Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Strange feelings and moving sensations.

It’s the strangest feeling in the world, I mean... besides an enema, dumping a compost item on bare ground. That is how we started. There was no compost starter kit. No special device guaranteed to compost your unwanted refuse in 30 days or money back. Just ground.

So it started. The compost grew that night, most likely from an avocado peel and an apple core or something like that. The next night, a banana peel and onion parts and who knows what else. We got so excited about it I’m sure we piled stuff on it which had no purpose being in there. On and on it grew. One foot. Two feet. Everyday a little higher until it was something we could really be proud of… rotting garbage. But it was our rotting garbage and we were proud of it.

At that time we were living in the city of Arlington when two, no three developments happened which changed the way we look at sustainability. 1) The city, in an effort to get more people to compost, gave away free compost bins to constituents. Hooray!!! 2) We got a $500 electric bill from heating the home we rented in Arlington. Bummer. 3)The tenant in our little two bedroom rental house we owned in Dallas gave notice to leave at the end of the month. Double bummer. It was an eight hundred dollar loss of income bummer. Wasn’t the reason for going back to school to save money? A quick family meeting between the powers that be, that is the “power that holds the purse” and the “power that asks the purse how much we have”, determined that a $500 dollar electric bill was not sustainable. We simply had to use less. So we got closer as a family. Closer on the couch, closer in bed, closer in the shower (I wish!). We turned the heat off at night and put space heaters in the children’s rooms. Meanwhile, I could see my breath in the master bedroom. We were determined to pull through this… until the second $500 bill came! There’s only 237 things I won’t give up on, and this house wasn’t on that list.

Two weeks later, and after a very short conversation with our landlord, we simply moved our family of five into the two bedroom house in Dallas. You can imagine the logistics involved in doing this. We essentially shed one bedroom suit, half a garage worth of “gently used” crap, and a number of other pieces of furniture to make this work. In short, we went from 2250 sq/ft (Dallas), to 1500 sq/ft (Arlington), to 900 sq/ft (Back to Dallas!) Yes, we got closer, we had nowhere else to go... I can vacuum the entire house without unplugging it once. I don’t care who you are, for a family of five, that’s close.

We managed to squeeze everything that we didn’t sell or give away into that tiny house we live in today. What about that compost bin Arlington gave us you ask? Of course we didn’t get rid of that. No, no. We not only brought that with us, we brought the compost which was in it with us. You got it. We sold the good stuff, gave away the mediocre, and kept the trash. Who’d have thought? - Jason


  1. Hi. Carrie made a comment on my homesteading blog and the link came here. So I wanted to stop by and return the visit. Having lived in Arlington myself for a number of years, I know all about that heat and those electric bills! I used to wait until it got to 90 degrees in the house and then turn the AC on.

    Anyway, welcome to the blogosphere. It's a great place for sharing interests, ideas, and experiences. Looks like you'll make a great contribution.

  2. Thanks, Leigh. I love your blog and get much inspiration from it. In a previous life I also lived in North Carolina (I think that's where you are?) and owned a floor loom, so we have more in common than you may think! The no AC thing is harder for me than it is for Jason. So far we have only turned it on three times, and that was when it reached 90 inside. I used to turn the air on if it got over 80 in the house. It is amazing what your body can adapt to. Now it really isn't too bad until it gets in the high 80s. And in addition to saving loads on our electric bill, because of the high heat in the house, I now take cold-lukewarm showers (a godsend!) - so we're saving money there too by not having to heat up the water. - Carrie