Monday, November 1, 2010

Building a free season-extender for the garden and my first weekly consumption analysis

Last night we had our first frost, and today's high temperature was predicted to be 50 degrees.    So this morning I walked to our community garden plot with the top of an old rabbit cage, some re-purposed plastic bags that I'd sewn together last night, and the remains of our cats' feather wand toys.  I turned them into this:

Although some of the gardeners have built gorgeous, large, professional-looking row covers, I'm happy to have made this mini-greenhouse from odds and ends I found in the basement.  (I used the cat toy wands as stakes to keep the cage from blowing away.) 

In other cold-related news, this morning Jake turned on the heat for the first time this season.  We've gotten used to waking up in a 55 degree house, with temperatures barely reaching 60 by afternoon.  But 50 degrees was awfully cold.  I would have hung on a little longer, but this consumption project is mine, not Jake's, and he gets to have his say, too.  We turned the heat on for one cycle to warm the house to 62, then turned it off for the rest of the day.

Last night Jake made a great red sauce from garden peppers and tomatoes which we ate over brown rice.  Today I decided to extend it with some black beans, which entailed another trip to the co-op.  The prices you see on the bags of beans and rice are per lb, not totals.  Beans, rice and celery cost $5.40 after my volunteer discount.

And then I bought another $2 of happiness at the fair trade coffee shop.  Mondays are a low-key work day for me because the next farmers' market seems so far away.  I try to set a portion of Mondays aside for socializing or relaxing.  This afternoon it was a treat to sit with a dear friend for over an hour talking about playwriting. 

I walked everywhere today: to the garden, the co-op, the post office and the coffee shop.  However, my friend, who lives a few towns away, drove into New London to meet me.  She also gave me a ride home because she'd given me a gift which would have made walking awkward.  (I'll talk about this gift and gifts in general in another post.) So although I didn't technically do any driving, miles were driven on my behalf.  Sometimes she drives to see me and sometimes I drive to see her.  I hope it averages out.

Today's Consumption Totals:
Food: $5.40
Entertainment: $2
Miles Driven: 0

And because daily consumption totals don't reveal very much, I've decided to also do a weekly round-up. 

Weekly Consumption Analysis (10/25-10/31):
Food: $51.55, some of which was for Jake.  This wasn't the total food bill for the household, as Jake buys his own bread, meat and other items I rarely eat.  Of this, $3.49 came from a chain supermarket; the rest came from either the co-op or farmers' markets.  Everything except the nut milk was either organic or locally grown or both.
coffee: $7.30, $2 of which was a take-out coffee.
Entertainment: $6 ($4 for sitting in cafes and $2 for the local paper)
Personal care: $1 toilet paper from recycled paper
Cat food: $5 (my share). It didn't show up in the blog because Jake bought it. Together we spend $10 on cat food every week.
Bartered: one dozen eggs
Miles driven: 18.5
Waste generated from my purchases: some clear plastic bags, the hazelnut milk container, some glossy paper from the newspaper. I think we'll either compost or recycle everything else. We'll use the glass peanut butter container for food storage.

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