Saturday, November 01, 2008

On the Eco Front...

Where we're at on the Eco trail? Well getting there I guess is the answer. Having many interesting and thought provoking conversations with people along the way. Which is good because we really do have to think outside of our current mind-set, to make things work. So thought I'd share where we are at in case it helps anyone else on the same trail.

Halogen Replacement Globes - we bought three of the best there is. Turns out that they work better with a particular transformer (which ours aren't) - so because of this we get some flickering, and disco-style, and one that just doesn't work. The local Earth store (can't remember the name, will find out) no longer sells globes only for this very reason. They will only sell the globe as a kit complete with compatable transformer. It's about $60 odd per kit so it's not cheap to change them over, plus the electrician fee. Speaking of which if you're in the same state as us and can recommend a GOOD electrician please send me an email - after the last one we're not using them again.

Grid Connect Solar - yippee we have a date for our solar installation! End of November and it will be IN! the system as a maximum output of 4.5 units and our setup will achieve 4.2 units, which is pretty good for a 1kw system (I hope I got those figures and 'thingies' right!). Since we use about 11 units per bill currently, this will be quite an input, and as we modify things around the house to be more energy conscious (changing over the halogens eventually), the fridge and washing machine now doing well on the eco level, my aim is is to get our use to 10 units or under for the next few bills. See how we go.

Water Tanks - just starting new on this but so far have decided on outdoor use for the water (to plumb it to the house for laundry/loo which is all health regs will allow, requires a lot more outlay and something we don't have atm) for the veges mostly, probably from two collection points and then gravity feed on a slow hose to do the watering. I looked at a round one and the more 'modern' streamline ones, and for example for 2500litre capacity, the round one was $800 and the 'modern' one $1200... the rabte is $600... so guess which size we're going for!

Have just read the backyard book by Jackie French... will have to check the title because it escapes my mind every time but wow it's awesome - any wonder people rave about it! I got my copy from the Good Life Bookclub in case you're finding it hard to get hold of. It's brilliant. All her trial and error and planting experiments, knowledge and 15odd years of 'work' in one book to save us having to do it all over like she did. Which is not to say you'll have it easy but a LOT of the hard work has been done for you, in terms of the theory and planning. Brilliant. Answers a lot of 'how on earth can I grow what we need on an average block?' - and 'how can we have fruit all year round'... those kind ones. Highly recommended.

Chooks - jury is now out on whether we have chooks after reading a backyard poultry book, I am undecided. I do know if/when we do chooks, there will be waist high or above access to the nesting boxes WITHOUT having to enter the chook yard. A guaranteed walk in chook poo every day is perhaps something that comes with having chooks but not an idea I relish and one I plan to avoid by this design AND I don't plan on bending every day to check for eggs either - slack I know but hey, the whole idea is to make your design work for you, not against you... I've got a few ideas where they can fit.

The veges are taking off - I think we're about to be overtaken by the various vines (pumpkin/rockmelon/zuccini etc if they manage to get over the (anti-Jemma) fence... it's a serious possibility! Almost able to pick lettuce for dinner every second night and won't be long before the pak choy and spinach are ready to rock! Fruit trees are doing well too, and the mulberries reliable as always.

That'll do from me for now I suppose. Have a positive and productive week! Well, I hope the week is kind to you anyway...

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