Great Green Find: Wonder Wash Manual Washing Machine Pt. 2

After a week and a half of travel followed by a weekend camping trip for my birthday, this the perfect week to try out a new laundry appliance. Beautifully sorted piles of brights, towels, jeans and delicates, await my attention. So it’s off to my new portable, manual washing machine the Wonder Wash. This is my second day of testing the Wonder Wash and reporting my findings.

Receiving and Assembling My Wonder Wash
I knew the Wonder Wash was light, but when I received my model by UPS I was still surprised at just how light it was. My petite (yet mighty) 6-year-old daughter came in carrying the feather weight box. Last night I assembled my Wonder Wash and set it out on my kitchen counter in anticipation. I was pleased by the ease of assembly, as most of the parts seem to fit together in a logical order. The instructions that accompanied my Wonder Wash explain how to wash clothes with this unique appliance, and they include a small set of pictures that describe how to assemble the model. Although I figured out where everything went, with the assistance of the images, I feel the assembly directions could be a bit more detailed. There are two random pins I’m still not sure about, but I think they are in the right place.

Using My Wonder Wash
After assembling my Wonder Wash I wanted to get a jump on my laundry and test a couple of small loads. I purchased a wooden laundry rack about one month ago, so, even though the weather was rainy, I was prepared to hang my laundry to dry. The Wonder Wash has suction cups in the corners of the bottom of the frame. I found this feature very helpful to keep my Wonder Wash stable on my counter as I turned the handle. The directions include the prescribed amount of water, detergent, and spin time for a quarter load, a half load, three-quarters load, and a full load. I followed the directions and found I had a better result when I let the clothing sit in the detergent water for a minute or two before spinning for the recommended amount of time. I did two small loads of laundry this way, and I’m pleased with the result. They look and smell clean and fresh.

Twisting and Squeezing
The Wonder Wash is a great manual clothes washer, but it does not spin the water from the clothing, so it is necessary to wring each piece of clothing or to invest in a clothing spinner. The Laundry Alternative Inc. has an small electric clothing spinner available, perhaps that’s an idea for another post. Since I don’t have a spinner I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to wring most of the water from the clothing so that it wouldn’t drip on the floor, but it was no problem twisting and squeezing the clothing before I hung it to dry.

A Lesson Learned
Today I did two more small loads of laundry with my Wonder Wash manual washing machine. While washing the last batch I was a bit distracted and neglected to check that the pressure lid was secure. As I gave my Wonder Wash it’s first spin, several quarts of water gushed onto my kitchen counter and floor. So, with towels soaking up the water in the kitchen, I refilled my Wonder Wash with a lesson learned: always recheck the pressure lid.

All in all, my second day of Wonder Washing went well. I’m enjoying experimenting with this little appliance. In my next post I’ll explore how the Wonder Wash works… stay tuned!

In Joy and Peace,
Asante
www.LivingOurBliss.net
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Great Green Find: The Wonder Wash Manual Washing Machine

In my continuous search for eco-friendly products that add green-convenience to family life, I recently stumbled upon the Wonder Wash, a portable, manual washing machine that requires no electricity to operate. The Wonder Wash is manufactured and sold by Laundry Alternative Inc., a company that has been in business for nearly ten years specializing in green laundry products. On their website Laundry Alternative claims to truly care for the environment and to only carry products that meet their high standards.

I was overjoyed to find the Wonder Wash for several reasons:
–It’s a green appliance that requires no electricity, uses much less water than a conventional washing machine, and is compatible with biodegradable detergents.
–It’s a manual washing machine that I can use my own muscle power to operate.
–It’s made by a reputable green company.
–It’s small, which makes it easy to move and store.
–Using Wonder Wash will save my apartment dwelling family money by replacing many trips per month to the laundromat.

In my excitement to get my hands on a Wonder Wash, I contacted Laundry Alternative Inc. asking to review the little beauty. The owner happily responded and sent a model to me. I was already impressed with Laundry Alternative‘s business and environmental ethics, and, after our interaction, I became impressed with their down-to-earth approach to customer service.

On Friday I received my Wonder Wash, and over the next week I’ll test it out and report to you what I find. I’m taking a whole week to report on Wonder Wash since it will give me an idea of what it’s like to use the small manual appliance for long-term household needs. Stay tuned!

In joy and peace,
Asante
www.LivingOurBliss.net
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A Quick Trip to Tuskegee Institute

I’m writing from the Kellogg Conference Center at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. This morning, Uzuri, Little Lotus, and I found we had received scholarships to an organic farming conference held at Tuskegee Institute, complete with hotel room reservations, so we quickly packed and drove for several hours stopping at fruit stands along the way. The conference actually began today, but we’ll attend a day of organic farming classes tomorrow.

I love being here. There is a bust of the founder Booker T. Washington in the Lobby and lots of cultural and historical art decorating the walls. It feels profound to walk on ground that Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver stood on. I am humbled.

Things at the farm are going beautifully. We’ve finally finished weeding the hoop house, and we’re beginning to harvest zucchini and sweet peas. Uzuri and Little Lotus harvested two big drinking cups full of sweet peas to eat during our ride to Tuskegee. They were delicious. After eating sweet peas fresh from the garden, we are all baffled by the thought of cooking them. They are so tender and flavorful when fresh and raw.

Our happy household has decreased by two. The lovely Rasta couple moved last week. Beginning an organic farm from scratch is an adventurous idea, but the reality is a lot of work. It’s not easy, but it can be a wonderful growth inspiring experience.

In love, joy, and peace,
Asante
http://www.LivingOurBliss.net

Weeding and More Weeding in an Alabama Garden

I am rising earlier each morning and establishing a routine. Because we’re closer to the equator than we were before, 8 o’clock in the morning feels like noon, so waking earlier comes naturally. This morning I rose, made a pot or yerba mate, did my morning yoga asana, and headed to the hoop house in the garden to weed.

Uzuri working in the hoop house

Most of our work this week has been weeding. I know we’re making progress, though, because the children in the neighborhood say the inside of the hoop house doesn’t look like a forest any more.

Yesterday Yawah, her daughter Uzuri, Little Lotus, and myself headed to the hoop house together for a day of work. We all wore straw hats and smiles. I got to use a hoe for the first time, and, I swear, my arms are going to be well-defined by the time our garden starts to produce. We got so hot while we worked that we drenched ourselves in water and worked some more. We got dirty and muddy and worked some more. I loved it. By the end of our work day about 15 people from the neighborhood had joined us in the garden. Some helped work, some just had conversations, one little lady played piano, and lots of children ran around playing. It was amazing,

Our garden fresh lunch

Today we made a delicious pate from sunflower seeds and wrapped it in romaine leaves fresh from the garden. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

In love, beauty, and light,
Asante George
http://www.LivingOurBliss.net

A Teary Beginning to a Wonderful Adventure

Little Lotus and I are in a small town in Arkansas. We’ve stopped here on the way to our friend’s land in Alabama. The adventure we have prepared for over the last several months has begun!! We envisioned our project, plotted the steps it would take to get here, worked really hard, and here we are at the beginning of what we call our ecoadventure. Amazing and exciting, right? Not exactly. As the last steps of our preparation became a reality, we realized that embarking on this new beginning meant saying goodbye to people and a place we had come to love. We left Oklahoma in tears that left me wondering whether I had made a very wrong decision. After about fifty miles passed under our adventure-mobile tires, we were both able to catch sight of our dream again. The vision of our plan came back to us in small glimpses at first, and before long we were both smiling again.

We are excited, once again, about our road trip with our cat Max (who travels on a leash) and about our plans to build an eco-house, but we’ll never forget the folks we love that we hope to see again very soon.

In love, adventure, and bliss,
Asante
http://www.LivingOurBliss.net

The Gifted Greenhouse

The world outside my window is covered in a snowy white blanket, and the wind is whipping. A stormy day is a perfect opportunity to sleep in, reflect, and write.

Collecting materials for our recycled lean-to greenhouse has been very successful. As I stated in my last post, we had most of the wood for our greenhouse frame in our yard already. After watching an informative video called ‘How To Build A Greenhouse From Recycled Materials’ I was inspired to call the commercial greenhouses in my area to ask if they had large pieces of plastic sheeting that where no longer suitable for a large commercial greenhouse, but would work for a small lean-to structure. The first place I called didn’t have any materials for me, but they offered wonderful advice on maintaining a greenhouse. Calvert’s Plant Interiors was the second place I called. The manager was out when I called, so I left a message explaining my project and the reason for my call. The owner, Mr. Bob Calvert, returned my call the next day. After a lively game of phone tag, Bob told me that Calvert’s may have materials to donate to my project. Mr. Calvert called me back on Friday to let me know I could pick up my plastic sheeting on Monday.

Bob explained that the rolls of plastic sheeting used at Calvert’s are 100 feet long, this is about 20 feet longer than their greenhouses. They were willing to donate a roll with the remaining 20 feet of sheeting on it to my recycled greenhouse project. When my five-year old assistant and I arrived on Monday to pick up the gifted plastic sheeting Bob Calvert helped me load it into the trunk of my car. He even smudged his suit in the process.

This project, and this experience specifically, have reminded me of the many reasons to support local businesses. In a nutshell, local businesses are more likely to support you. According to Local First Chicago locally owned businesses put 70% more money back into the local economy. Non-profit organizations receive 350% more support from locally owned businesses than they do from large chains or non-locally owned businesses. Business owners who live where they work are more likely to give to community groups and organizations, or in my case, a small greenhouse project. Anyone who visits Calvert’s, with their elegant yet shabby chic vibe, can attest to the fact that locally owned businesses give an area character, and help maintain what makes a neighborhood distinct. Big-box stores can’t do that!

Wishing you creative adventures and profound abundance,

Adventurer Extraordinaire Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

Planning a Recycled Lean-to Greenhouse

I’m so excited about our current project! We’re building a lean-to greenhouse in our backyard. This in and of itself is a wonderful project, but what makes it extra special to me is that we’re making it out of found and repurposed materials.

After watching lots and lots of youtube video on other people’s projects (thank you!), I have an idea of where to begin with ours. Yesterday I looked around our yard for materials we can use for our greenhouse, and to my surprise we had almost everything we need to build a frame laying in our yard. We had several large posts, several 2x4s that I salvaged from a curbside, 2 old tires, and an old pallet that I collected from a restaurant. While looking in our yard, I spied a piece of plastic sheeting in our neighbor’s yard that looked like it wasn’t being used. My neighbor was happy to give the sheeting to me, plus I got to meet a new neighbor and have a wonderful conversation about composting and gardening.

Today Little Lotus and I will go on a treasure hunt for more old tires. The tires will become the foundation for the outer wall of our greenhouse after being filled with compacted dirt. I’m so excited, our greenhouse will be a wonderful place to begin seedlings for our garden.

Wishing you love, joy, and delicious healthy food,

Raw Chef Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

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