Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary
Composting is a great way to generate fertilizer for your garden. That said - ensure you’re not composting materials that shouldn’t be composted.
Vegetarian animal poop = perfect to compost; feel free to use rabbit, chicken, horse, and cow poop. The rule of thumb is that manure from vegetarian animals is acceptable while manure from carnivorous animals is not. Meaning no contributions from Mr. Whiskers.
A Hungry Bunch taken from the Library of Congress.
Inorganic Materials + Diseased Plants + Cooking Oil
This should be obvious, but anything that’s glass, metal, or plastic isn’t going to break down in a compost pile. Additionally, treated lumber or sawdust from treated lumber shouldn’t be composted. As far as diseased plants go, think about it. Do you really want to raise plants using compost from a diseased plant? Probably not. And cooking oil? It’s hard to break down cooking oil and will eventually attract pests. Cooking oil actually slows down the decomposition process, so you’re better off disposing of it some other way.
Meat + Dairy Products
Technically you can compost meats, but doing so will give your compost pile seriously bad odor. Additionally, don’t be surprised when your pile becomes the most popular eatery for our friend the squirrel, or his friend the raccoon. You should avoid composting dairy products for the same reasons you avoid composting meat. Smelliness + uninvited critters.
This includes magazines, business cards with a shiny finish, catalogs, wrapping paper, etc… Usually this type of paper has been chemically treated. Interestingly enough the Alabama Sawyer business card would be fine to compost since it doesn't have that shiny finish.
Since we're on the topic of compost, feel free to check out our Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin.
https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995003748/PP/ (glass bottle image taken from the library of congress)
At Alabama Sawyer, we want you to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are some tips on how to be more eco friendly in the kitchen and around the house:
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every single eco friendly way to improve your kitchen but it’s certainly a start. How is your household eco friendly?
Images taken from the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/
Did you hear the news? We recently started selling our very own beeswax wood polish!
In honor of such an event, here is a “how to” guide that will give you instructions on the simple steps needed to polish your wooden furniture using our ALASAW polish.
You’ll need to figure out what your wood piece is finished with in order to determine how exactly you’re going to polish it. If you’re at a loss and have no clue, read the manufacturer's manual. The different types of finish include varnish, wax, unsealed, or painted. “If your wood has a wax finish, stick with a wax polish. If your wood has an oil finish, stick with an oil polish.”
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
-cotton washrag (make sure it’s clean)
-buffing cloth (make sure it’s soft)
STEP ONE: Apply the wood polish directly onto the cotton washrag and begin wiping it into the wood in the direction of the grain (or with the grain). If you need to apply anymore polish then feel free to add another layer.
STEP TWO: Use your buffing cloth to remove any excess wood polish.
And that’s basically it. Easy enough, right? Click on the sources below for more detailed instructions and information.
Ever feel like fruit flies are planning a full scale invasion on your kitchen? Have they already launched one? Ready the battlements, because here are some items you can use to make your very own fruit fly trap:
- a jar
- cider vinegar
- dish soap
- plastic wrap
First, pour a small amount of cider vinegar in the jar. Then add a few drops of dish soap. Finally, cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it. And that’s it! Once you’ve got the trap set up, you’ll start noticing more and more fruit flies getting caught in the concoction.
There are plenty of reasons not to use commercial weed killer. Maybe you have children and don’t want them to ingest any weed killer while playing in the garden. Perhaps you don’t like the idea of harsh chemicals leaching into a nearby water source. Maybe commercial weed killer is too expensive. Whatever the case may be, here are four eco friendly ways to get rid of weeds:
1) Pour boiling water on the weeds. This could take a few tries, but is probably the easiest method on here and doesn’t damage the surrounding soil.
2) Mix vodka and water to create a herbicide that dries the weeds out. Spray/ pour directly over the roots. Can be very damaging to any surrounding plants, so be careful with this one.
3) Cover smaller weeds in at least four layers of old newspapers to cut off their access to sunlight.
4) Lemon juice works great as a weed killer - and gets bonus points for not attracting ants. Simply pour some lemon juice in a spray bottle or a jar and you’re ready to go.
Oiling your wooden cutting board can greatly extend its life. You’ll want to oil it every time it dries out, and the frequency that your board dries out will change depending on how often you use it. In terms of effort this takes the same amount as shoe tying, so get ready:
- First thing you’ll need is an appropriate oil (click to see Alabama Sawyer's Cutting Board Oil.) Many people use mineral oil because it’s relatively cheap and easy to find at kitchen hardware stores.
- Evenly apply the oil by rubbing it into the board using a small piece of paper towel or a soft cloth.
- Let the oil soak in at least a few hours.
- Then use a dry paper towel to wipe away any excess oil. It shouldn’t feel sticky at all once you’ve finished.
And that’s basically it. If you haven’t already, take a look at some of our own cutting boards.
So you want to start composting? The good news is that it’s super easy and rewarding to build a pallet composting bin from scratch. Follow these step by step instructions to get started:
- Find a place in your yard to build the pile. At the very least pick a level spot that’s 3’ x 3’. Keep in mind the placement of your bin, do you want it to be easily visible or do you want it tucked away behind a tree so it can’t be spotted?
- You’ll need four pallets of the same size. If you’re looking to spend as little money as possible, I’d suggest embracing your inner raccoon by digging around in an alleyway, or asking a local business for their discarded pallets. Maybe a nearby shopping center will be kind enough to give you some for free when you ask nicely. Consider what you’ll find in the dumpster of a small business.
Another approach is the internet. Keep an eye on Craigslist’s “free” category under the “On Sale” items.
- Now that you have your pallets, it’s time to build the bin itself. Stand up three of the pallets and screw the edges together, these will be the sides and back of the bin.
- Then, cut your fourth pallet in half and attach it to the bin so there’s a side that’s shorter than the walls and the back. This will be the door. If you want to be able to open and close it like a regular door then attach the door to one side using hinges and tie the other side to the wall to ensure it stays closed.
Another option would be using a latch to keep the door closed so you don’t have to untie & tie a rope every single time you want to open the door. If you did everything correctly, then you should end up with something similar to the bin in the image below:
Doesn’t really get much easier than that, huh? Once you’ve collected all your materials, it should only take ten to twenty minutes to build one of these things.
Keep in mind that you'll need to store the compost somewhere before moving it in your backyard pile, so feel free to check out our beautiful Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin. These expertly crafted bins come in magnolia, walnut, and sapwood made using timber sourced almost entirely from the urban forests of Alabama.
And what if you don't have a backyard? Luckily enough, you can still compost. Plenty of cities offer a municipal composting program. If you're itching to know whether or not your city offers one, a quick google search should tell you everything you need to know.
Good luck and happy composting!