Monday, February 25, 2013

1 Gallon Shower Yields Waves of Inspiration

1 Gallon Shower
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”  -HDT

I've done a whole lot of talking up to this point. Talking about when we will begin building, when we will do the water challenge, when I will test the camp shower, etc. Well, I'm happy to report that I have started to walk the walk.

I call it the 1 gallon shower, because I used a large pot with about 2 gallons of hot water and a cup. I was driven mainly by my damp-cast-madness. It hasn't managed to get completely dry in DAYS, I always ended up doing something to get it wet it again. I had finally hit my breaking point, and the thought of showering with my cast was not going over well.

It wouldn't be fair not to mention that I finished the Humanure Handbook and it has rocked my world. The book drastically changed my point of view, my perspective of the world and myself, and my drive to commit to even more "extreme" daily practices. This too, played a huge role in the 1 gallon shower experiment. I've become obessesed with my water use and my recycling/composting efforts. That book was so intense for me that I'm letting it just settle and sink in- let the thoughts organize-- before I try to write about it. -PS: I immediately ordred a copy of the book, this is one I want in my collection for life.

What I found--- well it was way more than I expected. It was quiet, peaceful, and there was something about the act itself that seemed more purposeful and aware. I found that when I took deliberate care, I somehow felt as if I had recieved deliberate care. Call me crazy, but I was immensely inspired by this simple experiment. I was amazed to find that I still had half my water when I was finished. I had only used a gallon of water to wash my body! (I didn't wash my hair- typically every 2 days on that)

I did the math, and it immediately made my day. Instead of my usual showering routine:

 15 minutes / 4gpm flow = 60 GALLONS used
with the primitive shower:
1 GALLON used

*I think my shower has an even higher gpm, I was being generous*

It blows my mind, that with minimal effort, I increased my bathing water efficiency by potentially 6000% !! (That is if I stopped taking normal showers all together- we will see how hair washing goes...)

Today, I gave the camp shower set up a shot-- I don't know why I didn't use this the first time, but hey- after that experience- it makes the camp shower seem luxurious! I see now that the 5 gallon size was definitly not necessary, I could have ordered a smaller one.

Having such a positive experience with the shower really lifted my spirits and gave me new found excitement over the tiny house living. What we are doing is a drastic change, and I'll admit, at times I freak out a little inside. I wonder if I'll be able to handle it-- but now I know I can. I honestly enjoy the camp shower (I had my doubts) and any lingering worries I had about the choice to loose the sophisticated plumbing and choosing a self-contained water system have vanished. I also have very little worries about the 30 gallon tank not lasting more than 2 weeks. I think we will operate quite comfortably on that amount. :)

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Re-claimed Insulation Adventure

The big old barn...with a misfit sitting area.
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”  -HDT

Last weekend, Dan and I made our way up to Contoocook, NH. I came across a Craigslist ad entitled, "Re-Claimed Insulation" and read further. The man had large amounts of various R-levels. After a conversation on the phone, I learned that it was all piled up in his barn loft. At 4$ a bag, I couldn't complain. We made arrangments to meet on Sunday, and up until then I had visions of Dan and I wading around up to our hips in strips of loose insulation, picking and choosing and packing it into bags. I was actually quite excited. There's a part of me that equates getting filthy with getting a lot done. :)

We enjoyed the ride once we got off the main highway, and learned that Contoocook was a wonderfully quaint little town. Little shops lined the streets with colorful signs and tasteful window displays. It reminded me of little coastal towns that thrive on summer visitors.

We approached the seller's (Josh) house and found a lovely homestead- hustling and bustling with activity. Dogs and chickens roamed freely amongst stacks of wood and miscellaneous machinery. Josh explained how to access the loft. I absolutely love farm life- and big old barns are the BEES KNEES to me. You never know what you will find! I just love old things, I guess. My face lit up as we entered the massive barn; I stumbled forward looking every which way, as if I were 9 again and entering Chuck E Cheese for the first time.

Up in the loft, we found a much better situation than what we were expecting. The insulation was already bagged, we just needed to peek in to see what kind, then take what we wanted. We took 18 bags of the typical fiberglass insulation. It's not my material of choice, but it is reclaimed, and that in and of itself is worth it to me. It's already here, might as well use it. We also took 5 bags of eco-blown insulation that was made of 100% recycled material. Recycled and re-claimed! Woohoo!

We would have happily taken more, but there's only so much we could fit in Dan's truck. We did the rough math and figured out that we got about 300 square feet of insulation for $72. If I were to get the same amount at the big box stores, I would have paid at LEAST $215!! That's about 3x as much!
Sure- it's not all of our insulating needs, but it is that much less that we need to buy at full price.

The road trip was a success on all accounts. We had a great time on the ride, met a nice family, saw a beautiful place, explored an old barn, and brought ourselves one step closer to our dream.

It was pretty cozy! A good indication for our tiny home!

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