Earthworms’ Castings

With Jean Ponzi

I Am/Not
One of Those Women Who

You know the type.
Mumbling to Fluffy, or others of the 269 cats who, bless their flea-sweet little hides, have their queenly run of the place.

I live with one cat, and one dog, and routinely converse with many of my fellow humans, including the one kingly husband who keeps the place sanely running for us all.
But I guess my looks deceived the lady behind me in the PetSmart checkout line. “How many cats, dear,” she purred, “do you have?” as I purchased a cart full of 40-pound bags of that super-natural pine-pellet kitty litter.

Madam, I am buying this massive quantity of feline-poo-management material as craft-project stuffing. For a DIY Sustainability activity: making draft-stopping door snakes (or window worms), for the Green Homes & Great Health Festival, an education event for my workplace, I’ll have you know.

I am not a cat-hoarder. But I do stockpile some items.

I had to lay in a hefty supply of 60- and 75-watt incandescent light bulbs, before they go extinct on the American market. I’d rather not have to import them from China, after they are manufactured there in the first place.

Why incandescent bulbs? In my otherwise über-Green daily lifestyle?
I am married, as fondly noted above, to a guy our friends call Mister Mood Lighting. He tastefully illuminates parties, weddings, and theatrical productions – and has plugged all our lamps into those little socket converters where you touch the lamp and it goes on-Bright-BRIGHTER-OFF, saving watts but requiring Thomas Edison’s era of lighting technology. And all our ceiling fans and fixtures are wired to rheostats instead of switches.

So until we can afford to totally bypass the un-dimmable compact fluorescents and invest in LED bulbs everywhere, my secret stash will help me function after dark, at least dimly.
If societal efficiency hastens that day, some future fellow Lighting Luddite will be ecstatic at our estate sale.

And yes, I also collect… plastic bags.

It started years ago, when I realized the last material dominating our trash can, instead of the recycling bin, was the bags that held apples, potatoes, bread, new underpants, and frozen vegetables. Lured by Etsy examples of clever artisan designs inspired by packaging plastic, I started saving, rinsing (briefly), air-drying, sorting and storing plastic.

I have yet to realize my dream of weaving a basket from colorful plastic – in my spare time – but whenever I can rise to that happy occasion, I will have enough bags to supply a whole studio of Green-hearted crafters.

And if I live into a post-carbon era, when bags are scarce and in demand, distribution of my cache of gently-used Ziplocs might underwrite philanthropy from the Jean C. Ponzi Foundation.

Or help me afford to house some cats.

Tune in Mondays, 7-8 p.m. to “Earthworms” on FM-88 KDHX and Sundays 1-2 p.m. to “Growing Green St. Louis” on the Big 550-KTRS – you’ll hear Jean Ponzi conversing with some of those kindred (men and) women.

Publisher’s Note: I wanted to tag this congratulations onto the end of Jean’s column, unbeknownst to her of course. Jean has been awarded the Kay and Leo Drey Environmental Stewardship Award from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment for her 25+ years of service to environmental education in the St. Louis area.

I raise my glass to you Jean! 
JB Lester – Publisher & Friend