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Posts Tagged ‘saving money’

And what a beautiful weekend it was for shooting scenes and planting veggies!

First, we prepped:

  • We soaked the beds thoroughly
  • I tilled to loosen the dense loam
  • We sprayed worm “tea” (read: poop) on the soil and then tilled it under

Then we planted:

Lots o' bounty!

As you can see, the right-hand bed still has some hangers-on from the winter planting. We’re going to make the plants in this bed multi-seasonal.

The mound in the middle is comprised of a) my failed composting efforts and b) my successful (though unintentional) greenhouse efforts: the little cantaloupes had started in the “compost” so I just transplanted them to the mound. I’m a genius (also unintentional).

potatoes-day-1

Finally, we planted some potatoes, some already started—again, from my composter-turned-greenhouse.

Now we water, we weed, and we wait for the sweet, sweet rewards!

How about you? Have you planted your summer garden?

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Habitat For Humanity Wins The Green Business Award!
San Luis Obispo County Green Award 2008

This is a great place to shop. I got a 12 foot metal pole for our clothesline for $4.30! Bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, paint, tools, hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, tile…oh my!

Even kitchen sinks.

Very helpful, friendly volunteers, and even customers, seem glad to help a damsel in distress, which would be me. I am trying to put together an outside antenna contraption and don’t know what the heck I am doing. So, if you are in the market for a project and need some materials I would give the ReStore a look see. I like to know where my money is going and this sure makes me feel good when I spend it here: all the proceeds go to building green Habitat for Humanity houses.  They provide a great service to our community and, well, look they won the Green Business Award for goodness sakes. The press release is below (with links from lil’ ol’ me).

Habitat for Humanity is one of six businesses to win the Green Business Award from the Sustainability & Resources Committee of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, for the environmental benefits of our ReStores located in San Luis Obispo and in Templeton.

Criteria for selecting award finalists include long-term environmental benefits, project transferability, environmental leadership, creativity and other considerations. Members of the Green Awards Committee include individuals from the City of San Luis Obispo, SLO Air Pollution Control District, Ride-On, SLO Regional Rideshare, SLO County Agricultural Commission, The Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County, Integrated Waste Management Authority and SLO Chamber of Commerce.

‘We are truly honored to win this years Green Award,’ states Penny Rappa, Executive Director of Habitat. ReStores help the environment by reducing the amount of usable building materials dumped into our local landfill. ‘Since the opening of the Templeton ReStore in January of 2005, and San Luis Obispo ReStore in October 2007, we estimate over two tons of materials have been diverted from the local landfills annually,’ states Rappa.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are building material thrift stores, receiving and selling new and used building items. ReStores provide an opportunity for the public to donate building materials and to buy quality building materials at very low costs. Doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, light fixtures and other building supplies are given a second life. All proceeds from the ReStores are then used to build new Habitat homes in San Luis Obispo County.

Habitat of San Luis Obispo is in the process of completing four homes within the City of Atascadero, with a home dedication planned for December 13, 2008. Plans are also in motion to build four similar homes within the City of Grover Beach in 2009.

Habitat for Humanity of San Luis Obispo County has built simple, decent housing in Paso Robles, Cambria and in Atascadero. HFHSLOCO was established in 1997, as a non-profit organization and an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. All donations to the ReStore are tax-deductible.

The ReStores are open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
For more information on what building materials the ReStores accept and sells please call: Templeton 434-0486 OR in San Luis Obispo 546-8699.

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I’m not very good at the whole “right on schedule” thing, I must admit. That said, here are a few shots of the “winter” garden just as we start to transition into a “summer” garden.

Here in SLO we should probably label the seasons “wet” and “dry,” but I’m splitting hairs.

I’m afraid we pulled some of the leeks a tad early. (Sorry, Heidi! It looks like we’ll have to use non-homegrown leeks for the lasagna). The white parts need to be, like, three times longer.

On a positive note, the broccoli is finally taking off. I can’t wait to dig in! (In fact, I kinda already sneaked some. Shhh…)

In a week or two I’m going to post a detailed review of our winter garden. In the meantime, here’s a quick winter garden wrap up, with the winners, the competitors, and the also-ran.

The winners:

  • bok choy (one word: prolific)
  • leaf lettuce (just keeps growing and growing and…)
  • spinach (just keeps growing and growing and…)
  • green onions (SO sweet and tangy)
  • radishes (our fastest growers of the season!)

The competitors

  • broccoli (slow starter, but we’re seeing action now!)
  • head lettuce (died back very quickly after reaching “peak”)
  • leeks (need lots of time to grow)

The also-ran

  • red and yellow bulb onions (la de da, any DAY now)
  • carrots (had better luck with the summer batch)

I must say, it was a great first experience with a winter (wet season) garden. I’m already planning for next year.

How about you? Did you do a winter garden? How did it go?

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First, can someone please tell me why I decided not to get a dryer in the middle of the rainy season? Still, I have managed to hold my laundromat trips to a minimum; two precisely. And that was to dry the thicker towels and blankets. I do believe that in the nearly 2 months I have not had a dryer, that is pretty good, don’t you think?

The clothesline Samson and Jeanne made works wonderfully.

Mostly.

We are still working out a few kinks, but in the end I will have the coolest line on the block! Then everyone will be jealous. Kind of like an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” without all the makeup, drama, or women.

The secret? It is really all about time management.

I put the clothes on the line during the sunniest part of the day; for us that is mid-morning to mid-afternoon, after the fog has burned off and before it rolls back in. I leave around 8am to take Logan to school, so I throw a load in the wash before I go and then by the time I get home the clothes can go on the line to dry.

I also have found that one load a day is the best answer. I have never been a “separator.” All my clothes are washed together in warm/cold with a gentle, environmentally friendly detergent and rinsed with a little bit of white vinegar (LOVE that stuff!), so having one load a day is really no problem. Oh, and as for whites, the sun is amazing for making the whites white.

The only problem is if I am not home to do the one load a day, it backs up on me and I am back to stringing up another clothesline on the back porch. That’s when I miss the dryer. I suppose I could just have Samson stand in the laundry room and breathe hot air over them…LOL!

Now I am off to hang some clothes….no really!

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So…we have electric central heating. Dumbest thing ever. You should see the meter spin when the heater is running. In the winter it drives our electric bill from $60/month to $360. Last January our bill was $626. Yep. Innnnnn-sane.

Something had to change.

So I went on an energy-saving crusade:

  • I started unplugging appliances (like the coffee pot) and electronics (like the entertainment center) at night
  • I bought a space heater that uses as much juice as a toaster
  • We put on a sweatshirt before we turn on the heater
  • Denette made draft dodgers (She’s writing a how-to post)

Our electric bill dropped from $343 to $141 in the first month.

Then our electric dryer broke. Now I’m keenly awaiting our next bill to see how much that has managed to knock off.

You know what’s cool? Realizing just how much control I have over my conditions. I can, if I choose, save significant amounts of money by making small lifestyle changes. Okay, the dryer/clothesline switch is a BIG lifestyle change. But the others are not. The others are simple and straightforward. And an immediate boost to the budget.

Now, what to do with the extra $? Debt reduction or Hawai’i? Hmmmmmm…

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