Since minimizing, and going tiny, we have felt the need to be better about living a more sustainable lifestyle, reducing our carbon footprint, and using natural resources for our basic needs. There are many ways in which we can get better, and we have an ongoing list of projects to work on in that arena, but we make small steps constantly, and that makes us feel better about what we are doing for ourselves, and the Earth through conservation.
Since Memorial Day allows for an extra day off from work, we decided to make use of the extra time (and the wonderful weather) to start our raised-bed garden and our outdoor clothesline project.
When I was little, my grandma had one of those umbrella/satellite-looking clothes hangers outside, and I would play underneath it while she was hanging the clothes to dry. I have been looking for one, and finally found one recently so that we can take advantage of the summer air, and sun, to dry our clothes naturally. It also allows a nostalgic feel, as I feel like she is looking down on us, smiling, as we use the same route to dry our clothes as she did.
Living Tiny allows us the opportunity to learn about all kinds of ways to wash our clothes by hand. That is not to say we don’t go to the local laundromat here and there, but we like to use our hand washer- The Laundry POD (also known as our giant salad spinner- not really, but it looks like one) as much as we can. Plus, using the hand washer is great if you want your arms to look like Michelle Obama’s biceps (still working on that).
We did some figures (Ger did, actually) and realized that by avoiding commercial dyers, and by hanging our clothes outside, we would have our Clothesline Umbrella paid off in about a month, then we are just saving money each week, as well as energy, and time. Plus, our clothes have a great natural scent and feel to them. There is nothing like it!
While Ger was installing our clothesline umbrella, I started on our raised-bed garden. There are many veggies we eat each week, and so I thought what a great way to again, save money, but to live more sustainably, than grow our own food. My goal is to grow what is in season, and items we eat a lot of, so I started with tomatoes (Big Boy, and Cherry), cucumbers, squash, peppers (yellow and red), and fresh herbs- oregano, mint, and rosemary.
For the raised bed, my dad (who happens to own a landscaping company) got me a few bags of organic soil. Living on the NC Coast doesn’t allow for the most rich soil to garden, it’s more like sand. I used some cinder blocks that we were able to score from someone who had too many and blocked off a small area of our tiny yard. Once the blocks and soil were in place, I planted my seeds, and some seedlings, and watered them. I can hardly wait for them to start growing and producing. Plus, once they grow, the cinder blocks won’t be as visible, and will look a little less, cinder block-ish, since I also planted seeds in the little holes of the blocks 🙂 Money, energy, and time saved, since I now only have to walk out into the yard to pick off what we will eat each day.
Back to the clothesline- Ger was able to secure the center of the umbrella with a few pieces of rebar, then the center pole of the clothesline umbrella acts as a sleeve to go over the rebar, keeping it steady and centered. Next, he raised the arms, and secured the lines, and voila! We brought out our clean and wet clothes and started hanging them.
Soon after both projects were finished, we grabbed a Corona with fresh lime, sat in our lawn chairs, Betty White on her blanket, and basked in the sunshine, admiring our work, as our clothes dried in the sunshine. Long weekends don’t get better than this!