Wednesday, February 18, 2015

frugal living 17


Living in the desert ( high desert-think Mongolia rather than Death Valley ), I don’t attempt to grow food.  Sure, it’s possible, but I’d need to start out with a $15k well and then start buying truckloads of organic material for the soil here.  And I’d have no idea of how much imported matter would need to be added every year to keep up the soil.  This isn’t Backwoods Home Magazine where it’s okay to take on a thirty year mortgage to grow all your own food.  My point being, without crops or livestock you really don’t need all that much water on your frugal homestead.  I have enough cargo carrying capacity on my bicycle to haul thirty gallons a week back from work and I don’t use half of that.  Sure, I cheat a little.  I make my breakfast and lunch at work, using their water and microwave.  And I usually drink most of my water there so I just need a few sips here and there at home except in the summer where I drink a third more ( 90 ounces a day in the winter, and whatever I’m craving in the summer which is usually a gallon.  I don’t have anymore middle age peeing at night issues, and by drinking a quart before I start on coffee I avoid the jitters and crave less ).  I use the Laundromat in town to avoid hauling that water.  Everything one load on cold and it is only a bit over a hundred bucks a year with soap ( I use liquid to avoid white clump stains ).


So, no gardening or livestock and doing laundry in town, plus using your workplace five days a week for a lot of your water needs, and you only have to worry mainly about washing dishes, cooking and bathing.  I usually have one dish and one fork to wash, but I’m also bachelor cooking.  Since I cook in an iron skillet you merely scrape that out ( I’ve used most oils trying to cook and I’ll tell you the best oil is good old butter, as far as keeping the seasoning on the pan as well as taste.  Since you are biking to town butter helps rather than hurts in your diet ).  I’m either cooking my starch with the meat-I only use about a third of a pound of meat so it is always cut and mixed with a carb, not as a side dish- or I dump the meat from the skillet into a pot with the carb.  Either way, a fork and dish or a plate to wash.  If it was beans in a sauce I soak that with two cups of water for fifteen minutes, then scrape the bottom and sides with the fork to loosen, dump and add a half cup water and bring to a boil.  Add a drop or three of dish soap, then use a brush to scrub.  I like a veggie brush as it seems to avoid keeping food partials between the bristles.  Then, I take my two liter soda bottle I’ve drilled two holes through the top of the cap ( go from the inside with a screw if you don’t have a drill ) to rinse off.  You squeeze to get pressure and can’t waste any, plus being made of tough plastic they last quite a long time.

Continued Next Post.

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  1. How you currently handle water is doable as long as the grid stays somewhat up (so probably decades more). But it certainly isn't generationally sustainable. You have the first step down - conservation, and a good start on the second step - utilizing alternate sources (like work and a Laundromat).
    And, in the past, you mentioned the river is in walking distance- have you walked or biked to it to find out how well that route would work should the grid go down?
    Water is essential for life- not just drinking, but cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc. I doubt it can be over emphasized. More people in history have died from insufficient or bad water than all the violence in the world combined.

    1. The river corridor is government land/or railroad. Lots go down there but I haven't bothered. I don't see the transition to be all that big a deal. A significant rain change is more my worry ( but you can't escape that west of the Appalachians anyway )

    2. Until you have actually traveled a path, you never know what really lies upon it. When you have a chance I highly recommend making the trip and noting how things could change in various scenarios. A river is a great source of water, it will almost always have SOME moisture- getting to it, without being ambushed or taking too long, and purifying the water after/before getting it back to your BPOD.

  2. You can green the desert and grow food, but then your land is like a neon sign in the middle of a sea of gray. Not wise if you expect desperate people around you in the future.

  3. You could grow mushrooms. They would like your poop.