Monday, December 31, 2007

Q4 2007 Report

So here's the last one, October 1 to December 31, 2007. If you want to catch up on the whole saga, be sure to check out the Q1, Q2, and Q3 reports at your leisure.

My mileage goal for the year was 3650, and as of yesterday's ride, I'm at 3651. That's 901 for this quarter, the last 197 of which were in December on a big dorky mountain bike with studded tires and a really uncomfortable saddle (should have counted the December miles double.) Most of the rest of the remaining miles were on the Woodpecker and the Trucker, and a few on the road bike and the Xtrakoram.

Coming attractions include a Surly Big Dummy (on order, due in February), a long-overdue Electra Amsterdam review (no, I hadn't forgotten), hopefully some hub dynamo lighting information and a new sewing machine capable of stitching canvas for homemade bags.

Not much happened with gardening in the last few months. I did build a new raised bed in the back yard in October, which is now under a foot of snow.

As is our community garden space.

Not like it was in July:

I've been getting seed catalogs in the mail and am making a list for next spring. I think we're going to replace the pear tree with some berry bushes. Maybe gooseberry, honeyberry and everbearing raspberries. We'll see.

Made a perfect score on my Master Gardener exam, and have only to finish my volunteer hours.

1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. This is pretty much over with. I think we might replace a few more, but the existing arrangement, along with our new refrigerator, seems to be saving us quite a few kWh.

2. Retrofit your home for energy conservation. The insulation projects I'd talked about in previous quarterly reports have seen some progress. In the attic, we moved all the stored items downstairs for a day so I could tear up the decking and add more fiberglass. I also sealed around the chimney with RTV silicone and caulked the plumbing penetrations. Then I re-laid the decking and put the stored items back. We'll soon put the Christmas decorations back up and seal the hatch for the remainder of the winter.

For the third fall in a row, I dug down 4 feet along the outside of the foundation and added foam board insulation, clad above ground level with fiber cement board and stucco. This project is nearly complete.

Inside the foundation, I'm planning to finish adding foam insulation, steel studs, fiberglass insulation and drywall to the last 30 percent of walls that are still bare concrete block. I moved some plumbing last week in preparation for this project, and hope to have it completed by mid-February. The plan is then to get a chest freezer for some additional food storage.

The small cellar-like cold room I built in the basement for storing certain vegetables works okay, but isn't really cold enough in the fall to keep squash and the like from spoiling. Hmmmm.

3. Cut back on your gasoline consumption. We managed to put less than 8,000 miles on the car this year, down from an average of just over 11,000 per year.

4. Plant an organic vegetable garden. This went pretty well. We'll be moving to a new community garden plot next year. With the pear tree gone, there should be more sun available in the back yard for a bigger garden at home.

5. Compost your food waste. Made a lot of compost this year. Hope to blog the operation sometime this spring.

6. Take up a handicraft. I've been thinking about doing more woodworking. In my spare time.

11. Come up with some new resolutions for 2008. 'Nuf said.

So that's it for 2007. It was, all things considered, a pretty good year.


Tarik Saleh said...

Good job on the 10 miles per day average. I think I hit 7.8 or so in the end. I look forward to the composting talk. my heaps a mess...

Tex69 said...

good on all points I think. I have some landscaping projects to deal with after the construction, but '08/'09 are going to be years of home gardening and farmers' markets. I'll look to you for some advice, although you're prob a zone or 2 north. Zone 3 there? We're 6. And I LOVE my compost, even though I'm pretty laissez-fair about it.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Cheers to you both. I'll start writing the composting thing soon.

FYI, Madison is a pocket of zone 5a in an ocean of southern 'sconny zone 4b (owing to good-sized lakes right here in downtown). Here's a map.