When Going Green Goes Stinky

Posted by organicneedle in green cleaning

Do you ever get tired of everyone touting their eco successes? Ooooooo….look at me…I’ve managed to reduce my footprint ever so effortlessly…and made a pie while I was at it. If instead, you would love to hear about the utter failures, the sorrow, the misery…well today is your lucky day.

I have tried, sincerely tried, to increase the amount of clothes that I dry outside the dryer to both reduce energy waste and extend the clothes lifetime. Well…that effort is almost totally in the can for the rest of the summer. For those of you not fortunate enough to live in NYC, I have a little secret for you… NYC summers are F***ING MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGY. Is 113% humidity even possible? NOTHING dries and therefore ends up with a fate worse than death in my book…milllllllllldew. Nothing more pleasurable than a nice refreshing shower topped off with a nice rub down with a reeking towel.psycho

So yes…I will pull out the bras and bathing suits…but beyond that…sorry Earth…you are SOL. If you want me to stop using the dryer you had better find a way of sucking some of this moisture out of the city. Deal? My people will be waiting to hear from your people.



I Survived The Cheese!!!!!

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, CSA/ Local Food, sewing

While not a raw milk drinker, I am a raw cheese eater…well any kind of cheese eater…bit of a cheese whore. In fact, I did a major happy dance when my CSA announced the they hooked up with CSA Pastured Meat & Poultry which brings upstate farm goods to us greedy little city dwellers. So when Tuesday Crunchy posted about the quandary of raw milk and the potential banning I must say I became more than a little concerned.milk Cheese is art…and therefore should not be messed with because a handful of farmers didn’t practice clean and safe handling. Fortunately, yesterday was the CSA’s first CSAPM&P delivery and you bet your sweet caboose I ordered myself a pound of the good stuff…1/2 raw milk cheddar and 1/2 raw milk firehouse jack. The cheddar we happily nibbled and the firehouse made a tasty little tostada. Maybe our enjoyment was heightened by the idea that we may not always be able to get raw cheese legally, but it was gooooooooood. Aren’t you impressed that I didn’t say gouda? ( I would have taken pictures of the potential contraband but it was just too hard to balance the camera and shove cheese in my cheddar hole with both fists at the same time.)

Well…I won’t keep you in suspense…we all survived.

Well except for that set of horns growing out of my head…probably nothing…I’ll just dab a little Neosporin on it and I’m sure it will clear right up. Just a little Rawmilkcowheadidous. Very catchy. You had better not eat my cheese…just to be on the safe side.


The camembert flies with the bunny….10 pm…sharp.



Making Room with No Room

Posted by organicneedle in building projects, family

One thing most NYCers can’t brag about? Space. We have about 1000 square foot 2BR apartment. Which was huge before kids. They eat space. One option…buy a 3BR. Well in addition to the HUGE pain in the ass of selling our apartment and finding a bigger one, we would have to fork out anywhere from 2-400,000 more for the extra room, literally THE extra room…singular. Plus…maintenance is paid per square foot….which means a couple hundred extra there each month too. Besides not wanting to ratchet up our monthly expenses, we just don’t want to move. houseWe like our neighborhood, our building, our neighbors…even the unbearably whiney ones, our little park, even our doorman who gives us all really weird nicknames. So when it comes to space we need to be uber efficient…quality over quantity. Hence our latest project. The boys are growing and their room is in need of a Big Boy transformation. Thing 1 has outgrown the toddler bed and Thing 2 has outgrown the crib. The problem? Their room is 13×8. Yep. We need to fit 2 growing boys and their crap, which seems to multiply like fed gremlins, into that space. Here is the real kicker…at 2 and 4…they are too little for traditional bunk beds. Sound like a challenge? Why yes it is. Try adding an ounce, and I do mean an ounce of greenness and we have a Sisyphean feat on our hands….and that is why I will expect all of your brilliance to come flowing forth.

Furniture…We have decided on a low-loft bed that can later be converted into a reg. bunk bed. Either boy could can handle the ladder and if worse comes to worse and one falls- 3 feet seems reasonable. The older monkey will get the top and the younger will get the floor. Okay okay…we are going to give him his brother’s toddler bed and scoot that under. Although secondhand would have been more ecohappy…the bed we need is so specific and after a few weeks of looking at Craig’s list I wanted to punch anyone named Craig…oh and just order the bed we needed. punchFor storage we are gutting their sizable closet and doing the CA Closet type thing. We are successfully finding homes for any furniture moving out and converting the dresser to fit in the closet. See…there is an ounce of green there.

Fabric…To save as much of the old as possible…I will be using the same color scheme in their room, meaning I won’t have to make a new set of curtains. (Of course I made their curtains…what kind of Needle would I be?) Here is my dilemma with the twin sheets, which we have none of. Do I go organic or fun? My 4 year old would literally poop himself if he found Indians Jones or Star Wars under his covers…not so much for organic tan. Fun or healthy? I may have to go organic sheets…fun bed spread?

Walls….Going to go with Benjamin Moore’s Aura…no VOCs. No big stress there. Great reviews…and safe around the wee ones. Okay…I get credit for a gallon of green there, no?

Floor…Out of courtesy to the poor women who live below us we really need to put in a thicker rug. The boys have a thin one now but they are beasts on the hardwood…beautiful but beastly. I am thinking of having a Stainmaster bound carpet in the earth tones family made. That way I could still clean the floors underneath, the rug will provide a good sound barrier, and will hold up well…meaning long term use…which in the long run will be greener. Not sure what other options are available really. (Hint hint…this is where you come in with the brilliance.)

If any one has any great space saver suggestions please, oh please share. Oh…and did I mention we have to get a desk in there for the upcoming kindergarten year? That fussy 4 year old of mine says it is too hard to concentrate while his brother tries to stuff Gorilla Munch up his nose…his brother’s…not his own. (He is actually really good at it. Talent comes in all forms people!)



Should I Become an Eco Hall Monitor?

Posted by organicneedle in building projects, projects, random rants, recycling

Last week I received a little pamphlet from the city about a new recycling/energy efficiency program they are kicking into gear focusing on the collective ecopower of modern communal livers..aka..apartment dwellers. NYC

Awhile back I too considered the positive side of compact living and certainly have plenty of opinions and ideas for what I would like to see done. (Although…my community progress has been…quite frankly sad.) What the program really comes down to is creating not so glorified hall monitors.hall

The city would send a building representative for a course on recycling and offer evaluation tools and supplies with the hope that said rep would go back and whip the building and its tenants into eco shape.

Now…I am of two minds on this. The education & supplies part would be great. However…it seems to me with either people recycle or they don’t. Not sure how to change that.

I know our board president, who has a lot more power than the little ol’ Needle, has an eye for the green but hasn’t had a whole lot of success pushing green policies through. (Although…we did get light timers put in the laundry room which must save those lights hours of shining.) Now I know there are some diligent recyclers and others who are just open minded to new ideas.

Buuuuuuuuut there are also those who are still thrown for a loop by our 4 part recycling system(glass, paper, metal, 1&2 plastic…which included pictures…yes pictures…above the cans…in color.

AND even worse than that…again…to be frank…there are a lot of miserable f***ing people in the world…and many of them have chosen my little corner of the earth to plant their cranky asses. These particular people complain endlessly about the slightest imperfection in their day…like having to pass toddler art on a neighbor’s door on their way to their own perfect abode. And they know everything of course. You know…the if they don’t already do it-it isn’t worth doing sort of people…because how on earth could someone else know better. Do I really think any of the self-absorbed set are going to take ten seconds to even HEAR a new idea let alone try it? And more importantly do I want to be the do-gooder that all of their fury is aimed at? And these are totally the types who love to find a fatal flaw…like the fact that I have a car. Don’t know if I could handle the scrutiny…I’m not exactly green perfection. And I do have to actually live with these people. Hell some of these grumps are even my friends. Well…were…before this post. As much as I would like to see strides made in our building in the form of energy efficiency – just don’t know if I want my name or face attached…rather be a suggester and ducker…you know…an eco-weenie. Seriously…I have enough people throwing food at me during the day. At least I hope it’s food.



CSA Week 3: WTF

Posted by organicneedle in csa, CSA/ Local Food


WTF? (Organic kohlrabi may look like it wants to take over the planet but it is actually edible and quite tasty!)



Vermicomposting Battle Number 2: Worm & Man Verses The Elements

Posted by organicneedle in worms

wormSo you are thinking of starting your own worm bin, are ya? You’ve read all the books, chatted up Bentley, fondled your neighbors compost and eyed their tomatoes enviously? Well…let me tell you something. They are a lot of work. Just when we semi-eradicated the fruit fly population we got hit with a massive heat wave here in NY. Now I was under the misguided impression that worms like it hot. I guess I bought me some artic worms because they totally freaked out. The morning after the first day I found about ten dried up worms on the bathroom floor. I opened the lid to find the rest of them in a pile under the lid, stepping on each other’s heads/asses to get out. Being the genius that I am…I didn’t put the 100 degree day together with the mass exodus. After spreading them out and giving them a firm talking to,( I may or may not have mentioned the robins), I popped the lid back on and assumed that would be the end of such behavior. Next day ol’ Needle pops in for her 30 seconds of alone time. More carnage. Now the light bulb flickered. Just maybe, just maybe it has to do with the 100+ heat days? Opened the lid and there were my little guys once again disobeying orders and trying to flee. Now I did the reg. check for odd smells, molds, weird bugs etc. to see if something else was driving them away. They all looked healthy…stampeding, but healthy. Time for some thinking. Run the air conditioner 24/7? Not good. Hire 1000 individual worm fanners? No room. Ahhhhhh. I could dig little tunnels in between the soil and rotting veggies to give them some place to go to cool off . Although it is clearly the lamest of the three options, it worked. Sure enough…the next day no dead worms. I opened the lid and they were all grooving in their new hallways. (I guess we will need a wormbin hall monitor for the summer.)  Was it a fluke? Perhaps. The heat wave ended the next day so I had no longterm trial..but since I am an egomaniac I will assume I am their hero for saving all of their lives. If I listen reeeeeaally hard at night I swear I can hear them chanting my name.



Trader Joe’s is a Good Egg Afterall!

Posted by organicneedle in plastic, random rants

About 2 months ago I ranted about how Trader Joe’s, despite having one of the best bag policies around, has really awful packaging practices. I even shared my little correspondence with them about their plastic egg cartons among other things. Yesterday I took my monthly trip to Ol’ Joe’s…with the usual list and expectations. eggWhen lo and behold, what did my tired eyes see, besides my 4yr old squeezing the crap out of a melon I had no intention of buying, but paper, yes paper egg cartons. Not only that…instead of being trucked from CA like the previous eggs…they were from MA, not exactly the backyard of NYC…but we’re on the right coast now. Trader Joe’s actually listened. To me. I run Trader Joe’s! What should I tell them to do next? Nude cashiers? Bowling with frozen organic turkeys? Ohhhhh…the possibilities are endless.



CSA Report: Rhubarb Is NOT Evil Celery

Posted by organicneedle in CSA/ Local Food

Who knew? One of the things I really enjoy about the CSA is that it provides a big culinary challenge in a box. Not only must I find ways of using new foods…I must do so in a way that toddlers won’t throw it back at me. I am also learning about this crazy concept called seasons.

Week #1
Mostly salad greens which I cleverly made….well…salads with. The radishes I ate while prepping everything else. The only curve ball here was the “pink celery.” Thanks to Greenbean, my helper monkeys and I made a delicious scone/tart like thing.
Let me tell you…rhubarb is the sly little minx of the veggie world; taste it raw and it takes an hour to get your face to depucker…cook it with a little sugar and you want to slather it all over your body.

Week #2
Actual Size Broccoli

The easy list….strawberries, lettuce, world’s tiniest broccoli (My 4 year old burst out laughing when he pulled that from our CSA box. My boys are broccoli fiends…mini me isn’t going to cut it in our house.)
The tougher list…kale & swiss chard…neither of which I have any experience with. The kale I steamed and added fresh garlic, chi chis, and ww noodles. Big hit. Kale is sweet…literally sweet…not just sweeeeeeeeet. Kids couldn’t get enough of it. Soooooo not the case with the swiss chard. In fact, both my little men looked at me like I had betrayed them when they tried this lovely green. I cooked some turkey bacon and then cooked the swiss chard in the bacon grease with some garlic, tossed with their favorite noodles, Barilla Plus, and watched as they managed to eat their entire bowls without actually allowing the greens to touch their lips. Fortunately clean up crew guy, otherwise known as Dada, loved it.

2 weeks down and nothing has gone to the worm bin besides the greens butts and stems. Not shabby.

I also have to think about my order for the 24ths CSA Pastured Meat & Poultry
I am a little bothered that the eggs aren’t organic. Not sure how I feel about that. Organic over local…why can’t I just have both. Whine Whine Whine.



Vermicomposting Battle Number One: Man Verses Fruit Fly

Posted by organicneedle in projects, worms

I have said it before people…but it needs to be said everyday to everyone you know…and loudly… Fruit Flies Are EVIL . Any fly sympathizers out there need to read my tale of woe and victory and they too will understand and find themselves warning passing strangers. Here it is. When we went away for a week and left the worms unattended we had no idea what trouble they would attract. I, fortunately, had moved the worm bin into the bathroom for the week for fear that some uneaten goodies might pick up a stink I would not want permeating into my bedroom. Nothing puts hubby in the mood like a little rotting onion/fermented bean combo. Thank goodness I did because when we returned it was like that scene from Amityville Horror House…but with tiny fruit flies.horror house My husband decided to take control of the situation and go at them with a weapon seldom seen chosen by our fiercest warriors…Method All Purpose Spray with a very manly cucumber scent…the strongest cleaner we keep on hand. After he burned through about half my supply I gently suggested that plain water would probably also take the beasts down. (I say gently because by this point my otherwise scholarly husband had taken on the appearance of Rambo…only instead of a machete he had holstered the Method squirt bottle and started murmuring something about taking my EEEEEEEiiiiidooooos for a ride to the country.) Once he eliminated the airborne we decided, bravely, to investigate the actual bin and see if our worms had survived the onslaught. Good news…the worms not only survived, but looked like they took the week of privacy to get their love on. Population booming in worm town. Anyhow…back to the evilness of flies. I warn anyone eating their lunch to turn away for a moment. Gross Alert . In addition to the fruit fly nymphs desperately trying to get out of the way of the dust buster my husband was now wielding, we noticed tiny little grains of rice everywhere. That’s funny…I don’t remember adding rice to the compost….ever. Oh…and rice doesn’t quite move does it? That’s right people…our bin was infested with fruit fly larvae. Yummy. Now with turned stomachs…but determined hearts, we set about rescuing our bin. First we removed the entire newspaper layer off the top…making sure no worker worms were caught catching a siesta. Next we got one of the boys tiny beach shovels and began the process of scooping out writhing piles of fly maggots, sorting through each scoop to make sure there were no worm egg pods or worms in the mix and heaving them into an old plastic bag. It took about an hour to go through the whole bin and we lost some of the hard earned worm poop…but it was a major victory in the history of vermicomposters verses fruit flies. And for worms everywhere. (I don’t know who he was fooling with all the tough talk about evicting the worms….you never saw any man search more thoroughly or gently to make sure each worm made it safely back into the bin. I swear if I weren’t looking he would have sung each one a comforting little ditty and offered tummy rubs.)

Now don’t get me wrong, we still get the occasional fruit fly. For that we are doing the ol’ wine/soap combo trap. Simply place a little wine or vinegar in the bottom of a dish with a few squirts of dish soap. The evil doers fly in for happy hour and don’t make it out. Diabolical…perhaps…but it keeps them from doing it in my worm bin. When worms get freaky…cool. When flies do it…gross.



What Brings the People to ME!

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, worms

What is it about my little blog that brings forth the masses…okay how about the few and the proud? The few and the bored? Give me something people. I know some of you are reading because I, being the tech whiz that I am, okay being married to a uber techie, have a tracker. A long time ago Burbanmom wrote about some of the funny things she found in her tracking and I, seriously having no original thought of my own for today, decided to steal the concept and look through my own list and pick my “award winning” fave five. (Give me a break…my husband is out of town for the week and I’m lucky if I get time to pee and brush my teeth in the same day. Choices…choices. Being the classy lady of mystery that I am….I shall leave you hanging as to which area got the attention it deserved.)

Bitch seems to be the most popular. When people are looking for bitch they just seem to find me. I should be more reflective on that…but one can’t read too much into their search trackings, now can they? So shut up and read the next friken line.

I’ve Got Worms comes up a lot…but I don’t think people are searching for composting advice. (My worms are totally out of control, by the way…more on that next week.)

Teen Jean Snack…what the F***? Who the hell is reading this blog?

Gerbil’s Butt…Maybe I don’t want to know.

And the award goes to……………..dog

Mold in My BOX Come clean…which one of you fine ladies was brought to my blog through this one? We won’t judge… much. (Although search topic number one serves as its own disclaimer.)