Monthly Archives: July 2011

Etch E Double Toothpicks

  • My grass is brown.
  • My two big dogs are now living inside the house 24/7… can you say dirt?
  • My electric bill is off the charts.
  • There is no one outside and it’s a bit eery.  No one on the streets, in their yards, in the parks… no one.
  • I need a pot holder to open the car door.

And this is the coming week’s forecast

Etch E Double Toothpicks

When will it end???

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No Planet B – Tip #1

There is no Planet B… so we’ve got to take care of what we have now… and the little things add up so here’s tip #1:  Eliminate or decrease Vampire (or ghost) power usage.  Vampire energy is the energy that’s used when appliances are in “standby” or are not being used at all but still pulling enery, i.e. the Microwave (remember the little clock?), the little red light on your TV that tells you it’s off (cuz we’re too dumb to see there’s no picture, huh?) or continuing to leave items being charged plugged in even after they’re charged.

I noticed in Scotland that the outlets had a switch that turned that outlet on and off.  The purpose?  To save energy – especially the vampire kind that suck energy even when not in use!  See the switch in the middle?

It wasn’t just in one or two places… they were everywhere… so when I returned I tried to find them here in America.  No luck.  There are power cords of course.. but they’re so unsightly (don’t you agree?).

So here’s what I got:

1.  This device cost $9.99 on Amazon.com… it’s called a Belkin Conserve Outlet.  The cool thing?  It’s got a built in timer for 1/2 hour, 3 hours or six hours.  I set it for 3 hours, push the button on top and use it to charge my phone.  After 3 hours, it automatically switches off and I save about six hours of energy and who knows how much vampire energy.  WIN!

2.  This next device is called the Smart Strip Autoswitch and you can buy it on Amazon.com for $24.18.  Yes, it’s a surge protector but it also saves energy by allowing your to completely switch off your equipment (no vampire energy hog!).  For example, I use it for my TV, cable, surround sound set up.  I use the TV in the primary switch (blue slot) that when it is turned off it automatically turns off anything that’s not plugged into the red plugs (like my surround sound receiver and subwoofer)… Not only does it turn them off no energy will get to them thus decreasing the slow leak of energy by vampires).  I keep the cable box plugged into the red plug which never goes off (because it takes 10 minutes to reboot).  Cool, eh?  I think so.

3.  I’m a nerd and this will not necessarily save you money but it will amaze your fellow nerdy friends!  It’s called a Kill-a-watt.  You plug whatever you’d like to measure into the device and then plug the device into the wall.  It will tell you how many watts or joules the appliance uses.  Love love love this…

So what about you?  What can you do to decrease your Vampire Energy use (and save some money along the way)?

 

The Romantic Clothesline…

Just returned from Scotland a couple of weeks ago… and that trip has changed my life in several ways… like how I dry my clothes!  My first day in Edinburgh, Sarah, our hostess for the first three nights, laid out towels on the bed for us to use and … well.. my towel was crunchy and was more like a loofah than a towel! I was told that it was because she hangs her clothes out.. and I looked around and everyone had a clothesline… thus began my romance with the clothesline. Everywhere I went in Scotland there were clotheslines.. here’s just a few pictures.. (1. Applecross 2. Dollar and 3. Ullapool).  I honestly think they are beautiful… the sizes and shapes… the textures… the movement in the wind… ahhhhhhh a clothesline..

Don’t assume these folks had no dryer… a lot of people have dryers but they still hang their clothes out because it’s better for the clothes (less fiber wear and tear), better for the environment (using less electricity) and better for their pocketbook (I figured I save about .60 per load)..

You know how it is when you become aware of something you see/read about it everywhere?? I never saw jeep wranglers until I decided I wanted one and now I see them everywhere.. I’m sure there’s some scientific name for this… Well it’s true of clotheslines too… I saw clotheslines all over Scotland.. and I see them here in Oklahoma too.. even in the virtual world when looking for the “how to’s” to putting up a clothesline I’ve found some lovely blogs totally committed to the Clothesline like Jeannie’s Life On A (Clothes) Line.  Her blog features readers clotheslines and I’ve been asked to be featured!  Soooo excited (and nervous).  That blog led me to several other interesting blogs like Caitlin’s Ubiquitous Non Sequitur where I read about her adventures in homesteading.  Then I find out that I have a lot of friends who’ve been hanging their laundry out for ages!  Why did I not know?!?  My friend Phara sent me this link to Drying for Freedom.. who knew that a clothesline was a political statement??

This is just one way my trip to Scotland changed my life.  What about you?  Have you gone a trip and brought back something other than chotskies that changed your life?

(P.S.  Please pretend this isn’t the first blog post… cuz it’s too much pressure.. I’ve been sitting on this for two weeks trying to figure out an appropriate first blog entry.. R U KIDDING ME?? LOL… I finally decided that the next thing that popped into my head and I thought “Oh that’s an interesting blog idea” that I would write it… so this morning… I hung out my laundry.. then read Jeannie’s blog and thought.. “Hey? That’s a good idea for a blog entry”.. and here I am.  No pressure!)