Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 in review

I'm feeling the need to list the progress we've made in 2007 toward living a more sustainable life-style. My eventual goal is to be mostly self-sufficient, this is still many years away.

Things I learned in 2007:

  • Sewing, including zippers and pockets. I still need to learn to do buttons. I can do elastic waist pants and T shirts with no problem. Since this is all Logan wears, I'm pretty set on making all his clothes.

  • Hot-water canning

  • Jam making

  • Bread making

  • Knitting

  • Composting, including worm composting

  • Seed saving

  • Growing a much wider variety of veggies

    • Changes I made in 2007 to live friendlier to the Earth:
    • Joined a CSA

    • Shopped at the farm market each week

    • Ate at least 1 local meal a week since May

    • Turned AC up to 80

    • Turned heat down to 67 during the day, 55 at night

    • Composted

    • Switched to reusable menstrual pads

    • Made more of our bread and bought less

    • Used our solar oven, that we made, in the summer to cook

    • Grew and preserved a lot of veggies

    • Used the library a lot more instead of buying books like I did in the past

    • Got more active politically in causes I care about

    • Volunteered at a cat adoption center and as a habitat steward

    • Expanded my butterfly garden

    • Stopped buying convenience foods and started cooking every night

    • Stopped eating fast food (mostly)

    • Quit drinking Diet Coke (again, mostly, still working on this but down to 1 or less a week)

    • Changed all light bulbs to CFLs and am much better about turning off lights in rooms we aren't using

    • Found local sources for all animal products that we consume

    • Reduced consumption (still working on this, yarn and fabric are my weaknesses)

    • Bring my own bags when shopping

    • Set up rain barrel to harvest rain water, used this to water garden all summer

    • Collected shower water for watering

    • Switched to cold water for washing all laundry

    • Used a drying rake to dry some of our laundry (when we move and get a clothes line, I'll do more of this)

    • Cancelled most catalogs I was getting (this was over 30!)

    • Put up a mason bee house, a ladybug house, and many bird houses

    • Switched all cleaners and soaps to natural products

      hillbilly2be said...

      Wow, Christy, you have made tons of progress toward sustainability. I see many items on your list that we can do as well.

      I've been wanting to build a solar cooker for a long time... maybe we'll squeeze it in between a few projects. :)

      It's been a good year, but there's a better one ahead eh?

      Happy New Year's!

      Erikka said...

      I hope you feel proud of yourself! you have made some amazing changes.

      linda m said...

      I commend you on all of your achievements this last year. You are really on your way to self sustainability. Good luck!
      Happy New Year's

      Christy said...

      Thanks everyone. I hadn't felt like I had done much until I wrote it all out. It was a pretty good, productive year. I hope 2008 brings even more changes and opportunity to do more.

      Anonymous said...

      Congrats Christy! You have so much to be proud of. What's up your sleeve for '08 I wonder!;)

      Deanne said...

      Wow, that's quite a list! Inspiring! Here's wishing you and your family another stellar year to come!

      Chile said...

      Very impressive! It's amazing, isn't it, how ever new skill you acquire makes you feel more capable of taking care of yourself no matter what happens. Happy New Year!

      Pattie said...

      Christy; I'm making a worm composting system with some holiday money I got. Any suggestions? Or, more specifically, if I keep it outside, wil I get rats? (I had that problem with my compost bin and no longer put veggies scraps out there, which I hate throwing away. Hence, the worms . . .)

      Christy said...

      Chile - it is a great feeling knowing that every skill I learn gets me closer to be self-sufficient. I'd like to think that when peak oil comes I'd be one of the ones that could survive. I also know I have a long way to go.

      Pattie - I must admit I got my worm system from my cousin already set up and going. I keep it in the house, that is one of the advantages of worms, they don't take up much room and don't smell so they can stay inside. I can't say if you'd have problems with rats if you put them outside, but I'm not sure I'd risk it. Do you have a basement or closet you could keep them in? They also don't much like it below 50 degrees. I can't keep mine in the basement, they find it too cold down there.

      The system I got is just 2 rubbermaid type containers. Both lids have holes in them. The top container has holes in the bottom and is place on the lide of the bottom container so liquid can leave the top container and be collected in the bottom container. The worms live in the top container. I found a few good websites about setting up worm containers. It is really easy and quick.

      Danielle said...

      Hey, I think the farming classes you've taken should definitely count!

      Great list—it does feel good to list it all out, doesn't it? Makes it more tangible somehow. You guys have done so much this year. It's really inspiring to feel like I have company on this journey.

      One of the things I've been wondering with your quest to learn how to sew is whether you think you actually save any money by sewing. I think it's an excellent skill to have and very worth learning from that standpoint alone, but I quit sewing clothes years ago because it got to the point where it cost more to make it than to buy the equivalent.

      Alas, I've been forced to give up my knitting goals, as it just takes too much of a toll on my wrists. *sigh* Just an hour of knitting is worse on them than a day of digging in the garden.

      Christy said...

      Danielle - I think I'm saving money by sewing but I guess it depends on what you are sewing and where you normally buy clothes. I only buy fabric on sale and patterns on sale. So, I can get the patterns for 99 cents and I usually spend $2 a yard for the fabric. I mostly make shorts and pants for Logan. A pair of shorts is about $2 and a pair of pants about $3. I may be able to get these things cheaper at Goodwill but Logan loves picking out fun fabrics for his clothes. Stuff that you can't buy anywhere already made.

      As for knitting, have you tried a loom? I've read of many people who had to quit knitting that were able to take it up again using the looms. You can make anything on a loom that you can do with needles. If you miss knitting it might be worth trying. Looms are currently 30% off at JoAnns. You could pick up 1 for less than $5 and give it a try. If it doesn't work for you the girls might like it. It is so easy even Logan has been knitting on the looms. He is working on making a turtle right now.

      Stacey said...

      That's a lot to have done in one year, I envy your determination and can't wait to see what it brings for you in the new year. You are really heading towards your goal of sustainabiliy.