phynedyning

Phyne Dyning is not just about food

In Lifestyle on July 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

We became water conservation addicts during the ten years we lived in the desert country of West Texas.  There, our monthly water bill could exceed the cost of the electricity we used to keep cool.  We left West Texas with a genuine appreciation for water stewardship.

Although we now live in a region where monthly rainfall matches the annual rainfall amounts of West Texas, we continue many of our water conservation practices today.

It is part of our Phyne Dyning lifestyle.

Water ‘ranching’

As Phyne Dyners, we keep a small, but active container garden.  It keeps us in cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers of all types, eggplant, and “free” herbs.  In the absence of rain, it consumes about three to five gallons of water per day.  Our ornamentals consume another three to five gallons per day.  That can be up to three hundred gallons of treated (city) water per month.

Consequently, we ‘ranch’ water.  That is to say, we harvest water and put it to our use.

In Iowa, a single rain barrel fits our needs.  In West Texas, we had a battery of ten such barrels connected in series to collect roof runoff during infrequent, desert downpours.

During periods of no rain, our single barrel can provide three to ten days of water for our plants, depending on the needs of the plants.

If we go without rain for longer, we begin supplementing our barrel with water that would otherwise go to waste.

Water salvage

It takes about 1.5 gallons of water to run through our hot water system before the hot water reaches us for dishwashing or showering.  If the rain barrel is low, we capture this water and pour it into the barrel for later use.

We find we can reclaim about ten gallons of water per day just by collecting cold water as we wait for it to get hot for a shower or other washing needs.  This is treated water that would otherwise go right down the drain.

We shudder to think of leaving the water running in a sink for the 2-3 minutes it takes to brush our teeth.  Doing so is a wasteful practice that can consume hundreds of gallons of treated water per month!

While we carefully wash all produce destined for our table, we reclaim about 60% of the water we use for vegetable washing.  This gets added to the rain barrel reserves.

It is all part of a Phyne Dyning lifestyle

Now that we live where water is plentiful, I have to admit that our practices do not have much of a financial impact.  The monetary savings that result from our water stewardship are minimal at best.  However, that a practice does not pay monetary dividends is not a good reason not to engage the practice.

Like many aspects of a Phyne Dyning lifestyle, the benefit of its aspects are in the discipline the lifestyle requires.

Although we enjoy having a deep freezer full of meats, we recently took a month-long meat free shugyo (Japanese, meaning “austere lifestyle”).  The practice required us to think about our food and gave us a sense of accomplishment that cannot come with wolfing down a Big Mac over the kitchen sink or in hoping our presence in a posh eatery will be noticed by our Facebook “friends”.

When we returned to our meat-eating diet a month later, the steaks we enjoyed were beyond sensational!  That is not to say we missed meat.  We ate very well during that month and enjoyed some spectacular meals.  Rather, the austerity gave our lives the mind-blowing uniqueness that is signature to Phyne Dyning way of life…a lifestyle where you are not part of the all-consuming human herd.

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