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I’ve decided to keep A Day Closer to Fate up and running, sparodically. If I ever feel inspired in the whole hippie range of topics, you’ll know! I will keep posting the food storage and riot updates. (I think I shall do the riot halfway through the month, or when I get my utilities bill, and the food storage updates at the end of the month.)

Personal musings have been moved to the, currently nameless, blog here.

Thank you!

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To find out more about the Riot fo Austerity clicky clicky! This is really, really late, sorry folks!

1. Gasoline: 2 gallons, or 4.8% of the American Average

I went home twice, no carpooling (oops) for a total of 4 litres (1  gallon) of gas. I asked my dad about the mileage and we figured out the distance, so it’s accurate this month (he gets 9kms/L and the round trip is 16kms. I rounded up, partially out of laziness and partially because we were moving furniture and that probably had a negative effect on his mileage). I also travelled 17 five mile round trips by transit. (100mpg, 17*5 = 85 miles, or .85  gallons.) So two gallons to account of errors.

2. Electricity: 58.4% of the American Average

We got a new roomate and, well, the electricity bill doubled. 526kWh for our household this month. Sigh. We talked to him though, and we’re going to work out a compromise. Let’s see if it helps. I still haven’t found out what the “Green Electricity” means on my bill.

3. Heating/Gas: No idea what went wonky. Some calculation somewheres wasn’t right. Maybe I’ll look into it eventually…

229.7 Therms (24.231 Gj). That’s 114.85 Therms for our household.  Technically (remember my weird math from the last RfA post I made?) I have to reduce this to 9.4 for a winter month. This is even higher than last month. Ouch.

4. Garbage: ??

Still haven’t weighed any of my bags. Heh. It’s on my to-do list. Honest.

5. Water: ??

Just trying to reduce. See my water conservation posts.

6. Consumer Goods: 8% of American Average

$7.48 (first hand goods) + $56.69 (toiletries) + $2.13 (second hand books) = $66.30

7. Food: Should be 70/25/5. Is more like 20/35/45

Again, guesstimating from my pantry. Last month was 15/25/60. At least I’m shifting more towards dry, in bulk items. Again, the local and organic portion should be higher once the farmer’s market opens up. I have been favouring items made/grown in Alberta as best I can though.

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(This is going to be a play by play of me attempting to be a more seasonal and living in-the-world (rather than bending it to my will) human being.

Step one: Figure out when the nearest farmer’s market is open.

The only one I could reasonably get to* is open from June 10th to September 23rd, 3:30-7pm on Tuesdays. I should double check that sometime in May.

Step two: Research what can be grown here (kinda more a gardening slant but meh). What, exactly, is local and in season?

Links:

http://www.calhort.org/gardening/community.aspx – general site

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/gardening/caab0049 – weather with gardening info

I’ve also checked out a couple of gardening books. I’ll keep notes.

*That I could find on google. If anyone knows any farmer’s markets open in Calgary, year round or more often, which are easily accesible by train, drop me a comment! Or if anyone knows how to get to the big one by transit in less than an hour from the U of C, lemme know that too. It looks kinda close to the second stampede lrt station?

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I got sucked into a vortex of homemaking sites, and noticed some common advice:

Do something imperfectly  or do one small thing really well. Either method helps you to overcome procrastination.

They wrote about housework and the like, but it can be applied to “greenifying” your life too.

I find myself overwhelmed quite often. And my tendency to procrastinate has made it onto every list I’ve ever made about my faults.

So, how does one overcome that? In housework the advice is to shine your sink. Or clean out one shelve/cupboard at a time. In becoming more sustainable the advice could become bring your own bags, or to research one area exclusively – for as long as it takes.

So, while I research and work on living more seasonally, here’s a list of simple things to do really well:

Really easy:

~Stop using plastic bags

~Buy a reusable water bottle and coffee mug

~Buy clothing second hand

~Make dinner at home (use oven for more than one meal at a time)

~Turn the heat down/up a couple of degrees

~Shave a minute or two off shower time

~Buy the item with the least new packaging (recycled or minimized)

~Keep the electronic (computers, cell phones, music players, etc.) for one more year. Give them away or recycle them when you’re done.

~Put all your entertainment center into a surge protector/power bar and turn off/unplug that overnight and when you go away on vacation

~Goto bed earlier

~Buy the one produce you eat most frequently either locally or organically

~Compost

Medium:

~Let it mellow

~Spend less time on the computer and/or in front of the TV

~Plant some food

~Buy everything organic/local

~Clean with organic cleaners

~Paperless banking/bill payment

~Canceling the newspaper subscription

~Washing clothes in cold water (for the germaphobic; the rest of you this one counts as an easy)

~Hanging clothes to dry

~Join the compact (for shorter times. Longer times or for shopaholics, this may be a hard)

Hard:

~Make your own

~Sew your own

~Go without electronics completely (no computer and/or no tv and/or no cellphone and/or etc.) (can also be moved to medium with a time limit:  One day a week, or one week a month, or for one month, etc.)

~Clean with baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil, etc.

~Picking up litter

~Checking what can and cannot be recycled. Recycling what can, avoiding what can’t

~Replace all disposables with reusable items

~Reuse plastic baggies

~Stop using bags for produce and bulk items

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Next up, showers. The amount and length of showers I have.

I do, however, need to smell acceptable for work. So I always, always shower before work. Once I’m working five days a week (summertime – I hope, anyway) I won’t have much say on how often I shower (um, 5 times a week). However, for any work weeks less than 3 days, I do have a choice.

Right now I’m showering 4 days a week, which I might leave it at… or maybe I’ll go down to just showering the days I work. Hmmm.

Currently, my showers average 3 showers at 5 minutes and one at 15 (when I was my hair) per week.

Goals:
~3 short showers one week, 3 short and a long the next
~Bring short showers to 4 minutes
~Bring longer showers to 10 minutes, reduce to once a fortnight (on a side note, whoever killed the word fortnight? Is it not so much prettier than biweekly?) My hair is in dreads (“dreamlocks”), by the way, it’ll be fine. Actually, even when I was slathering conditioner on everyday I could only wash my hair once every week or so, without turning it into straw. So this will be good for my poor hair.

This would bring my “minutes in the shower” total from an average of 60 minutes a fortnight (I’m bringing it back!) to 34, almost a 50% reduction.

Update from  Part one (here).

~I’ve put together a fourth work uniform (bonus: I didn’t buy anything to do so). With my cut hours, I now have two weeks worth of work uniforms (assuming I don’t need it for the new job I’m currently searching for).

~I’m still struggling to do one load the week I do my bed (fortnightly!) but the other week has become easy to do one load. Yay me! The reduction in work clothes should help.

Not much else to report. Still trying.

PS – My SO got a job yesterday. I’m still looking.

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Water Conservation Part 1

Okay, so maybe I’m just really lazy, but this whole “figure out exactly how much water you’re causing to come out of the taps” thing is just too hard. Or, at least, too hard to remember. I have kept a half-hearted track of how much I’ve been drinking and filling the kettle with… and nothing else so far.

So. Instead of bothering tracking how much I use (water meters are mandatory in a couple years anyway! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) I’m just gonna focus on reducing the amount.

So, the first thing I’m going to try to do? Wash less laundry. Our place came with a decently new top loader, and I don’t have any say on it unless I want to wash my laundry at my parents house, the laundromat or by hand.

Since my parents also have a newish top loader and the laundromat is way outta my way and price range that leaves washing less loads and washing some stuff by hand.

Right now I wash about two loads a week on average. More if I run out of work uniforms midway through the week.

Goals from this post:

~Dig through closet and try to put together more work uniforms

~Failing that, stop at Goodwill and get some more shirts (I know I have bottoms!)

~Use towels more before washing

~Wear casual clothing more times before washing. Be more careful when you eat!

~Obtain some sort of hand-washing method and use it

~Ultimately, lower washing rate to one load per week, at the maximum

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Riot for Austerity

My numbers (to start)

1. Gasoline: 1 gallon; or about 2.4% of the average American.

Calculations: Using google maps and a business card to compare the legend to the distance I travel, to work by train… about 7-8km/day (5 miles) round trip. I worked a lot in December, let’s say an average of 4 days a week. So (4 days x4 weeks x 5 miles) 80  miles travelled, at 100mpg = 4/5 of a gallon! I’ll add another 1/5 of a gallon for the rides I took (It’s a five minute trip: once to my parents and back, to their house would be divided by 5 since I met them at their church Christmas eve. From would be divided by 2 since I brought my SO home too. It’s the best guesstimate. I’ll keep a better record in January).

2. Electricity: 304.5 kWh or 33.8% of the American average.

Calculations: 609 kWh for two households = 304.5 kWh for ours. The bill says something about green electricity, so I’m going to assume I get 180kWh/month as per riot rules… (Iono. Will look into what Enmax considers “green electricity”). Needs more reduction!

3. Heating (Natural Gas): 64.1 therms or 64.1% of the American average. (This is one category I should probably get off my butt and figure out in Canadian average. heh)

Calculations: 128.1 therms for two households. 64.1 therms for our household. 100/year … it’ll be easier to hit in the summer than in the winter (-40 cold snap, anyone?). I’m gonna do some crazy math: According to the graph on our bill, last year next to no gas was used in July, August and September, so I’ll put 5 therms into those months (15 therms) and take the remaining 85 for the other 9 months (9.4/month). Needs reduction!

4. Garbage: ??

Calculations: Need a scale to weigh a couple bags. Also need to figure out exactly how long it takes us to fill a bag (I’m guessing about 10 days). Need to compost more, I know that.

5. Water: ??

Calculations: Crap, we have a flat rate. Water meter reads X today. Okay, after wandering around the house, I’ve determined that we don’t /have/ a water meter. Will need to figure out how much water the washing machine uses, and how much my showers, various tap running and toilet flushing uses and do it the old fashioned way. Crap.

6. Consumer goods: $151.31 or 18.2% of the average American.

Calculations: In December I spent 39.67 on gifts (and I know some of that was second hand, but I can’t remember how much!), 108.14 on entertainment (plus a ticket to a religious gathering that I’m not counting and a library card – also not counted?), and 3.50 on various toiletries/household cleaners/etc. for a total of 151.31 consumer spending.

7. Food: Should be 70/25/5. Is more like 15/25/60.

Calculations: Um, guesstimate based on what I have in my pantry. Need to buy local and organic produce, more than anything else, to swing the numbers. Might not see much (or any) improvement until June (when the Farmer’s Markets open up).

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