Thursday, January 10, 2008

Small changes

I have been looking around at what I can do to minimize our use of electricity, and last night came upon a couple answers. I have two large fish tanks and a 125 gal terrarium with a turtle and until yesterday a frog (said turtle had said frog for lunch, sadly.)

The 30 gal tank upstairs has only 2 angels, an eel, and some loaches and plecos; these were hand-me-downs from a friend, and I put them in a separate tank because the angels had ick, which has since been cleared. The tank downstairs is a 55 gal which has been running for the last 10 years, only disturbed once to move to this house. It is set up to the same requirements as the other tank. I am seriously thinking of combining the two and dismantling the upstairs tank. It would turn off two motors, a heater and a light. I would have to start cleaning the 55 more often as a result.

This is not a bad thing, however, since I recycle the used fish water for my plants. It provides a nice fertilizer, and I do not have to use chemical fertilizers as a result.

I am also thinking of selling the turtle tank this spring and letting the turtle go. He is a young (5 yr old) painted turtle who is very adept at finding food and catching live prey. He was given to me as a baby by the same friend as above who found him in her dog yard-her dogs eat turtles, so she thought I could keep him. I have been thinking of building a small garden pond this spring, so I could release him on the property and continue to feed him until he adjusts to being outside again. This would turn off two lights, a heat lamp, a heater and a pump motor.

I also thought I would try to reduce at least 2 loads of laundry a week going through the drier by drying on a rack. We have a front loader so the rack will not hold an entire load, however if I can even just do half loads on the rack and combine the rest of the clothes for the drier, I should be able to get two down. The other options are to get another rack, put shirts on hangers and hang them from the cupboard handles in my laundry room, or bring the outdoor clothes line indoors. There is a huge radiator in the laundry room, so it gets pretty warm in there which should dry the clothes fairly quickly. When it warms up this spring I can dry outside.

Finally, I am going to try to make our own cat food. I made the dog food for a long time, this can't be much different. I have two senior Siamese who are pigging their way through $40 and 92 cans of cat food per month. I figure I probably can make their food cheaper than that, as well as eliminate all those tin cans. I thought I could flash freeze the food in muffin tins and wrap them in tinfoil or already owned Tupperware, and defrost a few days at a time. If it goes well, I will likely raise a few turkeys this summer just for the cats. I was planning on getting an order anyway, and you can only get 15 or more at a time due to chick safety during shipping. I'll just keep a few more rather than auction them off.

So, hopefully I can reduce my carbon footprint a bit by making these small changes.

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