Solar powerful!

I turned my solar on last night so today is my first day to generate my own electricity! Ok, ok. It’s now officially Fall. It took since April or May to get it installed and inspected and going. But luckily, the sun shines all year! Also: Texas.

So here we go! Happily, since it’s so nice out now, maybe I won’t even use as much as the system is tuned to produce. With all the rebates in Austin, it’s a great time to roll your own. Ask me about it!

Psyched!

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In this case, I’m def outtie

The Tiny Life , Archive » Is It Worth It?.

Yeah, I'm all set.

So I’m reading the article linked above and they say “if you were to account for the time the average American spends earning money just to pay for standard home in the US, you work 15 years of your life just for your house.”  Sweet. My plans* for peace-outing will continue!

Should I back up and clue you in? Ok.

The big wide world awaits. I’ve got so little time—we all do—and I’m sure not set on sitting behind a desk for 40 years of it, hoping that I’ll be able to get out and see some of it in my final 20.

Since the end of my first 20, I’ve been working behind one desk or another. Why? I built a house too big to afford, then sold it. I bought a smaller house and still need roommates to afford it. It’s just crazy and useless. And I’ve got 25 more years of this to go? I’m all set, thanks.

Recently, MBF read about a study predicting a full collapse by 2030. (This assumes we survive the great zombie apocalypse of 2012, but I’ve already got my zombie bug-out plans, so I’m set.) If that’s the case, I need to get my world-seeing in before 2030, and get hunkered down somewhere slightly before.

A quick timeline:

2030 collapse
-3 years to settle into a place
——-
2027 year to finish up travels
-2013 when I can first leave home
——–
14 years to get my adventures in, without a home to tie me down while I do it.

Perfect! I’ll still be a year ahead of the game, saving myself 15 years of pointless toil (for a home) and exchange those for 14 years of homeless touring.

I like math.

*”Plans” are more like “structured daydreams”. Playdreams, I like to call them. I do all the math, all the planning, all the phone calls as if I’m actually going to go through with it. This used to scare my (now ex-) husband and has panicked at least one aunt, prompting her to call my mother. Tattle tale. Know ye: it’s simply a very vivid daydream. Nothing makes me happier than scribbling out budgets and numbers on a page, torturing numbers until they suit me. Then I smile and get back to my real job making donuts and cranking out the big balls.

Ok, but maybe I’ll actually do this. In fact, I’d call this one “likely“.

Ditch or do: first week of feb

Dude, it’s Monday! Even though my buddy has long since dropped out of this challenge between us (I win!), I’m still ditching and doing. Suck it, Jon.

So what about this week, the last of January and first of February?

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I cleaned my desk, and dumped everything into the garage. Uh-oh. It has been sitting like this for weeks now. So I tackled it.
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I emptied this bag and this box (and another box, not pictured). I then filled the box to mail away and filled the bag with stuff to give to my mom. Yay!
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A box for three of the Michigan nieces. Misc crafting stuff and ribbons.
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A box of the rest of my scrapbooking stuff for Crystal. I'd already given her a bunch of papers earlier this year, so this made sense.
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Stamps and Kick Your Butt Bear for Scott, in a tin that held some of his toys to boot. Good to return stuff to him.
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After it's been sitting in a drawer in my bathroom for almost three years, 33 months to be exact, I finally installed the cover on my vent fan/light.

The Greenest Building Is The One Already Standing

via No Tech Magazine: The Greenest Building Is The One Already Standing.

Ye gods, YES. I cringe every time I think of my own house—all 4 cavernous bedrooms, all 19 feet to the ceiling in the “great room”, all 4 toilets, all 2200 square feet plus full basement, and all new material cladding and constructing it—and what a waste it was to create. I could rant about just how much space I believe is enough for a person, but naturally that feeling of comfort varies and is purely subjective. And then again, maybe that number is very mathematical and logical. I mean, we only have so much space to share after all.  /pseudo rant

I wish moving houses was easier to do and afford.

Anyway, buying a house is better than building one. That is all.

Rain in Texas: your attendance required

After a good long drought and quite a few teases with sprinkles, we finally got some good hard rain this morning. Drought’s not over, but it sure is nice to see and hear.

And watching a good rain is required of Texans. You should be back from your required pre-storm grocery run by now, so go watch. I remember when David Letterman returned to TV after switching networks, it hadn’t rained in something like 100 days. It started raining during his first show back, so on the commercial, everyone in the apartment complex came out at the same moment to look at the rain.

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My neighbor watchign the rain
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The downspout needs a chain before it'll hit that barrel. Oh, and check the pool turning into poo.
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Bigger, browner poo*
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Hurry! Move the plants so we can put the barrel in place!

Our rain barrel, 60 gallons, I think, ended up overflowing. We are psyched.

The No-Refrigerator Challenge

The No-Refrigerator Challenge, issued by Rowdy Kittens.

Yeah, I coulda put an image of beautiful veggies being kept cool in the fridge, but let's be real. This is more accurate for my lifestyle. Image from http://www.waark.com

Now that I’m getting weekly product bushels, I wonder if I could hack this. Dairy’s not much a part of my life, and most produce is better eaten right away anyway. I’d already been thinking about this desert cooler from Africa (a zeer pot), for my little back-yard structure. No, City of Austin, I’m not building a house back there. It’s a shed… in which I happen to work and sometimes fall asleep, and in which I like to store snacks for myself and also have a sink to wash my hands after gardening, and also with a waterless toilet for… um… use with the pool, so people don’t have to go inside.  Yes, that’s the ticket.

Hmm..

More info on the zeer pot, including a pdf with instructions: http://www.slashfood.com/2006/09/28/how-cool-is-that-zeer-pot/
http://practicalaction.org/food-production/zeerpots

If you hadn’t heard, it’s cold

Or, “chai morning”. Or, “how I plan to blame my mother for my decisions and smugly say she cost me a thousand dollars.”

Yeah, hi. That's frost on the glass, icicles hanging, and a good 1/4 inch of geniuine ice on the sash. This is INdoors.

Let’s begin with the weather, which I’m sure is news to everyone: it’s cold. I live in Texas and naturally I’m woefully underprepared for cold days.

Frost was on my bathroom windows. Icicles and straight-up ice, too. Here’s the part where I gleefully blame my mom: I was totally gonna get new windows last year. I even had dudes with tape measures and brochures of smiling vinyl windows come out to my house. When I told my mother I was getting the windows replaced, she looked outraged, like I’d told her they were making every highway between her house an anywhere a toll road, and hissed “why??” My mother is a frugal soul. She makes do with anything. Sometimes with nothing, in fact. The thought of new windows when these 38 year old ones were clearly not falling out of the frames or visibly broken past the point of a tape-fix was in fact appalling.

So the opinion of my mother–nevermind the sticker-shock and the hassle of having to get a permit for windows (WTF!) or my own natural frugality (skinflintitude? cheapskatedness?) nevermind my tendency to never get around to doing anything–meant I now have hoar frost in the bathroom.

And thus the chai. If you’ve stuck with me this far, you deserve some chai. Here’s how I make mine for 2 or 3 people:

2 cups boiling water
2 cups milk (I use almond, but cow’s or soy would work)
Combine and put over medium heat.

I went a little heavy on the peppers today, but it's all about experimenting to see what you like. I? Don't like as much pepper as this morning.

Add:
Powdered cinnamon to cover the surface of the milk
2 shakes of ground cloves
2 shakes of ground ginger
A pinch of cayenne
2 or 3 grinds o black pepper
A blurp of vanilla. Let’s call it 1/4 tsp
2 arms of a star anise pod
2 or 3 cardamom pods
(some mornings I whack them to crack their pods open. I think the heat does the trick though.)
A shake of nutmeg
A shake of allspice. Cause why not.

I put all that in while the milk/water is heating. Stir it up, but don’t walk too far. You wanna catch this as soon as it boils.

When it does boil, turn the heat to low and simmer. Put in 2 tea bags. Earl grey is nice, but today I used a black tea. Earl has a pretty decent heavy flavor. I also add sweetener at this point, but sometimes leave that to the drinker to put in his or her cup. I’ve heard it’s not good to heat honey up.

Simmer for 20 or 30 minutes and stir. The stupid cinnamon will want to clump or stick to the sides. Fight it. Beat it down.

Enjoy with a side of smug while you cover your ears, sing la-la-la-I can’t hear you while fully shirking responsibility for your own lassitude and fully grown-up decisions.