Earth Hour came and went like just another evening here on the urban homestead – in the dark.

Here’s an entry from last year talking about how we power down

How many of you powered down and unplugged last night and how many of you will continue to incorporate these new habits on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Care to share?

Keeping Up Appearances

Everyone knows that actions speak louder than words.  So are there things, small things, that you do that you don’t think as significant but are to those around you.

I recall a time when we had someone over and she walked into our kitchen and noticed that we didn’t have any paper towels.  Of course we are a paper towel less household but what people observe about us and our lifestyle got me thinking.  What other things to people notice that aren’t so obvious to me/us because they are habits now.  Is it that we carry metal water bottles with us where ever we got while others around us are guzzling from plastic bottles, is it the pile of cloth bags in the corner, or what brand of TP we use in our bathrooms.

Can someone, anyone just walk into our house anytime of day or night and see that we are striving to live a low impact life 24/7.

Or how about if someone were to go into our kitchen, bathroom or laundry room and open up a cabinet or refrigerator.  What would they find?

Something for all of us to think about – if our insides reflect our outsides.  I know one thing, this is we are still working on and it’s certainly a struggle and part of the journey.  Right now I could list a whole slew of things we could do better – waste less paper when we print or on the computer too much these days, continue to whittle down the basic staples list, etc, etc.

But it’s a matter of taking steps, small steps at a time.

What about you?


  1. daniel L says:

    I have a “root cellar fridge” kinda bewilders people at first. People just need to learn there are alternatives and maybe they will change. Though I do have a very sensitive nose so i buy the most softest tissue paper there is or else i would be the red nose reindeer all day. All about preference.

    • Bert says:

      Hi a good way is to get a ice pond for your storage an a 8 food deep hole line it with hay or straw bails and then ice cover the ice with straw an wood chip..Hang your beef and pork in the midel of hole ..Place playwood or bordas cover the hole and place bails over that ..All this will keep meat summer long..My farm familly stored alot this way..

  2. Katie says:

    Really cool picture! After Earth Hour last year, we tried to go powerless at night at least once a week. Slowly over the course of the summer, we fell out of the habit. Earth Hour this year reminded me of how far we still have to go.

    Such an insightful and thought-provoking post. I wonder what people think when they come over, but I like how you spun it into what would people find? I always wonder “What would the Pasadena folks do?” in a given situation. Helps keep me on track!

    Keep up the great work.

  3. Ben says:

    Toilet paper?

    Get rid of your toilet paper!


  4. Ellen C says:

    I’d love to hear more about what you do that might be different from the mainstream population. No paper towels or paper napkins here either. No microwave always amazes people.

  5. Fostermamas says:

    I love that you always post the little stuff you do. It always reminds me that I can keep working on every area and do more.

  6. C says:

    I would love it if such nice people who write in comments, would elaborate a little when they do something unconventional. Such as Daniel L, with the “root cellar fridge”. A little more detail would go a long way! Also the person who wrote about her small fridge being defrosted during elec. shut off times. That’s great, but do you use a smaller fridge for solar purposes, or just elec. benefits? Maybe I’m just trying to make up my own mind on what to do when the elec. does go off. I love this site, and I feel like I have allot of friends out there, that I’ve never met personally. C

  7. Meg says:

    I have a pair of solar powered task lights I use in my bedroom as my primary bedroom lighting nowadays, and for the Earth Hour we moved the lights to the living room (candles or lanterns are *not* practical with 3 energetic dogs in residence!). We tilted the task lights upwards so the lights were reflecting off the ceiling to provide ambient light, and my roommate really liked it. We spent part of the time watching the dogs put on a show for us with a lot of crazy play, and part of the time reading. At the end of the hour she said she really liked the lights and requested that we use them more often in the living room! Yay! She’s greenminded, but not as wildly green as I, so it’s nice when she gets excited about taking more green steps. She mentioned being super pleased with how easy it was to read by the lights, even though the overall lighting wasn’t super bright, that the quality of the light was really good for reading by. I think she might be getting a pair of the lights for her room as a Christmas present this year. 😉

  8. Val says:

    great post….Ben, we are sans tp, my son calls it toilet cloth.I think folks would find my house pretty ordinary at first glance, then upon investigation would find it out of the ordinary. I believe its the little things that we incorporate over time one by one into habit, that adds up to make a big difference.

  9. mary says:

    Thanks for the post – it rekindled my personal goal to do better with the disposables and be more focused on the energy effeciency of my house.
    I’d like to hear your creative input- what DO you use in place of the paper towels? We’ve tried different things but haven’t always liked the results. There are just some jobs where the paper product seems to be the best option. [especially in the garage/shop]. There are some reusable light weight towels that we like for the kitchen – they come 6 to a pkg and are about the size of a paper towel – but can be washed and reused many times before they wear out.

  10. Abby says:

    Thanks for your blog. It’s inspiring. I love Earth Hour. Last year, we went for a walk. This year, we read by candlelight. I would love to have an electricity-free evening once a week. Or even better, an electricity-free day every week.

    We do a lot of cooking from scratch, like all of our bread for instance, which surprises some people. We also don’t use paper towels, and we bring our canvas bags and stainless steel cups with us everywhere.

  11. Nancy says:

    Oh my gosh! I am glad I am not the only one who does not use toilet paper, I thought it was just too weird. It all began when I ran out of toilet paper and found a sock works just fine.

    In my own little sphere, who read this blog, I am perfectly normal!

    With much relief, Nancy

  12. Jan says:

    We have no PT here either. We use only rechargeable batteries. We unplug when we are not using it. I have not been able to get the family on board about the no tp thing.

    We did the no electric on Sat. and Sunday.

  13. Ellen C says:

    In place of paper towels, we use rags. They may be from worn out towels or worn out flannel shirts or pjs. Use it to clean up the mess. Dispose of any large pieces of the mess into the trash can. Soak the rag to get mostly clean and then toss in the washing machine.

    We also use only cloth feminine products. We use all natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. We have a solar oven and will be putting in a fire pit this summer. We use solar or wind up lights to help offset the electric lights. We have a wind up radio. We’ve eliminated most of the electric appliances in our kitchen. We own no microwave, bread machine, toaster, blender, etc. We just use the old fashioned alternative. I’m saving up for one of those neat vortex blenders they have in the store here.

    • Nikki says:

      @Ellen C, seems like no tp requires more water use. did you find an increase on your water bill when you gave up tp?

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