Small steps, small steps. Together Tom and I have embraced the suburban homestead. My husband continues to surprise me-he is just as excited about this grand experiment as I am. My focus has been food, garden and small livestock. I have discovered he is the home efficiency guy! Our goals here are energy efficiency and self sufficiency. We are taking steps to reduce our electrical and natural gas (heat and hot water) needs, conserve water and produce a (yet to be determined) percentage of our own food, while buying as much food locally as possible.
This weekend we purchased some more CFLs- about 80% of our bulbs are now switched over. We installed a low flow shower head and fixed a dripping faucet. These are all small things but will add up quickly. We have also made a commitment to use rechargeable batteries in our house. We have a recharger but never use it!
Tom found a good site, Advanced Energy Systems, which allows you to plug in numbers from your utility bill, zip code and a few other things, then estimates how much a solar PV system or hot water system will cost along with payback time. We discovered that a hot water solar system would pay for itself in approx 2 years! That is on our list for spring.
Our garden plan is fragmented. I will have a small 'kitchen garden' here at home. Maybe a cold frame or two for early and late greens, etc. The primary garden will be at my Dad's ArkWork Farm. Once the girls are out of school we will be living in our camper on the hill 3-4 days per week at the Farm. It makes more sense to have the main garden there. I would like to experiment with square foot gardening in a raised bed. We are still working on how much to grow. I am working on a list of what we eat-how many times a month do we eat spaghetti? How many lbs of potatoes do we eat? Then work backwards to how many tomato plants do I grow?
I'll post more about the no knead bread (in the dishwasher :} ) tomorrow when I have some pictures to go with the post-that's always more fun!