Monday, January 17, 2011

25 Things that I do to live more Sustainably

1. Have a garden:  Okay, I do this because I like to and it just happens to allow me to live more sustainably.

2. Have chickens, also because I like them, but still free eggs and manure a great combination.

3. Raise rabbits for wool, not doing this yet, but it is sooo in the plan for this year.

4. Compost, there is just some thing special about that bottom 6 inches that makes composting addicting as well as green.

5. Harvest rainwater: the more I collect, the more I want to collect.  It's always good know that no matter what catastrophe hits I will not be dead in three days from thirst.

6. Drive a small car, and looking forward to a small e-car in the future.

7. Conserve on my use of electricity, I feel bad as I write this because there are two lamps on when not even one is necessary, but only two lamps, one alarm clock and a refridgerator, not bad for a suburban home.  Oh, yea, and the has a battery, but it's on the grid as I type.

8. Only heat the rooms I use, I have lived for the past 3 years using my gas fireplace alone for heat.  In the winter I pare down the rooms I use and keep the doors shut and the drafts blocked and it has been amazingly comfortable.  Especially when I dress like it is winter.

9. Insulate my windows with bubblewrap, I did this in my bedroom this year.  I know sounds crazy, but it really has worked.  Also, I hear the plasticky sort of sound occasionally and I know it is a breeze of some sort that my plastic wraped windows have blocked, so that's good.  Also, my roman shades are made of a relatively sheer white cotton so the sunlight still filters thru while the bubbles are hidden.

10. Use both my front and back yards for crops, this one is basically a front yard thing.  I have Artichoke, Comfrey, Thyme and Rosemary growing in the front yard.  This spring I think I will add some purple kale (real kale, not the decorative stuff), and some swiss chard.

11. Save my pee and use it as fertilizer and compost jump starter.  I also do the "if it's yellow it's mellow" thing with the toilet, but I learned last year what a good source of nitrogen pee is and I have used it and it works.

12. Grow perennial veggies, okay, yea, this is just an extension of gardening, but perennials feel so different, sort of like undeserved bounty.  I have figs, pears, peaches, blackberries, persimmons, asparagus, eggplant and peppers.  Yes! I said "eggplant and peppers".  They are perennials and I have them in pots that come indoors in the winter.  I have 3 kinds of peppers with fruit on them in the den right now.  Oh, and one eggplant ripening. 

13. Keep a wormery, another thing that is so low maintenance for the benefit.  My black tower comes in during the winter and other than putting my food waste and some shredded newspaper in it every week I do very little and reap very beneficial worm poop!

14. Use CFL bulbs, boring but true.

15. Have an outdoor shower - my building project for this summer.  I can't wait to get this going.  Showering outdoors after working in the yard all day - HEAVEN!

16. Buy food locally, well, at least as a first choice, and I am trying to eat more and more within the season.  That actually makes all of the season's meals more special.

17. Eat less meat, especially beef...wish I could live without beef, but every once in a while I just have to have a hamburger. 
18. Use rechargeable batteries.  I bought a solar recharger on Ebay and it works great and it wasn't very expensive.  The batteries are more expensive obviously, but hey they are rechargeable! 

19. Use solar lamps.  I bought a solar lamp from Ikea last week, I wrote about it in an earlier post.  I brought it home and we haven't had a sunny day since!  So even tho' I saw the one at the store working, I haven't seen mine work yet,  I will report back later.

20. Use a solar oven, don't have one yet but this is one of this year's plans.

21. Use water bottles as a heat sink,  I have 2gal water bottles stacked 2 high lined up along my 9ft southern facing window sills in both the den and the dining room.  In the dining room they are mostly hidden and in the den they were hidden, but since I turned the den into a greenhouse they are more exposed.  They help moderate temperature changes between day and night.

22. Recycle - my city has just started accepting ALL plastic for recycling.  It is amazingly easy to recycle when you don't have to filter it yourself.  I am very happy about this.

23. Reuse.  I love old stuff, so I am lucky, reusing is my thing.  I have a door stop that was my grandmother's actual iron IRON, if you know what I mean.  My utensil holder by the stove is one of her butter crocks.  Most ... in fact, all but one of the chairs in my house were inherited, as are the two beds, and most of the tables.  My house was built in 1948.  I feel most comfortable surrounded by things that are already broken in.  Exception to this rule:  Toothbrush.  That's just something that you really want to break in yourself.
24. Wear appropriate and adequate clothing.  Wearing a soft scarf around my neck indoors on a really chilly evening does not bother me at all.  If I didn't want seasons I could move to California.

25. Dry my clothes on the line.  I a not a radical about this either.  There was no sun this week and fog & drizzle to boot.  The load of laundry went in the dryer, but that is the rare exception.  As well as my lines outside, I have lines set up over the bathtub that get used during all weather.
If you are out there and I hope you are, tell me about the things that you do to live sustainably.

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