Friday, June 09, 2006

The Trash Bin Part 2

I often cut off the bottom of the gallon jugs I mentioned yesterday and use them to root plants. Four years ago I bought an impatien plant at a plant sale in my son's preschool. Since then, every spring I cut a whole bunch of pieces off the big plant and root them rather than buying new ones every year. Once the rooted pieces are established, I transplant them outside and they provide a durable, shade tolerant burst of color most of the summer. If you've never done this before, I think impatiens are the best plant to start with. They are very forgiving.

Unfortunately, I encountered a little problem with my rooting plans this year. I forgot to punch holes in the bottom of the container and I'd forgotten them outside in a downpour. My solution was unorthodox but it worked really well and the only tools it required were a candle, a nail and a pair of pliers.

First, I lit a candle. Then I placed the nail in the jaws of the pliers and heated the pointed end of the nail in the flame of the candle. After a few seconds of heating, I was able to push the nail through the plastic easily and create the misssing drainage holes! Water poured all over my kitchen table as I repeated this process with two other containers but I didn't mind at all. Its the little things that make me happy. BTW, my sister used the bottom of soda bottles similarly and you can punch holes in them the same way.

Newspapers (black and white pages only, not the pages with color), toliet paper tubes and dryer lint become fire starters for the woodstove. We are also going to give newspaper logs a try this year to augment our wood pile, although these will use wire to hold them together rather than toilet paper tubes. Since we don't get the newspaper everyday, I've enlisted the help of my extended family that does.

I've found ketchup bottles to be very useful. Old bottles from dishwashing detergent would work as well. We've also used these filled with water when we have a campfire. They are great for putting out stray embers.

There are trash items that I just haven't figured out a use for yet. Broken kids toys make up a large part of this category around here. Every few months, a purge takes place and I remove all the broken bits and pieces. I strongly suspect that the only toys young kids really need are a bicycle, a ball, blocks, books, paper and crayons.

5 comments:

Maggie said...

Toys to seem to be more disposable nowadays don't they? I agree with your simple list. The extras are nice, but you can't beat the basics. Also, the less you(or your children)have, the more you can appreciate it.

Maggie said...

Sorry, That should read Toys do....

Taradactyl in a Modern World said...

I totally agree about toys. I have one child and about a million toys. His b'day is in December so we start the year with so many toys it's sick. I have a toy box and have no idea what's in the bottom half since he only really plays with the stuff on top. Add to your list toy cars and I'm agreeing. You've inspired me to sort through some and donate the ones on the bottom of the box.

Ruthie said...

Katie,

I loved the posts! One of the best reuses I have is for ketchup bottles. Use them to hold molasses and other sticky syrups that come in unreasonable containers. I hate that sticky, running down the side, get the bottle stuck to where its sitting syndrome that my molasses, corn syrup, and maple syrup bottles had. Then I started using well washed ketchup bottles and problem was solved! :) I loved the holey bottle irrigation trick. I'm definately going to try that when I start up some container gardens in MT.

Ruthie

Katie said...

Maggie,
Toys do seem to be more disposable.

Taradactyl,
You're right, I did forget cars, my boys love making tracks for their matchbox cars. I can't imagine a December birthday!

Ruthie,
That's a great use for the ketchup bottles. I hate sticky fingers!