Innkeeping & Right Livelihood

At Cedar House Inn we receive a number of guests living in the city who are innkeeper fixing breakfast right livelihoodquestioning their current state of living. They commute great distances to jobs that do not provide fulfillment or security. We certainly came from a similar situation in the past. We tell some our of story at on our inn web site. The inn provides us with income and a way of life that is in tune with our values. We call our job right livelihood.

One thing that we learned early on in operating a five unit bed and breakfast in the country was that we needed to have multiple streams of income. The inn provides the majority of our living expenses most of the year. The one exception is during the winter months when the area is not appealing to tourists. Times can get lean and we have created other income streams to help us survive.

The first few years we ran the inn my wife had a part time tutoring position at nearby Brenau University in Gainesville. She tutored international students two days a week in writing. It was a great release for her to get away from me and the inn as well as making a little extra money. She also tutored children locally. Now we spend all of our time innkeeping except for some permaculture consults from time to time. We have reached right livelihood.

Whatever income sources we have discovered fit into our right livelihood philosophy. Our inn is eco friendly because that fits our passion. Our side income opportunities also relate to who we are.

For more information about the inn and our story visit Meet the Hosts.

Your Water Footprint

I was reading our Green Hotels newsletter yesterday and there was a short article on water footprints. We have all heard about carbon footprint but water footprint was new to me. Water is a resource that should be conserved. Some say water will be the next oil in terms of scarcity of fresh water supplies.

At Cedar House Inn we value water and try to conserve it as much as we can. Low flow shower heads and sink aerators have been installed in all bathrooms. Guest reminder stickers are in the bathroom asking guests not to waste water. We use low flush toilets throughout the property and have composting toilets that require no water. Guest bed and bath linens are not changed daily (unless requested) to save laundry water. An Energy Star washing machine and dishwasher have also been installed that use less water compared to conventional appliances.

In our owner’s area we have a bucket to catch the cold water coming out of the bathtub faucet prior to the warm shower water arriving. We use it to flush the toilet or water the plants. We also use the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” philosophy in our bathroom. I save my “liquid gold” for reuse as nitrogen fertilizer (see earlier blog post on this topic). We turn off the sink when we brush our teeth is another water saving tip. Such measures could lower your water footprint.

A few months ago we installed a new metal roof to capture rainwater more water footprint reduction with rain barrelsefficiently. We installed rain gutters and barrels. Our yard is a freedom lawn that requires no water. Native drought tolerant plants have been planted as well. This lowered our water footprint. For more eco friendly methods visit our web site.

In terms of shopping the Green Hotels article mentioned the water footprint of products we purchase. For example 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer, 132 gallons for 2 liters of soda, 500 gallons to make a pair of Levi’s stonewashed jeans. Even some foods have a higher water footprint depending on where they are grown and the type of plant.

I am not suggesting we give up beer or quit wearing bluejeans. I do think we all need to be more mindful of our water usage and water footprint.

The Green Hotels newsletter referenced an article on this topic published in Currents, The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/2009 by Alexandra Alter.

Laundry Day at Cedar House Inn

We had a great weekend with a full house for Saturday night. With check out Sunday morning we normally start the process of stripping the beds and doing the laundry. Yesterday was a cold and blustery day so we waited until today to start the laundry.

Our main reason for wanting to do the laundry on a sunny day like today is so that we can use our solar dryer instead of the electric clothes dryer.

Our washing machine is a Maytag high efficiency machine that uses little water and has a high speed spin cycle. The high spin gives us linens that our not totally wet but damp. This is perfect for our solar clothes dryer.

Our solar dryer, aka clothes line, not only saves energy since we are using the sunlaundry day using outside clothes line but also acts like a bleaching mechanism since the sun bleaches out the whites. Things hanging on the line also smell good.

Unfortunately many municipalities and neighborhoods do not allow for backyard clothes lines. They think they are ugly which I disagree. I like the money we are saving and the eco-friendly aspect of using the sun.

For more eco friendly methods we use at the inn visit our web site.