Fall’s Greening Traditions

The Fall Season brings thoughts of Halloween, family gatherings and colorful leaves on trees heralding in the upcoming holiday season.  In our household Fall represents all these things but it also heralds in a period that we can really be “green”.  As a single mother, of a very active and all boy 8 year old, I am continually searching for ways to save money but wanting to keep and expand on our family’s green journey.  So how do we make Fall green and while saving the green?

Pile of leaves (autumn)
Image by Aarthi via Flickr

Well, what could be better than on a clear crisp fall day raking the leaves in the yard into a great big pile and then letting the giggling excitement ensue that ends up in a raucous melee of tumbling and rolling in the leaves.   Afterwards it just takes a quick rake onto the tarp and then into our compost bin.  By putting the leaves into the compost bin, and adding a little water, our kitchen scraps, post Halloween pumpkins, lint from the dryer, vacuum cleaner debris, and holiday greenery by Spring we produce the luscious “black gold” of compost that we use in the spring to replenish our gardens of vital nutrients.  In addition to the leaves, every year my son will select a “treasure”, maybe a toy, bottle or some other item and we bury it in the compost pile.  In the spring, we have a treasure hunt to harvest the compost pile and find the item to see what happened to it.  Not only do we save money on commercial fertilizers, but it also reduces the chemicals introduced into our environment.

As Fall nears and the summer harvest comes to an end, for most it is time to put away the spring/summer garden supplies.  Not in our house!  Those wire tomato trellises don’t make their way into the trash and we don’t try to store them; we turn them into a ring of ghostly goblins, followed by thankful pilgrims and later angelic angels.  We go to friends’ houses and pickup pine cones to make natural feeders for the birds and holiday decorations and we always make sure to make plenty to use as gifts at Christmas time.

Another Fall tradition is that we sit down as a family and figure out what “green” challenge we are going to undertake over the winter months.  Last year’s challenge was to see how little trash we can take to the curbside.  Other challenges have been:  how many days can we pack a waste free lunch and “Outen the Light” challenge.  And yes, some years we do more than one challenge and many of these challenges have just naturally morphed into our everyday life once the challenge is over.   So what will be your families challenge this year?

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