Free stuff, Craigslist, and The Side of The Road

Free stuff, Craigslist, and The Side of The Road

So I'm really thrifty, and I've been really thrifty since forever. There is something about scavenging for deals that is really satisfying. Most of my thriftiness and frugality has led me to rely on used or second-hand everything - clothes, shoes, building materials, furniture. I really truly do prefer used items to new ones - I love a soft, worn t-shirt, vintage furniture, and old things (they were built better back then than the crap at the mall today). I've gotten really good at finding just about anything for free or really cheap. I always say, ask the universe, and the universe will provide! Here's some of the free stuff I've found so far for The COMET specifically:

Gorgeous hardwood flooring still in the box, free on the side of the road

Vintage Formica countertops with aluminum trim, free day at the Re-Store in Springfield when they moved

Fabric for curtains, given to me from friends

Textured glass for windows in the exact right sizes, free day at the Re-Store

Bamboo boards and lumber for kitchen, free on the side of the road

Vintage wallpaper, free box somewhere

Do It Yourself Solar

So as you readers probably figure, I'm a DIY kind of person. I would just much rather build something myself, know how it works (and therefore be able to fix it!), and learn a new skill than buy something and forget the value of it in a few days. Yesterday I had an amazing conversation with someone over at AltE (an alternative energy powerhouse located nearby in Hudson, MA - they started out in Worcester!), the company that is helping me out with the solar power aspect of The COMET project. I'm not too well versed in Solar electricity, photovoltaics, or thermal heat (not yet anyways, but my Solar Design and Installation workshop at Yestermorrow Design + Build School is coming up real soon!), and AltE is helping me figure out what I need for my system. The lady I spoke with knew exactly what I wanted to do with The COMET, totally understood where I was coming from, and was enthusiastic and super helpful. We talked about everything from solar water heaters to exactly how many watts I will need in photovoltaic energy in my new set-up. She gave me some really good resources to look into, and I want to share those with you all. I had been looking for a reliable, honest website about DIY solar pr0jects for some time, and she pointed me in the right direction! Check out Build It Solar for what seems to be a million and one DIY solar energy projects. This website is infinitely helpful and full of information. This website has links to tons of solar projects you can do yourself and on a budget. I saw something about a solar shower made from a car inner-tube...pretty neat!

Natural deodorants, ancient drinks, and home-made toothpaste!

As promised, I spent some time with a few of the new books I got in the mail the other day. Actually, I ended up pouring over them for many hours because they were both better than I had expected! I always LOVE DIY books, and how-to's, and make-your-own, but sometimes the DIY is too time intensive or asks for ingredients I've never heard of, which can be a turn-off. Both Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, and Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills are straightforward and made for real people, not just DIY gurus. I was so excited too find really useful, practical recipes and DIY how-to's in both books. Every page I read I felt like I could do the project easy, no problem, with re-used stuff I already have lying around my house. Both of these books are wonderful. Also as promised, I picked out a few things to try out form each book. Both of these books suggest picking one project, starting small, and expanding from there. I think that's a good idea.

Ian's Tiny House

Hey everyone, good morning!

I wanted to point out another blog that I meant to include in yesterday's post. My friend and fellow Worcesterite Ian Anderson has been working on his timber-framed tiny house for some time now, and it's finished and looks beautiful (I think it's finished? I feel like our homes are always a work in progress...). Anyway, he's done a wonderful job and I think you all will appreciate his work and craftsmanship. As far as I know, he milled all of the wood himself.

Photos from Ian's blog: http://littletimberhouse.blogspot.com/

Tiny House people: The future belongs to us!

Tiny Houses and campers/RVs are great because they can be awesome living situations for young people with a young-person's budget and mobile lifestyle. Today I learned about a couple of other people my age (college kids and other early-mid twenties crowd) who are building their own tiny houses. This is fantastic! When I was a kid there was no way I thought I could ever afford my own house when I was 20. This really changes the way we think about independence, autonomy, mobility and opportunity. So I wanted to point out a couple of other people who are working on and documenting their own Tiny House adventures. I would love to create some sort of network for connecting young people that are building their own (first-time) homes on a college-kids' budget. We can really get creative with our homes.  Salvaged materials, free-cycling, DIY! It's very exciting to see other people my age caring about the things I care about.

Also, I'd love to connect with other young people looking to live in a camper or RV (or other converted mobile situation) for the first time. I'm sure we could all learn a ton from each other. If you are living in a camper or on the road, or in the process of becoming a full-timer, I want to hear from you! Tell me about it in the comments and leave your website if you have one!

Compost!

I don't know much about composting (I've always composted - having lived in collectives/communes most of my life so far - but don't know the science behind it per-se), but I'm about to learn. Because I know I will have a composting toilet in The COMET, I have been looking into more information about composting food waste and humanure.

I've been reading The Humanure Handbook (third edition) which you can find here for free download: http://humanurehandbook.com/

Now that I've decided to build my own composting toilet for The Comet camper and opted not to purchase a very expensive one, I really look forward to reading this book.

I'm hoping to make the most out of a composting toilet/other compost situation on the road by having a "bumper" garden...I'm working on a design for a little greenhouse that mounts onto the back of The COMET.

I've also been reading about worm farms and worm bin composting...there are some great DIY guides out there for making your own cheap worm bin.

This may not be ideal for the mobile lifestyle, but I plan on living in The COMET in some places for extended amounts of time at some point, and it's pretty interesting anyway. Maybe I can get my parents to get a worm bin!

Another composting situation that REALLY appeals to me (and is not perfect for mobile living either, but hey!) is a bunny rabbit compost set-up.

Apparently rabbit poop is really good for compost, and can even be used raw (without going through a composting process at all!).

I was reading about a set-up where there is a compost bin directly underneath the rabbit's coop/dwelling, and the poop just goes right into the compost! I'm not exactly sure how well this works in practice, but it seems like a great idea.

I'd be really excited about a bunny or two...of course they are adorable and I love little animals!