Green Rascal Design

I mentioned quite a while ago here that we harvested too many berries and had started making raspberry vodka and strawberry wine. Well we recently broke out the wine for my big birthday bash.
strawberry wine
our first real taste of the strawberry wine
For our first attempt it is not bad. It has a funny after-taste which can be attributed to a couple different things.

Nature vs Wall St.


Today my better half, Chris, decided he wanted to share some insights about how good of an investment fruits and vegetables are. I've already shared some of these ideas, but hubby's take on things is a bit more monetary and might appeal to you if you're one of those 'show me the money' peeps.

A note on Chris; he's an IT nerd with a love for investing. With his brother he started and ran a small hedge fund for several years, investing money for their family and several friends and doing quite well until the market tanked in '08. Since then his more conservative investing has nearly made back all of what the hedge fund lost. So his understanding of ROIs is pretty good, I think. Without further adieu:

_A good return on your investment is usually between 10%-15%.  Nature laughs at these returns.  In the following paragraphs I will examine the kinds of returns on investment that investors in nature can expect these days. 

the Cold House


We haven't turned on our oil heat yet, and it's all this guy's fault. Ok, maybe not ALL his fault. Hubby started reading the Cold House Journal earlier this year. And normally each year the oil company shows up around mid November to end of November to deliver a full tank of oil or roughly there abouts.  Last year they gave us 195 gallons in November.  This year that would cost $653 because oil is $3.35-$3.50 a gallon, but when they showed up they could only pump in $35 in oil!

We did this by, first of all, using the heat pump we installed for much of our needs. In November it cost us all of $30 to run. It keeps the kitchen, office, bathroom, dining room and master bedroom warm enough to be tolerable in that order. I accept this performance. Given that we have a hundred year old house and no insulation, it's fine with me.

The only other warming appliance we have turned on is the space heater in the family room when we go to watch our couple hours of tv a night after dinner. It's electric and costs us about 15 cents per hour I think. It's not bad. And I feel like we shouldn't have to punish ourselves or work ourselves to the bone and abstain from all tv watching. Plus, Peet, the little dove, is in there and I'm sure he appreciates the company.

Secondly, we've employed the Smart Wool technique. That is to say we're always wearing it. This is new for 2011 for us. We spent $329 on smartwool. We started with the light weight wool, and now we've upgraded to mid weight, and we're still not planning on turning the oil heat on until well into January. Smart Wool has accessories too, so we got big fat wool socks from them and are happy as clams. 

Thirdly, we re-employed the bubble wrap window technique. In some cases the windows are actually WARMER than the walls are now because I added some of that shrink wrap they sell in big box retail stores. It wasn't too terribly difficult to put up, and looks surprisingly okay.

Also it has been a pretty mild fall and winter so far. We're really surprised.

So all in all we saved about $300 off heating so far.  Of course that would be with a 1 year amortization of our wool.  I'm sure our wool will last more than 1 year. The oil company was projecting that we would need roughly $3000 worth of oil to make it through the winter this year.  Unless it turns brutally cold in Jan-Feb I fail to see how we're going to use anywhere near that amount of oil.  Each gallon of heating oil not burned has saved 22 lbs of carbon dioxide being released!

Go us!

Also, if you check out the Cold House Journal you'll see a good argument for keeping it cooler in the winter in terms of humidity. We have found it to be much more humid - and therefore tolerable - in here this year than it was last year when we kept it warmer. Thanks CHJ!

Happy Holidays!


It's the holidays, and this last month has gone by really fast! We recently updated the site with some logos from this year and a business card design we did a while back. I have personally been out networking a ton, and am now feeling the effects health-wise. But there are lots of pictures of things in the camera that still need to be shared, so hopefully over the next week or so I can get those out. Since I will need to be bundled up under a blankie with heat lamps on me anyway, why not spend the time on the blog whittling down that pile of things to talk about? I think at this point in the fall my mom has actually blogged more than I, and that's great for her, but kinda weird for me. haha! So in lieu of sending out cards this year, hopefully I can catch up here and share some cheer that way.