The Carbon Free Home

Before I move on from January’s Quiet Riot focus of electricity, water and garbage, I want to review a great energy book– The Carbon Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Reduce the Fossil Fuel Habit by Stephen and Rebekah Hren. I had looked past this book several times, something seemed too fad-ish about the cover and I expected the projects to be along the lines of ‘replacing your incandescents with CFLs’ and ‘setting up a recycling system.’

But when I finally bit the proverbial bullet and got it out from the library, I realized I had been duped by a good cover designer to think it was fashionable. When in fact it’s a meaty book with loads of substantive projects! The authors are approachable and honest, clear and thorough. I liked it so much, I ordered my own copy.

The book includes a full range of projects– from insulating your fridge to installing solar heating tubes. Each project has a list of stats including the approximate cost, time and potential energy savings. Some are appropriate for renters, though I think the book is much more useful for homeowners who can really re-cap their investment over time. The small to medium sized projects are the stars of the book, in my view– the low to no cost things that most folks could do if they set aside a weekend for set up. The more complex projects would require considerably more information, but this book provides an overview of what’s involved as well as just plain inspiration for things like masonry stoves (yummy).

I look forward to outfitting our own home back in Alaska when we return. I never wanted to live in town, in a real sheetrock and plumbing house (I was going to build a log cabin in the woods), but over time as I’ve come around. I’ve realized the usefulness of it, given the way things actually are. I’ve re-written my goal to owning this modern system, knowing how my plumbing works and how to fix it, and eventually how to divert it into gray water garden irrigation! This book is not just empty inspiration for beginners though, as these books can sometimes be, it’s got real meat.

If you are thinking about putting a little time into the energy efficiency of your home, this would be a great place to start.

Energy: The Loaves and Fishes Principle

The Toddler Learns To Use An Alan Wrench
Rasing a Happy, Healthy, Capable Child-- Check

Ever notice that the more you do, the more you want to do? And the more you sit around, the more you want to sit around? That’s how it works for me anyway, to a surprising degree. And I’ve been sitting around for awhile now. Being pregnant and in a new place. I thought once the baby was born I would have this huge surge of energy, and run out to do all the things I hadn’t been able to do. But apparently I sat around too long, and got stuck.

It’s not like I’m ever one of those people. You know the annoyingly productive kind. Like Riana and her three page long list of what she got done before lunch (don’t get me wrong, I love Riana’s blog, and suspect I would love her) I always wanted to be one of those people, who doesn’t? Isn’t that precisely why they’re annoying? Because we’re not them, and we wish we were? I’ve always fought hard for the medium level of energy I do have. And since having a kid, it’s become a true uphill battle.

That’s been the single hardest thing about motherhood for me. Sacrificing my standard of what I can get done in a day. Of course, if I felt like I could put “raising a happy, healthy, capable child” on my mental list of what I got done every day, I’d feel a lot better about it. But somehow it’s too long and ongoing of a project to put it on any list, mental or otherwise. Raising your kid isn’t something you finish and get to cross off.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like kids make me tired even when (or maybe especially when) we’re not doing much of anything. You have to slow down so much with little ones, and maybe that kicks in the energy principle. The slower we go on a walk, the tireder I get. Of course, then there’s the hyper kid phenomenon, which makes me tired too. Hmmm, maybe it is just me. My good energy is simply too precariously balanced.

But, I swear, I am about to bounce up and start kicking ass! Really! As soon as I get in my groove. As soon as I get my belly back (I’m only two weeks out from birth right now, my muscles haven’t even finished contracting into place, let alone re-strengthening. I tried to do some simple yoga the other day, and just about collapsed) As soon as the heat dies down. And once I get going, I’ll surely hit my stride. I’m gonna tackle that  To Do List with vim, and vigor!