Thursday, August 9, 2018


I know I live in the Adirondacks, but - man, this summer has been HOT!
Air conditioning?! In the mountains??! No way. The mountains ARE our air conditioning.
But not when it's over 90 for weeks on end. Even 6 million acres of trees can't mitigate that entirely.

As I write I'm spoiled with the sounds of my dishwasher running. It's the first time this week. I decided to sacrifice my shower in return for not having to touch raw chicken juice. Our 10-foot, hand dug well, although generally reliable, is not to be trusted right now that it's less than half full.

As we move into a period of climate behavior unknown in human history, I need to be aware of ways to deal with weather extremes: flooding, freezing, overheating, and drought. And I need to stop taking our water resources for granted. This is not just a regional concern, either - California wildfires, worsened by drought, are affecting New York. Our brothers and sisters in Cape Town live with Day Zero looming over them. And what about Nestle?! There is responsibility everywhere for everyone to be good stewards, to take care of and not misuse the natural resources in their reach. 

Besides doing a rain dance outside every night after work, and religiously checking the weather radar, I've devised a few ways we can save water and hopefully keep our well from running dry.

1. Military showers

   It is just as regimented as it sounds. Rinse yourself fully, then turn the water off. Soap up, then rinse off.

2. Washcloth showers

  A sink, full of hot water. A washcloth. A squirt of soap. Easy peasy. One per person, please.

3. Wear those clothes twice!

   Or three times. I don't know anyone who has ever complained about less laundry!

4. Wash your own dishes...

   Half a sink of water (or less) will do. Wash separately - and last - any dishes or utensils that touched raw meat.

5. And don't rinse.

   Europeans don't rinse their dishes. Time to take a page out of their play book!

6. Paper plates

   Not those fancy sturdy ones - I'm talking the old-school food-will-fall-through-if-I-don't-eat-fast-enough ones. Throw 'em in the compost when you're done.

7. One pot meals

   As if you had to convince me.

8. Barbeque

   Because you needed another reason to use the barbeque this summer!

9. Only flush for #2

   It's not pretty, so make sure you close the lid so you don't have to look at it! Repeat after me: "it's better than a dry well...".

10. Wash your hair once a week

   This is not just a drought response - this is a beauty regiment. We spend serious $$ putting oils back into our hairs, after we spend hours, dollars and water getting them out. My hair stylist told me once a week is enough. The more natural the products you use, the better you and your hair will fare with waiting.

11. Capture rainwater when it's available. 

   I'm looking at some serious integrated systems, but it can be as simple as a barrel under a downspout and a bucket to move it inside when needed. (Just don't drink it or cook with it without proper treatment!)

Looking Toward the Future

I know these methods will help us get through the next month or so, because I'm fortunate to live in a place that usually has a good amount of year-round precipitation. But the future is not so bright for our stressed and changing water cycle in the northeast. I'm researching a greywater recapture system that would help us decrease our water usage on a regular basis. Thanks to Australians on YouTube, there's lots of information out there! It'll be a project, so I'll make sure to post an update if we decide to move ahead.

In the meantime, I have buckets outside waiting for their chance to help replenish our system. I'll be at the laundromat tomorrow, and a friend's house for a much needed head-to-toe washing for myself and the munchkins, who diligently rain danced on the porch with me tonight.

I hear thunder in the distance.