Monday, March 22, 2010

Recycled Breakfast! Coffee and Eggs

Following up on Yesterdays scheduled post I thought I would write a bit more on this. You know how I love to recycle, reuse and help to keep the planet green as well as myself and those around me healthy. I also like to multi-task (and have always done so before they even coined a word for it) but I also love things that can also be multi-taskers, especially if they are organic.

Yesterday I made a post about nesting time and to remember the birds by recycling your sweaters, old saved bits of twine, and yarn to help them build strong nests. Also to recycle your clean egg shells by crushing them up a bit and placing them around where the birds can find them. They in turn will eat them (the females) which will help them during laying season. They are greatly depleted by the act of laying so it's great to help them build back up but I like to get these shells out early so they can start ahead of time and this will actually help them to lay stronger eggs. This in turn helps to protect the developing chick from predators and accidental cracking before hatching time.

Some things to remember:

  • Make sure the eggs are clean, if you aren't using shells from hard cooked eggs ( the best and easiest to use) them make sure to wash them and dry in oven as in the previous post.

  • Use only natural egg shells (one commenter suggested using Easter egg shells for this, and it's a great thought but I would suggest to only use easter eggs dyed with natural food coloring, meaning for pink eggs, beet juice, yellow, turmeric, but even these have not been tested on birds and are not part of their natural diet so I would still hesitate to use even those).

  • Scatter them near where the birds congregate, I have mine near feeding areas, the ground bird bath, and on the bird feeders, so they can easily find them.

If you would like an innovative and recycling idea for Easter Egg Decoration ( I wouldn't recommend eating these or giving the shells to the birds) here is a great blog post by Secret Agent Josephine on how to tie dye eggs using silk ties, two different ways.

Here's some other things you can do with your 'garbage' besides sending it to the landfill. I know not everyone has a garden or even a yard. But most people have indoor plants. Eggshells can be used in various ways with those too.

One tip I read was to put eggshells (just cracked open and washed, not crushed) in the bottom of the pot before filling. A lot lighter than stones and will help to keep from root rot as well as feed the plant.

Tomatoes I mentioned love the extra calcium and will quickly deplete soil of it if not grown in different areas or pots each year. If they don't have enough they will develop blossom end rot, which actually happened to me last year.

Practically all plants will benefit from the ground egg shells as they are composed of 93% Calcium Carbonate which is just what is in the 'Lime' you buy to nourish your lawn. There is also a bit of nitrogen and phosphoric acid which is also needed for healthy plant growth.

So if you have a lawn, garden or even house plants and live near birds you should never have to throw another egg shell away again! Indeed it is the Incredible Egg!

One other thing that the 'lowly' eggshell can do can help to save you even more money. Not only will the crushed (crush like to feed the birds, and then pulverize in your processor with the cutting blade or in a blender) shells nourish your plants and help to prevent some diseases but they can also save them from critter attack as well.

I've been talking to a lovely blogger Kella, I met on the OWOH tour who lives in the UK. She was lamenting the problem she has with slugs in her garden, which can be awful pests and ruin your crops. I found out that eggshells may actually be able to help her too!

If you take your egg shells, just washed, dried as above and broken up only slightly so that there are many sharp points and scatter these around your tender plants such as peppers, tomatoes and those that are attractive to cutworms and slugs and this may cut down on the damage as they don't like crawling over such a dangerous surface and may back off! Remember though to also put some finely crushed shells around the plant to so it can break down quicker and be used by the plant.

How about a nice cup of coffee? Did you know if you put some of those cleaned egg shells in with your coffee grounds that the grounds will help to soak up any bitterness from the coffee? Try it, it works! Now what about that java you made? Don't throw the grounds away! There are so many uses for them that you would be amazed at the money you save!

First, dry out the ground on a plate if you use a paper filter. Just spread out the filter on a plate with a paper towel underneath. This will dry too and can be reused over and over, so don't waste it and throw it away.

Better for the environment is to use a filter like I have, it is a one time purchase and will not only save you money, but it will save many trees! It is plastic with a gold mesh that will last for a long, long time. I've been using mine now for over 8 years! Think of all the filters that is even if you only make one pot a day! Taking time off for vacations, weekends you grab coffee out and more, using only 300 days of the year for 8 years that is 2,400 filters!!! AND it still is working perfectly! It also makes better tasting coffee too! Yes, I've tried the natural ones, the brown filters, unbleached and those are better than the bleached ones but still use the same amount of paper and trees and then go in the trash. So unless you are an artist like this woman, Lucia Matzger and truly are recycling them in this way I suggest you try the reusable one.

Oh and the cost for those filters? I will use the natural ones for price comparison, the #4 Melitta was what I used and the cheapest I found was $84 for 2,400 filters. That may not seem like much to you but do you only make one pot a day? What is $8.40 a year?

A Penny Saved is a Penny earned and in this economy we need to watch all our pennies, wisely!

You can get a gold reusable filter on Amazon (the same place I priced the filters) for as low as $8, well really, $7.75. I am sure you can pick them up in a local WalMart too and you won't have to worry about the shipping.

So now that you are saving on the filters and not cutting down one tree for your cuppa, why not have totally guilt-free coffee? So, What do we do with those grounds? There are many things.

I like to save some dried grounds in a small jar by my sink in the kitchen. Or you could put them in your mud room, laundry room, basement. Places where you would wash up from dirty jobs, art work, garden work and for kids playing in the dirt and hubby changing the oil or doing some other greasy job. It works like a pumice soap but it gentler. Just shake out about a tablespoons worth of grinds into your palm, add a squirt of hand soap and lather. It will use soft abrasion to get the grime off as well as to help neutralize any smells that may be associated with the grime.

This really does work, even better than soap made with coffee grinds. My husband works with a material that leaves a really nasty smell on his hands that I can't stand. One washing with the grinds and a bit of liquid soap to move them around and it's gone, better than any other soaps, cleansers I've ever tried.

What else? Well Coffee is acidic and there are many plants that like a more acidic soil, especially those that bloom in the Spring like, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and evergreens. As well as edibles such as Blueberries, Avocados and other fruit trees and Roses like a bit of Java too!

I remember that my Grandfather used to have two compost bins. One was for acidic food scraps and the other more alkaline. I can still picture all these years later, the bins with the orange and lemon rinds on it and the eggs shells as these were the most prominent of the scraps and took the longest to break down. And he always grew wonderful fruit, veggies and flowers, especially roses and never bought one single bag of fertilizer in his life!

Make sure to test your soil first so you know what it needs, you don't want to kill your plants!

To start you off one plant that likes a little coffee with it's eggs is the tomato plant, so if you feed your tomatoes breakfast you will sure to be rewarded with wonderful Lunch and Suppers!

Here's a recipe to get you started How to make Organic Tomato Fertilizer

And if you have some leftover coffee? Don't dump it, you can use this also (from the coffee pot, not your cup) to water these same kinds of plants with. Or for a more artistic use, try, Coffee painting, like this wonderful couple has. Or use it to 'antique' fabric, paper or fibers such as wool or cotton yarns.


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