Review of 2020

BookNotes: A list of what I read and listened to.

  • New purchases indicated by a ^
  • Repeats indicated by a *
  • All others borrowed

Non-Fiction

  • An Other Kingdom^
  • Walking in Wonder
  • No Contest (passed along)^
  • The Sacred Enneagram^
  • Life in Christ
  • Life Together*
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome
  • Earth Wisdom*
  • Braiding Sweetgrass *
  • How to Be an Antiracist^
  • If Women Rose Rooted^
  • The Quaker Way of Living^
  • Essentialism*
  • The Future We Choose
  • Kiss the Ground
  • The Third Plate

Fiction

  • Circe*
  • Spying in High Heels (series)*
  • Whose Body?*
  • Dog’s Body
  • Still Life*
  • A Fatal Grace*
  • The Cruelest Month*
  • A Rule Against Murder*
  • The Dark is Rising (series)*
  • The Brutal Telling*
  • Bury Your Dead*
  • A Trick of the Light*
  • The Beautiful Mystery*
  • How the Light Gets In*
  • The Long Way Home*
  • The Nature of the Beast*
  • A Great Reckoning*
  • Glass Houses*
  • Kingdom of the Blind*
  • A Better Man*
  • The Ministry of the Future^

Audiobook

  • Harry Potter series*
  • Twilight Series*
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series*
  • The Best of All Possible Worlds*
  • The Raven Boys series*
  • The Crystal Cave series*

Things I Bought For Me (not farm):

  • See books marked ^ above
  • Handcrafted small plate and bowl
  • Face mask (x3)
  • 2 spiral notebooks for Welsh
  • 3 packs of index cards for Welsh
  • journal
  • Berne farm coat

Farm + Home Purchases:

  • Fence for chicken yard 1 — $100
  • 2x4s for chicken house 1 — $40
  • Plywood for chicken house 1 — $20
  • <chicken house 1, rest was reused from other projects>
  • <chicks were free>
  • Chicken yard 2 materials –$100
  • Chicken grains –$100
  • Rabbit pellets — $60
  • Garden –$24, heirloom/organic seeds
  • Gas for mower –$40 = 13 gallons

Jasper Purchases:

  • food –$100
  • Flea and tick — $75

Sustainability: Carbon Footprint 2

Four areas to focus on as you consider your personal carbon footprint: 1) how you move around, 2) what you eat and how it is grown, 3) how you use natural resources in your home, and 4) what stuff you buy and how you get rid of it.

How You Use Natural Resources in Your Home — I am defining natural resources as fossil fuels (and their derivatives), water, wood, minerals, etc. It is a loose definition, but it makes it easy for me to remember. First let’s talk electricity. In my area coal is what most power plants use and therefore it is what you are using when you plug something into the wall. My part of Indiana is 38° north. That means we have four true seasons. I am also in a hilly area with inconsistent winds. Passive solar works pretty well on sunny winter days in the rooms with south facing windows. Solar panels on the roof should, theoretically give you sufficient power on the sunny days. The key to that being true is to minimize the amount of power you require. I read a report that there is enough “power” for each person to use 48 kWh per day.

Our family uses an average of 300-500 kWh per month and we buy green energy that comes from a cooperative of solar fields, wind turbines, and methane burning from landfills. At this time we don’t have solar panels on our home. The start up investment is just a bit much for us right now. Our biggest electric users are hot water, the refrigerator, and in winter the heater (when we use it). Our hot water heater is on a timer so that it runs during non-peak hours and that really helps lower the amount we use. The tank is very efficient and will keep the water hot for 12-15 hours. To keep our usage low we do things like: keep the lights off when not in a room, use smaller & more efficient appliances, got rid of most of our electric appliances (like the washer, dryer, air conditioner, dishwasher, etc), hung insulating curtains in all the rooms (closed during summer days, closed during winter nights, open during winter days, open during summer nights). These are just a few examples. We don’t use any natural gas, propane, kerosene, etc to cook or heat our home. In the winter our favorite spot in the house is beside the wood stove. We burn down/dead wood and never take down a living tree. Our woods typically have 3 or 4 down trees a year and that is sufficient for our heating needs. This year we are not using the chainsaw at all and are carrying up all the branches we can find. So far we haven’t used the wood stove at all, but we have had to run the heater on days when the high is only in the 30s (about 10 days so far). We must decide what to do about getting a new chainsaw for next year.

Let’s see, water usage has already been chatted about a few times. So I guess that is about it for natural resources. Although in some respects, what we buy

What you buy and how you get rid of it — For me, I try to choose natural materials first. I want everything to either be reusable (to infinity . . . ) or compostable. This eliminates a lot of stuff.

Sustainability: Carbon Footprint

Sustainability > Carbon Footprint > How You Move Around

The Climate Crisis is so big and so multi-faceted that I do not (and could never) claim to be an expert. What I am is someone who cares deeply for this place and therefore for the whole beautiful place we call Earth. I have been making real efforts to reduce our personal carbon footprint to below 50% of the average American since 1997. Since 2020 began, I have been working to shave off a bit more each year hoping to be carbon neutral in our own home by 2030. Along with these personal actions, I also write and call my Members of Congress regularly and speak to my community whenever the opportunity arises.

Four areas to focus on as you consider your personal carbon footprint: 1) how you move around, 2) what you eat and how it is grown, 3) how you use natural resources in your home, and 4) what stuff you buy and how you get rid of it.

How you move around— We’ve all seen the science on driving and flying. I am not here to rehash that. Right now, even if we all drove electric cars, there still is the problem of how the electricity is generated. Living in a rural area means even fewer options until they come up with a better battery (which I know is in the works), a charging station system, and a clean way to produce and distribute the needed electricity. So for now we drive a vehicle that gets good gas mileage, keep it maintained, and plan for errands along the route that is between workplaces and home. For my part, I don’t ask for stops that are off of that route, and I do not drive at all. Secondly, I am transitioning to doing as many errands as possible in the small village that is within bicycle riding distance. I can ride there and back with no issues and plans are in place to allow me to carry a larger load. I don’t travel anymore either. I am content to stay home or close to home.

The average American uses 500 gallons of gasoline / person / year. In 2020, I used 5 gallons. In 2020 , we used 15 gallons to cut the grass. In 2020, our commuters used 1000 gallons. So — 51%

In 2020: I walked — 1040 miles and I biked — 250 miles.

What You Eat and How It is Grown — I feel like I have talked and talked about this piece here on the blog. However, I realize that I’ve talked about how we grow our food and what I prefer to eat. I haven’t really been clear about what I look for when purchasing food. For me, organic is really just the beginning. When purchasing meat I look for organic, grass fed, and humane slaughter methods. This makes meat quite expensive. That is ok with me. I am happy to pay the true cost so that my local farmers are encouraged to use regenerative agriculture methods. We eat eggs that our hens lay or we do without. I cook in a manner that stretches the meat as far as possible. For instance a whole chicken will make 2 pot pies (=8 servings), 1 pot of soup (=12 servings), and a pot of broth/stock (=24 servings). Where I need to do better is with grains and beans. I hope next year to begin growing more of our own dry beans. It will probably take several years to get a system in place and actually meet our needs. It is doubtful that I will ever try to grow our own grains. I can get organic, but have yet to find a regenerative farmer that sells in small bulk quantities.

If you have any leads on the grain front, please leave me a comment.

Simplicity: Emergency Bag

Simplicity >

March 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm.

The weather shifted from far too warm for March to dangerous in the space of just an hour. I could see the storm front pushing in and did what I always do: move anything that could blow around into the shed, tuck the animals into their homes and hope for the best, and check my emergency bag.

Being an USAF wife taught me to be ready to leave my home in 10 minutes if the alarm sounds. I have never been able to set that bit aside. So I always have an emergency bag packed — just in case. It came in very handy on March 2. My. Emergency bag isn’t the kind you could live out of for three days, it is the kind that will give you some comfort while living out of the 72 hour kit.

My Emergency Bag contains: my sleeping bag, a change of clothes, a USB powered fan, a solar charger, a spare charger for my phone, spare glasses, important paperwork on a USB drive, a Turkish towel, and a spare leash/collapsible water bowl for Jasper. My backpack sits ready for any adventure. It carries (in an emergency) a water bottle, snacks, purse, Welsh stuff, Kindle, flannel robe, and my 3-1-1 kit. Oh, and I always grab my yoga mat. I can be out the door in 5 minutes with this set up.

My Secondary Bag — The majority of my seasonal clothing will fit into my travel duffel. My garden seeds also fit in this bag. If I am given an additional 5 minutes, this bag can be packed and out the door too.

Family Kit — One thing I would like to do is to pack a family kit into plastic tote. I think it would work well to pack the tote like a camping kit. That’s a pretty easy way to think about what should go in it. I may start working on this one after the new year.