"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Steps Toward Sustainability

Craigslist has been good to me lately. Last week I found some items I've been looking for for quite some time. These big white cubes are 250 gallon food-grade plastic tanks. They have steel cages around them so they can be stacked, and you can screw them together so they make one 500 gallon tank (et cetera). They also have spigots on the front so water can be drained easily. These are not easy to find; they show up rarely on Craigslist, and often are unusable because they have been used to store something noxious or else they are very expensive. I lucked out; I found a guy who had 8 of them. He was selling them for $100 a piece - already a good price - but when I offered $700 for all of them he accepted. Also he took $50 to deliver them, which I thought was extremely reasonable. These particular tanks were used to store soy lecithin, which is a food additive naturally derived from soybeans. It's completely harmless unless you are allergic to soy. I'll obviously be washing them out with a high pressure hose before I use them to store water.

I know. It's been raining here for weeks on end, sometimes torrentially. The idea that I might need to store seems totally ridiculous. It always does this time of year. But all I have to do is think back to last August. Anyway, these are for the future. Do I think I will enjoy unmetered water forever? No, I do not.

Actually, I only get five of them for water storage. Homero gets the other three for use in his biodiesel production.

This is my other find. I've been wanting a woodstove for a long time. Currently our only heat is propane, and that is not sustainable long term. Also I don't have any way to cook in the event of a power outage, and I'd like to have one. A woodstove fulfills both these purposes. It's a little rusty, but I can clean that up and paint it with the special woodstove paint. It's been sitting in some guy's garage for about ten years and now he's tearing down the garage. He says it was in perfect working order when he put it out there. It only cost me a hundred bucks, so I can't go too far wrong. The only question is where and how to install it. But that is for another day. Getting it into a pickup, hauling it home, and getting it out of a pickup and into the playroom was enough work for one day.

These are small steps - they are only purchases at this point. All I've done so far is shop. Getting the tanks hooked up and made into a functioning rainwater catchment system will be a job. Ditto installing the woodstove. Recently I purchased a handgun, with an eye to butchering. That's still just a purchase too - I haven't fired it yet, much less used it to butcher a goat or a pig. But gathering materials is the first step of any endeavor, right? You can't make an omelet until you have some eggs.


Anonymous said...

They both look like great finds! I want to harvest rainwater but TH (Trophy Husband) has been resistant...too many things to do already...

The woodstove looks like a pretty little diamond in the rough. Congrats!

fullfreezer said...

Those tanks are impressive! i don't know that I've ever seen any like that around here. And the wood stove on a pedestal- what a great find. I so want a wood stove but it hasn't happened yet. Have fun with your new purchases.

WeekendFarmer said...

Lovely posts! I thought you would be in Mexico travelling, so didnt visit for a few days.

Just curious - how much did your neighbor charge you for the turkey? My neighbor quoted a price. I almost fell off the chair. : ). I will tell you after I hear your price.

btw, you really dont need to shoot a goat...its much easier to go for the jugular. It takes 45 seconds. (for a sheep).

Aimee said...

Hi WF - the trip to Mexico fell apart for the second year in a row! I hate the airlines.

My neighbor wanted $5/pound for the turkey and it was 11.5 pounds. $55. Yes it was expensive, but it was delicious and I figure I save so much money on food all year round between the trade network and growing my own, it was worth it. Plus she's going to pay me the same amount for a stud fee on my Nubian buck. I would have traded straight across but we just didn't have time to work out the details.

My husband says the same thing about the goats. But I just can't see myself doing it. These goats are pretty big and strong. I worry that I'll hesitate and just cut them non-fatally. Then I have to try and wrestle a wounded, bleeding goat.... I'd rather just shoot them in the back of the head and be done with it. Plus it gave me a good excuse to buy a handgun.

WeekendFarmer said...

$55 is nothing....my neighbor wanted $15...and yes that is per pound!!!! I asked her...how many pounds the turkey would be ....can you imagine paying $150 for a turkey. I sold my sheep for less than that!!! yikes!

Too bad on the Mexico trip! Just drive : ).

On the goats...you will need 2 people. At the risk of sounding like a total barbaric person...you tie the legs down and go for the jugular after you have calmed the animal down. Start practicing on some chickens and upgrade to a goat. You will be amazed at how calm they will get when they are down and will not fight you. You do need a very sharp knife to reduce the pain on the animal. Also, think of 'ear to ear' and go with a smooth motion as you deepen the knife. I was told its instant and fast.