An elemental change (Day 321)…

January 15, 2008

stove element

Unngggghh. Today is not a good day, fellow Thistlers. Last night, I ended up cooking a rather late dinner of quinoa and steamed collard greens (local, organic … do I even need to point this out?) with olive oil and toasted pumpkin seeds, followed by some stress for dessert, after which I promptly hit the sack. Now, because I’m susceptible to tummy cramps — specifically, tummy cramps that feel as though some demented clown has made a balloon animal out of my intestines — I thought to myself, “Hmm, I just consumed a lot of roughage, got stressed and am now in a horizontal position; perhaps this is not the wisest decision.” So before falling asleep, I took some time to massage my tum, helping things move along.

Yeah, well, come 3:30 a.m., I get woken up by excruciating pain in my mid-section. It feels like a collard green alien is going to burst out of my stomach and start attacking my face. I have no idea if the massage made it worse or just made it come on sooner, but either way, I was up for the next four hours, pacing back and forth, alternating between a hot water bottle and moans of desperation, between sips of chamomile tea and dry heaving. It was lovely, to say the least.

I’m feeling more or less all right now — the bagel with cheddar cheese I just ate is making a much better impression on my bowels than the quinoa and greens (sorry, Meg, I know how you loathe gluten and dairy, but maybe my British genes are just wired this way).

What the eff does this have to do with today’s change, you ask? Well, nothing really, but here’s a bit of a tie-in: While I was cooking dinner last night on my stove, I had to use two elements. Automatically I put the frying pan and pot on the two front burners — the right one is small, the left one is bigger — but then I realized it would save more energy to use the second small burner at the back of the stove instead. Yes, it would require a bit more reaching, but the pan would surely get just as hot as it would on the larger element, and according to Green is Sexy, this could save up to 40% of the energy required.

I’m also going to make sure I keep the surface of the stove clean (it’s glass-top), so there won’t be any crusty collard remnants getting in between the heat source and the bottom of the pan.

Photo courtesy of this guy on Flickr

I say whip it! Whip it good! (Day 290)…

December 15, 2007


Sorry for the late post today, everyone. Really, I mean it. Here, let me make it up to you — how about I warm up some fair-trade hot chocolate and serve it with a big dollop of organic whipped cream on top? I’ll even be extra environmentally friendly and whip it by hand with a whisk instead of using my electric wand. In fact, I’ll go another step further and promise to do this from now on until the end of my challenge.

So am I forgiven? Pleeeeease?

Photo courtesy of this website

A lacklustre Dustbuster (Day 248)…

November 3, 2007


A couple years ago, my boyfriend at the time bought a Dustbuster for our apartment. It was one of those things where I thought, “Why would we need this when we’ve managed so far without it?” and then a couple months later, thought, “This is so handy!” And it was — for all the minor spills like a potted plant toppling over, crumbs underneath the couch cushions, mini tumbleweeds of cat hair, etc.

But in order for it to work, it needs to sit in its charger all day, plugged in, sucking back lots of electricity. Plus it looks sort of ugly, mounted up on the wall (now if I had one of those fancy conical Karim Rashid ones, it might be a different story … but I don’t).

Anyway, for my Simple Saturday feature, I’ve decided to take the whole thing off and will most likely Freecycle it, if I can (and I’m sure I can — those Freecyclers take anything!) because whatever small amount of dust I need to bust can easily be swept up with a brush and pan, damp sponge, or just my vacuum cleaner when I bring it out on chores day.

Image courtesy of Home Depot

Water heater meter made better (Day 222)…

October 8, 2007

water heater

Have you ever spent all day cleaning, trying to get that funky odour out of the bathroom, only to realize after scrubbing every single surface that it’s not the bathroom itself causing the smell, but a dead squirrel in the wall? Did you ever switch to using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, thinking you were being all natural and eco-friendly, only to realize some months later it has sodium laurel sulfate lurking in the ingredients list?

Well, something similar just happened to me — yes, the squirrel and the toothpaste incidents, but more recently something even worse: Here I was, using lukewarm water to shower, cold water only for laundry, greywater for my plants, and meanwhile, this whole time, my electric water heater was cranked up to 140 degrees.

Considering that the hottest hot tub can only go to about 112, it’s completely unnecessary to have all that water being kept so hot, especially when it’s kept that way 24/7. So I grabbed a screwdriver, popped off the bottom cover and turned it down to 110, the lowest it would go.

I can’t wait to see my electricity bill for October. In the mean time, perhaps I’ll write a few letters to the manufacturers of these things asking why on earth we need scalding hot water for anything.

Diagram of an electric water heater taken from this website