Spring 2013 Sustainability Efforts.

Hey people! How's it going? Any eco-friendly, self-sustaining, crafty or green spring projects on the horizon?

Of course, if you're a faithful reader, you know we always have a long list of projects that fit the bill on our radar. Many of these I am trying to accomplish while John is away.

You'll recall that last year I updated you on the things John and I were doing to make our lives more eco-friendly and sustainable. Check it out first, then continue reading this post.

I'll wait for you.

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Ok, so this year is no different, and I'm excited to share with you some of the changes we've made. To make it easier to see the growth we've made, I've included last year's endeavor in red, and have added on this year's efforts in black.

Enjoy!

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Our 2012 Sustainability Efforts: 

We have three rain barrels up and running! Recently John made me a whole new fleet of rain barrels for our backyard. Check it out

We're cooking mostly outdoors on our grill or over our fire pit. We will continue this, of course. Right now I am only cooking for myself, and it's silly to fire up the grill for a chicken breast or a single cheeseburger. I find myself cooking on the stovetop a lot when it's just me, which isn't terribly inefficient. One thing I would like to try is making my own brick oven. I don't think I'll get to that this year though, especially if we are traveling. 


Our electric service is still set to Time-of-Day billing, where we only pay a 40% rate for energy we use during off-peak hours (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) and on weekends. This reduced our electric bills by about $30 each month. Holla!
This year, more than over, Time-of-Day billing has been a lifesaver! When John was home in January (waiting for his Arkansas work to break) our electric bill went up to about $120 a month. This was extremely high. After he left for work and wasn't using electricity during the day, our bill was cut in half. With just me living at home right, our electric bill was further reduced by about 25%. This summer will be a toss-up, depending on the weather, of course. 

I continue to carpool three days a week with two co-workers. I still do this, and I love it. I will miss my talks with Diana on the way to and from work next year. However, I won't miss the one-way 45-50 minute commute. 

We're almost tripling the area of our garden. Additionally, we're doing raised beds this year instead of a traditional garden. We have the same surface area, but it's laid out differently which will maximize our growing potential.
This year, I won't be planting a bigger garden. In fact, my garden will be a bit smaller. I am only going to plant in my three raised beds. We are going to seed over and landscape my in-ground garden (the soil is terrible in that spot anyway). 

We've had the heat off for about 3 weeks! We had some really unusually hot weather this week. As of the date on this post, we've had the heat off for nearly 1 1/2 weeks, but it hasn't been consistently off. Unfortunately we've had some freak cold spells while forced me to turn on the heat for a bit. 

Goals that we had for the summer of 2012 were:
Look into blown-in insulation for the walls of our house. When we had a free energy audit done by our utility company, they recommended adding more insulation, which would cost about $700. Should we add this insulation and do a few other energy-effecient repairs, they will reimburse us up to $500. We have not done this, nor have we looked into it further. And we probably won't this year, because we really want to finish our attic and add a half-bath and laundry. This will hopefully prevent bats from getting in our house and having babies in the winter time. Shit heads. 

John will begin experimenting with making bio-diesel fuel. He's been on the road too much to work on this. Maybe next year. 

I want to add a compost bin. DONE! I scored a deal on Craigslist and I'm a composting fool! I also have a vermicomposting bin for our house (in the winter - it sits on the back porch in the warmer months). 

I want to add three more raised beds of the same size. I won't be adding more raised beds this spring. I will be traveling a lot this summer, so the three raised beds I have currently will be my only garden. I am seeding over my in-ground garden, too. I intend to add more raised beds next spring. 

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So tell me, dear readers: What is it you are doing this spring and summer to make your home more eco-friendly and/or your lives more sustainable?

Spill it in the Comments below!

Over and out.


1 comment:

  1. This is the first spring/summer on our homestead so we're still figuring things out. We just have one car, we've planted a large garden, and we have four rain barrels. Thank you for sharing your efforts at the HomeAcre Hop! Look forward to having you back tomorrow: http://blackfoxhomestead.com/the-homeacre-hop/

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