Thursday, June 21, 2012

It’s not easy being Green.

Kermit the Frog was right. Really, it’s not easy being Green.

First of all, getting home insurance has been a huge hassle. It’s not like we have any expensive antiques or fancy jewelry, but if we lose what we’ve built so far, then we lose everything we have. So we need home insurance.

Here’s what we found out: innovation is not looked upon kindly by insurance companies. We keep hearing what a great thing it is that we’re doing – building our home ourselves, figuring out how to do things, recycling when we can – but we were turned down by several of the big companies because we weren’t using a general contractor or following a traditional plan for building.

So praise God for Germania! We are now insured as a homestead/small farm. The representative who came out to assess BaHa Ranch was very interested in our project and loved the idea of a container home. He said that we were paving the way for insurance companies to come up with some type of standard for insuring homes like ours, because more and more people will be building this way in the future.

Secondly, it’s not easy being green because of these little guys:

I don’t particularly want scorpions in the house, nor does BA. Outside, they’re fine. We moved into their territory, after all. However, cohabitation with these little creatures is just not going to work out. If anyone knows of a chemical-free way to keep them out of the house, please let me know! We found three scorpions inside Box 1 and launched an all-out chemical attack with some kind of pest spray inside and some kind of granules outside around the perimeter.

Third, it’s not easy being green because of the lack of information on how to do the projects that we need to do. We asked for advice once at the help desk at Home Depot – advice on how to combine two used windows into one space and mount them in wood on a metal box – and the Home Depot guy said “Oh, we’re not allowed to give advice on anything weird like that.” Now, to be fair, this was a Home Depot in Dallas that we went to prior to moving. The help we’ve received at the Home Depot in Dripping Springs has been absolutely wonderful, but the point is, everyone is just guessing with us because no one has any experience on how to build a container home.  But hey, at least in Hill Country, they try to help us out.  

Fourth (and here’s the biggest conundrum of all), we want to help the planet heal by cutting way down on the amount of natural resources that we consume, and moving to the country has been a big, big part of that, but now that we’re in the country, we have to use more gas to get anywhere!  In Dallas, we could walk to several places, and a short drive gave us plenty of choices for shopping, entertainment, etc. Now, we have to drive everywhere. We’re trying to conserve gas by combining errands, shopping at local farmers’ markets, and planning routes in advance, but I still feel guilty every time I start the car.
Peaches from local farm

So no, it’s not easy being green, but it’s worth the effort. Some things are getting easier as we get used to them, like conserving water to a fanatical degree, using the least amount of electricity possible (our electricity bill was $33 this month - and most of that was from tools we were using for construction), holding my nose when I empty the greywater tank, filling the solar water tank for our showers, taking all the lights outside daily to charge – it just becomes routine.

And we’ve settled into a routine now that is perfectly doable. We have everything we need, for the moment, and we’re done spending money for a while. The only other projects that we’d like to get done by the end of this summer are:

1.        A septic tank (because the RV toilet is a routine that we just can’t tolerate for much longer)

2.       A large water tank and pump (because right now we have to take our five-gallon water containers to town and fill them up about once a week)

3.       Paint for the ceiling (which is the only thing, cosmetically, that isn’t finished yet on the inside)

And hopefully that will be it for a while!


  1. I am so impressed with your progress on you home! I am sorry about the scorpions though. We have them terrible here in Bandera. I got stung a week ago and then I woke up Monday morning and there was a scorpion on the edge of the bed next to me! It scared the crap out of me. I wish there was a way to get rid of them but the only thing we have found is using "Demon" its a pesticide and def not organic but it seems to keep them away for a little while at least. From what I hear they are bad all over. Hope yall are keeping cool in the heat!

    1. Hi, Laci! I'm going to try getting a duck - I hear they eat scorpions. Yikes, you got stung? And you found one in bed with you?!? That is so scary! If the duck doesn't like the taste of scorpions, I might have to check out this "Demon" stuff. Thanks for the tip!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.