Simple and good.

It’s 8:24am and my child is still sleeping. Too much partying this weekend, I suppose.

We’re trying to make simple, good decisions here at TexasNorth*. [Note that text in brown takes you to a related article if you click on it.]

We are trying to recycle as much as possible. This means Paper Gator at church, which is easy… but then recyling at the 10 Mile drop-off as well. You can recycle everything! Our trash company charges $14 a month for a very limited service, so we cancelled and have been doing only paper for a year…but that just wasn’t sitting well with me. The more I use and the more I watch other people use (and the more I drive by the Coopersville landfill) the more I want to contribute less to that cause. SO. We’re gonna make a cutie-old-barn-wood bench for the front porch with some wooden bins inside that I can simply pull out and throw in the back of Boo and head in to Rockford once a month. Simple, right? Double function bench/Mulder recycling center, better conscience. Good. Simple.

We are trying to avoid plastic…for infinite reasons. Some are aesthetic: I don’t want huge bulky red and yellow toys in the living room- they don’t match my chicken coop window from GrandPap’s. Some are functional: I don’t like what I’ve been reading about plastics and alternatives are so easily found that it just makes sense to choose other things. So, a stainless steel sippy cup for Rylie. Less plastic toys…more wooden ones… less disposable diapers… more cloth… less plastic bags, more cloth market bags. Good.

We’re not trying to overhaul our little world. We’re just trying to slowly incorporate better decisions into our everyday life here on the farm- from food to purchases to chores to play. I want to teach Rylie to think. I think we give up because everything else is just so darn easy these days. I’m finding, though, that the alternatives are not any less easy… you just have to train your brain to go to Option #2.

The hardest area is clothing…I have long been a fan of knowing where your clothes are made and buying smartly- quality, factory knowledge, etc. American clothing is hard to find. Insport is a fun new find at the local running shop- 95% USA made. But, obviously…most of our clothing is bought on a need-basis, not for a greater cause. When you just simply need some pants that fit- dangit, you don’t spend 2 months researching employee benfit packages for the workers in the Thailand Gap factory. Well, I don’t, I should say. So, I’d like an easy decision here. I’d like to find a place I can just buy and feel good about. American Apparel, right? They have a fantastically succesful business form. They make everything right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. They have every shirt style you can imagine…plain and simple and perfect and logo-free. Organic if you want. Purple if you want. Baby size, if you want.

Problem: the owner is a punk. He’s a real self-admitted goon. He admits to sleeping with employees. He admits AA advertising is soft porn. He admits the model shots are meant to suggest creepy-basement-web sex photos. Disturbing at the very least, people. We all agree. So, my question is- how much do I care about that? Do I boycott this because it’s- HE’S- disgusting? Or do I admit I know nothing about other owners and may be unknowingly supporting their drug habits as well, just with less press? Do I buy because the company is right on? I seriously go back and forth…back and forth.

You tell me- anonymously, if you wish. I am torn. Speak the wisdom, folks. Speak it.

She’s still sleeping. 8:54am.

* Please note that our decisions are simply that- our decisions– and are not meant to fix the world or alienate anyone. When you come to the farm, you will find plastic toys and coolwhip tupperware. You will find questionable music and serious junk food. I’m just trying to do less bad. I’m a big fan of less. In fact, I’m gonna go lie down on the couch right now and do less.*

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

27 responses to “Simple and good.

  • sunday

    BellaRose insto over 2 hour nap 9:27 am! I love a sleeping baby. Man this was a huge post with loads of information. I love the no plastic, LOVE IT! I am not a fan of plastic toys either. You are right they don’t go with the decor. They are ugly, and they are plastic. good choices. Here is another thought. Where in the world can we recycle 5 and 6 plastic. i need to know this. as for your the problem you pose i have no answer. i guess you can make everything! although i think that might not be the best answer. i look forward to reading what everyone else writes. thank you for being earth conscious (is that spelled right). i could not click on the texasnorth link. 9:29 am baby is awake from over 2 hour nap.

  • sunday

    i just looked at my comment and i have no idea what “insto” means. i have no idea! i don’t even know what i mean with things i write. oh this will be a good day.

  • Kristen Moore

    girl.
    first things first, did you get my rambling message last night?
    tell me you’ll be there.
    good. good.

    okay. your post really is chaulk (sp?) full of lots of stuff. i tried avoiding plastic toys. i really did. and i have not been very successful. so girl, show me how it’s done and i will try again. and again.
    the truth of the matter is that jane loves little people adn little people are plastic and they live in plastic land. and just when you think you can hide these toys, they appear with spotlights at church, at the playgroups, at grandma’s, etc.
    and then i realize that dumb wooden dog that i think is adorable hasn’t been played with since it was opened.
    shooooot.
    blah blahb alh.
    did you hear that the moores own 1/20 of a dairy cow?
    yep. raw milk from a small cooperville farm for this family. we are trying it out. . . and we’ll just see. hmmm, it is tasty!
    alright. enough. must go.

  • KatieKate

    I know, I know…it was a long one. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot lately and needed to get it all out in my ‘column.’ Thank you for bearing with me.

    K-Mamma…I DID get your message- gracias. I heard about the cow- and I just want to know WHICH 1/20th you have purchased.

    Sun…most trash companies won’t take any plastic over #1 and #2 because of sorting inconvienieces. BUT, if you go to the drop off site, they will most likely take everything, like our local one does. You just have to drive there yourself. Here’s your local link: http://www.townofblackmountain.org/recycle.htm

  • sunday

    thank you! that is what always got worth, before blk mtn did recyclying we would drive to asheville to recycle. that never made sense to him. thank you for the research!

  • Kristen

    so can you come?
    you making a local quiche?

  • Kristen

    p.s. i am pretty sure we got the boobs.
    of the cow that is.

  • Chelsey Meek

    Buy the company.

  • KatieKate

    good Chels, good…

    simple and good

    anyone else?

  • Jessica, Myron and Rylie

    hmmm, I dont know but i am proud of you with the plastics. As you know, i have had great concerns over them to ( thank you for the info by the way) nyways you get em I am still working on getting our city to recycle. its ridiculous I thought this was a very green state…I am learning otherwise. At least our part isnt …

  • Jessica, Myron and Rylie

    ok to be honest i wouldnt shop at his shop because of his “admissions” it is disgusting and degrading and unnessaery just like Abercrombie. & if enough people boycott or complain maybe they will change a bit. I do shop gap (bana oldnavy) simply beacuse they put me through school, they allowed me benefits and flexibilty and I found them a great company to work for. I honestly dont know anything past that and comend you for helping me to think more too…

  • OurMrsMikrut

    I have been thinking about some of these things too. I just take all my plastics to the big dumpster in my apt complex and hope for the best. I’m pretty sure they go up to 10 Mile anyway.

    Given Kristen’s boobs comment, methinks she would have fit in quite nicely on Friday.

  • KatieKate

    yah, abercrombie…I hear, ya, Jess.

    Brain.
    Hurts.
    Ignorance is…

    And I think WalMart recycles plastic bags. At, least, the one in Greenville does- at there Customer Service kiosk there’s a box for plastic bags.

  • sunday

    our grocery stores recycle plastic bags. do yours not?

  • erica

    i agree. i agree.
    we are trying to introduce less plastics to our little one as well….wooden crib, wooden high chair, cloth teethers, glass bottles…ive been scoping out those stainless sippy cups and plan to get them whenever Bean is old enough. it is hard to cut out plastics all together…but i’m definitely trying to cut down where possible and just be more conscious of what i am buying.

    as for clothing…i am an avid thrift shopper and consignment gal. buying at thrift stores means that i am not supporting the company. it’s all about reusing things. that way nothing new is being made for me.

    American Apparel is icky. I like their simple designs, but i cannot get past their advertising. Soft-core porn with young looking models. it sends a really bad message. one of the presentations i do for work is called “images in the media” in which we help teens deconstruct what they see in ads. we talk about how pop culture and ads are changing kids’ attitudes about sexuality and sexual violence. a dollar is a vote. if you dont like what an ad is saying then dont buy their product, and better yet, let them know why you aren’t buying their product. a letter probably wouldnt do much for american apparel. that guy is just a big ass. i can’t in good conscience support his tactics.

    you are right…other companies might have big jerks behind big desks, but this company has a big jerk who is proud to be a big jerk.

  • Anna

    I figure if I crochet my plastic bags into, well, a newer, more durable plastic bag, that it’s better than nothing.

    I keep saying I’m going to carry canvas bags to the grocery store, but I never remember until I’m already there.

    Although the one time I did do it, the cashier looked at me like I was crazy, and tried to put my food in plastic bags before putting it in my canvas bags. Not really getting the point, so much.

    Also, the American Apparrel guy being a huge jerk is better than sweatshop labor, so just hold your nose and do it. Greater good and all that, imho.

  • anna

    Good points, Erica. I didn’t see your comment until after I posted.

  • KatieKate

    Darn it all , you people are smart.

    Ya know, growing up overseas, we had to PAY for a bag at the grocery store- 10pf or like a quarter.

    Anna, darling…put one of your bags in your glove compartment.

    And, Erica, you’re right. I never thought about the thrifting being non-opinionated shopping. Really, it is. The company gets no money from thrift or consignment sales. Interesting….

  • Becky and Jeremiah Swann

    here is what I think, not that anyone is still reading all the comments by this point.
    Everything in moderation. What companies are really “good” anyway?
    Having everything be wooden, involves cutting down trees, it’s takes loads of energy to recycle.but it fills up landfills to not.
    So all we can do is go with what we think is best but we will always run into dilemas, so be good stewards of what we have been given. We don’t live in a world that can be perfect. You are doing a good job being conscience, and finding things out for yourself that is more than alot of people do.

  • OurMrsMikrut

    I try to remember to ask for paper bags when I go to Meijer…then I take them home and use them to bag up the newspapers for the Paper Gator. Not as good as canvas, but it’s a start…anyway, the last time I did this, the cashier gave me a bunch of crap about it because it was just too HARD for him, as their paper bags don’t fit in their little efficient bag carousel. I told him why I wanted them, and he just handed me a stack of paper bags and bagged my groceries in the plastic. Talk about not getting the point…

  • Jessica, Myron and Rylie

    Becky i read it..good work.

    We take our own bags to the grocery and we can also reuse plasic ones if we still have them, you get 5 cents back for every bag you bring….it something right…

    i wish we had a walmart or grocery for recycling…. just like Bec said just gotta do the best we can with what we have…

  • diane

    I hear you, Kate.
    As you know, I’m a BIG FAN of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” I’ve greatly reduced my purchases in the last year, I reuse my clothes in new and fabulous ways and I recycle anything I can think of, or just give it away.
    I started using Chico Bags when I got back from Kenya…have you seen these? Little re-usable grocery bags that fold into themselves for easy storage. I keep them in my car, always. I get 5 cents back at MeijerS (that S is for ya’ll)
    I also save ALL my glass jars so that I don’t always have to use Plastic tupperware to store my extra food in.
    And sewing. Well, we’ve already discussed that between the two of us, eh?

    Now. About this Jerk. I agree with Anna. Reducing SweatShop Labor, in my opinion, is more important then what this guy is doing in his personal life OR how he goes about selling his wares. Because if you think about it, the more he sells, the more good he produces. It’s sick and twisted, I know.

    I love this journey. I love knowing I’m not the only crazy hippie trying to live life differently…we should talk about these things more often, cause you know…God is Green.

  • anna

    Salon.com had a great article/video on plastic bags that was very informative/inspiring/depressing.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/08/10/
    plastic_bags/index.html

    (You have to watch a short commercial to get access to the site, but it’s free.)

    H-E-B doesn’t do any bag recycling that I’m aware of. I wonder why not? Maybe I should agitate for it.

    Also, I’m putting the bags in my car TODAY.
    Katie: Pointing out the obvious to Anna since 1990. 🙂

  • Anna

    Katie, also: I found this while searching for the Salon thing. You must read it.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

    I want to make everyone I know read this. And here I thought it was just me.

  • KatieKate

    anna foster.
    That atlantic article is perfect.

    I’m going to print it out and put it on tshirts for me and you. And then I’m going to go sit in my house for the entire winter and love it.

    Good job on the bags. I’m always here if you need some obvious advice.

  • Shanna, Adam and Gracen

    i seem to be a slow commenter this week. i blame it on my insomniac baby and the fleas. oh, and i’m pregnant. that’s always a good excuse.

    we’re lucky to live in a town where the majority of folks take their own bags to the grocer, which is nice. we’ve lived in some areas where they look at you funny and confused when you hand them a pile of cloth bags.

    it’s good to see texasnorth going so green!

    and oprah would say if you have doubts about a choice, it’s often your inner voice screaming “NO!!” i tend to agree…

  • Lia

    Everyone should just move to Denver, we have curb side recycling of everything you can think of… and they give everyone purple containers to put stuff in.
    Join me friends. We even have a winning baseball team right now.

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