Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Baby steps to Freedom

This past weekend, we propped up our collapsible Clothes Line and dried our first loads of laundry on it. That ought to save on gas and electric bills from the clothes dryer. Still trying to get the time-management part down, as most laundry was being done after 10pm before, but to utilize the sun, we'll have to shift that.

We received a bill for $41 on our electric bill instead of the average $110! We used to leave the computer on "energy save mode" all day and all night, but now turn it off when not in use. What a difference those steps have made in usage! For us powering down has been fairly easy because our son is still young, (not a teen who wants to surf online all day, listen to his iPod, etc. Tim is very cooperative and is interested in saving more $ through powering down! We gave each other a high 5 when we saw the $41 electric bill! Whoo Hoo!

We disconnected our Microwave, only to be used for emergencies. (To use it once it's disconnected is a pain, since you have to program the time back in before it allows you to use it, so that's a deterrent ) I've read that the electro-magnetic waves created by the Microwave oven kills most of the healthy vitamins in our foods, and it affects our bodies as well. After all, our nervous system is made of synapses and neurons firing electric signals to eachother and receiving signals from other parts of our bodies, so that makes sense to me scientifically.

A few weeks ago, I disconnected my electric toothbrush, and hand-held vacuum in the Kitchen. We've been disconnected most things we can in the kitchen so we save on "phantom" power usage by the small appliances such as the toaster oven.

We purchased hand cranked food processor and food mill from the Peddler's Wagon, but I still need to get adjusted to what they can and cannot do. Caleb and I made meat-loaf using the hand cranked food processor, with our garden zucchinis, and home made bread crumbs as part of the recipe.

We've stopped using Swiffers, and instead are reusing rags in place of them, rinsing them over and over, then washing them. Save $ and less in the landfills! We just use the old reliable broom and dustpan, then wipe up the smaller dust with the rags.

I acquired 2 black metal shelving units from Craigslist that will hold the seed blocks. It's against the South East side of the wall by the 2nd Garage.

Tim is in process of building a raised garden box out of Freecycled wood for the lawn strips next to our deck. I think I'm going to plant some herbs there, so I can gather them readily for cooking.

We have been composting all of our kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps along with biodegradable napkins for about 3 months now. We have reduced our use of Paper Towels significantly, by using reusable towels to wipe, then wash. We recycle all paper, plastic, aluminum, tin and glass. All these efforts have cut down our trash tremendously. It takes 2 weeks for the kitchen trash can to fill up now, and it's mostly non-recyclable plastics.

We are trying to process all the trimmed branches and leaves from the "pink" bush (we call it that because it flowers profusely in March in pink) and using the dried leaves for the dry part of the compost, layering it with our kitchen scraps. The branches & twigs will be bundled and saved for burning in the winter. I acquired a Log Rack for free from Craigslist so we'll need to organize the 2nd Garage to fit the new Rack to store our wood and twigs.

I have switched my soaps and shampoos to biodegradable, and shortened my showers. I save the grey-water from my showers to water the remaining lawn for now. We will be running out of Caleb's bathwash soap, so we are switching his soaps to biodegradable as well. We'll have to do trials since he is sensitive to nut oils. We switched Caleb's moisturizing cream from Aquaphor (petroleum based) to natural Cocoa Butter. He loves the fact that he smells like Chocolate and can eat his cream if we allow him to...hehe. It seems to be making his skin very supple.

I have been accepted by NELA's CoOp group online, so now I think I just have to order food from them, then wait for the pick up date? I'm new to this so we'll see. Less dependence on the market, and supporting small farms this way is good.


Anonymous said...

nice post, i learned a lot!

Here's a website about 75 saving tips:

and 91 ways:

spelled with a K said...

congratulations! we've been looking through the house for phantom power stealers here cellphone chargers and the like, and now 100% of our non-dimmable lights are cfl's it does make a difference!

Thank the lord I'm not the only one who gets pumped up about compost. I love turning it and finding rich sweet smelling goodness in the middle.

I think we have the same "pink bush" too.

Sarah said...

Sounds like you have made a lot of really good changes. I am envious of your $41 PG&E bill. I think I'll start pulling some plugs this month and see what it does for our bill. Congratulations on all of your great progress!

AJK said...

Thanks everyone! It's really exciting to actually see the progress in written form, when you're caught up in the "doing" sometimes you don't see how far you've come from where you started. I'll have to take pics of our Laundry line... ok L, no jokes about underwear!

Weeping Sore said...

Wow, you're really committed, and it must be wonderful to see your electric bill change so dramatically. You might want to consider shredding your junk mail to use as compost. You can get hand-cranked shredders. My compost is composed of kitchen waste and shredded junk mail and it turns out they combine in perfect proportions.