April 22, 2015
Where are we? Or more clearly, were am I?
To the plus side:
Our two bathroom house finally has a second toilet and it’s low flow.
There is low flow in the shower.
Our property is an estimated 4800 sqft. Approximately half of that space is used by the house, carport and driveway. We packed the remaining space with subsistence in mind.
In a neighborhood where most yards have traditionally sported dead lawns, ours is long gone. Instead we have a zoned front yard with drought tolerant plants near the street and a mix of young fruit trees, veggies, berries and flowers closer to the house. While this makes us the weirdest neighbors on the block, I think we have had an influence. the rest of the street has noticeably improved their yard care since I began grubbing around ours.
Most of the front and back yard are on timed nighttime sprinklers.
The below grade (ground) drain system was finished some time ago. The roof scuppers no longer flood our downhill neighbors in a downpour. Nor does our uphill neighbor to the west flood us, because I hooked their downspout to our system.
We have gotten a good selection of foods from our yard over the last several years.
All the yard waste (except the rose stalks, and those will be soon) is returned to the yard.
We don’t use air conditioners, we do all the regular stuff like, collecting shower water, washing clothes off peak, etc.
To the minus side:
We are in official California drought. We still don’t have the allowed rain storage system in place.
We don’t have the gray water system in place, though that installation will begin this month.
We don’t have the potted plants on timed drip.
I have yet to install an air venting system for the house. I can’t decide whether to put the outflow on the roof or wall.
I have yet to reinstall a back porch roof, (the old one was dangerous) which would reduce home heat in the summer.
We no longer have a free supply of mulch, nor a means of delivery and will have to buy wood chips this year.
Because more of my time is now devoted to family care I have less time to maintain the yard systems. So this year, I have decided that I must depend on the local CSAs for more of my produce. This means I will have to rebuild my scheme toward more permaculture. Additionally, there will be the increased CSA cost.
Though we recycle, we are sending away too much paper product. This year we must find a way to use it ourselves, without violating EPA burning laws. Solano County is often under a burn ban as we are a pretty smoggy place.
The Arabs have announced that this will be their last year of wheat farming because of the status of their aquifers, and California is looking at a potential repeat of that scenario in their future. Locally Solano County is rated the worst for food deserts in the SF Bay Area, according to the USDA. We have too many in our county who don’t drive and are more than a mile away from a large grocery. In spite of the drought, or because of it, water management is even more critical to our low income neighborhoods. Thus, learning how to use graywater systems where people can never afford to water their yard at all, is even more important. which leads to the next thing I haven’t done yet:
I still don’t have the curbside free library installed. Passersby comment on the yard but often don’t know how to begin. Maybe a spanish/english library will help.