I have two refrigerators. They are both at least ten years old. I don’t know very much about refrigerators. I know they have compressors, and I’ve heard that the older ones have fans, which keep the compressors going a lot longer.
But really, I’m not very informed about refrigerators. They are just tools. But they use up energy, and New Mexico is coal-fueled, so my refrigerators concern me.
One refrigerator is in the house without much air circulation. Neither of the houses have A/C. The one I sleep in, where my computer is, the one I read in, has an attic fan. That is great for cooling the house off in summer evenings. It’s a huge fan, and it points out, so instead of trying to push cooler air into the house, it pulls the hot air out. That’s good design, I think. It gets up to 110oF here in the summer at times, to put this in perspective.
The other house is where the kitchen is. The water is off there. I carry it into there from this house, in buckets and jugs, and I carry the used water back out, to use on the garden. I buy greywater friendly soap to facilitate this. The kitchen house is the kitchen house because that’s where the stove is, and the gas hookup. And because there’s a room that is a kitchen. It has cupboards too. Counters. Sink. Not hooked up, but still handy. Buckets, this is all about buckets.
The refrigerator in the kitchen house was the “good” one, with the separate freezer compartment. The freezer is working fine, but the refrigerator is cratering. I gather they have separate compressors.
This is a self-defrosting refrigerator, so it uses up more electricity. It also uses up more electricity because it gets so hot in there in the summer, what with there not being an attic fan, not to mention it being the kitchen.
So, I’m thinking maybe I should turn that refrigerator into an ice box for cool storage, instead of it being a refrigerator. I could freeze the ice in my other refrigerator, if I stop using the freezer in the kitchen refrigerator.
My other refrigerator is an older model, I gather. It runs me half as much in electricity. It may only have one compressor; I’m not sure. But it’s working okay, though it tends to freeze produce after a day or so, since the freezer and refrigerator compartments aren’t as well separated.
But since I keep my food in the kitchen house, I was thinking; okay, maybe if I could keep that refrigerator cool enough to keep stuff from getting stale, from getting bugs in it. Maybe I could store root vegetables in it briefly. Maybe I could freeze ice in half gallon milk bottles and keep it cool that way. Keep it about at 60oF?
Because, even though it’s a dying refrigerator, it’s still a useful device. Well insulated. Door seals well. Easily cleanable. Why get rid of it? I don’t really need two refrigerators, do I? This is a pretty complicated and elegant object, this dying refrigerator.
It’s very handy to have two refrigerators, of course. If one goes, you still have the other. Good if you like to put up food. Good if you like to buy in bulk. Good if you don’t have air conditioning.
I always figured one of them would go sooner or later, and guessed it would be that one. They’re both very noisy, but that one makes some really spectacular grinding noises at times.
I plan in advance for these events, sometimes at great length.
It would, in a way, be freeing to turn off that refrigerator. I don’t have too much in the freezer right now. Maybe I could just set the refrigerator so it doesn’t do much and then use the freezer for longer term storage so I didn’t have to open it much. That might cut the electricity usage in half.
Or maybe I could stop keeping frozen stuff around. The refrigerator in the house with the attic fan, the one I’m typing in, freezes stuff okay. So far.
I don’t like overusing such objects. I’ve been trimming my easement the last few days. I do this as infrequently as possible. It’s not really my easement. It belongs to the city. But I have to maintain it or they’ll yell at me. It’s about as big as my yard; really broad easement. Maybe 1/4 acre. I have a corner lot, double lot. Two houses, both with a lot of problems.
Since it’s not my easement, but I have to take care of it, my goal is to imitate what would happen if there were occasional herds of herbivores coming through. That’s ecologically solid.
My easement is quite pretty in the spring. The wildflowers get better every year. Sometimes I throw in seed. I never take away the trimmings, though. I leave them for mulch. This works.
When it rains, it gets quite green, really quite lovely in the early spring. Summer comes early here, though; then it dries out. But then the Mexican hats start getting going. They are what inspired me originally to do this.
My neighbors mostly mow their easements, and keep them to Bermuda grass. You can’t do that and have a pretty easement here, unless you are really, really into lawns. Otherwise you just have some ugly brownish scrubby Bermuda grass stubs. Yuck. I’m the pretty one here!
My trimmer has lasted a few years so far. It’s getting a little rattly though. I would handtrim everything but I run out of steam, my joints get tired, and the city gets mad.
So I get out there with my line trimmer a couple-three times a year. Occasionally people come by and ask me if I need to buy a lawn mower, or hire them to work up my distressingly untidy yard.
No. I don’t need mowing. I’m not cutting everything. I’m sculpting, kinda.
And even though New Mexico runs electricity on coal, at least electricity doesn’t have to run on coal. Lawn mowers run on gasoline, mostly. Yeah, you can get electric ones. But you can’t sculpt with them.
Reminds me of a time I was in charge of a public rose garden, that later went south (too much rot, the rose bushes were very old; sad). Woman came by, pointed out to me that I could cover the rose bushes in plastic, spray herbicide. Be much easier, she pointed out, with a bit of condescension.
Yeah, I knew that.
Hell, we could just junk all of these rotten old roses and let it all be Bermuda grass, for that matter (that eventually happened. It wasn’t a really good spot for roses, though).
And I could just junk both of these refrigerators and buy a new one, or a refurbished one.
But I never do that with stuff that’s still working. And sometimes even when it’s not still working, I don’t do it. I try to think about it first. What do I really need? What are the problems I’m trying to solve here? What could this be used for differently?
And mostly, how can I save using fossil fuels to run any of this? Because I think about that every day of my life. So, today my refrigerators are taking the forefront.
On the plus side, I recently invested in new bicycle tires for my non-standard 28″ wheel bicycle. Top of the line, Kevlar reinforced. Yeah, that’s technology, can’t get away from it. Somebody had to burn some energy to make those.
But boy it was good to do that. Got me much more bombproofed far as transportation goes, out here with the goatheads and other spiny things on the roads.
I wore my first set down to a nubbin before I bought these. When it gets to where it’s the Kevlar keeping the tire together, though; that’s when it’s time.
As for the refrigerators, I’m guessing I’m going to have to get a little more organized about perishables…just buy what I need, on a more or less daily basis. I can go fetch it on my newly Kevlared bicycle, so that’s no problem. But one way or the other, my electricity bill is going to go down a little, along with my contributing to coal burning.