Riot Reckoning: Month 4

Riot for Austerity fist with Thermometer

“Rekenen,” Dutch: to count


Gasoline: doing much better at 16%

Between us we consumed 20.3 gallons. That’s 6.77 gallons/person, that’s:

16% of the US national average.

I have this great deal with another mom from Amie’s preschool: in lieu of my watching her kids for four hours a week, she watches Amie for two hours and she picks Amie up almost every morning on her way to drop her daughter off at school (we’re on her way): saves me time and gas. I’ve also managed to keep the trips to the grocery store (in the other direction) to once a week. If only Spring would come, then we could bike…

Electricity: we made it!

Our electricity consumption at 371 KWH is up a bit from last month, but then we have one more person in our household (our “co-houser” ), as well as a hundred or so little germinating seeds and seedlings under 16h/day growing lights and a 24/24 heat lamp.

But we still made it to 10% of the National US Average!

How so? Well, it’s all wind!

Yes, we switched to the 100% wind energy plan. Who would have thought it was that easy? (I’m sure that last statement is a lot more complex than it sounds!).

Heating oil and warm water: the usual fiasco

We had some really cold days, and a couple of warm days too, when I just shut off the heat and opened all the windows to let some fresh air in. But those were exceptions. Mostly it was cold. So we consumed 79 gallons of heating oil. That’s

128% of the US national average

It’s less than January and December and it will go down as the earth’s axis tilts us closer to the sun, but it’s still too depressing. I’ll just refer you to my usual winter-rationale and leave it there.

Garbage: used to make it, not this month, though…

We’re making less and less household garbage each month, and are well in the range of the 90% reduction. But we started working on the “Annex”, the part of the house that we close off in winter. Something is rotting in there and we need to address it before we install a “guest suite” there (fancy for guestroom with bathroom).

So we started ripping out some walls and floor boards. Today as we stood over the pile to sort through DH and I discussed what to keep. He didn’t want to spend so much time on taking out the hundreds of nails pounded and wrenched into perfectly fine two-by-fours. I insisted though, that I’m not throwing the good stuff away! Even the remotely good stuff. Even though I don’t know what we’ll use it for.

Still, our garbage will peak this and next month as we get the renovations over and done with. I’ll weigh in when we have assembled and sifted through the entire pile.

Water: same, with one person extra

Our water consumption has stayed the same, which is great news. Our co-houser takes a daily shower, so we must be making a great effort!

We used 430 gallons of water. Per person (4 of us) that makes:

14% of the US national average

Consumer goods: made it!

Nothing broke. We didn’t run out of anything. We did spend some more money on our germination and seedling setup (more seeds, of course, an extra timer, a spritzer, and some extra flats and plugs), but as that’s an investment in a more sustainable future, I’m leaving it off the tab, just like I did last time.

We also bought some good, new tools for our renovations ($ ) and on my favorite food growing book: Growing Vegetables and Herbs, From Seed ot Harvest, by Terry and Mark Silber ($15 secondhand). That totals up to $50 new and $15 used, which comes to:

6% of the US national average.

Amazing, when you just don’t go shopping anymore, how easy it is to simply forget about spending money, and about stuff in general.

Food: how even to begin

We ate out twice this month, cheap pizza each time. It had been so long: the first time we ate at the restaurant/take-out place, Amie was so excited!

I’m going to refer to an older post for my reasons for not reckoning this category. But I can report that we are eating less and less meat (about a pound of red meat between all of us per week) and that we eat a lot more dry and bulk foods.

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