Hubby has been on a real water conservation kick, lately. It was a real eye-opener to him to have to wait until the water truck comes to be able to take a bath, and the cost bothers him. It is $140 for 2,000 gallons (approximately), which fills our cistern about halfway, and does not last nearly as long as Hubby suddenly thinks it should. I feel somewhat like saying “I told you so”, but I shall refrain. I have spent years harping on water conservation, but until he could actually see the water come and go, I guess it wasn’t very meaningful. Now, he can take a peek in the cistern anytime to see how much it has gone down, and suddenly we are collecting meltwater from the roof and only flushing solids.
Two thousand gallons sounds like an awful lot, but then you start doing math. One single toilet flush is around five gallons, at least with our vintage toilet. A bath is probably thirty gallons, maybe more (I haven’t measured, though I should). A load of laundry is probably forty or fifty. So, if you flush, say, four times a day (a very conservative estimate in a household of even two), each bath every other day, and do three loads of laundry a week, that is 500 gallons in a single week, without even looking at cooking, washing dishes, mopping the floors, watering the dogs and houseplants, and all the other things you do with water. What we should do is get a front-loading washer and a composting toilet, but both are beyond our budget for the time being. When we get the shower running, I plan to install a shut-off valve right at the shower head, for conservation. I threatened to get Hubby a washboard, but that one did not go over so well. Maybe this summer, we’ll dig an outhouse.
We decided, tonight, that the ‘cold’ portion of my bathwater could come from the buckets of snowmelt that Hubby has been collecting from various drips off the eaves of the roof. The ‘hot’ portion came from the cistern via the hot water tank, which made as good a bath as any other, and I’m happy enough to keep bathing this way, as long as free water continues to drip off our roof. We’ve also figured out that the initial wash cycle in the washing machine could be meltwater as easily as drinking water – you should be able to just pour in the water before turning the machine on, though this is only theory so far. The rinse would still come from the cistern, but that’s still 50% less paid-for-drinking-water used for non-drinking purposes. We’ve thought about plumbing the roof gutters into the cistern and getting lots and lots of water for free every time it rains, but I am not 100% sure this is a great idea, based on the asphalt shingle grit that is sitting on the bottom of the buckets.
Meanwhile, my Shitake mushroom growing kit from The Mushroom Patch arrived in the mail today. I wonder what the postman thinks of us now? I read the instructions while I soaked in the tub, and they amounted to leaving the thing completely alone for the next month or so, then sticking it in the fridge, soaking it in water, and waiting for the mushrooms to form. I am sure it is not quite that simple, though I kind of hope it is. I will report back sometime after May 6th.
We also found little green sprouts in our seed starting flats, of cabbage and broccoli. I am now certain we’ve started them waaaayyyy too early, but we’ll enjoy watching them grow while we are waiting for everything else to sprout…