Update 2/24

I haven’t done a really thorough update with categories and all that in a while.  Here goes:  

Electricity: We saw a rise in last month’s bill (to 215kwh), but haven’t used the dishwasher since then. Ben did a whole load by hand! He who hates doing dishes! And found it all meditative since he was having a ponder-y day :-) This makes me happy. We still do not have CFLs in the dining room, because the wiring itself appears to hate CFLs. We put a new dimmer switch on it and it still doesn’t work. I’d be find with a non-dimmer switch, provided our landlord was ok with it, but at that point I feel like we’d be using more resources replacing the switch again than we’d save by replacing two incandescent bulbs.

Transit: Transit is holding steady at what it’s been for most of the Riot…I’ve been looking at how often I actually go places, and realizing that my giving an assumption of 2 trips into Boston per week is much higher than the actual frequency of trips. I now go in twice a week for classes by public transit, and to West Newton an average of once a week, but that’s on foot when we can, and the return trip is often carpooled instead of bus. I go into Cambridge/Boston maybe once every two weeks when it’s not school-related.

Heating Oil: I still haven’t ordered that new tank of fuel, and the wet and gloom is making it feel colder than it would be on a dry sunny day. But it’s late February…soon it will be March and soon it will be spring. Still on-target for using only one tank for the heating season!

Water: Our water usage has been going up. I’m trying to find a happy medium to stay at, since it’s hard to feel motivated to conserve water when lower-lying areas of the county have flood warnings ;-) The cold has made me take non-navy showers because I am lazy and enjoy scalding-hot showers. I’m still only taking showers about twice a week, but I need to arrive at a good shower policy, rather than taking longer showers and feeling vaguely guilty about it. Guilt does nobody any good. I’m probably at about 30% of US average. And we poked the landlord about the toilet again, and once again he says he’ll come fix stuff “soon”. Meh. He’s really a good landlord, just slow about taking care of non-emergency things.

Food: Food is still going quite well. Depending on how you calculate it, we’re probably on-target or close to it at home. I’m getting better about planning class-day meals, but still buy too many snacks. My new food policy involves me making more cookies and keeping a supply in my backpack so that I am not tempted to buy things from the snack machine. Any policy that involves more cookies is a good policy. The more-cookies policy has also resulted in my weight stabilizing, which is excellent. Since I’m otherwise in excellent health, I’m going to assume that the mysterious weight loss was due to me just plain not eating enough. My diet has included more beans and whole grains, which are filling and low in calories, and I’m probably burning off quite a bit of it just staying warm.

Trash: Still doing well. We have a cupboard full of empty jars, and are going to need a jar policy soon. The empty grape juice jars are going to conspire and stage a revolt if we keep accumulating them, I think. We have one for bulk honey and I have one for spare change to accumulate in for charity, and other than that their shape means that they’re not actually very useful, and we acquire one every two or three weeks. I’d be happy to start chucking them in the recycling, but Ben requires a concrete jar policy. Ok love, jar policy it is…

Consumer Goods: I’ve been experimenting with not spending money other than on food, utilities, and charity this month after somewhat mismanaging my finances in January. I’m doing well. There were a couple of previously-mentioned snack purchases (which don’t count as food), but otherwise I haven’t bought anything, and my bank account is once again healthy. After this month is out, I am going to buy some more used books, a set of cast-iron cookware, and some wooden spoons (the latter both from Lehman’s). Our wooden spoons are slowly disintegrating.

Growing Challenge: The mushrooms are starting on a third flush, but are now home to some odd little flies, which is somewhat worrying. Maybe we shouldn’t have put them next to the worm bin. The worm bin is finally stabilizing with very few escaped worms! I’m inadvertently growing squash sprouts in it, which are very tasty :-) The food scraps appear to be being eaten, and much of the bin is now lovely soil and squash sprout roots. I gave up on the sourdough for now…I think it’s just too cold. I’m going to get some Oregon Trail starter or something like that to try once it warms up a little. Plus, at this rate I’d get the starter going just in time for Passover and then I would have to keep it in the staff fridge at work or something for the week, and that would feel silly. The proto-starter made tasty flatbread. I’m contemplating rearranging my garden plans to include a V for victory and have a traditionally-arranged victory garden. Just having a front yard food garden will be statement enough, but the V would amuse me. I’m a little hesitant though, because with my luck and lack of experience, whatever I made the V out of would end up all dying, and that would be depressing.

Dark Days Eat Local: I made tasty crepe-pancake things this morning! They were a little too thick for crepes, and too dense for pancakes, but they were delicious anyway. They were made with local eggs, local whole-wheat flour, and a little local butter, and were topped with home-canned crabapple-peach compote. Mmmm…cultivated crabapples. It’s a pity they were such an awful pain to core. Those things are good, and I bet they’ll show up at the farmer’s market again next summer. The whole wheat gave a nice dark taste and texture to the crepes that made them feel a little less dessert-like…I’m not a fan of super-sweet breakfasts.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Helen Oram said,

    The best places to find used books are at sales run by Friends of libraries and other non-profit organizations. Books are donated and the sales are run by volunteers – books usually run $1 or less! My husband and I have been running a web site for several years now, telling where the sales are held. All the information is free.

    And Woman’s Day magazine has a story about me & the business in the current issue! http://www.booksalefinder.com/presspage.html.

    Check out a local library sale – we’ve been going to them for years, and they are the reason we started Book Sale Finder.

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