What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: New Uses for Old Things

January 16, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Nielsen

Being eco-conscious is about not only helping ourselves and our animals thrive, but the world around us too. There are so many initiatives to get involved with that sometimes it’s a bit daunting. Baby steps are usually what it takes most people to change their lifestyle and not break back into old habits. Take recycling for example. Many people don’t, and it’s a very sad fact that impacts overflowing landfills and more natural resources being burned up. But even if your town doesn’t have it available, would you be willing to make the time and find a way to do so? If you’re being honest and you say, ‘well how do I start small?”, then I may be able to help.

I was inspired to show everyone small ways to help mother nature out by simply reusing what we have in our homes, especially things we find and use in our kitchens. This blog post in a lot of ways was inspired by an article on Real Simple‘s website. I took some of their ideas, but also wanted to showcase some additional ones I’ve seen that farm and horse owners could implement easily and effectively.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Seedling started in egg shells, which can be planted right into the soil when ready to sow. Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Egg Shell Seedling Starters. Kind of brilliant if you ask me! Egg shells are a great way to bring nutrients into the soil, so rather than buying seedling starter packs, save your shells! Add dirt and seeds, and simply start your growing. When you’re ready to plant, pop the whole thing in the ground!

Use old tic tac boxes to store supplements, salt, medication or even bobby pins. Image via Pinterest.

Use old tic tac boxes to store supplements, salt, medication or even bobby pins. Image via Pinterest.

Tic Tac Box Salt Dispenser– The Tic Tac Box can have a lot of uses, personally for me I think of it as a great storage device for salt (like Celtic sea salt) to take with me when I’m out and about. If you have one horse and you’re feeding one teaspoon two times daily, this little box should store enough for a week when you’re gone at a show. It will be no big deal if someone knocks it over, or even gets it wet versus a larger bag. You can also use one to store doses of bute or some other medication for the barn staff. In an emergency, your horses supply is readily accessible without giving up a whole bottle to the barn. Don’t forget tic tac boxes also work great to store bobby pins, perfect for your show clothes bag!

Cat toy made from a sock. Image courtesy of Etsy/Pinterest.

Cat toy made from a sock. Image courtesy of Etsy/Pinterest.

DIY Pet Toy– Everyone always  has extra icky dish towels that probably should just be discarded. But rather than throwing them in the trash, make a cat toy! Doing so doesn’t require any fancy sewing skills, if you do have those skills, you can use this idea as a launching pad to keep your barn cat entertained for hours! Fill with catnip, add adornments and keep your cat out from under your feet. You could also tear it into strips and braid it to keep your dog occupied as well.

Melon baller from OXO works great to reach supplements in deep bags. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Melon baller from OXO works great to reach supplements in deep bags. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Melon Baller Scoop– Do you get tired of trying to reach the bottom of a bag or container when your supplement is more than halfway out? Reuse that melon baller that sits around in your kitchen for most of the year! Nothing special, but just helps alleviate headaches.

Use leftover popcorn tins for cat food, supplements or show supplies. Photo via The Fickle Hobbyist

Use leftover popcorn tins for cat food, supplements or show supplies. Photo via The Fickle Hobbyist

Horse Supplement Tin– Every year these popcorn tins seem to surface around the holidays. It would be pretty fun and a good project for the kids in the barn to “collect” them and turn them into something useful. Have a party at the barn where everyone spray paints and decorates their horses own tin. Then you have a place to keep your supplements where prying mice don’t stand a chance and make the feed room look pulled together! You could also repurpose them for the barn cat’s food or as totes for horse show supplies.

Use leftover wine bottles to water your plants in a low maintenance way! Idea and photo via Vintage Cove Girl.

Use leftover wine bottles to water your plants in a low maintenance way! Idea and photo via Vintage Cove Girl.

Wine Bottle Waterer– Most horse people love their wine. It’s a way to unwind and bond with our fellow competitors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a use for all the empties? Simply rinse out your wine bottle, fill with water, and invert quickly into a planted pot. Self watering at it’s finest! These would work great around the house when you’ll be gone over a long weekend competing. This would not however be recommended throughout your garden, because knowing most horses, if one were to get loose, they would find the glass and a pricey vet bill would soon ensue.

Use an old garlic press for the barn pill crusher. Photo via Amazon/OXO.

Use an old garlic press for the barn pill crusher. Photo via Amazon/OXO.

Pill Crusher– Even as an avid cook, I have had very little use for this tool in the kitchen, but where it comes in handy is in the barn. Rather than bringing out the coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, use this baby to strengthen your arms and crush pills for your horse.  And the best part, it’s dishwasher safe.

Newspaper Mulch– Newspaper comes cheap, most times free and laying around the house. Repurposes it to keep weeds at bay and add compost to your soil. This is great for people who are competing all summer and don’t have time to remove weeds from their gardens.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.