Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life got in the way

Wow, it's been a long time since I have posted to Ecoranch. Sorry, I mean, if there is even anybody out there reading. The big news is we are having our second-and last baby. Another boy. I am due Nov. 22. That pregnancy, a little earlier than planned, set me back on a lot of the projects I was planning to do this year. Half the garden didn't get planted or turned, due to morning sickness and exhaustion, and many home improvement projects are still left undone. Sigh. And, I know how impossible it is to get anything done once a new baby comes, so we'll see if we make any progress ever again.

Just to update:

The Garden
We grew about 54 pounds of veggies in our garden this year, just over half of our goal of 100 pounds. Not too shabby, considering some beds didn't get dug due to pregnancy and work, our asparagus patch died a horrible death due to a deluge from a clogged gutter, and all of the raspberry plants were dead on arrival. There is always next year. Here is how it broke down:

.50 lbs of basil-- turned into 2 batches of pesto,
17.1 lbs zucchini-- all from 2 plants
3.4 lbs. beets
2.7 lbs hot wax and banana peppers (8 peppers)
3.8 lbs green peppers
21.32 lbs tomatoes-- roma, cherry and mortgage lifter heirloom
.62 lbs. potatoes
4.1 lbs butternut squash

Ceiling fans
We are in the process of converting the original 1950s light fixtures in the kitchen and in the two baby bedrooms into ceiling fans w/ lights. The original fixtures were recessed, basically just little metal domes housing a single light bulb. They put off very little light and were no help with climate control. The fans, although they will use more energy, will help keep those rooms more comfy in the summer and in spring and fall when it's not quite warm enough for AC, and will put more light into those very dim rooms. I say we are in process because the junction boxes are installed, but the fans we bought hung too low so had to be returned. I haven't quite found anything I love to replace them, but have to get something soon because I am staring at my attic insulation through the holes where the old fixture used to be!

Kitchen doors
After the fans are installed, I am dragging hubby to the store to buy two new interior kitchen doors, both solid core, to replace to damaged hollow core doors. One is between the kitchen and garage and is a source of much cold air poring into the kitchen in winter. Hopefully a solid wood door will be a bit more of a barrier. Also, I am looking for an efficient kitty door for this door, something that will leak less.

Our 2009 goals

We did meet some of our goals. We did install the three additional rain barrels, bringing our total to five. That free water does come in handy.

The low-flow toilet we installed in our main bath has really reduced our water use. I don't have an exact tally in front of me, but it has made a dent.

This summer, we did manage to reduce our electricity usage, mainly by turning off and draining the hot tub. Sigh. We don't want to give up all luxury though, so since it is fall, we have turned it back on. We'll see if there is a clever way to reduce the impact of the tub without getting rid of it all together.

On the laundry front, we still have our not energy star washer. I am trying to make it greener by running loads on the short cycle when it makes sense, using the lowest water setting possible for each load, and by washing in cold unless it's diapers or hubby's gym clothes.