Monday, July 02, 2007

Riot for Austerity, Month One

The first month of the Riot for Austerity was fairly quiet at my house. At least, quiet in the sense that I didn’t make any dramatic changes. I didn’t turn off the fridge, or go carless (though I would dearly like to do both). But here are my tallies for the month, along with comments.

Gasoline: I was able to significantly cut down on the amount of my personal driving over the last two weeks of the month. Part of this success was determined effort. But, it didn’t hurt that I’ve been too broke to buy groceries. On the downside I accepted a temporary part time job last week where in I ferry around a lady who’s just had surgery and can’t drive. But at least it will help my income slightly.

Electricity: I’ve been running the A/C about the same as in the first two weeks of the month. It never dropped below 95 here the whole month –and that’s without the heat index. When I was a kid that type of weather happened only in July and August, and never for more than a few days at a time. That’s demonstrable climate change in the space of a decade and a half. Anyway, ole Murphy decided to show me on Friday that I CAN live without air conditioning. My A/C quit working and I haven’t got the money to fix it right now. I’ll make up for the A/C use this winter because I won’t have to heat very much at all given the climate.

Heating: That’s not exactly been a problem, given that the daytime temps have been in the high 90s.

Garbage: I made significant reductions in garbage production this month, with the exception of the cat litter problem. I’ve had a lot of helpful suggestions on that issue, but nothing I can really implement where I’m at. The garbage fluctuated between 3 and 10 pounds all month, which isn’t bad in a two-person household.

Water: I finally convinced my brother to reduce his 20 minute showers to fifteen. (Hey, it’s a start.) And I haven’t had to water the garden much in the past week. Why? Rain!!! Pretty much every afternoon. (Happy, happy dance here in Drought Land.)
Consumer Goods: Okay, I said this wasn’t a problem for me, and it’s not really. After I realized I didn’t have to count what I bought at the church yard sale, my total consumer spending for the month dropped to $10 after discounting. And the only thing I bought that I didn’t really need was a dollar dog toy. (And this has turned out to be a wonderful purchase –my lab mix has spent hours playing with it.) I bought the dog toy, some razors, a bale of wheat straw (discounted 50% by the rules), and an internet phone cord.

Food: My garden is slowly ramping up its production and my meals are becoming more and more local. Sunday night I had a meal that was 99% local –and that 99% came from right outside my back door. Boiled jacket potatoes mashed with organic butter and spices, crookneck squash boiled for about a minute and also dabbed with butter and pepper, and homegrown tomatoes. The only things that didn’t come from my garden were the butter and the spices.

I’m making progress. Slowly but surely. That’s all that matters.

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Anonymous Ceridwen said...


Just caught your blog - for 1st time - really like it. Keep up the good work.


7/14/2007 1:22 PM  

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