A recent guest of Cedar House Inn and Yurts wrote a great piece on their stay at the inn and what they did in the area. I thought the blog entry would be of interest to guests who have not stayed with us or familiar with the North Georgia mountains and all it has to offer.
The weekend they stayed with us was also the Georgia Wine Highway weekend.
At Cedar House Inn we receive a number of guests living in the city who are questioning 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.
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.
A few months ago we installed a new metal roof to capture rainwater more efficiently. We have not installed rain gutters and barrels yet. Our yard is a freedom lawn that requires no water. Native drought tolerant plants have been planted as well.
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 footprint.
The Green Hotels newsletter referenced an article on this topic published in Currents, The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/2009 by Alexandra Alter.
I just read in Green America that an estimated 70% of processed foods in the USA contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) as ingredients with the exception of certified organics. Until now consumers had no idea of what was in the processed food.
My wife and I decided several years ago to limit our consumption of processed foods. We tend to shop the perimeter of the grocery store which eliminates the interior aisles which are filled with the processed foods. We also tend to eat a lacto ovo vegetarian diet for health and environmental reasons.
At the Inn we also try not to serve processed foods to our guests. We also use organic milk and eggs.
While GMO foods have not been proven to be harmful we choose to take the necessary precautions and avoid GMO foods.
We try to recycle everything we can at Cedar House Inn. One thing we cannot is number 5 plastics. Number 5 plastics are those medicine bottles and yogurt cups for example.
According to the new Green America magazine we just received Recycline has started the “Gimme 5” program where they will accept number 5 plastics and Brita water filters for recycling. They will make eco friendly products such as toothbrushes, razors, mixing bowls, food storage containers and more with the recycled plastic.
The “Gimme 5” bins for recycling will be at selected Whole Foods Markets or the plastic can be mailed to Recycline. Unfortunately our Whole Foods is too far away from the 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 sun 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.