Frugal

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Doing more while spending less money

Eco Resolutions and Results

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball

Like many folks, I made a New Year's Resolution last January. "That's my plan for 2010, make one dozen changes to burn less fossil fuel and eat more locally." According to Psychology Today, "setting specific goals, sharing our resolutions with others, and focusing on the benefits of achieving the resolution" are simple strategies towards sticking to resolutions. I hoped my goal was ambitious yet achievable and I shared it with EcoDaddyo readers. Now let's see how well I kept my resolutions.

2010 Resolution Results

Hatches, Battened

Storm Warning flag

There's nothing like the threat of winter and an onrushing storm to motivate me to finish a slew of projects. Summer seemed to stretch on forever and our fall was mild until recently. But we've woken to a few dustings of snow lately so I overcame my inertia to finish a few more projects. I've replaced and re-weatherstripped the back door and covered a gaping hole in the wall behind a bathroom vanity. Wow, why did those projects take me so long to finish?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Meal

It is Thanksgiving evening and the kitchen is tidied, the leftovers put away, and only a few dishes to face tomorrow. Now that's a good holiday.

What made it a better holiday was a lovely home-cooked meal as one of our blessings. Here's what we are thankful for: loving family, good work, a warm, cozy house, and good things coming our way. But possibly just as important, here's what we had for dinner:

- Cacahuates y Pepitas Enchilados - because it's fun to say and a delicious snack.

Mind the Gap

Window frame with spray foam

I enjoy working on projects around the house. But one DIY project often leads to another. While removing some old paneling this summer I uncovered an ugly secret hiding behind the window trim. I discovered a 1"+ gap between our newer double pane windows and the wall framing. Loosely coiled foam strips were the only insulation in the window to wall air space. It's no wonder the window frames felt so cold last winter!

Why I Garden #18

French Tarragon, drying

We had the first hard freeze of the season last week. There were no light frosts, the low temps went solidly below zero (Celsius) in one night. The local meteorologist gave us ample warning so we pulled up tomato plants, harvested squash and chile and tender herbs. It was an exciting end to a full year of watering, weeding and tending. Tomatoes and tomatillos are slowly ripening, herbs are hanging to dry in the kitchen and apples are being sauced or fermented.

Putting Water in its Place

Mulched Basin for Rain and Grey Water Drain

Water in the Southwest may be worth more than gold. Even growing the hardiest of native plants requires considering how they will be watered. In our backyard I've used rain barrels for two years to water the vegetable garden. But until now my front yard was dependent on direct rainfall and the garden hose. I've finally added a branched drain system that directs rainfall from the gutters to mulch-filled basins that water our trees and perennials. Hopefully, I can water the front landscape without moving a hose again!

Facing Down the Crisper

I, again, have a crisper full of weird things: daikon, sunchokes, scorzonera (or black salsify, if that helps any). I keep pushing them around and making things with carrots instead. They just look weird and I need to get over that. To think I thought turnips were strange.

Why I Garden #17

New Mexico Hops

I planted New Mexico Hops (Humulus lupulus L. var. neomexicanus) in the backyard several years ago and they have flowered prolifically this year. Each year these perennial vines spread further and are close to covering the fence they grow over. Hop flowers aren't likely to win a beauty contest but they are wonderfully fragrant in a way that few IPA lovers can resist. Now it's time to visit the local home brewing store and find a beer recipe to go with wild hops!

More Info:

Game On

Apricot Jam, Butter and in Marsala

I would have written sooner but I’ve been canning. The apricots are here and it’s game on.

Due to an amazing turn of weather this spring, fruit trees all over town actually escaped a late frost and managed to set fruit. It has been several years since this miracle happened last and right now I see piles of apricots lying in the street all over the place. It practically makes me want to weep. Pick your fruit, people! Someone, somewhere will appreciate it not only because it is delicious but also because you can avoid attracting vermin to your neighborhood in search of rotting sweets.

Moving Images – Part 2 – “The more you drive…”.

Training

Repo Man is a great road movie in the apocalyptic genre that starts in Los Alamos, NM and includes some amazing lines. “The more you drive, the less intelligent you are” has been a constant point of reference for me over the last 6 years while commuting 60 mile each way to my job in Albuquerque. The commitment to a daily fall down La Bajada ( a 2,000 foot drop in elevation South of Santa Fe) was a decision I made weighing commuting times for different urban areas against the quality of life they offered. Compared to many commutes back East, Santa Fe to Albuquerque seemed like a breeze.

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