Riot for Austerity, Month 11

Riot for Austerity fist with Thermometer

Our Riot is almost a year old! It feels great to have come this far, and I can’t wait to tally up the yearly average. But first, month 11.

Gasoline. This went down a bit from last month because DH’s shuttle rides again.

9.55 gallons pp = 23% of the US National Average

Electricity. Our electricity went up a little because of all the canning on my electric stove. At 327 KWh of 100% wind produced electricity we used

9% of the US National Average

So we made the goal and are holding it there, but if we want to keep it at <10% over the entire year, we’ll have to come up with a solution for those big months, March and April, when the germination and seedling lights come on and stay on. Especially our hotbox – for germinating and growing on the heat-loving plans – will need an overhaul. What with the winter harvest and winter sowing I might also need less lights…

Funny, how nowadays when I wake up on a warm, windy day I immediately think: Laundry Day! On windy days I usually get two loads washed, on the line and dry by the evening.  It feels good not to use that dryer. As the weather turns nasty we’ll be hanging our clothes to dry in the basement, but I do like the outdoorsy smell more than the basementy smell :)

Heating Oil and Warm Water. Same as last month.

13.6 gallons = 22% of the US National Average

Though there have been a few cold days and nights (one at 37 F), we haven’t turned on the heating yet  -and of course we’ll be doing the Freeze Your Buns challenge again. The Indian Summer is keeping us pretty warm at the end of this month, so we also still haven’t test run our wood stove. It sure is good to keep the windows wide open for a little while longer.

Trash. After last month’s headaches about whether to count our construction debris for the Riot – and many helpful comments from the Riot group – we’re back to normal.

8% of the US National Average

I don’t know what to think about the fact that the company I buy organic mushrooms from (at the grocery store) has changed their containers from recyclable plastic (green) ones to fully compostable (black) ones. I’ve been chucking them into the compost bin and have found they break down fast. Which means I can no longer use them for growing seedlings – and they were the ideal size and depth. Now, I have some doubts about the “biodegradable” claim. Not that the claim is false – obviously not, in this case. But I doubt whether the container ends up in compost bins. It’s like the “biodegradable diapers”: consumers feel themselves absolved of all guilt when they throw that thing in the trash can, from which it will continue to the (anaerobic and pitch dark) landfill, where it will not degrade at all. Now I worry that consumers may think they no longer have to recycle these mushroom containers, that chucking them into the household trash will be enough. And so the result will be opposite to what the mushroom packers intended…

Water. Our water usage went up from last month (17%) due to two factos: canning demands a lot of water, and we also sowed grass seed that needed to be watered twice a day 9for a month, after that, no more watering EVER!). We don’t have enough water pressure in our rain barrels to water the grass with those, so tap it was…

638.3 gallons pp = 21% of the US National Average

Consumer Goods. Some new clothes for Amie, the Winter Harvest Handbook and Back to Basics for Mama, and an ipod for DH’s birthday, how fast that adds up: $430.

52% of the US National Average

garlic for honey garlic pickles

Food. I am estimating that we now eat 80% local, sustainably grown (a small but growing percentage of it homegrown), 10 dry bulk foods (granola, dry beans, flour, etc.) and 10% wet and conventional (cheese and coffee, especially). Not too bad by Riot standards,  but of course this will change as the Farmers Market closes down…


(Also check our Independence Days efforts.)

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  1. Hi. I was surfing homesteading webloggers and came across your blog. Interesting record. I hadn’t thought to calculate our own usages this way. Maybe someday when things slow down a bit :)

    That said, would love your recipe for honey garlic pickles.

  2. Hi Leigh,
    the recipe is Tansy’s: you peel cloves, put them in a jar, fill the jar with apple cider vinegar till full. Let sit for 6 weeks. Then pour out half of the vinegar and replace with honey, shake vigorously to mix, let sit for another 6 weeks. No refrigeration or processing necessary.

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