Sunday, March 8, 2015

Examples Of The 90% Overlap

Composting on a narrow boat is a challenge.  There is very little space to devote to it.  To compensate, I try to use up parts of our vegetables and fruits that otherwise might get composted under normal circumstances.  For example:  last night we had homemade egg rolls as part of our dinner.  The filling for the eggrolls consisted of onion, zucchini, carrot, mushrooms (stems included), cabbage, the outer leaves from the cauliflower I recently purchased and the stalks and leaves of the broccoli also recently purchased.  All were chopped fine and steamed along with some lentils and yellow split peas for protein.  Then I seasoned the mixture with soy sauce, Oriental 5 spice mix, sesame oil and sesame seeds and some fish sauce. 
So, we got to enjoy a good and nutritious meal and there was no need to compost broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves, broccoli leaves or mushroom stems.  Win for the budget and win for mother earth!

I baked those egg rolls (lightly oiled) on our pizza pan that has holes in it to help crisp the crust.  That can lead to a messy oven and on behalf of energy conservation (mine, I don't like to clean ovens) I used a piece of aluminum foil to cover the holes in the pan.  Miracle of miracles, the egg rolls did not hemorrhage all over the pan (the secret is to double the wrappers, sure you only get 15 and not 30 from a package of  wraps but at least you don't have a mess).  So, in homage to the environment I washed the foil with a little washing up liquid and hot water and it is now hanging from a clothes pin drying along with a plastic bag I washed and a shower cap that was used to cover a bowl, cleaned, and is now drying to be used again.

Yesterday was also wash day.  I had been unable to do any for a few days because the water tank was low (as in the gauge was showing nothing).  I am not sure how much water our tank holds but I do know that it can go from full to empty faster than one might think.  Therefore, I work on ways to conserve the water.
We hand wash our dishes and use a rinse water pan.  The rinse water gets poured into the washer after the dishes are done to be used for washing clothes.  After all, it only has a little soap in it from rinsing the dishes.  A days worth of doing dishes comes close to filling the washer tank.  I then add a small amount of oxi clean and some of my homemade laundry detergent and start the laundry: whites, then light colors, then darker colors then darks and jeans.  Once each load has agitated in the wash water for 30 minutes I hand ring the clothes out and then proceed to finish the load.  That way I can use the wash water again for the next load.  Along the way I will top off the wash water as needed with rinse water.  Result:  clean clothes, a water tank that still has some water in it (convenient for cooking and drinking and such mundane things), and less strain on the planet's water resources.  Another win, win.

Just another day on the narrow boat.

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