Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Green Living Part 1 - Juneau Wwoofing

We bath right next to an outdoor hot tub w/ 3 walls before soaking in natural water, heated by wood. I have soaked nude outside before on this trip, but being alone (not in a spa) w/ an ocean view, I feel more connected with nature and the wild life.

There is solar & wind energy and plumbing in the main house. This is a huge, at least $10K, investment that is done gradually, but they believe it pays off in the long run and feel great about not having monthly bills to pay. We also collect rainwater in huge tanks.

We use a wood burning stove ($5k) to heat up the house nicely and cooks our meals. We can dispose burnable trash in another compartment where the wood burns. I love this thing so much, but takes at least  45 mins  to heat it up before using to cook. It's a love/hate thing for me sometimes w/ it.

There are many microclimates on Shelter Island; some plants grow better in some areas than others. There’s a garden by the sea and a few mins away up the hill is another garden area. Rick & Karen test what works best where. Some of their neighbors can also grow certain things that they cannot; location, location, location. 

They invested in a rain gauge reader that is wireless to a device in the house. It reports how much rain has fallen in that area, the direction of the wind, and sea knots.

Yes, I enjoy the simple life, but never realized what it took to live simply and sustainably. Life looks and sounds grand here, but it takes tons of effort too. My back has never ached so much before. We work in the rain or heat and with bugs and dirt. Took them 20 years to get this all together, built the house, hot tub, cabins while slowly saving up to get the solar and wind instruments in places. It all takes lots of ongoing maintenance as well. But they reached their goals and living how they wish.

Click here for more pix. 

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