Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dream Big

Once upon a time  (2005 - 2006) I had a blog I called Sustainability in the Suburbs.  This was before I had a garden, an indoor clothesline, or a plan to get the heck out of Dodge.  I deleted it in a fit of simplification one day (but reregistered the name with Blogger many months ago, just in case I decide that one of my current blogs needs a catchier name).

So now I do have a garden and an indoor clothesline.  My plans to leave town have dissipated, in part because of the real estate market, but mostly because I've come to realize how connected I am to this part of Southern California.  It is my place, my community, my habitat.

We all like to dream.  When I thought we would really leave (back before my mother died and I did a serious life inventory) I imagined coastal Oregon, a small house, berries and big pines. When job possibilities opened up the possibility of a move to Maine I found a tiny house on a huge lot (40 acres or so), and pictured myself curled up in quilts next to a big wood-burning stove.

But we aren't leaving, at least not that we know of and not anytime soon.  That doesn't mean I can't dream.  I know that being completely off the grid is probably not possible for us, and self-sufficiency will elude us like rain and blue skies.  Perhaps the blog should be titled Semi Sustainable in the Suburbs.

These are long term plans, the kind that you come up with long before you have the money to make them happen.
  • Metal roof
  • Better insulation, including rigid insulation when we do the roof
  • New windows throughout (major expense as I'm not willing to compromise with vinyl or aluminum frames)
  • Water catchment system
  • Replace front lawn with native plants and edibles
  • Solar-powered attic fan
  • Solar hot water or an on-demand system
  • Solar electricity
  • More food garden space, better designed
  • Chickens (despite what the city says)
Plus, lots, lots more.  A laundry room remodel or possible overhaul of entire kitchen/laundry/pantry area.  Tearing down the deck and creating a more organic outdoor space.  A workbench and tool storage in the garage.  Wood refinished replaced in the two rooms that still have carpeting.  A secret garden.  Something different done with the formal dining room.

Green choices throughout.

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