Riot For Austerity Challenge, More Savings

The Riot for Austerity Challenge is about more than just utility bills. The Challenge is to reduce our emissions footprint in all aspects of living but not to feel deprived while doing so.

There are few things I need or want but living comes with some wants. Personally, books have to be a part of my life or I would feel terribly deprived. I use the local library as often as I can which amounts to five or six months out of the year.

This afternoon I noticed a new addition to the bottom of my checkout receipt that shows the dollar value of the books I borrow.

The receipt is a bit hard to read but the books I brought home today were valued at $229.00 bringing the grand total I’ve saved by borrowing books versus purchasing them to $1,268.56 in the two and aΒ  half years I’ve been here.

My grandchildren enjoy visiting friends who live across the street from me when here. One of their favorite toys is a sand table. I thought it would be great to have a small sand box for them to play with here but wasn’t going to buy a plastic container no matter how inexpensive I was told it was.

Speaking of sand, in an effort to have as few toxins as possible in my home and on my property I did not purchase play sand the dust of which is known to be cancer causing.

I realized I still had a couple of tires I rescued from a neighbor who was planning to send them to the landfill. One is about to be hung from the tree as a swing, two were stacked to make a planter box for my grandson to grow carrots in, which are doing great.

So why couldn’t I use a tire to make a sandbox?

I set a heavy duty cardboard box under the tire first to contain the sand then partially filled it with sand. It’s the only thing my grandson wants to play with, outside of bugs at the moment. A couple of the older neighbor boys came over to play with my grandchildren (notice the pair of shoes below).

In an effort to lessen my diet footprint planting continues.Β  We planted two types of squash, cantaloupes, tomatoes, lettuces, and cucumbers in one afternoon. My grandson joined in telling us his mom helped him plant. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to thin out a few of the squashes in particular as he put several seeds in each hole but that’s easy enough to remedy.

And surprisingly, we found apples on the only remaining apple tree, a granny smith, that survived the cicada invasion last summer.Β  Surprising because apples are supposed to need a pollinator of a different type to have apples. Since I only had one tree I was taken aback when we spotted four apples forming on this tree.

The only thing I can figure is my tree was pollinated by a tree about 250 feet away on another property.

My granddaughter is so excited by the apples and peaches she is watching them every day she’s here, multiple times a day because she finds them “beautiful”.

Finally, more of my food will be sourced from local farms thanks to a farmer’s market that will open in late June that won’t require a car to visit.Β  I’ll purchase as much as possible from the market to put up for the long winter months.





  1. Hooray on the apples! Perhaps it’s not a total loss after all.

    You said there weren’t many pets in the area, so this might not be an issue, but if there are any stray or outdoor cats around you might want to craft some sort of a cover for that sandbox. Trust me, if they find it they’ll be very happy that you provided them with such a nice litter box!

    And one more stray thought. Perhaps I’m overly worried about such things, and I certainly don’t want to rain on this parade, but is it safe to use old tires to plant food crops in? I’m thinking about the whole “crumb rubber” thing – Crumb rubber is used in artificial surfaces for sports. I don’t really understand how it works, but it’s basically chunks of rubber that are ground up and then just loosely put in the turf, or something like that? I dunno. but I saw a TV special about a soccer coach who had some crazy number of players who all got some horrible kind of brain cancer, and since the girls who got sick all played the same position (goalie – where they end up rolling around in the stuff and inadvertently swallowing chunks of it) she became very concerned that the crumb rubber was the cause. And if I’m not mistaken, it’s made from grinding up old tires. I could be completely off base on this one, but it might be worth doing some research.

    Sorry to post a Debbie Downer comment. Hopefully I’m totally wrong. And I’m SOOO jealous that you found a farmer’s market that you can get to without a car! Still waiting for one of those in this neighborhood!


    • I didn’t mean to imply there weren’t a lot of pets in the neighborhood, only that those without pets complain about any that get loose. As for cats, we have a huge problem with cats roaming around. I have a piece of plastic I cover the sand with every day or I know I’ll have cats using it as a litter box.

      I didn’t think about crumb rubber when I used the tires for a small garden bed. I was worried about the oil in the tires but it seems no matter what I try to use for raised beds I run into toxins. I purchased untreated wood and then learned untreated doesn’t mean there are no chemicals added. I tried cinder blocks but I think you were the first to point out that fly ash is used in many especially in this part of the country. I wish I didn’t need raised beds because it would be safer all the way around.

      Anyway, after this planting I’ll probably only use tires for flowers and swings.

      Our farmer’s market is a bit deceiving as it’s not a true market but I’m excited. A woman who opened a new business in town drives to the local farms, purchases the produce directly then resells it at her shop. It won’t be the same experience as what I’m used to but I’m thrilled I will be able to buy local produce finally.


        • Basically it’s all in how the lumber is dried. If they want to speed up the drying process they can use chemicals to dry the lumber. Also you have to keep in mind that the saws they use to cut the lumber must be oiled and treated to prevent rust and snapping. Those treatments come off in small quantities on to your wood. The only solution I am finding is to purchase wood milled close to home, so you can see what they use and how they dry the wood, that is a hard wood so it will last longer. Yes, I want organic beds and yet it’s a constant struggle to find non-toxic materials. Straw bales are a problem too.


  2. Yes, the library is a great way to save money on books. I stopped by mine on Monday after going to register at work source but they weren’t open yet. I was hoping to borrow audible books. Most of them are already worn out from other users. I’m glad you are getting fruit on your trees. Someone in the neighborhood may have a mate to your tree. I think all little kids like to play in sand. Not sure what that is about. πŸ™‚


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