Sunday, August 3, 2008

NOW What are They Doing?!

The Blogger is back! And ready to tell all...the thrills (getting Bob and Linda to agree to sharing their land with us) the chills (camping out in this very rainy season!) and spills! (Well, none of us have had any spills yet, but I'll be sure to tell ya if we do!) We are romantically dreaming of bottles of delicious wine from the soil here in Prince Edward County. On Old Milford Road, as a matter of fact.
Any how, what we are really up to has more to do with living with as small an environmental footprint as possible. As some of you know, Jim & I spent the previous year living about our beloved (now sold to new owners) 36' wooden sloop Chelonidae. After we had gone down to the Bahamas and come back, we had put so many miles on our engine that we had to give ourselves a reality check: was this an environmentally responsible way to live?
We had burned about 800 gallons of diesel.
Things had to change!
So we took the best of living aboard and transferred our collective knowlege to an idea for a house. Firstly, we decided that we would like to try sailing south again, but buddy-ing up with another couple to save fuel, engine wear and tear and taking turns driving long distance. Secondly, we learned to live without great requirments for electricity and water. Thirdly, we adapted to our changing environment, for example when it rained, we collected rainwater, when it was a bit chilly, we turned on our cabin heater and heated a small space. When it was hot, we put up the Wind Scoop and caught more breeze to cool the cabin.
This translates to the Mini House design in quite a few ways. Building a small house will require less building material and energy to build. The chappie we hired to excavate actually laughed when he realized that in just three hours, he had dug the hole and made four very short trips to the neighboring quarry to get stone to fill the hole. Then he was done! Such a small foundation! 16 x 28 feet! Bigger than your average 36' boat!
A small house doesn't require a large amount of wood to burn for heat in the chance we are home during the winter. We will limit propane use while baking and cooking using a marine range, as the oven cavity is a fraction of the space of a conventional oven. Besides, I only bake enough for two people, why not go small? We have decided to cut energy demand by continuing to live without a fridge.
I don't know whether we will live without all luxuries, as we'd like an LCD TV to play movies and such, but we are minimalist type people. Growing an organic garden, helping Bob & Linda grow the vineyard, and perhaps working part-time will keep us out of trouble.
It takes so little to accomplish so much! We have also decided to drive our old Honda a little as possible, car-pool when we can, buy grocery items that have minimal packaging, recyle our egg cartons with local egg producers. Reduce, re-use, recycle sort of effort is too small! Especially reduce!

1 comment:

Mike Greczkowski said...

Hey Michelle and James!

Wow. I would love to see you and hear, first hand, about your colossal trip. I drove by the exit for Merrickville today and thought of you. I was with my family on our way back from a big family reunion in beautiful Gananoque. The previous one, back in 2003, was in PICTON (I. Tubbs Resort)! I love that area! I am so happy for you, and impressed with your values, and your "walking the walk" lifestyle choices! You inspire me.