Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No, we're not "going green!" We're striving to be more conscious!

The next week or so will include quite a bit in my blog about what we are doing at our house (lovingly referred to as the Emerson-Power Homestead) to become more sustainable and self-reliant.

I just want to make a few things clear before I really get into this over the next few days, weeks, and months-

1. We don't give a flying flip about "going green." The whole "go green" movement has turned into a joke, a consumerist hullaballoo or a hollow bragging right, if you will, and we aren't buying into that sort of thing. This isn't about fancy water bottles (although we enjoy those) or buying organic cotton shirts from Wal-Mart (which we do not do, since we don't shop at Wal-mart). This is a bit different.

2. We won't be doing much of anything that you'll see and go, "Oh, how cute!" This project, for the most part, is not fancy or attractive. It is basic and sometimes raw, a modern attempt at returning a place that is more responsible and conscious.

3. If anyone is interested in any of the projects seen here, please let me know and I will help you in any way I can to help you introduce any part of this to your family. I'm a modern gal. I shop, I mix a mean margarita, and I drive a mini-van... but I also dream of vermicomposting and converting our swimming pool into a salt water pool. Everything that you will see us do as a family is totally doable by a normal, modern person.

So yeah, this is for us, for our planet, for our great-grandchildren. It isn't going to always be pretty, but it's worth it. Here we go! :)

These are wooden pallets that I got from a local company that is giving them away. We are going to be hammering these together to make a frame for our compost pile tomorrow. They are about 4'x4' with one not pictured.

We are taking my dad's truck this week to get an entire truckload of these. Why, do you ask? Because it's free wood! This wood can be popped off of the pallet and used for any number of projects around here. And if you've been to a home improvement store recently, you may have seen how expensive wood is.

By using scrap wood or recycled/repurposed wood, you save a TON of money and you use a wood product from a tree that has already been cut down. It just makes sense!

Here is a picture of the two 60 gallon black plastic barrels that my dad and husband got me for my birthday. (See my new mommy-mobile in the background?! :)) They are food grade barrels that have been cleaned out and sold off to be repurposed. These were picked up for $20 each from a guy that sells them downtown out of the back of his store. He also has smaller red ones, but I loved the simplicity of these (and the extra 5 gallon capacity), so we went with black.

These are going to be converted into rain barrels. They'll be connected to a down spout on the side of our house and will catch rain water. There will be netting to prevent leaves, bugs, and whatnot from getting inside. At the bottom, we'll insert a spout that will hook up to a standard garden hose. The pressure from the weight of the water will cause the water to flow through the garden hose. This will provide water for our garden!

This is a good idea for a number of reasons. Foremost, we have a well! In NC summers, we tend to get a bit dry and while I've never heard of our well going dry, we have neighbors that have had to come shower at our house before due to their wells going dry in a drought, so we're going to try to utilize our resources wisely!

This is the label on the black barrels. When I opened the lids to check inside of them to ensure that they were in good condition, I immediately knew what they had originally carried! Gherkins in brine!! My rain barrels smell like pickles!!! How appropriate for this pregnant lady, right?

This is a picture of the clothes line that I bought last year and my brother set in concrete for me a couple of weeks ago. I use it to dry my cloth diapers for the most part, because lately we have been getting quite a bit of rain. When it dries out a bit, I plan to dry my cloth diapers on it and at least the kids clothing. With this being a small line and me giving birth to our third baby this summer, I have a feeling it will be getting a workout!

Why is a clothesline an awesome option? We go through a TON of laundry! We wash, we dry. We wash, we dry. Hello, energy usage! By washing in cold water, we use our well water and very little energy to wash. By hanging to dry, we use absolutely no energy to dry our clothes! With my cloth diapers, I do a hot wash and two cold rinses, which uses a little bit of energy to heat the water, but I feel like by hanging them to dry instead of drying them using two cycles in the dryer (they're super absorbant, clearly!), I am able to off-set that extra energy usage. This will be really helpful with 3 kids, two of whom will be in diapers.

Here is a picture of part of our yard. Our yard is about 3 acres, but at least half an acre is occupied by a pool, play house, storage building (about to be converted into a chicken coop), and landscaping.

The sand box and teeter totter are in a part of the yard that sits low, so when it pours rain, it is puddle central. We put the play equipment back there so that we could utilize the higher areas of the yard for gardening and the like. Shoot, if it's that wet back there, the kids won't be out there anyway, so we figured it was a safe bet :)

The garden (still with long rows, we haven't put in the short rows yet- we had a little issue with the tiller this weekend and it should be out of the shop tomorrow) is just over a quarter of an acre. It should be more than big enough to grow the seedlings that I've been tending on the sunroom for the past few weeks!

If you got this far, thank you! I know, I ramble.
More on this topic tomorrow!


Bekah said...

I love this! I really agreed with the first part! I get so irritated when I hear people say they are green and their lifestyle is nothing but "green" consumerism.

MrsP said...

I know what you mean about the consumerism. It is really frustrating to me, especially since part of my eco-conscious brain is specifically geared towards minimalism. I don't want the "stuff." I want to live in a world where buying responsibly is the norm and it isn't anything to brag about or go shopping for.