Things have been crazy-go-nuts here on the homestead with harvesting, cutting and splitting wood, prepping for fall classes, and having a mobile little one running amuck. That being said, I figured that I owed you all at least a quick post seeing how it’s been so long.
For the past month or so I’ve been living off from homemade creamer in my coffee. It was an idea I found mentioned on a few other homesteading blogs and I decided to run with it. The recipe is easy enough to memorize and make any time you’re out:
– 2 cups of any type of milk or creamer
– sweetener to taste
– 1 tsp. of vanilla
– spices to taste
So far I’ve played with using cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk, heavy creamer, whipping cream, and light cream. Maple syrup, honey, and sugar all work well for sweeteners. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and almond extract have all joined in the mix on occasion. This is a wonderful add on to any cup of coffee, chai, or cocoa.
In order to break even late on with the outdoor woodboiler we plan on eventually installing, we need to try to cut 2 – 4 kWhs a day. Seeing how we only use 13 kWhs/day in the winter and 9 kWhs/day in the summer (the average household uses 30 kWhs/day average), we do fairly well. BUT we’d like to stay within these numbers, if not make them smaller so that they balance back to what we have now when we have little ones.
Over the past couple weeks, one of our mini-projects has been coming up with even more ideas on how to save electricity. I stepped in and came up with a couple ideas for the laundry around the house.
While we already had the drying rack, it’s a small one that doesn’t hold much. We decided that the laundry room would be a perfect place to add a couple clothes lines. Using some cup hooks I had bought for another project and help rope from my crafting stash, I rigged the first one up and then realized that with a second one I could get a full load of laundry on the lines and rack. Instead of using the dryer for every load, we now use it maybe once every five loads or so. It does take a little over a day for the clothes to dry, but that’s fine by us!
As a reminder to not use the dryer when it’s not necessary, I made a quaint little cover for it.
(Keep in mind, I’m not a seamstress and this cover could have been much more appealing. On the plus side, I made it with fabric I got free from work.)
The three sachets in front of the last picture are dryer sachets that I made. In between realizing that a chunk of chemicals in dryer sheets are cancerous, some cause anxiety attacks, and other are animal based, I decided to give making my own sachets a try. They’re cotton cloth filled with rice and lavender. The scent seems strong, but when you pull the laundry out, there’s just enough to make it smell fresh. The lavender I bought on Etsy for $8.00 total. I have enough for roughly 12 sachets. The fabric was left over from a earlier project years ago. Over all, when you figure out the cost, each sachet is only pennies. The plus side of all of this is that we no longer have to worry about what we use causing havoc with my psoriasis.
About a month or so ago I noticed some rather odd clusters of spots on my bathroom ceiling. After staring at said cluster for roughly thirty seconds, I screamed in annoyance. I knew what it was: bathroom mold/mildew. Given one of my more severe allergies is mold, I tend to declare war on the beast any chance I get. The battle lines were drawn.
The wonderful thing about owning your own home is that you can take care of such a menace on your own. When we lived in our apartment during college, our landlords refused to take care of the mold problem and allowed it to plague me with a series of severe sinus infections that have continued to leave my glands inflamed even a year after the fact. I was kind of excited that we could take matter into our own hands, but didn’t know where to start.
A month went by before I realized that I had the answer lurking in my cook book cubby. Shortly after we bought the house, I picked up a book through One Spirit that dealt with the organic side of home cleaning.
Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck is wonderful! I went to the index, wrote down my pages, and dug up the information regarding the mold in the bathroom. If found the following to be very helpful hints and tips from page 152 of her book. (Summarized)
* Surface mildew can be taken care of with full strength white vinegar. Spray the vinegar and let set for a few minutes before wiping dry.
* If mildew has left a stain, try spraying hydrogen peroxide on he spot and rubbing the area clean with a rag. Be forewarned, this may have a bleaching effect on your paint.
* For persistent patches of mildew, put white vinegar in a glass jar and add an inch-long piece of copper wire. Let this sit for a few days. Pour the vinegar in your spray bottle and use this to clean. Be careful how long you let the copper set in the vinegar, too long and you will dye your walls blue-green.
* For tough mildew, use a borax/water paste and a scrub brush.
I decided to go with the vinegar method to see how it works. I’m going to keep a keen eye on the previous areas and will keep you all updated! As a household that can’t use harsh chemicals due to a variety of allergies, this is a great tip to try.