Heather Zydek writes about life on the east side of Tosa.
Greetings, friends, and welcome to the Blue Bungalow Farm. This blog is an extension of my original weblog, which has been in existence since the winter of 2009. Around that time I grew interested in raising awareness about sustainability, particularly where I live in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. So I launched a blog called "Sustainable Tosa." That blog was instrumental in the organization of the Tosa Farmers Market: through my writing I was able to connect with other folks interested in creating a sustainable farmers market for our city. After much meeting and planning, we kicked-off the market with a preview of the 2010 season on September 26, 2009. Later, in June of 2010, we launched the highly anticipated weekly market in the heart of Wauwatosa's Village. The first season had a very successful run, with over 40 weekly vendors and thousands of patrons. We're now gearing up for an even bigger 2011 season.
Around the same time I started the Sustainable Tosa blog, I started another blog, called the Blue Bungalow Microfarm. The blog is named for my home: a fairly typical Milwaukee bungalow built in 1918. Since about 2007 I have been slowly working toward turning my drafty old house with its "postage stamp" yard into a sustainable "microfarm." The purpose of the Blue Bungalow blog was and is to serve as a place to document my experiences "transitioning" into sustainable living. At the Blue Bungalow blog, I continue to write about composting, vermicomposting, edible landscaping, indoor gardening, home energy efficiency, urban homesteading, and much more. Now, as I prepare to begin Master Gardener training and hope to further educate others about composting and sustainability, I am launching an extension of my blog here at WauwatosaNow, where I hope to share my humble discoveries with a wider audience.
By now most Tosans' Christmas trees are curbside as we await this week's garbage pick-up, when, on our scheduled garbage day, the trees will be hauled away and turned into mulch. In the past I have pruned off the branches of my Christmas trees and saved them for mulching and composting. This year I was busy, so I decided simply to send our dried up balsam fir to the city. My husband dragged the tree out to the curb last weekend.
As you may recall from previous Blue Bungalow blog posts, we had a home energy inspection in late 2010, conducted by Tim Guillama of Beyond Energy, LLC. A house is inspected to determine how much conditioned air is typically cycled through in an hour. A draftier home will have a higher "air change rate" than a well-sealed home and, thus, higher heating and cooling bills. When our home was inspected this December, Tim determined that our air change rate was about 13.8 per hour.
Following the inspection, Tim suggested that we have our house and attic insulated. We couldn't afford to do it all at once, so we decided to start by sealing and insulating our attic and basement. We also had our old house exhaust fan replaced with a more energy efficient model. After we had this work done by Insulation Technologies in Milwaukee, Tim returned to our house and again conducted his blower door test to determine the air change rate. It improved from 13.8 changes per hour to about 10.