48 Hour Water Strike Challenge

Did you know that there are over 700 million people that don’t have access to clean drinking water, and over 2 billion that don’t have access to proper sanitation?

This blew my mind!

With that knowledge, I wanted to bring awareness to how often we take for granted how easy we can have clean, drinkable, potable, flushable, water just at a flick of a wrist. The average daily water use in America is 80-100 gallons per person. This includes drinking, cooking, bathing, teeth-brushing, and toilet use.

So, my thinking is I need to draw attention to this. Someone needs to make sure other know about how fortunate we are in our communities. In central Minnesota, we’re blessed with miles and miles and acres and acres of fresh drinkable water. However, we must be good stewards of these abundant riches.

So, my plan is to use zero water for 48 hours. I planned on utilizing none of these.

You read that right.


I routinely drink 2-3 of these during my work day. My work is cut out for me.

No water of any kind. No juices, no soft drinks, no teas, and no energy drinks.

No bathing. That means no showers, no sponge baths, and no hand-washing (yuck).

No toilet use. I’ve taken that to mean essentially means no flushing or normal toilet use. Luckily, the engineers up here at the HUG campus have designed a composting toilet, which uses zero water. How fortuitous. I will use hand sanitizer for clean up afterwards, just to be safe. But, remember those over 2 billion people that DON’T have access to hand sanitizer, let alone soap and water.

No teeth brushing. This is a huge deal for me. I brush my teeth at least 3 times a day, sometimes more. It’s a dumb obsession I have. I won’t leave the house before slapping the ol toothbrush between the gums. It’s something I’ll just have to deal with, maybe by using gum or mints.

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Cool Water Charities

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. We are home to more shoreline than Alaska, Hawaii, and California combined. We take pride in the fact that we have pristine, clean, usable water for drink and play. We base our lifestyles around it. We base our livelihoods on it. Clean usable water is so ingrained in our Minnesota culture.


HDT’s hometown of Pine River utilizes it’s water sources for drinking and recreation.

With our overabundance of great water, do we take it for granted? Probably not. But, are we blessed? I think we are. Just last year, I was able to write a series of posts focusing on the MANY beaches in the #BrainerdLakesArea. (Gull Lake Recreation Area was my clear favorite).

However, look at other areas of the United States, and then widen your view to other areas of the globe. With other areas of the world suffering through a seemingly endless drought, unusable or unavailable water supplies, and zero access to sanitary water conditions, there has to be something we can do to help.

Fortunately, there are many water charities that are putting the effort into making water more accessible to both communities and nations, alike. Here are just a few:


Co-founded by Matt Damon, Water.org seeks to go beyond drilling wells to ensure that all projects are sustainable for the long-term, involve local partners and community members, adequately address sanitation and hygiene, and have appropriate monitoring systems in place to keep track of issues and successes. They have also developed the WaterCredit initiative, which uses small loans to individuals and communities to empower people to address their own water needs.

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Happy National Pancake Day

Tuesday, February 27 is National Pancake Day (with International Pancake Day on March Sunday March 4 following close behind). Historically hosted as the last day before Lent, the date moves yearly and always occurs on Fat Tuesday (also known as Mardi Gras).

Since pancakes are universally loved, we thought we’d share out favorite recipes from around campus.

Jim’s Homemade by Hand Pancakes

Food & Water Security Coordinator, Jim Chamberlin thinks it’s better to take your time with your batter and that it’s not too important to be exact.

Chamberlin begins, “I start with four hand fulls of Natural Way Mills Gold N White Flour. Then I add two eggs, a couple capfuls of raw apple cider vinegar, and a couple blobs of melted butter. I pour in milk until I get a consistency of wet cement. Then I let it stand for two to 12 hours.”


I went to the St. Cloud IHOP to research some other famous pancake recipes.

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How to Read a Seed Packet

When you finally get the itch to start planting, you’ll find that can get your seeds anywhere. You can go through online sources. You can order through seed catalogs. You can go to Costco. You can go to your local hardware store. You can probably go into one of your own kitchen drawers and find some.

The seed quality will vary. The packaging will be different at each place, but, they will almost always have information that you need to know about the seed you hold in your hand.


Even dark mage Yordles take the time to learn what their seed packet can teach.

I had my good friend Veigar find some seed packets from his dark wizard tool shed and he kindly took the time to show me what kind of information they have on the front and back of each packet.

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Top 5 Indoor Garden Ideas

1) Indoor Succulent Garden succulents

One of the best things about succulents is their variety. You can fill your dining room table with so many varieties of succulents without repeating that you may have to eat your dinners in the kitchen. Not requiring constant attention, succulents are a perfect entry to putting some green in your house.

Go to Jessica’s Design Blog for more ideas.

2) Regrowing Veggies from scrapscelerychopped

Getting your kids to eat their veggies can be difficult sometimes, but now you’ve got a trick up your sleeve. Tell your child that once they eat their green deliciousness, they can turn their scraps into a living, growing plant. Some tasty veggies only require being set in a cup of water to get it sprouted again, such as celery, bok choi, and cabbage. Super easy and a great way to reuse. Check out here for more ideas.

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Window Sill Gardens

It’s snowing outside. Right now, I can look outside my window and see the beginnings of (yet another) snowstorm. These are nothing new in Central Minnesota. As hearty Minnesotans, we’re raised to endure the cold. We have flannel pajamas given to us for our first Christmas. We endure, and like your kind old neighbor will have you know, we are nurtured to endure quietly and stoically, one hand on our snow shovel, and when not accelerating, one foot always hovering over the brake.


While not as edible as some plants, succulents can add green to your dreary winter.

With this recent (of many) snowstorms, I’m here to tell you that life is more than white landscapes inter speckled with black-barked trees and grey skies. I’m here to remind you that green is still a color. Remember green? Remember color? We can have color, even in the cold snowy winter. Even in Central Minnesota! But, instead of growing your entire garden indoors, let’s start a little smaller. Let’s start with windowsill gardens!
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Back to Basics 2018 – A Primer

**Registration for the 12th annual sustainable living event, Back to Basics: Navigating Changing Currents, is open! With 45 workshops to choose from, almost 50 vendors to shop at, informative and entertaining keynote speakers, door prizes, a delicious lunch, and school aged (K-4) children’s programming available, there’s fun for the whole family! Workshops ARE FILLING UP! So, don’t miss out.**

Every winter in Northern Minnesota brings with it four things.

  1. Bitter cold
  2. Time to perfect your hot tottie recipe.
  3. A reinvigorated perspective on what is more uncomfortable: being “too hot” or “too cold”*
  4. Something wonderful.

For the last 12 years, that wonderful something has been the annual sustainable living event, Back to Basics! It’s here. It’s finally here!

We wanted to focus on the importance of water, so we made this year’s theme: Navigating Changing Currents. We wanted to make more aware the troubling times in our nation, politically anyways, so we brought in two amazing keynote speakers who are well-versed in the the importance of recognizing climate change, the worldwide ecosystem, and our place within it.

“We’ll share ‘Why we need to be concerned and what you can do about it’” stated Phil


Mike Duvall and Phil Hunsicker will keynote the event with “slides and songs.”

Hunsicker when commenting on the keynote he and friend, Mike Duval will deliver on environmental challenges facing Minnesotans. The duo will educate and entertain with a mix of slides and songs on topics like climate change and aquatic invasive species (AIS). Both Phil and Mike work for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources where Phil is an AIS Prevention Planner in the Division of Ecological and Water Resources and Mike is a District Manager of the Division of the Ecological and Water Resources.

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Back to Basics 2018 Presenter Focus: Zachary Paige to Talk on the Industrial Hemp Revolution

***If you haven’t had a chance to check out the presenters at this years Back to Basics (the 12th annual sustainability event), I highly recommend you hurry.***

We try to get a wide variety of workshop presenters. We stick with ones that have year after year sold out (I’m looking at you, Abbie!) We also like to make sure that new topics are introduced to bring a fresh feel to the event.

One presenter is looking to start a revolution.


Zachary Paige is looking to start an industrial (hemp) revolution.

Zachary Paige, a first time presenter at this years’ Back to Basics, has a passion for spreading the word of industrial hemp.

Paige insists, “Products such as plastic, high protein food products, building materials – rope, hempcrete, fiberboard, as well as textiles can be made at an affordable price right here in America from a crop that yields well in organic systems.”

Hemp and marijuana are related, but are different strains of the same plant species. Paige explains on the White Earth Natural Resource Department website,

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