve used less than 1/4 of the bag.

The verdict for me? I like it. I really like the convenience of having the bin directly under my sink and I think I will appreciate it even more when winter arrives. I debated long and hard between this system and a traditional manufactured yard compost bin and decided to go with the Happy Farmer for its convenience and I think that was a good decision for me. So, this batch will go into our yard waste pile (open air) until we’re ready to work it into our garden for next year.

For more information, go here: