Thursday, June 25, 2009

Project Updates....

Its been a while since I've written a project update - mostly because of how busy we've been - but also simply because many of this years projects were put on hold due to economic factors. And due to those economic factors and recent legislation under discussion in Congress, some of our planned project have shifted.....more to self-sustainability then originally planned.

This years planned projects.....

1. Chickens.....this project is going gang buster's....we started with 6 chicks, no coop, no run, and well, behind the eight ball......however, since bringing those first babies home in March.....we've built the coop and pen/run, got the food and watering and cooling systems running almost to perfection and even increased our flock......Mama and her 5 chicks have been here two weeks today - we separated them, bringing her chicks into the mud-room because Mama was not integrating into the flock very well. One week after separating her and her babes, Mama is much more friendly and her babes are no longer afraid of us. AND, our friends (to whom Mama used to belong) showed up last Thursday morning with 13 two day old chicks for us to adopt! Our mudroom smells like a barn again! Plans are to begin selling eggs next spring.....we've had a great deal of interest in that endeavor and are working towards it now. A second coop is in the planning...............

2. Insulation....this one is half completed....and most likely will not be completed this year after all....the most important part was completed back in April...adding insulation to the (barely insulated) attic. We've noticed a difference in the running time of the upstairs a/c unit if not yet in the electric bill. Next to be completed are the two closets - the Harry Potter Cupboard (under the stairs) and the upstairs utility closet...both retain some of their original plaster which is too far gone to restore.....underneath the living room may not get done this year.

On a good economic note...we got the insulation on Craig's List.....for about $250.00 less then we would have Craig's List ( but you have to be smart about it.....don't pick purchases up alone and certainly don't have folks come to your home unless there is no way to avoid it!).

3. The Master Bedroom....this was the last room in the house to get on the project list.....the walls, ceiling, and flooring were not restored by the P.O's and as is usual for David and I, "our" room kept getting pushed further down the priority scale. It got a coat of left-over paint (from our old house) about three months after moving in and then nada....until about three weeks ago. We've decided against refinishing the floor just yet and instead are laying a moisture barrier and thick padding and a carpet....half of this room lays over the front porch and we're just not ready to tear it or the original bead board of the porch roof out to finish insulation there...that will come later. Since the four dogs sleep in there with us most of the time, the carpeting etc. will also provide a noise buffer for the living room which is under half of the bedroom...currently I watch TV in the evenings to the accompaniment of dogs snores and twitching feet from rabbit dreams....! Photos to come of this one......

4. Downstairs bathroom - this one, well, this one was on last years project list and the rising cost of gas and building materials last summer caused it to be put on hold....this year, much the same except there's the additional costs of a college tuition that keeps increasing and the extra cost of a daughter who has moved back in and then...well lets not even discuss the cut backs at work.....

5. Increased veggie production.....this one is going fairly well. We lost a great deal of our initial plantings to the 7 day rains that we barely lived through ; ) and the resulting slugs and other pests....our attempts at going completely organic were thwarted......we're persevering until the fall plantings and have hopes that that will be a much more productive season.

Looking to the future....self sustainability was an idea, a fun, hippie inspired day dream when we moved here five years ago. It was fun to think about the challenge of going greener..being good stewards of this beautiful earth that God has blessed us with. Today, it is increasingly apparent that it may be more of a necessity then we ever would have thought.

I've been studying the Cap and Trade Legislation and it concerns me more and more....the costs associated with this behavior modification plan are frightening.....I read about the lines outside help centers for those unable to pay their power bills in this economy and then read about the increased cost to the average family to heat and cool and run their household if this bill passes; I read about the tent cities popping up around the country and then read about the job losses (105,000 per year according to one report) that will come about as a result of Cap and Trade......and I find myself researching wind and solar generators, building a greenhouse for year round growing of our own veggies, building a rain catcher, planning an outdoor oven (wood) for baking bread and other things...and already we are putting up a clothes line....and washing our dishes by hand.....!

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