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Sexy bad-ass Lauri Newman, my new inspiration
photo by Hannah Combs
Alright folks, I have a confession:  I stretched the truth on my farm hand job application.

I believe my exact words were, "I know how to lift properly - 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me."  Well... lifting 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me.  But it is.

In reality, I am a lightweight, petite woman with low upper body strength.  As a dancer, my core strength and flexibility is great, but my upper body is... 'delicately' muscled. 

So, in an effort to be a valuable member of the farm crew, I made a plan:  Farm Girl Bootcamp.


 
 
When I was in the 10th grade, I made an Odd-Couple type of friend.  She shopped exclusively designer and aspired to be the first female president.  Once, we compared the cost of our outfits.

Hers:  easily over $1000.  Between her Prada and Victoria's Secret accessories, her $80 jeans, and $100 sunglasses, she was rocking a month's salary (for me, at least).

Mine:  $5.  I wear free and thrift clothing, nearly exclusively.  Yes, I buy new underwear.  Other than that, my motto is:  why buy new when thrift is so awesome?

 
 
Earlier this month I made a set of cloth menstrual pads, but I didn't know how well they would perform.  Well, the trial period (no pun intended) is over!  And yes, yes, cloth pads work!

Pros
~ No leakage whatsoever
~ The night pad design worked beautifully, even on a heavy flow
~ Much more comfortable than commercial pads, and feel drier
~ No irritation from crinkly plastic & synthetic materials
~ Totally re-usable & eco-friendly
~ The 'period tea' (water for soaking used pads) is awesome for plants!

Cons
~ You have to soak and wash them
~ They will stain anyway

... I can't think of any other cons!

So yes, 5 stars - cloth pads work just as well as commercial pads, plus they're much more comfortable & earth-loving.  Hooray!

Do you have any questions about cloth pads?  Anything I didn't cover that makes you go 'hmmm' or 'yuck'?  Let me know, we'll talk it out!
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PSKXS78G4ANS
 
 
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_Cloth pads have been on my to-do list for a while now.  I'm easily caught up in small, daily projects, like sprouting and making yogurt cheese - it was time to take more of a high-impact action.

Disposable pads, like disposable diapers, are a consistent source of waste - for me, it's 12-16 pads a month, or about 170 pads to the landfill each year.  That amount of consistent waste, as a lifestyle, is not okay with me. 

By crafting my own re-usable pads out of thrifted materials, I'm able to reduce my waste by about 3.5 pounds of cotton, plastic, and cardboard a year, thus saving trees & other precious resources, and re-purpose materials already in the consumer cycle.  Oh, and it's cheaper than buying pads!  So, thanks to instructions in Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knudsen, I made myself a set of re-usable cloth pads. 


 
 
_When I was 20, I learned to knit.  This was hard for me, because I identified strongly (and still do, to a more mellow degree) as a queer feminist.

I don't know about you, but when I think of queer feminist radicals, I think of combat boots, hand-lettered zines, and fair trade coffee.  Not knitting.  And certainly not homemaking. 

Turns out I'm not suited to knitting (I'm an angry, impatient knitter, who makes very ugly crafts).  But luckily, I found out several important things along the way:
  1. Knitting can be bad-ass (check out Slave to the Needles, via Microcosm Publishing: knitted beer muffs and thongs, anyone?)
  2. Femininity is powerful, but only when embraced.
  3. Taking the means of production into your own hands (however clumsy) is one of the most radical acts in which you can participate.

Fast-forward three years, and enter Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers.
I got tickets to the Sustainable Living Fair in 2011, and while researching the presenters I came across Ms. Hayes' biography.  Something struck a chord, so I followed my gut to the library and to her book....

 

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