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Today’s post should have been about the beautiful Spring blooms all over the mountains around our house.  There are so many and they are unique.  I’ve really wanted to share them with others.  But, my camera is out of batteries, 2 out of 3 vehicles we have are not running, and John left for Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina in our only running vehicle yesterday.  No going out for batteries for me.  Instead, we are staying with my mother, and I am posting a blog of laments.

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary says “lament” as a transitive verb means to regret strongly.  I regret strongly – very strongly – that all of my broccoli and tomato seedlings have perished.  They got too big for my little Jiffy greenhouse and peat pots and when I moved them to plastic egg cartons and free air, they wilted and died.  Apparently, vegetable seedlings are more dainty than flowers.  I’ve planted and grew flowers every year of my mature life with great success.  This is my first time vegetable gardening on my own.  With such a rainy Spring, the ground is too wet to direct seed.  The dirt clumps.  I am beginning to think that our first attempt at a large garden to feed our family might be more of a learning experience than an experience that ends in an abundance of food.

I also believe that my cloth diapering days have come to an end in great sadness.  Yes, I’m saying this the day after Earth Day.  I regret it strongly.  After moving off grid, I have been battling ammonia stinks in my diapers.  I have boiled, boiled, and boiled them.  I have stripped, stripped, and stripped them.  I have tried countless detergents.  I have used baking soda and vinegar together and separately.  I have done multiple rinses.  Multiple hot rinses.  Switched from a pail to a wet bag and back to a pail.  The culprit is our hot water heater combined with untreated well water.  Our hot water heater is old and doesn’t get very hot without shutting itself off.  It does fine for most things like dishwashing and bathing, so we can’t justify purchasing another one just yet.  Our water is tainted with sulfur and/or iron and comes from an untreated well.  I have come to the conclusion that it will be impossible for me to rid us of the stinkies.  I have decided to boil my diapers once more and send my stash of them to a friend due soon.  I suppose I’ll be ordering 7th Generation Diapers from www.diapers.com.  I’ll be doing this despite the fact that UPS doesn’t acknowledge that our address exists, and I’ll have to have them sent to my mother’s house.  It has come to the choice of using bacteria laden diapers on my Ivy, or disposables.  It breaks my heart.  I truly enjoy using cloth.

Ivy’s first birthday is in 5 days.  I will no longer and never again be the mother of an infant.  In a way, I too, regret that strongly.  I so loved being pregnant and anticipating birth.  I so wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and a homebirth.  I relished holding a newborn.  Nursing an infant is heavenly.  Watching a baby grow from inside your womb to the outside is like watching a miracle.  Now, my baby runs.  My first born sings her ABCs and plays outside all by herself.  Soon, they will have their own pursuits independent of needing me.

Next week will be joyful.  John will be home again.  We will celebrate Ivy’s birthday.  I will get to see my writing in print as I am being published in the upcoming issue of Kudzu Magazine.  I won the 2009 Gurney Norman Prize for Short Fiction to my ultimate delight.  Gurney Norman is a writing hero of mine, and I think his short story “Fat Monroe” is one of the best ever written.  I will get to attend Evening With Poets, and get to workshop with Gurney Norman the next day.  After a week of lamenting, I am looking forward to what is ahead.

The last few days here have been sunny, a little warm, and uplifting to my soul.  I’ve lived here in one way or another my whole life, and I’ll never cease being awestruck by the beauty of creation, and the creation that The Creator chose to have me be born to.  I’m forever thankful for that.  It is truly a gift.  As I look on the blue sky and the budding daffodils, the risen creek and our ten year old dog darting across the yard like a spry pup, I think of things that make my days sunny even when the weather is cloudy.  Things like teaching my girls, cooking for my family, writing, and taking hikes.  Recently, I have discovered that I take pleasure in something that might sound strange to most.  I thoroughly enjoy cloth diapering my baby girl.  I hadn’t noticed how much satisfaction I glean from it until lately.

When I first looked into cloth diapering, I saw it as a challenge.  Deladis was 15 months old, we didn’t have a large lump sum to buy cloth diapers with, and I definitely didn’t want to feel like I was playing in poop.  I was intimidated by the talk on diapering forums I visited.  I saw mothers paying $30 for one diaper, describing their washing regimen, and discussing the cutest high dollar diapers.  The impact of using disposables on the environment was obvious to me, and I am always looking for ways to reduce the exposure to chemicals for our family.  I just didn’t know how I would afford to buy enough diapers to make it through a day of cloth diapering.

I began to look at what I could find locally and purchased some Gerber birdseye flats from Wal-Mart and some diaper pins.  I found some used diaper covers on ebay, and a generous mother on the forums of http://www.mothering.com donated me some of her stash that she was finished with.  I began cloth diapering my toddler.  I fumbled through that adventure, and wasn’t sure about whether I had made the best choice.  But, in preparing to cloth diaper Ivy from birth, I tweaked some things, and have felt very successful.

John and I live off of self-employment.  He is an artist and musician and I am a writer.  We also work on cultural preservation and do a little workshop type teaching.  We may be able to come up with $8 for diapers at a time, but not $500.  I had always known that there had to be a cheap way to do cloth.  I have found it.  So, far I have spent $230 out of pocket and not all at once on diapering both of my girls.

Here is what I have:

  • 12 Gerber Birdseye Flats (used as doublers for extra padding)
  • 6 Organic Gerber Birdseye Prefolds – no poly  lining (gift from my baby sister)
  • 3 Bella Bottoms Snapped One-Size Fitteds for nighttime and outings (bought on ebay $27)
  • 1 Tiny Tush Elite One-Size Fitted with doubler for nighttime and outings (bought in Louisville $10)
  • 10 Green Mountain Diapers Prefolds (Ivy just is growing into these.  They were part of the donated stash.)
  • 2 Dappi Velcro Diaper Covers (very cheap, but do the job. http://www.babybestbuy.com I don’t recommend their fitted diapers.  They don’t absorb.)
  • 2 Proraps covers Velcro (I bought used from a mother on a message board $10)
  • 1 Motherease Cover Velcro (donated used)
  • 1 diaper sprayer for sticky poopy (www.everythingbirth.com for $40?) Great for spraying out a potty too!
  • pins and one snappi clasp (www.everythingbirth.com $4)
  • 1 wet bag (www.everythingbirth.com $10)

You will hear mothers talk of Gerber diapers being worthless and to use them only for dust rags, but they have worked for us and are very affordable.  I think I have just found a way to make them work.  When you need something to work because you don’t have much of a choice about it, you’ll find a way.

I also want to mention http://www.myuseddiapers.com where you can buy and sell used diapers.  I have bought and sold as I needed from there with good experience.  This way I am only reusing my money on diapers and not having to come up with new money to spend.

As far as laundering goes, it can be a trial and error process.  I’ve found that in sticking with it, you’ll eventually find the best method for your water situation and laundry habits.  I’m using All Free and Clear, currently, with vinegar in the rinse, as we have untreated well water with iron.  Take a look at http://www.diaperjungle.com for a list of detergents and cloth diapering recommendations.

So, when I change a diaper, spray it out, and throw it in the wet bag, I’m happy.  I’m not wasting anything.  My baby doesn’t smell like some perfumed diaper that is supposed to smell like baby, nor does she stink.  She wasn’t exposed to harmful phalates.  I’m not filling landfills with human waste and diapers that are not readily bio-degradable.  It is pretty awesome that I’m saving our family thousands of dollars in the long run.  I feel good.  I should even say that cloth diapering is a peaceful thing – a happy thing.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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