Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Little Taste of Dehydrated Paradise.

Last weekend was an incredible dive!  I received an amazing dehydrator for Christmas and have been dehydrating lots of dumpster goods for snacks, or to preserve for later.  Even with all the food I give away, donate, and share, I can never eat all of my food and my compost is always overflowing.  This past weekend we dove tons of dehydratable, delish, fruits to snack on, and I have been drying fruits right and left!  We dove:
  • mangos
  • watermelon
  • pineapple
  • apples
  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • cucumbers
  • cantalope
and theres most likely others that I forgot.  All of them are awesome snacks dehydrated and Ive started creating a sort of dumpster trail mix out of dried fruits.  I cannot believe that all of these delicious, exotic edibles are tossed in the trash and that we actually go fetch them out and do creative things to them to put them to use.  It blows my mind that the weekend before last we found a bag of perfectly scrumptious kiwis in January in the dumpster.  I cant even start to imagine when the last time I ate a kiwi was predumpster lifestyle.  I cant remember ever purchasing a kiwi, strawberry, mango or watermelon, ever.  The wallet wasnt heavy enough for all of that.  It wasnt in my college budget.  And I cant remember a time diving where we didnt find apples or oranges.  Probably every single time. 

If I didnt dumpster dive? I would never have anything to dehydrate, the device would be useless to me, and I would probably be attempting to sell it somewhere. But thanks to a lot of waste, I am able to preserve and create nourishment for myself and others, from garbage.  The words trash and garbage have completely different definitions to me now, and my dehydrator is one of my most used appliances, coming in behind the coffeemaker, and microwave.  If you count the amount of hours that I use it, or how much work it does for me, its definately number one no question.  I am munching on dehydrated watermelon as we speak, and who would have thought it would be better than jolly rancherS?  WAY BETTER.  Dont even get me started on how I feel about pineapple chips.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Summer of Diving.

      I got back from the annual UCF [  ]mission trip to Mexico last spring break and was bogged down with the typical post-mission trip blues.  You know what I mean, going from the beautiful miraculous week and being merged back into regular society. 

 There, it seemed like everything was Godly and everyone was a beautiful contribution to your life, and then when you get back everything seems dark, dreary, and everyone around you seems to think God is irrelevant.  You sink back into your old habits, resolutions you made on the trip fade away quickly, and life resumes as normal.  This usually puts me in a depressive funk, feeling as if Im searching for something in life that is not there, and as others on the team and myself would say, lets try to bring the Mexico to Charlotte.  Or lets try to inject God into everything here as it was there. 

      The shiny missionary mindset began to fade and my friend Kristen Covington, whom I had bonded with on spring break, and myself began to pray for new opportunities to serve God, and for Dios himself to grant us a new mission to embark on.  The same week I started praying these prayers we went to CharlotteOne, [] to jump into some hard worship with the Big guy.  Sure enough, our prayers were answered, at Charlotte one, Childrens Impact Network [] was there, trying to fill some spots on an open team going to serve at an orphanage in Bolivia. I felt the Holy Spirit seep into my heart and demand I go.  Kristen and I looked at eachother and knew we HAD to go.  My heart thumped with joy, but financial doubts creeped into my brain.  "It's impossible", I thought, "How can I do this?"  But just then Andy Cherry and the others in the band, who are phenomenal by the way, started to sing,
"Nothing is Impossible with Him"
And I knew I had to do it.  We squeezed eachother ecstatically.  There would be no more doubting from that point forward.  For the rest of the school year we planned and plotted how to afford this trip.  "If God wants us to go, he will make it happen" was our mindset.  We sold energy drinks and silly bands and went door to door throughout the highrises collecting spare change.  We carried around empty oj and soymilk containers to fill with change. 

 We scoured parking lots for nickels, we applied for a hundred jobs, we started a facebook group to create a network of donors and supporters.  We sent letters and emails and our strategies to get money were endless.  We had billions of ideas.  We collected a few hundred in spare change.  It was a great start.  Kristen moved into my tiny UCLUB bedroom and slept in my twin bed with me and Nugget or in my floor.  Every day we prayed, read scripture, encouraged and inspired eachother, and strategized how to get money from the morning when we woke up until we passed out on top of our books. 

  We worked as much as possible, had car washes and yard sales, and our food situation wasnt the best.  We lived off of apples, bananas, peanut butter, taco bell, and cookout all summer.  Seriously, thats all we ate, that and any free food we could locate.  I wonder now, if I had dumpster dived all summer how different it would have been.  I stole food at my restaurant job right and left, a fry here, a chunk of lettuce there.  I had to do whatever was necessary to get to Bolivia and meet these kids who would forever change my life.
 I first heard of diving from one of my good friends Jake.  I went to the pentagon for a typical get together and really needed to know why there was endless amounts of bread covering their wrap around kitchen counters.  He told me they had dumpster dived the delish carbs and that they had dived all kinds of amazing goods and got together for dumpster dinners.  I was intrigued.  This cute, clean, fun guy ate out of trash cans? No freakin way.  And all the friends we have in common do as well?  and they admit it? wow.  I next heard of dumpster diving from facebook pictures of a friend and UCF acquaintance who had also went to Mexico, Dalen,[] who would put up pictures of various normal looking food items he had found in the grocery store dumpster as he passed by on walks. 

I also heard of diving from a girl Kaitlyn, who I had seen at UCF many times, she seemed strange and always had a huge ridiculous, contageous, smile on her face for no apparent reason.  The girl reeked of Jesus.  We always said hello at events and on campus, we assumed we both loved God, and that was really our only commonality.  One night after Guardian Ad Litem training, I drove around the university area picking up cans off the side of the road and out of garbage cans and recycling bins, to recycle for money.  I was bent over with the top half of my body in a smelly trash can, fishing out cans, in a lace top and red stilletos.  I got a text from my friend Robby, who is the man, informing me that he had a large television I could use in my yardsale the upcoming weekend.  I drove over to his place to grab the set, and there was Kaitlyn on the hood of her car in the driveway , looking exuberant and smelling of chlorine from her job at the Y.  We got the set loaded into my trunk, and I started talking about how excited I was to visit a country that was basically a mystery to me, and found out that Kaitlyn had been there!  She told me all about her travels, and somehow the conversation got around to dumpster diving, I expressed interest in going with her, and saved her number as "Kaitlyn is Amazing!" in  my contacts, stoked at the idea of diving and at the fact that she had been to Bolivia.  My whole life I cant remember ever meeting anyone who had been to Bolivia, and Kaitlyn had been.  : ) 
     Kristen and I scrounged our pennies together and did fundraiser after fundraiser for the rest of the summer and miraculously came up with enough money for the trip.  It was one of the best adventures of my life.  I am forever changed, and that week will drastically effect my future, what I do with it, and who I become. 

      When I got back from such an epic week, reality set in.  I was ABAP. As. Broke. As. Possible.  My bank accounts were still empty, Kristen had moved out and gotten back to her life, rent was due, my job still sucked, and I was starving.  I got a facebook link from Kaitlyn with a link to her blog, The Frugal Dumpster.  It was awesome.  She also sent me a link to watch the documentary " I Love Trash",  about two guys who move into an empty apartment and live off only dumpster supplies for several months.  I watched the film and was SHOCKED.  Is it really possible to live off of other peoples waste?  And could it really be that pleasant?  and... fun?!  no way.  Definately not in Charlotte.  I immediately texted Kaitlyn to ask if we could dive that night.  If I was gonna end up homeless and broke, with my super-fast-eat-every-hour-metabolism, I definately wasnt gonna be hungry.  I couldnt afford to lose any more weight. 
      We went that night and I was beyond shocked.  We did a few drivebys to scope out the scene, and then pulled our car up to the dumpsters, and Kaitlyn jumped in. 

She was a ninja in the dark handing me amazing edibles.  We didnt use gloves or flashlights, we didnt use hushed voices, and I was so hungry I even took a few samples during the dive. 

The dumpster didnt smell or look as I expected it to, and the massive quantities we dove still surprise me. 

We made dumpster diving our work the rest of the summer.  I ate a lot, and I ate well.  I ate more fruits and  vegetables than I probably ever have. 

I had always eaten poorly in college, and had lost a lot of muscle mass.  That was all about to change. 

My fridge stayed full, and my belly did too. 

 Oh man, I remember eating peaches with the dishwashers at my job for weeks.  Those were good times.  Sometimes all it takes to bring people together are some free delicious dumpster peaches.
 We found so much food we started taking it downtown to homeless feedings.  We fed salad to probably a hundred people one day.  That was a great day.

It seemed like there wasnt anything we didnt find.
 Energy drinks, soy bologna, you name it. 
We found tons of flowers one night, took them downtown the next day and handed them out to people.  People with homes and people with out homes.  It was awesome to watch the reactions.  Some people looked at us like we had lost it, others took the flowers and gave them to some other stranger passing through, and some seemed as if nobody had ever given them a flower in their life.  It was such a fun experience.

I took hundreds of pictures because it was all so exciting! 

I will definately continue to post evidence of our fun and random diving experiences, and I will NEVER forget my first dive, and the spontaneous summer of ninjaing into trash receptacles and stuffing my face with delicious nutrients.  THANK YOU KAITLYN! & everyone else who nudged  me into this direction purposefuly or unawaredly. (word?!) loves it.  & Especially Gracias to Dios for always providing everything I need and more.  Always.

Monday, January 10, 2011

* What to do inside on a frugal snow day! *


Everyone knows what to do OUTSIDE on snow days... But in between the rolling in the snow, snowmen, snowball fights, and snowforts, when you come inside to warm up, here are some festivities to keep you busy.  Or, in my situation I happen to be snowed in alone and my puppy doesnt like to be cold!  He needs a dog snow jacket.  Maybe Ill make him one. On a frugal snow day you should... 

Wear toe socks!

Text people you love as soon as you find out its snowing and as soon as you find out its a snow day, no matter what time it is!  Spread the excitement.

Call a cute boy and wish him a happy snow day at 6am!!

Catch up on your reading.  Right now Im reading:
  • Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis
  • Gorgeously Green-8steps to an EcoFriendly Life by Sophie Uliano
  • God's Blog's by lanny donoho
  • 3 Chicken Soups: for the Sports Fans Soul, Mothers Soul, and Sisters Soul
  • Revolution in World Misisons by K.P. Yohannan
  • My Fathers Secret War by Lucinda Franks
  • and Im rereading Real Sex:The naked truth about Chastity by Lauren F. Winner.

 Drink something hot!  I suggest coffee and hot cocoa mixed, or chai!  Or green tea, or raspberry tea. Any coffee or tea will do the trick as long as its hot! : ) mmmm... coozeeeeee

I <3 snow.  I never really
considered how its free...
and edible. me gusta! : )
Make dumpster snow cream!
  • 8 cups fresh Snow
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla 
  • 1 cup dumpster Sugar
  • 1 cup dumpster Milk (soymilk works too!)

apparently there are multiple recipes & you can add different ingredients to it and get creative! 
I think snowcream with bananas would be good.  Or if you added nuts.  I would also love to find a way to make coffee snow cream.  But I havent mastered it yet.

I just put a bowl on the backporch and let it fill up with fresh snow. : ) If it snowed, but is not snowing, you can always scrape snow off the tops of everything. 

Scrump. & Frugal.


Get all of your holiday pictures off of your phone and onto your facebook!
Make Firestarters!

Accidentally discover that your laptop has a webcam youve never seen before.  Create a Youtube channel and send snowday videos to your friends.

Listen to Cage The Elephant.

I know that youre tired of this cus youre a robot they designed your life

true souls said they know whats right
you can join us
on the other side

Fire Starters!

You need old cardboard egg cartons or anything that resembles them, or Ive used some of those awesome things that come in boxes in the dumpster, fill each hole with dryer lint, then drip candle wax allover the top to hold the lint in place.  I always save old candles that will no longer burn, and take a lighter to their old wax for this, or light a few candles, wait a while, and then use the pools of wax to drizzle on the cartons of lint.  I heard a rumor that you can also use sawdust with or instead of the lint.  I like to keep a bag in my laundry room to collect dryer lint, I feel like I have more lint than anyone because me and Nugget shed quite a bit!  I also like to throw other compostables into the bag, matchbooks, random shreds of cardboard, hair from haircuts, etc.  Its a great way to recycle!

who you callin a cootie queen you lint licker?!

Fire courtesy of Dalen & Robbie : )
      I learned how to make these probably in the fourth grade (Thanks mom! Best Girl Scout leader of all time!), they are extremely flammable, and can help a lot when starting a fire in different situations.  I think this is such a great way to get rid of things you wouldnt use otherwise, to help you in your camping endeavors.  The cardboard egg cartons work excellently because you can tear the squares apart really easily.  These were really helpful at camp when we would have big logs for firewood stored away somewhere, but then it rained and everything else was soaked.   Or if your kindling is damp and you need to burn your tender long enough to dry out the kindling, these firestarters will be dry in your bookbag ready to whip out!  I like to burn less naturey stuff, I like to leave it as it is, and instead burn more stuff I need to get rid of anyway, that I would be recycling or composting instead.  Now Im stocked up!  I usually never make such a large quantity, but I was feeling extra stoked about it, and hopefully they will inspire me to get outside more often!  Whos going camping, or starting campfires with me?

For the campfire starting beginnners:

An overview of fire architecture.

For the more advanced pyros:

Building a fire in a hubcap

How to start a fire with a dead lighter
"You're cold and wet and in the wilderness. You want a fire, but you only have tissues, a dead lighter and deodorant. What do you do?" might come in handy one day.

How to Create Charcloth
Never done this but heard about it

This is interesting and Im posting it especially for all the newspaper lovers out there.(ahem kaitlyn)
How to make newspaper logs.

How to make an outdoor fireplace from a clothes washer tub

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dumpster Resolutions.

I absolutely cannot believe how fast 2011 snuck up on us!  The worst part is, I remember being shocked when 2000 was quickly approaching.  As I do every year, I have made lists and lists of resolutions for every area and region of my life.  I am a bit of an overachiever, I admit it.  I am going to try to narrow down a few into a "Dumpster Resolutions" List, I have big plans involving dumpsters this year!

  • Dumpster dive more often, dive more food, introduce more people to diving, donate wayy more food to friends, families in need, shelters, etc. 
  • Have more dumpster get togethers, dumpster feasts, dumpster goods trades, dumpster goods yard sales, freesales, lots of bartering and trading, continue to be as generous as possible with the dumpster goods!
  • be less controlling about what I eat.  I think this is a huge part of diving, we are so controlling about what we eat, but God will provide everything we need, we just have to go get it!
  • dont pay for any food ever, regardless of the circumstances, unless it is an absolute emergency and that is pretty much never.  This is America.
  • introduce more people to diving whether it be through talking about diving, telling people about it, publicity and media, this blog, or actually taking them!  More importantly, create awareness for WHY we dive.  Awareness of waste, awareness of unnacceptable policies, awareness of hunger and other related issues. 
  • Create a bigger more intricate network of dumpster divers, people interested in the concept, people who support, people who can benefit, people I can feed, and people to dive with. 
  • Continue to get more creative with my dumpster goods: Santa was generous enough to bring me a blender and dehydrator for Christmas.  Lets start the insanity.  Get better at preserving, composting, sharing, donating, making art, finding household uses, and other creative uses for my amazing and epic finds. 
  • Get better with my gardening. Kind of a tough time of year, but hey, Im determined.
  • Stop playing around with and permanently go through with the "No Poo" regimine.  No more Shampoo and no more conditioner.  Ive been waiting to use up my Shampoo, but I might just use it for bubble bath and officially quit.  But more about No Poo in another post.
  • Catch up on all my Green Reading that Im behind on!
  • Complete the Gorgeously Green 8step program. More on this later.
  • Become More Green.  You can never be too green.
  • Take less Baths.  Ive become addicted to baths for years now due to muscle soreness, etc.  It wastes too much water and Ive spoiled myself! 
  • Step up my game on dumpster recycling,  meaning rescue more recyclables from the dumpster rather than leaving it behind and letting it take the sad journey to the landfill. 

  • ART
  • never purchase any art materials, use art materials I have, or can find, or borrow, continue to dive for materials at places that have been fruitful, find new places to dive art materials, continue making art out of trash, and dont throw anything away that can be used for art. which is pretty much anything and everything, which is why Ive been called a hoarder.  but im supremely creative and innovative, so give me a break!
  • continue building a network of other artists and freegans who make art, who will make art with me, trade supplies with me, display and love my work, and support me in my artistic efforts.  An artist commune if you will. (Valerie : D )
  • Find ways to make money off of my art.  Find ways to donate my art. 
Nows a good time to introduce you to a wonderful friend and artist I met recently through urban ministry, his name is William Pomphrey, he makes beautiful works of art from trash and random discarded items he finds, he makes intricate models of WWII warships. He has great character, and I think God wanted me to meet him.  I was blessed to be able to go to the event on campus of urban ministrys choir.  It was one of the most beautiful nights  my ears ever experieced.  Voices blessed by God.  and this mans hands are blessed by God as well. I definately admire him as an artist!  He had an engineering, artistic, innovative mind, and he was able to sell one of his ships for $5000!  He told me that last time we spoke that the ship he sold was about 4 feet and that he was working on and 8footer that would take him around a year.  I am so proud of him.  Unfortunately, I was unable to locate his article and pictures on the Charlotte Observer site, I think its been moved, but If I find them, I will definately post them!

This is a lot of goals, but they are all things I plan to work on in the future.  I never plan to stop the dumpster indulgence, unless one day there is nothing usable in dumpsters.  But honestly? I dont think that day will ever come. I plan to make gradual progress on this diving journey, and I will keep you updated along the way!! : )

I cant believe how fast everything spread.
Heres the link for if you google my name, charlotte, and dumpster diving. Tons of Hits. : ) Jus spreadin the love around.