LOW IMPACT LIVING

Outdoor solar shower circa 2003

The weather’s been very pleasant lately – very odd thing to say in July.    Saturday night we witness a lightning storm in the mountains just north of us as some tropical moisture moved up from Mexico.  We didn’t get any rain though.

With the warmer temperatures, the indoor bathing facilities are no longer in use.  It’ll stay that way until the temperatures dip in a couple months time.  Instead we use the outdoor solar shower which drains the used water into the surrounding edible landscape — just look at these gorgeous bananas that seem to be thriving.  After the devastating freeze of ’07 they seem to coming back! The fig tree (located on the right) is loaded with fruit which should be ready very soon.  Surrounding the shower are low growing mints and sugar cane.

The winds of change are blowing, there’s an uncertainty and unstable future that’s unfolding, we are all going to face many challenges as individuals and as a community.

With utlity rates across the country going up by nearly 18% in some parts of the country, not to mention water hikes here in the West, what sort of low impact measures are you instigating in your household?

As oil, food prices skyrocket and with talk of shortages how are you preparing for hard times?  Even Britian has urged their citizens to go back to the WWII mentality of ‘waste not.’

Comments(42)

  1. Thomas says:

    I’m collecting rainwater in a 1000 liters (260 gallons) tank. Right now there’s 500 liters stored for a sunny day. I use it for the plants.

  2. Sara F says:

    Up early today? Being here in SW FL our family and friends think we are INSANE because we do not run our air conditioner. We also do not use our clothes dryer (unless clothes on our lanai just refuse to dry with the 100% humidity) My husband and I get very excited when our electric bill comes every month. We are down to about 18 kwh/day. Our bill was $56 this month. YAY! Just getting started on the growing our own food but taking small steps every day. Thanks for the continued inspiration. Sara

  3. Thomas says:

    I’m collecting rainwater in a 1000 liters (260 gallons) tank. Right now there’s 500 liters stored for a sunny day. I use it for the plants.

  4. Sara F says:

    Up early today? Being here in SW FL our family and friends think we are INSANE because we do not run our air conditioner. We also do not use our clothes dryer (unless clothes on our lanai just refuse to dry with the 100% humidity) My husband and I get very excited when our electric bill comes every month. We are down to about 18 kwh/day. Our bill was $56 this month. YAY! Just getting started on the growing our own food but taking small steps every day. Thanks for the continued inspiration. Sara

  5. julie says:

    Many firsts for me this year.

    First top bar bee hive-
    Caught my first swarm-
    Planted my first garden-
    Raised my first chickens-
    Hung my clothes out on the line-
    bought rain barrels-
    built our first compost bin-
    planted 10 friut trees-
    built a coop-
    grinding my own wheat berries for bread-

  6. julie says:

    Many firsts for me this year.

    First top bar bee hive-
    Caught my first swarm-
    Planted my first garden-
    Raised my first chickens-
    Hung my clothes out on the line-
    bought rain barrels-
    built our first compost bin-
    planted 10 friut trees-
    built a coop-
    grinding my own wheat berries for bread-

  7. Terry Corum says:

    Hi!

    I found your site last week and find lots of inspiration here.

    I planted a small vegetable garden, kind of late in the season, and since I live in Michigan, I don’t have anything to harvest yet, but its growing. Although, being Michigan, I don’t expect to ever be anywhere near as self-sufficient as you in California. My city would not allow any chickens or goats! And a few years ago, required everyone to pave their driveway.

    However, I have turned the majority of my backyard into a large perennial garden (last year) and added the vegetable garden this year. I do need to leave space for the clothesline and room for the dog to run around, so I do still have some lawn back there 🙂

    I have a rain barrel going and a second in the works, and a clothesline. I rethink everything I do lately, do I really need to turn this on, or throw away this thing? I look to see where my vegetables and fruits are coming from, has to be USA, the closer to Michigan the better. Canada is ok too.

    I am lucky, I work from home as a website designer, so I use very little gasoline and usually go days without driving the car.

    Keep up the great website, it is very inspirational!

  8. Terry Corum says:

    Hi!

    I found your site last week and find lots of inspiration here.

    I planted a small vegetable garden, kind of late in the season, and since I live in Michigan, I don’t have anything to harvest yet, but its growing. Although, being Michigan, I don’t expect to ever be anywhere near as self-sufficient as you in California. My city would not allow any chickens or goats! And a few years ago, required everyone to pave their driveway.

    However, I have turned the majority of my backyard into a large perennial garden (last year) and added the vegetable garden this year. I do need to leave space for the clothesline and room for the dog to run around, so I do still have some lawn back there 🙂

    I have a rain barrel going and a second in the works, and a clothesline. I rethink everything I do lately, do I really need to turn this on, or throw away this thing? I look to see where my vegetables and fruits are coming from, has to be USA, the closer to Michigan the better. Canada is ok too.

    I am lucky, I work from home as a website designer, so I use very little gasoline and usually go days without driving the car.

    Keep up the great website, it is very inspirational!

  9. Beth says:

    Isn’t it interesting how, even though we are not in the midst of a world war, we are having to think like we are. Conservation and frugality are hot topics in my house hold. We are trying to make changes everyday but sometimes feel limited economically to make some changes. I would love to go solar…

  10. Beth says:

    Isn’t it interesting how, even though we are not in the midst of a world war, we are having to think like we are. Conservation and frugality are hot topics in my house hold. We are trying to make changes everyday but sometimes feel limited economically to make some changes. I would love to go solar…

  11. Andrea says:

    What an awesome article. The economy/environment in the toilet really does make you rethink every move and every purchase. This year we traded in a huge truck for a 4 cyl. car, doubled our garden size, planted fruit trees and berry vines, hang out our laundry, collect rainwater, can or freeze everything available and are teaching our kids the best way we know how.

    In terms of simplicity, we’ve started turning off the TV and are seriously considering turning off cable all together. We’re rediscovering free entertainment (like chasing fireflies), reading more, visiting with our neighbors and getting to know each other better. Making the choice to begin a lifestyle of simplicity is the most wonderful freeing choice we’ve ever made.

  12. Andrea says:

    What an awesome article. The economy/environment in the toilet really does make you rethink every move and every purchase. This year we traded in a huge truck for a 4 cyl. car, doubled our garden size, planted fruit trees and berry vines, hang out our laundry, collect rainwater, can or freeze everything available and are teaching our kids the best way we know how.

    In terms of simplicity, we’ve started turning off the TV and are seriously considering turning off cable all together. We’re rediscovering free entertainment (like chasing fireflies), reading more, visiting with our neighbors and getting to know each other better. Making the choice to begin a lifestyle of simplicity is the most wonderful freeing choice we’ve ever made.

  13. Janice K says:

    We actually got a heavy downpour in our area on Sat night for about 1/2hour, which was a pleasant surprise. (we live about 18 miles away from the Dervaes) But we were kicking ourselves for not getting around to setting up our rain barrels. We purchased some used ones, but it seems there was bio-diesel in them or detergent so we’re not going to use them after all. We’ll have to find another source for clean ones, anyone know of any?(affordable too)

    This year we just started line-drying most of our clothes, baking bread, expanding our vegetable garden by ripping out strips of lawn, purchased 6 fruit trees, (8 more coming in Spring) Reduced our electricity usage from $110/mo to $41/mo! We’re composting all our Kitchen veggie and fruit scraps. Cooking some of our meals in the Sun Oven.

    We never had central air so we just stay in the coolest room during the hottest time, and in the winter, even though we have a heater, we were warned by the duct cleaners that our system is soooo old it probably spews toxic fumes when used, so we just don’t use it! (house was built in 1967)

    Thanks always for being our role model!

  14. Janice K says:

    We actually got a heavy downpour in our area on Sat night for about 1/2hour, which was a pleasant surprise. (we live about 18 miles away from the Dervaes) But we were kicking ourselves for not getting around to setting up our rain barrels. We purchased some used ones, but it seems there was bio-diesel in them or detergent so we’re not going to use them after all. We’ll have to find another source for clean ones, anyone know of any?(affordable too)

    This year we just started line-drying most of our clothes, baking bread, expanding our vegetable garden by ripping out strips of lawn, purchased 6 fruit trees, (8 more coming in Spring) Reduced our electricity usage from $110/mo to $41/mo! We’re composting all our Kitchen veggie and fruit scraps. Cooking some of our meals in the Sun Oven.

    We never had central air so we just stay in the coolest room during the hottest time, and in the winter, even though we have a heater, we were warned by the duct cleaners that our system is soooo old it probably spews toxic fumes when used, so we just don’t use it! (house was built in 1967)

    Thanks always for being our role model!

  15. Susy says:

    We turned off our cable last summer (haven’t missed it at all!), we save grey water from hand washing, we grow some of our own food, we both work from home (so only 1 trip a week to the city for work).

    This summer we are installing a rain water collection system. It consists of 7 – 55gal drums all connected with a spigot (it’s also raised 5 feet off the ground for pressure. All of this will be used for plants, car washing, pet washing etc. We might put in a cistern in a couple years for even more savings.

    This summer we also started drying our clothes outside (most of the time) and we’re going to build a solar oven.

  16. Susy says:

    We turned off our cable last summer (haven’t missed it at all!), we save grey water from hand washing, we grow some of our own food, we both work from home (so only 1 trip a week to the city for work).

    This summer we are installing a rain water collection system. It consists of 7 – 55gal drums all connected with a spigot (it’s also raised 5 feet off the ground for pressure. All of this will be used for plants, car washing, pet washing etc. We might put in a cistern in a couple years for even more savings.

    This summer we also started drying our clothes outside (most of the time) and we’re going to build a solar oven.

  17. Gerry Medland says:

    Great inspiration and timely reminders for now and the future.Here in the UK utilities continue to rocket with bigger hikes on the way.Fuel rises weekly to new levels so essential journeys only.I continue to harvet and plant and am aiming for an all year productive garden as climate change continues to extend the weather patterns to new dimensions.
    blessings to all from across the pond

  18. Gerry Medland says:

    Great inspiration and timely reminders for now and the future.Here in the UK utilities continue to rocket with bigger hikes on the way.Fuel rises weekly to new levels so essential journeys only.I continue to harvet and plant and am aiming for an all year productive garden as climate change continues to extend the weather patterns to new dimensions.
    blessings to all from across the pond

  19. Susan says:

    I finally got around to building my solar oven but wouldn’t you know it, now it’s rainy and cloudy every day so I can’t try it out! Ah well, we haven’t had to turn the AC on in over a week so there are large plusses.

    We got our electric bill a few days ago, and we are over $130 lower in our bill this year than last, which is an even bigger savings given that our rates have gone up by 18% from this time last year.

    We don’t have gutters but I’m doing my part for rainwater harvesting; I have a 30 gallon trash can set up under the eaves where two angles meet, and it’s almost full already.
    We will be installing gutters in the next few months, and I am finding the places that sell barrels.

    I am thinking hooking up a black hose to our hot water heater and coiling it on our roof; the heater itself would then only be used for holding the water (and for cooling somewhat). I know a builder who has done that with copper tubing instead of the hose and he needs the heater to cool the water down — it often boils in the coils in the summer!

    I plan to build more garden boxes in our front yard, and still have room for several more in the back yard. I put up an umbrella clothesline (over hubby’s protestations) and have been using that — I have had to relearn the planning for laundry! No more last minute washing, and hanging laundry revolves around the daily afternoon thunderstorms. Our clothes smell great though, and I know from experience they will last longer without the heat damage drying in the dryer does.

  20. Susan says:

    I finally got around to building my solar oven but wouldn’t you know it, now it’s rainy and cloudy every day so I can’t try it out! Ah well, we haven’t had to turn the AC on in over a week so there are large plusses.

    We got our electric bill a few days ago, and we are over $130 lower in our bill this year than last, which is an even bigger savings given that our rates have gone up by 18% from this time last year.

    We don’t have gutters but I’m doing my part for rainwater harvesting; I have a 30 gallon trash can set up under the eaves where two angles meet, and it’s almost full already.
    We will be installing gutters in the next few months, and I am finding the places that sell barrels.

    I am thinking hooking up a black hose to our hot water heater and coiling it on our roof; the heater itself would then only be used for holding the water (and for cooling somewhat). I know a builder who has done that with copper tubing instead of the hose and he needs the heater to cool the water down — it often boils in the coils in the summer!

    I plan to build more garden boxes in our front yard, and still have room for several more in the back yard. I put up an umbrella clothesline (over hubby’s protestations) and have been using that — I have had to relearn the planning for laundry! No more last minute washing, and hanging laundry revolves around the daily afternoon thunderstorms. Our clothes smell great though, and I know from experience they will last longer without the heat damage drying in the dryer does.

  21. Di says:

    I’m trying to incorporate more and more each month. Using the library more, combining trips out in the car, line drying, not using hairdryer (been doing that years), reusing water when possible, and more. Garden started late but harvesting oranges, and soon tomatoes as they are ripening on the vines!

  22. Di says:

    I’m trying to incorporate more and more each month. Using the library more, combining trips out in the car, line drying, not using hairdryer (been doing that years), reusing water when possible, and more. Garden started late but harvesting oranges, and soon tomatoes as they are ripening on the vines!

  23. Kate says:

    I’m a renter and have felt a bit limited in what I could do until recently. Here are some things we’ve done in the past and some things I’ve just begun.

    Just begun:
    Being car-free
    Planting a very modest veggie garden
    Re-doubling personal anti-consuming effort

    Have done for a while:
    hang dry clothes
    hand wash dishes
    no air conditioning (or heat, if we can avoid it)
    vegetarian diet

  24. Kate says:

    I’m a renter and have felt a bit limited in what I could do until recently. Here are some things we’ve done in the past and some things I’ve just begun.

    Just begun:
    Being car-free
    Planting a very modest veggie garden
    Re-doubling personal anti-consuming effort

    Have done for a while:
    hang dry clothes
    hand wash dishes
    no air conditioning (or heat, if we can avoid it)
    vegetarian diet

  25. Jan says:

    We have been doing our part also
    line drying
    we shut the house phone off, but they keep it on for emergency calls only.
    baking my own bread
    fair trade instead of buying
    little or no car rides
    rain barrels 2 so far
    unplugging items when not in use
    recycling
    compost
    freezing/ canning all produce not eaten
    no AC
    making own laundry detegent, saving $10 a week
    yard sale shopping and having yard sale

    Those are a few. planning on doing more –

  26. Jan says:

    We have been doing our part also
    line drying
    we shut the house phone off, but they keep it on for emergency calls only.
    baking my own bread
    fair trade instead of buying
    little or no car rides
    rain barrels 2 so far
    unplugging items when not in use
    recycling
    compost
    freezing/ canning all produce not eaten
    no AC
    making own laundry detegent, saving $10 a week
    yard sale shopping and having yard sale

    Those are a few. planning on doing more –

  27. KK says:

    I keep reminding my children that the comforts we currently enjoy will not be available in the near future…That we need to appreciate all the small things each and every day. As we cut back on a lot of the excesses, we learn to live more simply and with more sanity. Don’t kid yourselves, people…I don’t mean to sound like a “doomer”, but all signs are pointing to major economic/societal breakdown, that will make the depression of the 30’s look like a good time. And no matter how great line-drying clothes, and eating organic strawberries feels, we all better get used to really doing without. Just wait until the lines form at the gas stations, where you’ll pay $10 a gallon, and then the hillbillies and thugs will really start shootin! I hope it doesn’t get to this, but I don’t see how we can avoid it. Everything we know to be “normal” ie:freeways, gas, oil addicted world, etc… is gonna stop functioning at some point. So do what you can with what you have, form some real community, grow as much food as you can, and if it doesn’t melt down like I’ve described, well, then you still have a darn good Life anyway.

  28. KK says:

    I keep reminding my children that the comforts we currently enjoy will not be available in the near future…That we need to appreciate all the small things each and every day. As we cut back on a lot of the excesses, we learn to live more simply and with more sanity. Don’t kid yourselves, people…I don’t mean to sound like a “doomer”, but all signs are pointing to major economic/societal breakdown, that will make the depression of the 30’s look like a good time. And no matter how great line-drying clothes, and eating organic strawberries feels, we all better get used to really doing without. Just wait until the lines form at the gas stations, where you’ll pay $10 a gallon, and then the hillbillies and thugs will really start shootin! I hope it doesn’t get to this, but I don’t see how we can avoid it. Everything we know to be “normal” ie:freeways, gas, oil addicted world, etc… is gonna stop functioning at some point. So do what you can with what you have, form some real community, grow as much food as you can, and if it doesn’t melt down like I’ve described, well, then you still have a darn good Life anyway.

  29. connie in nm says:

    We are doing the same:

    Line drying
    trying to get electric and gas useage as low as possible and lower our bills

    We have only had basic cable for years

    We are debt free – no mortgage, no car pmts, no CC

    Growing a garden and freezing extra

    Grow most of my herbs- mild climate so the only one I have to harvest and dry is basil. Others can be picked as needed.

    Bought a meyer lemon tree, but no blooms or lemons this year. Sigh.

    Simplified eating. Maybe everyone will get back to eating “in season” . Most of the out of season is either too high priced or not good due to long shipping that I think it is thrown out by stores anyway.

    Basically, just live a simple life.

  30. connie in nm says:

    We are doing the same:

    Line drying
    trying to get electric and gas useage as low as possible and lower our bills

    We have only had basic cable for years

    We are debt free – no mortgage, no car pmts, no CC

    Growing a garden and freezing extra

    Grow most of my herbs- mild climate so the only one I have to harvest and dry is basil. Others can be picked as needed.

    Bought a meyer lemon tree, but no blooms or lemons this year. Sigh.

    Simplified eating. Maybe everyone will get back to eating “in season” . Most of the out of season is either too high priced or not good due to long shipping that I think it is thrown out by stores anyway.

    Basically, just live a simple life.

  31. Christine says:

    We have just reciently purchased land. Ten, and am in the process of building. Not big, livable. We have a first year garden in, and I really don’t know how much we will harvest from it. I’ve planted trees and bushes, but they suffer because the well and elec. is not in yet. So no watering of the garden. We’ve bought the wood for the chicken koop, and will be building that over the next couple weeks. I’m real interested in trees that can be planted for food for people and livestock. ( Any suggestions will be gladly excepted.) I figure, if people will come and try to rob us, at least the trees will have some food, possibly? … I have a friend who told me she would be coming with her gun to get my food if she had to. This is what is wrong with our society now days. They don’t look at this as stealing, they look at it as self preservation. They don’t think about getting independant on their own, they just take a look at who has what and then they think they can just go a take it, if they need it. Look what happened down south after Katrina! … I hope and pray that this does not happen while I’m still alive! C

  32. Christine says:

    We have just reciently purchased land. Ten, and am in the process of building. Not big, livable. We have a first year garden in, and I really don’t know how much we will harvest from it. I’ve planted trees and bushes, but they suffer because the well and elec. is not in yet. So no watering of the garden. We’ve bought the wood for the chicken koop, and will be building that over the next couple weeks. I’m real interested in trees that can be planted for food for people and livestock. ( Any suggestions will be gladly excepted.) I figure, if people will come and try to rob us, at least the trees will have some food, possibly? … I have a friend who told me she would be coming with her gun to get my food if she had to. This is what is wrong with our society now days. They don’t look at this as stealing, they look at it as self preservation. They don’t think about getting independant on their own, they just take a look at who has what and then they think they can just go a take it, if they need it. Look what happened down south after Katrina! … I hope and pray that this does not happen while I’m still alive! C

  33. Alida says:

    Blueberries, Strawberries are good fruit trees and plants. Also I’m building a chicken home since this past weekend on our 6.5 acres. Its only a small one . Its being a fun experience. I want to have my own fresh chicken eggs ! We are also landscaping this area.

  34. Alida says:

    Blueberries, Strawberries are good fruit trees and plants. Also I’m building a chicken home since this past weekend on our 6.5 acres. Its only a small one . Its being a fun experience. I want to have my own fresh chicken eggs ! We are also landscaping this area.

  35. bethanne says:

    I replaced all my lightbulbs with CFLs and put in a low flow showerhead when I moved into my house last year.I have a bucket or bowl under every faucet to collect water for the garden. I take very short showers and only wash my hair once a week.I use fans for cooling the house I am growing my first garden at my new house. Not enough to can or store(at least this year) but I haven’t been to the grocery store in over week! I have combined my errands to a one day one stop outting. I line dry my clothes. By slowing down and following many of the hypermilling rules I am now getting about 40 miles to the gallon in my toyota matrix. One day a week I do not drive and I hope to reduce even more. I am building a solar oven.

  36. bethanne says:

    I replaced all my lightbulbs with CFLs and put in a low flow showerhead when I moved into my house last year.I have a bucket or bowl under every faucet to collect water for the garden. I take very short showers and only wash my hair once a week.I use fans for cooling the house I am growing my first garden at my new house. Not enough to can or store(at least this year) but I haven’t been to the grocery store in over week! I have combined my errands to a one day one stop outting. I line dry my clothes. By slowing down and following many of the hypermilling rules I am now getting about 40 miles to the gallon in my toyota matrix. One day a week I do not drive and I hope to reduce even more. I am building a solar oven.

  37. EmilyB says:

    I have to grin at the comments of using a line for drying clothes. Here in Australia I think it is unusual to use a dryer to dry your clothes…
    We have had water restrictions for the last 7 years (at least) and currently our towns water supply stands at 12%, that is our dams (there are 4 of them) are only 12% full. (that is all together!)
    Wasting water is not an option for us. 4 minute showers, reusing all our grey water (not toilet or kitchen sink water though) not use water outside at all, and if the council thinks you are using too much water they can fine you! are all daily issues for us.
    Tanks are now something everyone has, there was a waiting period of 8 – 12 weeks at one stage for a tank.

  38. EmilyB says:

    I have to grin at the comments of using a line for drying clothes. Here in Australia I think it is unusual to use a dryer to dry your clothes…
    We have had water restrictions for the last 7 years (at least) and currently our towns water supply stands at 12%, that is our dams (there are 4 of them) are only 12% full. (that is all together!)
    Wasting water is not an option for us. 4 minute showers, reusing all our grey water (not toilet or kitchen sink water though) not use water outside at all, and if the council thinks you are using too much water they can fine you! are all daily issues for us.
    Tanks are now something everyone has, there was a waiting period of 8 – 12 weeks at one stage for a tank.

  39. Beverly says:

    I rent a studio apartment in a hi-rise in NYC, but do have a balcony.

    I grow: scallions, chives, yellow and red tomatoes, nastrutiums, winter squash, strawberries, lemon balm and chocolate mint. Inside I grow shitake mushrooms and bean sprouts. When I take a daytrip, I always stop by a farmer’s market and pick up tubs of produce to freeze. I do most of my own cooking.

    I have a worm composter inside and a regular composter on the balcony.

    I line dry everything except towels and sheets and all my light bulbs are CFL. I make all of my own laundry products, including laundry detergent. I make homemade moisturizers and lotions.

    I have basic cable, borrow all dvds from the library and get most everything else I could ever use on freecycle.org for free. I usually drive my car only one day a week.

    You don’t have to be in the country to make a difference!

  40. Beverly says:

    I rent a studio apartment in a hi-rise in NYC, but do have a balcony.

    I grow: scallions, chives, yellow and red tomatoes, nastrutiums, winter squash, strawberries, lemon balm and chocolate mint. Inside I grow shitake mushrooms and bean sprouts. When I take a daytrip, I always stop by a farmer’s market and pick up tubs of produce to freeze. I do most of my own cooking.

    I have a worm composter inside and a regular composter on the balcony.

    I line dry everything except towels and sheets and all my light bulbs are CFL. I make all of my own laundry products, including laundry detergent. I make homemade moisturizers and lotions.

    I have basic cable, borrow all dvds from the library and get most everything else I could ever use on freecycle.org for free. I usually drive my car only one day a week.

    You don’t have to be in the country to make a difference!

  41. Ellen Christian says:

    Existing efforts:

    hang laundry
    turn off all electric items when not in use
    switch to energy saving bulbs
    eliminate some electric items (microwave, toaster, etc.)
    gardening
    fruit trees & berries
    make bread
    make yogurt
    consume less & try to buy all second hand
    eliminate cable tv
    eliminate all but basic telephone

    Efforts added this year:

    weatherize house
    buy solar oven (now we need more sun)
    make cheese
    build fire pit for outside cooking
    expand garden & add 2 plum trees
    add more medicinal herbs
    heat more with wood than oil
    all natural cleaning products

    Still to happen this year:

    solar hot water for non freezing times of year
    try to put up more of our harvest than last year
    learn to make more types of cheese
    find a good laundry detergent recipe that really works with our hard water

  42. Ellen Christian says:

    Existing efforts:

    hang laundry
    turn off all electric items when not in use
    switch to energy saving bulbs
    eliminate some electric items (microwave, toaster, etc.)
    gardening
    fruit trees & berries
    make bread
    make yogurt
    consume less & try to buy all second hand
    eliminate cable tv
    eliminate all but basic telephone

    Efforts added this year:

    weatherize house
    buy solar oven (now we need more sun)
    make cheese
    build fire pit for outside cooking
    expand garden & add 2 plum trees
    add more medicinal herbs
    heat more with wood than oil
    all natural cleaning products

    Still to happen this year:

    solar hot water for non freezing times of year
    try to put up more of our harvest than last year
    learn to make more types of cheese
    find a good laundry detergent recipe that really works with our hard water

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