Monday, April 25, 2016

What a Weekend!

Hi all!

I'm going to be doing a three-in-one post today about everything that happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

That's right, Friday was Earth Day.
I celebrated in two ways:
1) zippo car driving; only walking and biking.
2) energy efficient home tour!

I'll talk about the car-free aspect of the day first :)
After biking Ella to school, I came back home and made it a Mama-and-William morning.
We strolled on down to the bagel shop in town and then to the library to pick up books about bees.
The sun was shining and I really wanted an excuse to go visit a friend of mine that works at the bagel joint. ;) William did an excellent job walking on his own two feet (for once!) so that was good.

Then, in the afternoon, after getting Ella home and braving a sudden intense hail storm (that's spring for you!) I got to go on the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition's 9th Annual Earth Day Tour Event! This year's theme was "energy efficient homes" so we got to tour three homes of people who had upgraded their houses to be as energy efficient as possible.

Here are some shots from the tour:

Look at all those bicyclists! And solar panels! :D

The tour was made up of about 50 people, most of which were bicyclists while the rest carpooled their way between the three locations.
The first home boasted of its insulated floors, solar panels, and something I hadn't seen in a long time: ductless heat pump!

Forgot to take a photo of it, so here's one off the internet

These are super common in Japan and Europe and so insanely energy efficient. The next best thing is a "natural gas high efficiency furnace" -- which just so happens to be what our home is equipped with!
Got to say, I really appreciate how the owners before us made a ton of fantastic upgrades to our home so that we don't have to worry about high heating bills or having to replace anything in a good number of years. Hurray!

I'm enamored by the idea of having solar panels, but our tree-heavy property makes it not as high on our priorities list as, say, basic insulation. I was glad to get some references to local contractors who can do that too!

Moving on, the second home was owned by the woman who had spoken after me at the Town Hall Even back in 2015.

Again, all the bicyclists outside her house :)

She founded and runs the Seeds for the Sol program that aims to make solar available to everybody. If anything, maybe I could get them to come and assess our property to see about some creative solutions to making solar panels work for us despite the plum tree in front and tall douglas fir in the back.

In her home, she had the energy-saving installation of new windows (that actually open -- a problem we are looking to remedy in our own home too!) and a heat pump water heater.

Super energy efficient~!

Alas, this style of water heater requires a good 30'x30' space (like a garage/attic/basement) to run best which I cannot imagine happening in our home. So I just checked, and we have a Rheem Fury Water Heater which is not the beeeeest per say, but still too new to be replacing it, me thinks.

She also made a point of how they plug in most, if not all, of their appliances into power strips to turn on and off for maximum energy-saving. I used to be so good about that, but have fallen off the bandwagon, so seeing that inspired me to be more diligent in that realm.

The third and last house was owned this by this cool couple:

Loved that cat on the shoulder~

They lived in a tiny 625-ish sq. foot home really near our neighborhood and pointed out that their most energy-saving decision was in the purchase of their home: that it be small and in a location that didn't require them to drive hardly ever. That's a lot like us! Only our home is 1250 sq. feet...and I thought that was small! @_@

They have a similar issue with trees on their property and so came up with this clever solution to make solar possible for them:

Not the best shot, but that's a greenhouse!

They had always wanted a greenhouse, so they had one built in their backyard and topped its roof with 8 solar panels. And being the high school teacher that she is, the owner was very diligent about charting their energy output-vs-input since the installation of said panels back in September. It was cool to see the graph line moving up up up as the winter months recede and summer approaches :) Must feel nice, as the owner of solar panels, to see them starting to cover all your house's needs.

This is what the rest of their backyard looked like:

Raised beds galore!

Talk about self-sufficient! They had chickens, rabbits, fruits trees, and a plethora of vegetables growing. Quite an operation.

Another thing they did that really resonated with me, was that they don't even own a dryer and manage to line-dry their clothes all year 'round. I'm only diligent about it in sunny weather, but it got me thinking that I should come up with some creative indoor solutions so that I can dry our clothes without need for the machine even in the dead of winter. Dryers eat your clothes (that's what all that lint in the lint trap is, folks!) so it's not only better for our energy bill but for our clothes' lifespans too.

All in all, it was a lovely tour that left me feeling inspired and empowered to make some changes to our own home/lifestyles that are gentler on the environment and our wallets.

My hit-list looks something like this now:

1) insulate attic, walls, and crawlspace/floors
2) plug in multiple appliances into power strips for easy on/off maintenance
3) line-dry clothes indoor

Thank you to the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and Mary's Peak Group of the Sierra's Club for organizing this wonderful event! :)

Okay, now for Saturday.
Ever since last week's Farmers Market, Ella and I had vowed to sell some artwork at this week's Farmers Market. And that's just what we did.

Our sad little set-up

The weather was a lot cooler, cloudier, and windy so it was not the most comfortable time to be at the Market.
We also learned some lessons to improve for next time. Mainly in terms of location; bringing dragon tears to hold down the corners of the artwork so that they wouldn't blow away; making a bigger/better sign; and selling little colored pencils along with the art to emphasize the "coloring pages" angle of her pieces. Ella's more of a linework kinda artist at this point, and doesn't color in her pictures, so we figured we could invite the customers to color them in themselves!
At least we had one customer: Beatrix! :D Nothing like friends to give you a hand, eh?
I'll let you know how it goes next weekend when we try again with a new strategy ;)

The rest of Saturday involved me curling up in bed on the phone with Kathy to discuss the story we're writing: massaging certain passages, nailing down character development, etc etc.

By the end of the day, I felt so lazy and comfy I didn't even want to think about making dinner, so Dash kindly invited me and the family out for an early birthday celebration at El Sol De Mexico :D

And William drew me a little picture too:

It's Rick Sanchez of Dimension C-137! ♡

Yay! I love my family and El Sol de Mexico. Best way to end Saturday by far.

And now for Sunday.
After teaching Sunday School, we were joined by the lovely Beatrix to go roller skating at Skate World in Springfield!
Long time no skate, amiright?

In fact, I think the last time we went, William was just starting to walk and I got ahead of myself thinking he could thus stay upright on roller skates no problem.
It was very upsetting for his little baby self, plus it was just me managing the two kids. So that was a little overwhelming~

But now that Ella and William are older, and Ella had a little friend to keep her company, it was a grand time had by all!

They pretty much took care of themselves the whole time.

Sure, William fell down his fair share, but he was a good sport about it, and by the end of our two hours there, he was really showing signs of having an innate sense of balance I never saw before.

So that was pretty much how my whole time was spent. Nah, I kid -- Dash would step in to let me have a few rounds around the rink child-free. Man, did my palms get sweaty having to grip his chunky little hand to keep him upright. Ha!

When we got home after dropping B. off we enjoyed some TRB leftovers and then finished off the rest of Season 6 of the GBBO. Tears flowed, let me tell you~

And one last shot that Dash took of me because he thought my hair looked cool the other day:


A'ight! that's all for now, folks.
I'll update you later as to how my birthday went~ ;)
Until then, take care and Happy What a Weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment