Tag: Homesteading

4 Reasons to Raise Chickens on the Homestead

There are multiple options for livestock on the farm, but chickens are a must-have. Here are 4 Reasons to Raise Chickens on the Homestead Two of the reasons are obvious but the other two aren’t as well known.

1. Eggs, duh

Laying hens can ensure your family always has fresh eggs to eat. Depending on the hen, they might lay a single egg every other day or they might lay as many as three daily. But, if you have extra eggs, you can always sell them to earn some extra cash. It is highly suggested that homesteads have a minimum of three laying hens and one rooster, but many families choose to have ten or more hens.

2. Meat… yes, chicken meat comes from chickens

Chickens can be used as meat stock. A single chicken will feed a family of four for one day with leftovers, in most cases. This may be hard to stomach but, the bonus is that you know exactly what the chicken was fed and how it was treated – things that can make the meat you buy in the grocery stores uncertain at best.

3. Bug Control

If you let your chickens free range on your property, they’ll help keep the bug population down. Chickens even eat ticks and mosquitoes, both of which carry diseases that might harm your family. Fewer bugs are also better for your crops or kitchen garden.

4. They Need Limited Space

Chickens don’t need a lot of space. In fact, they can free-range your property so they don’t even need a large designated run. It is suggested, however, that all homesteads have a sizable coop to keep poultry safe from predators at night.

The four reasons to raise chickens above make it obvious how important they really are. Chickens make the perfect addition to any homestead, farm, or even ranch.

How To Start a Homestead While Living in the City

There is a misconception that you need to live out in the country on acres of land in order to start homesteading. However, you don’t need to move away from the city to benefit from homesteading. Here are some simple steps that you can take to start your homestead while living in an urban environment. Read on for How To Start a Homestead While Living in the City.

Join a Community Garden, Co-Op, or Group

Even in the most densely populated cities, there are community groups of like-minded individuals who have an interest in homesteading. Complete a basic Internet search to see what kinds of community gardens, co-ops or homesteading groups already exist in your city. You may be surprised to find that membership only requires a volunteer commitment or a small fee. If you discover that there isn’t a community garden in your area, you can start one yourself.

Research City Laws

Every city is unique. However, many cities allow for rooftop gardens. Research the legalities of homesteading in your particular city. You may find that you are able to own chickens, start a rooftop garden, or participate in other forms of homesteading that you may not have realized.

Start Small

You can always start your homesteading journey in small ways. You do not need to start a giant vegetable garden and orchard or raise a dozen chickens to be a homesteader. If none of these options are available to you, there are other homesteading skills that you can start learning. This includes canning and pickling vegetables and fruits you can purchase from a local farmers market, learning to make and mend your own clothes, and creating your own varieties of soap.

You can start homesteading no matter where you live, even in urban environments. Whether you join a community garden or find other homesteading skills to learn, you can reap the benefits. If you decide to move somewhere else, you can often take your small container gardens and pantry staples with you.

The Best Birthday Gift Ideas for the New Homesteader

Do you have a close friend who has taken the lifestyle plunge with high homesteading aspirations?  If they have an impending birthday, the following are 5 top birthday gifts for the new homesteader that will surely have them singing your praises for years to come.

1. Blow Their Mind with The Encyclopedia for Country Living

If your friend is new to homesteading, they will feel overwhelmed with all the information floating around onlineThe Encyclopedia for Country Living is a perfect start to finding their niche on the homestead.  This time-tested book will have your friend covered, whether gardening or raising animals.

2. Dig Yourself Out of a Mess with a Fiskars Shovel

Yes. You read that right.  If your friend has a homestead, they are required to have a quality shovel.  They will probably kiss you if this shovel lands on their doorstep with your name attached.  Long after the coffee gift certificates have been drunk, your friend will be thinking of you as they are shoveling manure for the compost pile that will grow their award-winning vegetables.

3. Mucking Around in a Pair of Muck Boots

On the homestead, your friend will contend with mud, so Muck Boots will likely be their new best friend – I’m sorry.  If you can’t quite splurge on Muck Boots, these will suffice as your friend saves up their own money for their own Muck Boots from the money they made selling you their award-winning vegetables.

4. Almost as Nice as X-ray Vision – Soft Digits LED Headlamp

Winter months mean short days, so chores must be done in the dark.  This headlamp allows your friend to see in the dark – like a superhero.

5. Tackle Gritty Chores with a Monster Gorilla Cart

Gorilla Carts are beasts.  Able to haul copious amounts of whatever your friend will now be hauling is invaluable.  It also doubles as entertainment for the kids while they work.  Double win.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these “new to the homestead” gifts, as any of these will be used for years to come regardless of which direction your friend’s homestead takes.

25 DIY Essential Oils To Use At Home

Essential oils are a terrific and affordable way to improve your life at home, from eliminating odors to helping those occasional bouts of insomnia.

There are many uses for essential oils and you can mix and match to help make your life easier and more productive, all with natural ingredients and no added chemicals.

Read on to learn about 25 do-it-yourself essential oils to use at home.

Bug Spray


During the summer months, many people turn to chemical-filled bug repellent, but with essential oils, you can fend off those pests with an all-natural bug spray.

Not only is it safer, but a bug spray of lavender, citronella, and peppermint essential oils smells better than anything you’ll find at the store.

Room Deodorizer

 All Things Mamma

Buying a room deodorizer is much more expensive than mixing your own using essential oils.

Simply grab a spray bottle and add water and a few drops of your favorite scent such as lemon, lavender, or cedarwood. You can use this deodorizer in any room to keep it smelling fresh.


Cleaning Spray

 DIY Network

Cleaning products can cost a lot of money and contain numerous chemicals. If anyone in your home is allergic to those chemicals, you could be causing them great discomfort without even knowing it.

Thankfully, a mixture of distilled white vinegar, water, and your favorite citrus essential oil is an excellent household cleaner.


 The Well Essentials

Cold and flu season arrives during the winter months and instead of turning to a store-bought disinfectant spray, try this essential-oils-based one instead.

Fill a spray bottle with water, white vinegar, and essential oils such as tea tree oil and lavender and use it to disinfect your household surfaces.

[adinserter block=”11″]

Fabric Refresher

 Violet + Hazel

Pet owners know about the value of a good fabric refresher. These are used to keep your clothes and furniture smelling fresh and odor-free.

In a spray bottle, add baking soda with water and essential oils, then use it to keep everything in your home smelling clean.

Ant Spray

 Sophie Uliano

Ants are annoying pests that can ruin the food in your home. Most people turn to their favorite aerosol that can be full of toxic chemicals to ward off ants, but a better and more environmentally sound spray is available.

Add water, witch hazel, and peppermint oil to any area affected by ants and watch them disappear.



Hair Spray

 Traveling Hook Creative

Everyone knows that hair products can cost quite a bit when bought from the store or salon. A more affordable alternative exists, though, and it uses no chemicals.

In a spray bottle mix purified water, organic or coconut sugar, and your choice of essential oils. Not only does this work like other hair sprays, but it’s also better for your hair and the environment.

[adinserter block=”13″]

Lice Repellant

 The Healthy

When your children start school, lice can be a common problem. All it takes is one classmate to have lice and suddenly your child is in danger of coming home with the bug.

One essential oil mix that can prevent lice from attaching to hair is water, vodka, essential oils, and neem oil. Spray this into your child’s hair every morning to protect them from lice.



Mold Spray

 One Essential Community

Mold and mildew is a common household problem, especially in humid environments like your bathroom.

Mold can cause health problems, so a mixture of white vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon essential oil can be used to cut through all of that mold and mildew build-up.

Breath Spray


Nobody likes bad breath. No matter what time of day, bad breath is demoralizing, putting both the speaker and listener in an awkward position. 

To eliminate bad breath, just take a few drops of peppermint or spearmint oils and mix them with water. Thankfully, essential oils are non-toxic, so even if you swallow some, you won’t be harmed.



 Think Oily

Perfume is one of the most expensive luxury items for personal use.

With essential oils, however, you can mix your own special fragrance at a fraction of the cost. Your homemade perfume will last longer and cost you less than any perfume on the market.

Bathroom Freshener

 Simply Self Storage

The bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms in a home to keep clean and fresh.

Several companies have produced their own version of bathroom fresheners, but one made with essential oils mixed with water can go a long way in killing odors and germs.

[adinserter block=”12″]

Yoga Mat Cleaner


Those who practice yoga regularly understand the need for a yoga mat cleaner.

Unfortunately, commercial cleaners aren’t cheap so a good essential-oils-based cleaner is a great way to keep your yoga mat clean and ready for your next session. Simply spray your mat and wipe off the oils.

Sleep Spray


Insomnia is a problem that affects many adults. Whether it’s stress at work or too much caffeine throughout the day, not being able to fall asleep is never fun.

Lavender essential oils are known for their relaxing properties and can be mixed with water and other oils to provide a safe way to fall asleep more easily.



Cat Deterrent

 Apartment Therapy

Although cats are some of the best pets to have, sometimes they can get a naughty streak in them by scratching up your furniture.

Clear dish liquid, water, and eucalyptus essential oils can be used as a sprayed deterrent. It’s safe for your feline friend, but it will tell them to stay away.

Body Spray

 Buddha Groove

A nice body spray is always welcome at the start or end of a long day. With essential oils, you can make your own according to your own scent preferences.

Just add a few drops of your favorite scent to water for a refreshing body spray.


Hair De-tangler


Avoid the high costs of hair care products by creating your own with essential oils. Hair de-tangler sprays can cost a small fortune if you’re not careful.

Instead, use lavender and cedarwood essential oils along with vegetable glycerin and rosemary for a powerful hair de-tangler that smells great.

Makeup Setting Spray

 Hello Glow

Ensuring that your makeup stays on all day is no easy task, especially if you have sensitive skin.

However, a combination of vegetable glycerin, water, and your choice of fragrant essential oils will keep your makeup on all day, without the irritation caused by other commercial products.


Countertop Cleaner

 Bev Cooks

Making your own countertop cleaning spray is easier than you think. Fill a bottle with water then add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Kitchen cleaning products are usually scented with a citrus-like lemon or orange, which you can use in your own safer and cheaper cleaner.

Fly Spray

 Mary’s Tack & Feed

If you’re besieged by flies and don’t want to use toxic fly traps, try this spray instead. A non-toxic mixture of peppermint, basil, and rosemary essential oils with dish soap, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar is a safe way to rid yourself of flies.

It’s safe to use on animals, too, so your furry friends don’t have to deal with those pests, either.


Holiday Spray

 Old Orchard Beach/Saco Adult and Community Education

When the holiday season kicks into high gear, many of us have loved ones visiting our homes for extended periods of time.

Along with holiday music and food, you can help set the mood in your home with freshly sprayed holiday scents.

Use essential oils like peppermint, cinnamon, or orange to create a more festive atmosphere for your guests.

DIY Febreze

 Home Made Lovely

Lots of people love Febreze, the all-purpose spray that eliminates odors and freshens up your home. Unfortunately, Febreze is chock full of chemicals.

With essentials oils you can create your own Febreze-style spray that smells great, lasts for hours, and, best of all, is non-toxic.


Mattress Cleaner

 Health Starts in the Kitchen

Never worry about bed bugs again with this simple yet effective mattress cleaner.

Add water, vodka, and your choice of essential oils, then spray it onto your mattress and bed linens.

It’ll keep everything clean and prevent dust and allergens from gathering on your bedding.

Kitchen Deodorizer

 Elite Daily

Sometimes we love to cook meals that have strong smelling odors, both in the kitchen and in the trash can.

Spray a combination of distilled water, witch hazel, and peppermint essential oil to eliminate all of those food-related odors in the kitchen.



 Kale & Caramel

After taking a shower or bath, it’s nice to mist yourself with a moisturizing spray made of water, grape seed oil, vegetable glycerin, and your favorite essential oil.

It’s a welcome touch of relaxation for your freshly washed self and you can use it whenever you need some extra moisturizer.

25 Sustainable DIY Garden Projects

Everybody loves relaxing in a beautiful garden, with flowers and plants that enhance the natural scenery of the outdoors.

While the best public gardens look perfectly manicured and well maintained, that doesn’t mean the home gardener can’t create their own backyard oasis.

In fact, there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to make your garden a uniquely gorgeous and inviting space. Read on for 25 sustainable do-it-yourself garden projects.

Pallet Wood Garden Walkway

 1001 Pallets

Make the short journey from your back porch to the yard look pretty with slats of pallet wood.

The wood used for pallets is typically hardwood and can handle the outdoor elements quite well.

Simply lay down the pallet wood on top of a dirt path until you’ve connected the porch to the yard.

Tree Trunk Planters

DIY Network

If you have a tree trunk or a fallen tree in your yard, don’t just chop it up and put it in the wood chipper.

Re-use it as a natural planter for some pretty flowers. It’s an easy and clever way to add color to your garden

DIY Pine & Sage Beard Oil

My husband has a wildly full beard (hallelujah) and he needs to condition it quite often. Here’s the problem though, most beard creams are thick and almost feel waxy.

He wanted something that would condition without making his face itch!!! So… I came up with a beard oil that smells like a mountain man living in pine tree surrounded shack that cares about personal hygiene.



As for how much of each, I did half a bottle of jojoba and the rest EO’s. It is the perfect consistency and works and smells good.

10 Ways Homesteaders Are Saving the Planet

Homesteading is all about creating a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It starts with something as simple as a garden to feed your family, chickens to provide eggs, and it can go as far as growing herbs for medicine, raising cows & other animals and finding ways to do things for yourself and your family without the need for much else. Homesteading can also involve creating and making things based on what you have to provide a source of income for your family. All in all, creating a more self-sufficient lifestyle is rewarding and provides many benefits, including helping the planet! How? Well, I’m happy to explain.

Here are 10 ways homesteading can help save the planet:

1. By promoting biodiversity

Ponds, plants, animals, fish, it’s all part of the homesteading lifestyle.

2. By providing pollinator habitat

Bees and butterflies, as small as they are, do a very big job of pollinating our crops so that people all over the world can eat. By us homesteaders providing them with flowers to feast on, we’re helping keep them alive so they can keep us alive.

3. By cleaning your air

Many plants are air filtering. Did you know that? Clean air = less asthma hospitalizations for you and me.

4. By regenerating the soil

Natural fertilizer from backyard farm animals enriches the soil and won’t contaminate local drinking water like chemical fertilizers. Using the land productively helps prevent soil erosion so the land can continue to be used.

5. By shrinking the local carbon footprint

Locally grown food has the lowest carbon emissions, so whether it’s farm eggs or hydroponic basil, it’s got a lower carbon footprint compared to store-bought eggs and produce. Collecting eggs from your own back yard or from your neighbors is a heck of a lot better for the environment than a car trip to the store for eggs.

6. By saving the oceans

The more food you grow at home, the less plastic packaging. Recyclable or not, plastic can’t be recycled over and over again like metals, so eventually they’ll end up in the environment. Another win for backyard farming!

Here are a few more ways homesteading really helps:

7. By helping you stay cool

The extra foliage in our backyards help soak up the sun’s heat, preventing what scientists call heat island effect. The less green, the hotter it is. That’s why cities tend to be a few degrees hotter than suburbs and countryside. So uh, you’re welcome! Without us expect your electric bill to be a bit higher for A/C.

8. By lowering your grocery bill

Whether we’re bartering with our neighbors or eating what we grow, the overall effect is people are finding more of what they need outside of the grocery store. This keeps local grocery stores from hiking up their prices and may even lead to more discounted “manager specials” because people aren’t buying stuff fast enough.

9. By creating community

In an antisocial world, homesteads are a place where you can reconnect with nature and humanity.

10. By raising rooted children

Raising children on a homestead teaches certain lessons and instills certain values you can’t get from YouTube. Like that the outdoors has just as much to offer, if not more, than a screen. That good things take time, like the mango tree we planted in and fruited later. Raising children in to adults who understand these important lessons will make the world a better place.

Easy DIY CBD & Coconut Oil Lip Balm

I needed a new lip balm and needed it pronto. With the weather warming up, I found myself reaching for lip balms often. I don’t like most chapsticks as I feel like they can make your lips more drying but I have always loved the way coconut oil based lip balms feel.

I grabbed my CBD Oil and Coconut Oil and got to work.

I have some leftover glass jars so I decided to use them for my lip balm.

This recipe is actually very cost-effective and can be used to fill multiple jars. This recipe fills one small lip balm jar. Double, triple, etc. until your heart is content.

You Will Need:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

5 drops of full spectrum CBD oil (or hemp oil)

2-3 drops of essential oil (some examples are lavender, orange, vanilla, peppermint or whatever you prefer.)

Do This:

Melt the coconut oil first by either microwaving slowly 10 seconds at a time or setting the jar outside to melt by the sun.

Add the CBD oil and essential oils in with the coconut oil. Mix well.

Pour the mixture into a container and freeze for 20-30 minutes.


What Is Homesteading?

What is homesteading?

Settling on the land, living a life of self-sufficiency, and a nod to the simpler times before us all come to mind. In reality, it is a million different things to a million different people.

From those of us that have large acreage and fully functioning farms to those of us raising a handful of chickens in their suburban backyard.

From those who grow and can their fruits and vegetables to those who raise their animals for meat.

In our journey through homesteading we have learned a lot in a short time. We have learned what works as far as planting fruits and vegetables, and we have learned what doesn’t work when trying to cram a backyard with birds.

To me however, the most important thing about homesteading is that it is so much more than what you are doing, it’s how you are doing it. Each step in the right direction towards self-sufficiency and enjoying the outdoors is a step forward! The thing that has been the most rewarding though has nothing to do with growing or planting, collecting eggs or raising animals.

The most rewarding thing is how this lifestyle has allowed us to reconnect, with nature and and plants, and animals…but most importantly how it helps is reconnect with each other. To me, homesteading is all about family, good crops or bad, full egg baskets of empty, rain, shine and everything in between.

DIY Tiki Torch Fuel Using Vegetable Oil & Bug-Repelling Essential Oils

I am about to blow your mind (hopefully) when I tell you that I made my own tiki torch fuel using vegetable oil, citronella, eucalyptus, cedar and pine essential oils.

I made a huge bottle of it and filled up 4 tiki torches. I don’t have exact ratios, I just put enough essential oils in the vegetable oil until it smelled good.

It works!!!!! It’s cheaper too.

For me, I already had everything on hand that I needed so I spent ZERO dollars when I was in need for some tiki torch fuel.

Here’s Why I Use Oils On My Face & Body and Why You Should Too

Pictured: Vitamin C Serum, Apricot Jojoba Oil, Lavender Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil plus some favorites like the Harmony Moisturizer with Rose & Neroli Blossom annnnnd the Heel Butter.

Now let’s talk about WHY.

There is reasoning behind why I use what I use and it would be silly for me to not explain why so… let’s get to it.

Rosehip oil – Roses are amazing and provide many benefits in beauty but it doesn’t stop there. Rosehip oil is harvested from the seeds of rose bushes and is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin, all while reducing scars and fine lines.

Vitamin C Serum – Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce signs of aging by repairing the damage done by free radicals and the sun.

Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil regulates sebum production because it’s so similar to the sebum that your body produces naturally. When you put jojoba oil on your skin, your skin is soothed and moisturized. This keeps skin from looking oily and helps prevent acne caused by clogged pores. It’s also non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog your pores. Beauty products cut with jojoba can be used all over the body without worrying about breakouts.

Lavender Oil – Lavender oil not only boosts potent anti-inflammatory properties, but is also ultra soothing for skin not to mention it is anti-bacterial.

Spring Cleaning With Citrus

If you’re anything like us, you always have some sort of citrus around you at all times. I always use it to clean with and I love the way it smells in the kitchen when you clean with citrus, especially lemons. We had a grapefruit pomelo tree in our front yard for a long time and we used it a lot for cleaning with.

I decided to see what could be done with citrus. DIY All Purpose Cleaners are a great option! Here are some other tips for using citrus:

Tip 1: Add citrus peels to any garden.

Insects dislike the smell, so the peels serve as a natural bug repellent. In addition, as the peels break down they release nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium into your soil. Fertilizer, anyone? For improved efficacy, cut the peels into strips and partially cover with soil at the base of each plant.

Tip 2: Use citrus to clean cooking pans.

A simple combination of citrus juice and salt can be used to naturally clean pots and pans. Simply use half a citrus fruit rubbed over salt to scour the pot, pan, or other metal surface. This method is all natural and non-toxic, and will leave your metal surfaces and utensils shining.

Tip 3: Keep lemon halves after juicing.

Instead of using environmentally harmful bleach, simply add the lemon halves to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Then add dingy whites and soak overnight, then wash as usual for bright whites – naturally!

House & Homestead using Limoneira Lemons

– –

Photo: House & Homestead using Limoneira Lemons.

Subscribe to Limoneira’s Youtube channel for more information on the many ways this endlessly versatile fruit can improve life inside the home and beyond. They provide weekly videos full of recipes, DIY tips and other ways to use Limoneira citrus.

Top Five Reasons You Should Be Eating Duck Eggs

1. Duck eggs are healthier. The number one reason you should be eating duck eggs are that they are healthier. Now we all know the value of the “incredible, edible” chicken egg, but did you know that duck eggs are higher in essential vitamins and minerals? The free range ducks seem to have the highest quality of eggs, duck eggs in general have more vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B6, B12, Niacin, firemen, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, and retinol. Not to mention they have a higher protein content! Whew!

2. Duck eggs have more Vitamin D. Especially if your ducks free range, duck eggs have more vitamin D than a chicken egg. Vitamin D has a long list of benefits including skin and bone health as well as some evidence that it improves your mood.

3. Duck eggs are the special ingredient in many Baker’s products. Did you know that duck eggs make for a fluffier cake, a lighter cookie, and a moist and delicate addition to most bakery items? The higher protein content in the egg whites of a duck egg make them a fantastic choice for baking.

4. More omega-3’s! By now most people know how important omega threes are, but still many people don’t know how to add them to their diet without supplements. Omega-3’s help keep your heart healthy and may reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is generally understood by scientists to be a potential cause for many diseases. Also there is a link to omega three consumption and it’s positive affect on mood.

5. Lastly, I truly believe duck eggs are the food of the future. Ducks are a very easy animal to care for. Their feed is simple, their needs are basic, and they are consistent layers as chickens generally have months where production slows down. The thicker shell of a duck egg makes them last longer than chicken eggs, and their unique make up generally allows them to be a suitable substitution for those with chicken egg allergies.

How To Successfully Grow Orchids By Forgetting About Them

I figured that title would bring you this way but it’s most definitely the case here.

I heard orchids are hard to grow but I’ve neglected this thing and by the time I remember, I just dunk it in the pond to absorb water.

That may actually be every 3 months… yet, here we are… blooms and all.

How To Grow Basil Continuously

I love rooting basil. I love the way it looks, I love how easy it is and for some reason, the feeling of constantly being able to keep basil growing makes me happy.

Take a snip of your basil, preferably off the top, set the stem in water (clear glass works best) and place by a window!

Magic will happen. ?

Starting Plants in Used K-Cups Using The Old Coffee Grounds

Even though making a commitment to homesteading and a more self sufficient lifestyle can be a lot of work, I still can be a bit of a creature of convenience. Look, I am like you and would love to see less waste in packaging and less plastics used altogether for daily items, but also my lifestyle requires me to be on the go almost all of the time. I have to find the balance.

When it comes to those “must-have items” that are a little outside of the scope of sustainable packaging, I like to reuse when ever possible and recycle as much as possible.

This brings me to the argument I had with myself about justifying the use of k-cups in their single use, plastic packaging.

I racked my brain as much as I could to think about how I could reuse them, and the best I could come up with was opening them and using the small bit of coffee as fertilizer for my plants.

Then it dawned on me, though coffee itself is usually too acidic to grow plants in, once the coffee grounds have been used and hot water ran through them they actually become pretty neutral of a ph.

I looked at my #kcups and was able to solve the problem of how to reuse them by also solving my problem of finding a good place to start my seedlings before planting them in my larger garden.

The k-cups were the perfect size so I literally just used my thumb to poke a larger hole, tossed some seeds in the hole and watered daily. I wasn’t sure how well it would work until I started to see all of my planted seeds sprout.

So that brought me to the way I can finally reuse the K-cups successfully, and start my seeds. It’s a win/win, and as my inspiring sister at the eco-conscious consumer has taught me, every bit counts!