We try to be very mindful of our consumption, and our overall impact on the earth. Eating and buying local, when we can. Using products that are less wasteful or manufactured with unnecessary chemicals. That kind of stuff.
When we moved to the farm, I decided that we should switch from bleached paper products to unbleached. Sure, there is a difference in the texture. But not so much that we can’t handle it. No paper cuts in the sensitive areas😳. And since we are on a septic system, it matters even more. The brown paper breaks down much quicker than the thick bleached stuff. And there are other upsides.
This spring, I have copious amounts of seeds to start. Both of the vegetable/fruit varieties and flowers. The best way to accomplish this en mass is to use those seed start trays from the garden center. But then I saw a nifty little thing on Pinterest showing how one woman used spent toilet paper and paper towel roles in trays, filling them with soil. It worked just great. And the paper breaks down in the soil. Like compost. Seemed like a great idea to me.
I order our brown paper products on Amazon by the gross and store it in the barn. One delivery lasts a year. I know this from experience. And one delivery a year is pretty green. So, I started saving empty rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Every time one was done, I threw it into a bag in the guest room. Well, to be honest, sometimes it just made it onto the guest room bed. I’d go back later and put it in the growing bag. No problem. But, I soon discovered, there was a problem of which I was unaware.
Jeff started acting weird. Not super weird, just… strange. Asking me if everything was OK. Was I feeling OK? Was I upset about anything? Jeff is not a preemptive asker of these types of questions. His methodology runs more to the philosophy of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t poke the bear.’ Yes, I’m mixing metaphors. He started to change the toilet roll every time. And I started having to fish them out of the bathroom trash.
Time went by, and while I continued to collect the old paper rolls, the bags in the guest room got fuller. Finally, Christmas came. We don’t usually get each other things for Christmas. We haven’t for years. We focused on the kids when they were growing up and we bought ourselves the things we wanted throughout the year. Birthdays and anniversaries were more our thing. Then, this past Christmas Jeff bought me a few things. Hmmm. But there was no box for Jeff under the tree. And he was so relieved. I didn’t get it until he explained.
Jeff and I were both married before. His was not a happy marriage. The Christmas before the February when he left the house one morning, like usual, then got served divorce papers at his office at Microsoft, was not a super joyous occasion. But that Christmas there was a big box under the tree just for him. He thought it contained something he had really been wanting, but when he opened it, it was full of empty toilet paper rolls. His wife, at the time, was so angry that he wasn’t diligent about changing out the bathroom rolls when they were empty, that she began saving them. For more than a year. Then, as his one Christmas present, he was gifted the evidence of his toilet paper crimes. Holy Crap! Talk about playing the long game. I guess she took the Revenge is a dish best served cold thing, to heart.
I had never heard this story before, but this is why Jeff was so tweaked for months before Christmas this past year. When he finally fessed up to what was bothering him, I wanted to laugh, but it wasn’t funny to him. So I explained about Pinterest, cutting up and using the rolls as seed starter containers. I had no nefarious agenda. Just farming. Whew! The look on his face? You wouldn’t believe it. Much to his relief, it turns out our marriage was still humming right along, after all.
We have trays of these little things ready to go. They are now filled with soil and are germinating crops that will feed us. Including lavender, from which I will make natural soap. And, just in time, some calming essential oils for el Jefe. 🧘♂️