mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
To accompany the photos and video on Facebook, I decided to blog about our experience walking through the woods to go grocery shopping.

We packed Ian's stroller with water and a snack for him, the usual baby stuff, my purse, and a folding shopping buggy that we have, covered the stroller with a bug net, and set out toward the schools. We knew there was a way into Langdon Park from there that would get us almost immediately onto the Heritage Trail, which leads right up to Hatch Plaza along the Baker River, across the river from Tenney Mountain Highway. It was a beautiful day for a walk and we had plenty of time to walk the woods and determine if it was even a possibility with the three of us and a stroller.

Walking to the schools was easy, since they are a block away and the road is paved until the beginning of school grounds. We walked the dirt service road through the athletic fields and past the old ski jump until we got to the trail by the ball field that led down to the field where we could get to the Heritage Trail. Until the field we were entirely on trails and roads.

Once at the field we found we had to walk along the edge of the field where a "path" had been more recently mowed and wasn't as tall as the rest of the grass. I found myself glad I was wearing long pants and long sleeves! We followed the edge of the field until we reached the trail that was clearly marked with the brown Heritage Trail marker.

The beginning of the trail was wide and well maintained. It was very easy walking and we enjoyed the relative obfuscation of the forest and the sights and smells of nature even if accompanied by the sounds of the highway across the river from us. A little while in we came to a chain link fence with an opening wide enough for pedestrians and bicycles to pass but not much larger. The stroller fit through with no trouble, though it was a bit muddy. As we progressed further and further along the trail, the path became narrower and narrower until it was a thin line through high ferns and grass. On the narrowest of the path we had a little trouble with the stroller but it wasn't impassable. Eventually we came out at Hatch Plaza and went on our way shopping.

We had a very light lunch and drinks before leaving Hatch Plaza and heading home via the streets, mainly Highland Street. For those unfamiliar with Plymouth, Highland Street is one of the main roads in town that goes up a huge hill and then back down it. It connects downtown at Main Street (US Route 3) with the businesses on Tenney Mountain Highway (US Routes 3A & 25) and was once itself US Route 25 many, many years ago before the state built the section that runs along the Baker River up to Highland Street.

We walked up the hill, but instead of going back down Highland Street to where it intersects with ours, we went down the road leading to the schools so we could cross through and come out a block away from our home on the other end of our street. We stopped at the high school to sit at a picnic table and rest since the hill was a bit tiring. We enjoyed the company of some nuthatches in the tree next to us and then we continued on to home. For the trip back, we had bought a block of ice to keep the perishables cold.

The trip by road was 1.6 miles according to Google Maps. Looking at the map and eyeballing the trail we took, I suspect the trail was probably around 1.25 - 1.5 miles. Either way took us about an hour to walk, but we did stop to rest on the way home. I know I've walked the roads to just before Hatch Plaza in about half an hour by myself at a steady clip. The woods didn't have the hill, since it followed the river around the base of the hill. We had some downhill first getting to the trail, but not much, and then a little uphill at the Hatch Plaza end. While the roads were certainly not overgrown with vegetation, I think with some care to the trails the woods could prove a far more enjoyable walk to Hatch Plaza without the bother of walking uphill only to go back downhill.

We only walked for a small amount of groceries, so walking was fine. If we were shopping for more, I would certainly want to bike Route 3 to Tenney Mountain Highway and then along the highway to Hatch Plaza. I've done that bike route many times and, with a couple of bikes and a bike trailer, I think we could all go shopping together with the speed and convenience of biking over walking while still not using fossil fuels, which saves us money and reduces our carbon footprint. In the winter I see the trail being a better option if we wanted to snowshoe to get groceries no matter the amount because we could just load them onto a sled and drag it. The challenge would be to find a way to safely bring Ian with us.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
Ever since [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf  stopped working at the laundromat, we've had to pay to do our own laundry at the laundromat, so we're paying about $20 per week or so on laundry. While using a laundromat is more green than owning one's own machines at home (think communal resources, et cetera), we also need to be more frugal. This afternoon [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf  found a great blog with ideas for going green, including some interesting laundry tools. The prices on this stuff are so inexpensive that we figure wemight as well go for it. If we are wrong and it doesn't work out, we're not out much money. If it does work out, and it seems like it will, we could save ourselves about $87 per month for a $200 investment that pays itself off in a little over two months. On top of getting rid of our storage unit full of stuff we either can store at home or get rid of (bye bye National Geographics!) we could be saving ourselves almost $150 per month b doing laundry low-tech-ish and not storing useless clutter, plus we'll be reducing our carbon footprint even more.

So, questions for everyone on LiveJournal and Facebook: does anyone have any experience with the following products or something similar?

Mobile Washer ("The Breather")
http://www.breathingwasher.com/index.htm

This is essentially a laundry plunger that agitates laundry to get it cleaner than just handwashing alone. We are in a very small cabin and plan to attempt tiny living for life, so this is much more space-saving than buying a hand-crank washing machine or washing tub with all the fixings, because we can just use our bathtub. We plan to get two of these so we can each go at it and get more laundry done at once in a bigger tub. It's $20 and based on a 19th century product design. It's made of plastic and wood, so we are somewhat concerned about the potential for breaking.


Rapid Washer
http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Washing___Rapid_Washer___66RW?Args=

Basically a similar product as the Mobile Washer available at Lehman's, only made of tin-plated steel and wood. While it's $2 less expensive than the Mobile Washer, it is made of tin/steel that will rust, so we have the potential for not only ripping clothes (much as if the plastic one broke) but also staining our clothes with rust. I'm in favor of paying $2 more for the plastic to reduce hazards to our laundry.


Spin Dryer
http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Spin_Dryer.html

Okay, so this uses electricity and we are getting a little less green for some convenience trade off, but this will spin the water out of our clothes before we hang them to dry. It will increase our electric bill a little, but for all of the electricity and gas we're not using by not going to the laundromat it will still be a significant reduction in our carbon footprint and afford us a little modern convenience in a very portable and compact form that is compatible with tiny living.

Frost Drying Rack
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50095091

Or one like this. IKEA doesn't sell this through their website (only in stores) so we would likely find something similar made of metal, which is key. We both have experience using the wooden drying racks and know that they warp and potentially stain clothing, so we would much rather again trade some carbon impact for a more durable, less staining metal rack instead of a wooden rack made of a renewable resource.

As far as time spent doing laundry, I think we'll still make out better through this method because before we had to pack everything up and spend three to four hours doing laundry away from home. With this method, our clean laundry isn't as immediately available, but we can do our laundry at home, reduce our use of energy, get some exercise, and save a considerable amount of money.

Local Foods

Aug. 8th, 2007 08:14 am
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
Kathy and I have decided to go as completely local as possible next week and see how it works out. We'll be making our first purchase from Local Foods Plymouth once it is open for buying again early next week. This site is a cooperative effort between a local farm commune and a local renewable energy group to allow local residents to purchase foods from local farms online with credit card and then pick up the goods from the farmers market. You get the convenience of online shopping with the benefit of supporting the local farmers and economy, reducing the carbon footprint of your groceries and getting great tasting, farm-fresh foods.

We'll be purchasing all of our produce from Longview Farm, the same farmstand we've been stopping at on the way home lately. Our friend R. who works maintenance at the laundry has his own chickens and he'll be supplying us with eggs. We'll use Local Foods Plymouth for meats and dairy, as well as the occasional produce that we can't get at Longview. We'll likely be buying Kathy's morning bagels from the local bagel shop. They make their own bagels in the shop and while I know they have their supplies trucked in and all, they're the only local source for bagels made from scratch in town and they're good. We'll still be supporting local business, which is good. I figure we can get the rest of our goods from Peppercorn, the local natural foods store. We're also very fortunate to have a deer farm right in Plymouth so when we have enough money we're likely going to purchase a bunch of venison from Bonnie Brae Farms and also purchase a bunch of bison, ostrich and other eccentric meats from The Healthy Buffalo.

"Open-air markets are essentially expressions of economic democracy where there is no latent fear of any single vendor dominating the market and forcing others out of business. Merchandise quality, service, price, etc. are the main factors determining survival and success, which is as it should be." - Richard Leader
mandysee_mandydo: (romana)
Finally, for the first time after repeated attempts, I actually stayed awake through "The Lost Boys." The movie is only... gee... 20 years old now and I only just watched it all the way through for the first time, though not for lack of trying. I loved it! :D

We did our grocery shopping today and, with the exception of the grapes, we bought all of our produce at the farmstand on the way home. We bought a whole week of veggies for $20! We bought beets, corn, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, scallions, tomatoes, squash and zucchini. This makes me very happy! ^_^

Now I just need to start buying local meat, eggs, cheese and cream and there's little we'll need from the supermarket. At least until the growing season is done. Which reminds me... we borrowed the freezing/canning cookbook from my Mom. We should actually learn from it and can some of these veggies so we can have the local stuff year round.

There's also a pick-your-own-blueberries place on the same road. Plus it'll be blackberry picking time soon, too, though we have to be careful of bears when we do that. Hopefully this time around we won't lose our whole frozen supply in a week-long power outage again!

Oh, and I finished Book the Fifth: The Austere Academy almost entirely in one sitting. Mmmmm.... literary potato chips...

Hey, I just realized I stopped adding quotes to my posts somewhere in the past couple days. I must go back and add appropriate quotes post haste!

"One thing about living in Santa Clara I never could stomach. All the damn vampires." - Grandpa

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Jamie Amana Capach

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