With an inefficient house and extremely high energy bills, The EcoRanch has been taking steps to reduce our energy use. We unplug all electrical devices from the walls when not in use and over the winter, we moved into the basement, although slightly counter intuitive, to a much smaller space to heat up with less windows. We also spent quite a bit of time researching renewable energy resources like solar, geothermal, and wind. All are currently out of our budget but we hope to be there soon. We also spent some time on APS’s website and found some good resources we wanted to share for those who may not know they exist.
When logged in, go under my energy, and then to compare plans. This tool allows you to get a better rate based on when you use your energy. You may be able to reduce your bill by running your appliances like the washer/dryer or dishwasher later at night. APS also offers Green Choice Plans, which we recently switched to. This allows you, the customer, to purchase either blocks of energy or a percentage of your use from renewable energy resources. Basically, it will cost you $0.012/KWh extra on your bill. So, a month at 500 KWh would cost you about an extra $5.00 if you purchased 100% from renewable resources. Check them out! For right now, at least we can say we are purchasing energy from cleaner sources.
In planting news, the Flagstaff Foodlink starts program comes to an end this week. We will get our last set of starts; basil, tomatoes, eggplants, and a few others. The EcoRanch and Hermosa Vida beds are almost full and it looks like the starts are taking hold in their new homes, coming alive with a deep green and looking quite happy.
We started building and repairing beds over a month ago with the help of Kai and Jackson. They have since moved on to new adventures, but their work remains foundational in our progress this year. After all the beds were ready, we got to the fun part of planting. Our lives were made much easier with the help of 3 students from Dr. Pollak’s Sustainable Botany course and our Intern from ASU, Kelsey. Addison, Michael, and Christopher created a garden plan for the Hermosa Vida beds for credit/volunteer hours and Kelsey used a program called growveg.com (we recommend checking out this website) to create her plan for the EcoRanch beds. It’s hard to wrap your head around organizing 2500 starts, numerous varieties of seeds, and how to plant all them efficiently. It has been extremely helpful to have a layout ready to go for the season that we can follow along with. Emily, our recent WWOOFer has been here for about a month and, sad to say, is leaving at the end of the week. She has been doing the work of 4 people, using the plans to get all the plants into the ground, modifying them when needed, and not to mention taking care of the chickens, hoop houses, watering, and helping out whenever she can.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this point in the season and thanks from our future harvesting success!