When we purchased our home, it was tough to keep it heated. It’s a slightly bigger house than our last, but our oil consumption was nearly double. After having an energy audit performed, we discovered it had more holes than Swiss cheese. Luckily, sealing a home from air leaks is easy to do, doesn’t require special tools, and can be done very cheaply. After a lot of sealing, we can now heat the entire 1700 square foot house with a small wood stove during the harshest New England winter days, and many days we don’t need to run any heating or cooling. Continue reading
We used to go to our favorite pizzeria once a week. For a small pie and a salad to split, our bill was usually less than $20. At the time, this seemed like a decent deal. I thought you needed a commercial pizza oven and special ingredients to make a pizzeria quality pie. But over the last few years, I’ve uncovered the secrets to making pizzeria quality pizza. These techniques do require some planning, but not much time. And pizza ingredients are very cheap – we can make better pizza than our local pizzeria for $2 a pie.
There was not a single present for anyone under our tree this year. In fact, there were only reverse presents. Say what? That’s right, instead of giving each other gifts this year, Mrs. CK and I rummaged through the house to find stuff to give away. We gathered our “gifts” and piled them under the tree. Then, instead of unpacking presents, we packed them all up into our trusty steed Lightning. And off to Goodwill they went.
Since retirement, many of my neighbors have been noticing that I’ve been home much more than usual. But rather than asking me why I haven’t been going to work, they’ve been commenting on how hard I’ve been working. I’ve been doing a lot of gardening and splitting wood for the winter, but I do these things because I enjoy them. The fact that I really love doing what my neighbors call “work” made me think a bit more about why I’m having so much fun with it. When I sat down today to think about it, the first thing that came to my mind was my grandfather.
Having more time to think has allowed me to realize how distracting our possessions can be. A few weeks ago, I sold my moped which had been with me since high school. For both myself and Mrs. CK, it was a catalyst to a selling spree. I have especially been working on clearing out larger items that are taking up a lot of space. One of these items was an old second-hand chest freezer. We had used if for storing meat at one point, as a chest fridge for home-brewing more recently, then it sat idle. Chest freezers are designed for optimal efficiency, so I decided to clean it up and compare it against my Energy Star kegerator. The losing appliance would be listed and sold on Craigslist. Continue reading
Since quitting my job, we spent half of this summer on the road traveling to new places like Colorado, and Nova Scotia. We got to take in breathtaking views, enjoy new cuisine, and got introduced to fun local activities with Airbnb hosts. We’ve been able to visit more family and friends – some of whom I hadn’t seen in a decade.
But to be honest, not every day has been filled with exciting travel. Being at home and having more time also means more projects keep coming up. Prior to quitting, I had been cultivating quite a few FI lifestyle hobbies, and now they are devouring every minute of my time. I thought I would be spending the summer in our hammock relaxing and reading books, but it’s been quite the opposite. A lot more of my time has been spent gardening, chopping wood, and doing home renovations. Most days, I’m exhausted. Everything came to a head the other day when I was disposing of some construction debris. When I got to the dump, I came to the realization that not everyday is going to be filled seeing new places, trying new food, and fishing. No, some days are even better.
A few years ago, I started saving seeds from our garden to save money. When I planted them, I got a surprise. My saved squash seeds produced something completely unrecognizable. I never took squash sex ed, but quickly learned that squash of a same species can cross pollinate to create a new cultivar. Each plant has male and female flowers that are pollinated in our garden by bees. I don’t control the bees, and they are promiscuous with all the plants in the garden. The fruit from the cross pollinated plant won’t have any change in the first year. However, seeds from that fruit will produce an entirely new type of squash.
Since I don’t control the pollination, I no longer save my own squash seeds. But each year some rogue plant will come up that I don’t have the heart to snuff out. I let the little bastard grow up to see what sort of creation they might become. This year, there were a couple of squash plants that escaped my hoe. They must have taken on some hulk genes, because they went ape shit. Over the two weeks we were in Nova Scotia, they inundated half of the garden. The good news is these Frankensquash have been good producers.