Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The New Family Vehicle

After a couple of years of deliberation, we finally ordered our new family tandem bicycles today. So far, the Burley Piccolo (tag-a-long) has been suiting us fairly well. I started off cycling with both kids in the Burley trailer, then moved M. to the tag-a-long while A. was still small enough to be in the trailer. When she turned 5, she moved up to the tag-a-long, which meant that M. had to ride his own bike. That works well for the many streets in town that are bike-friendly and relatively traffic free, but it limits us when we want to go somewhere that has more cars or I feel is too dangerous for him to navigate. On a street with lots of traffic and a narrow bike lane, one swerve on his part could be disastrous. The tandem will free us up to go longer distances, faster, and also to go on streets where I feel more comfortable being in control of the whole bike and both kids. So we'll hook the tag-a-long to the back of the tandem and off we'll go! For days when DH is around, we can take both tandems.

Here's the Bike Friday folding tandem I'll be using with the kids!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

New Garden Pics

All the raised beds are in, and things are growing really well. We've gotten a good number of snap peas, and planted more lettuce than we could eat. I haven't bought anything green from the store in weeks! The squirrels have taken all the strawberries (they'll be moved up to planters on the deck). Here's a couple pics of our new garden space. This one is taken from the top deck, looking down into the back.

This is the "shade garden", mostly perennial shade lovers, and I've added in some blueberries and huckleberries into this area:

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Little Bit of Anything Adds Up

I watered my garden yesterday with 10 gallons of water that would've gone down the drain. I've always dreamed of having some sort of graywater recovery system, but retrofitting one into this house would be a major and expensive project. So I decided to do something small to recover just some of the graywater - put a five gallon bucket in our shower, and whenever we turn on the shower to warm it up (which takes awhile on the second floor because the water heater is in the basement), the cold water that's running can go into the bucket. It's a shame to waste all of that clean water just because it's not warm!

After a couple of weeks of trying it, I'll say that the bucket system is working really well. Best of all, when you start looking at saving one little wasteful bit, it really opens your eyes to all the other bits that you're also throwing away. Now when I drain my cooler after camping, I drain it into a bucket. If I don't want to use it right then, I can just pour it into our rain barrel. And when I shower, I'm more cognizant of the amount of water that's being wasted, so I only turn the water on halfway - it still feels like a full shower, but it's using half as much water!

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about all of the things we'd like to change to become more sustainable. Making just one small change is easy though, and so many other changes can flow naturally from that. I recently read some wise words: "Walk in the direction you want to be going." It sounds so simple and it's really true. You don't have to get there today, but if you put one foot on the path, you're headed there eventually.