Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today was all about the house.

Project 365: Day 351

Today was all about working towards being the most responsible, sustainable homeowners we can be. The day started out with a visit to the Longfellow Sustainable Yards event. While we were there we got good information on gardening with native plants, minimizing water runoff on our property, tips for planting our boulevard, instructions on how to build our own rain barrel, ordered additional recycling bins, talked to a master gardener about our dirt patches/lawn and ate some cookies from the Seward Coop. I guess the cookies weren't so much for the house, but they were tasty!

After we got home we went to work on planning our vegetable garden spaces. We have big, big dreams this year. Our plans include a 24' x 11' in-ground garden, 4 garden boxes, various potted herbs, and two raised bed gardens. Phew! We are greedy and may be getting in over our heads for our first year of gardening in our home. I figure we are justified in dreaming big on this, the day of the spring equinox. There is a whole growing season stretched out ahead of us.

After that we had our home visit with our two energy specialists from the Center for Energy and Environment. The visit was arranged through the workshop that we attended last weekend. We learned more about how our home functions (hello furnace dampers!) and we received a lot of energy saving installations. One of our water heater pipes was insulated, we replaced our low-flow shower head with a lower-flow shower head, we replaced our recessed light bulbs with CFL bulbs and ...drum roll... we finally got a programmable thermostat! I have really been looking forward to that part. It is hard to remember to manually turn the heat up and down but it seems senseless to heat the house to the same temperature when we are not home or sleeping. The only drawback is that the new thermostat was installed in the one room of the house that we already painted. It is smaller than the old one and has left us with this unsightly exposed block of cream. There will be some paint touch-ups in the very near future.

This weekend marked the end of 3 weekends spent at homeowner workshops. We have learned a lot about our house and our community in the last few weeks. I am definitely feeling grateful for the community we live in and the accessible, relevant and plentiful learning opportunities provided by community members, organizations and businesses. I am also feeling totally saturated with new information! Plumbing, electrical, insulation, air sealing, water heating, condensation, soil pH, growing zones, pervious pavers...there is so much to know!

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