Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We received our first power bill since I stopped using the clothes dryer and I must say I am pleased. I really wasn't sure what kind of effect it would have on our bill, but I was hopeful. Our bill was actually $7.36 more than last month, but there was a five percent rate increase starting with this current bill. What numbers I am really interested in (other than the actual dollar amount we have to pay) are the kWh used compared to last year, and the dollar amount compared to last year. As compared to this same month last year we used 362 kWh less and our bill is $8.92 less than our bill last year. This is with a rate increase and the added energy usage of the freezer (which we didn't have last year). I know $8.92 is small potatoes for most folks, but if I save a least that much every month that's over one hundred dollars a year. I know one hundred dollars is not much to a lot of people either. Some people spend that much on one meal out to eat, but it is a lot for us. It seems like an uphill battle sometimes. Our entire house is completely electric. No gas or fireplaces, so second to our mortgage it is the most expensive bill we have and I am still looking for more ways to reduce it to be frugal and to be green. If you happen to live in an area serviced by TVA, check out their home energy evaluations. If you take a free and simple evaluation, they will send you a kit in the mail and it is absolutely free. The energy conservation kit includes:, two compact fluorescent light bulbs,outlet and light switch gaskets, filter whistle, two faucet aerators, hot water temperature gauge, home thermometer, and a “How to Save” brochure. If you are not sure if TVA is your power provider, ask your power company. If you know for sure it is not, still check with your power company to see if your local provider offers anything similar. It only takes a couple of minutes and at the very least you get some free light bulbs!
Monday, July 18, 2011
This weekend was such a busy one. These days they usually are. Last night when Isabelle was finally asleep and the toys put away and the dishes were done, I plopped down on the sofa completely pooped, but very contented. We got a nice break from the heat with temps only in the low 90's and a break from the afternoon rains. I did extra loads of laundry so they could dry outside in the sunshine. Also had to pull up the now completely dead tomato plants and burn them. I'm thinking late blight maybe? I've not had too much experience with badly diseased plats before, (guess that tells you I haven't really been doing this that long) but from everything I've read that's my diagnosis. Well whatever it was I do know that you shouldn't compost diseased plants, so we built a little fire pit in the back yard and burned them. It took a while because we had a hard time finding enough dried wood to burn. The cucumbers look like they are dying too, but I have to admit I'm not sad to see them go. I'm sick of cucumbers. I pickled another batch this weekend. Totaled including what I gave away I ended up with 23 jars of pickles. Not to mention the bags of raw cucumbers I forced on people and the amount devoured by us. I also used the break from the heat to mow the yard. I hate doing this, so it usually gets put off until the grass is above our ankles and all the neighbors have done their yard at least twice. Afterwards I mentioned to Andrew how wouldn't it be nice if we had a goat? I was only half kidding when I said it, thinking really about having one to eat our grass, but then we began seriously discussing it. We have room for a miniature or two (probably two because they are social creatures) and it would be great to get one for milking like a pygmy or dwarf. Turns out Andrew really loves the idea, so we are beginning to research what it takes to care for goats. (Any suggestions or resource info would me much appreciated!) Also we had to clean our air filter this weekend. This is something, like most people, we let go on too long, but if you don't clean them (supposed to do it once a month) or replace them if you have disposable ones, regularly, your ac unit gets over worked, doesn't run as efficiently, and can eventually break. The up side of having a cleanable one as opposed to the more commonly used (at least here) disposable ones is the obvious. Don't have to keep buying new ones, and avoid unnecessary waste. The downside is you have to leave the ac off while it dries. I suppose the solution to this would be to buy a second one and rotate them out, but that seems to be something we never think of until we are sitting there with the ac off waiting for it to dry. I also mixed up a sourdough starter. This is something I've never done before an am really excited about trying. It seems to be frothing nicely and doing everything it's supposed to do, so hopefully I will have a nice loaf of sourdough soon to post about. I'm not going to list every other thing I did this weekend, but the point I wanted to make was this. Not too many years ago I had a job where I worked near eighty hours a week, and was always on call. I would come home, completely pooped, prop my feet up, and think about how absolutely miserable I was. I didn't have time for my husband, or my home, or even myself. When I had Isabelle I knew there was no way I could work that much and still be the kind of mother I wanted to be (I am not judging working mom's here). I quit my job. It was really the most liberationg thing I ever did and it took me near a year to get over that feeling that tomorrow I would have to go to work. Our home became my work, and it has been so much more satisfying. I feel proud of what I do. Since my salary was more than half our household income we took a drastic paycut, but I do not regret it for a second. I'm getting to live the life that is right for me, and my family, and we have never been happier.