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So this morning I was washing dishes and realized I was being a lot more conservative with my faucet.  Only turning it on for short bursts.  This is fantastic, finally, conservation by habit.  Then I had to review why I was being so conservative.

Just yesterday, the plumber came over and snaked our sink’s drain pipe of the funk of 50 years.  For the last couple of months, the only thing  that could get our sink to drain was the garbage disposal.  The  pressure from the whirring blades would at least push the water through, but the drain line remained perpetually flooded.  We finally got that resolved last night, and it was a tremendous relief.

The other thing, that’s been going on for a year now, is the faucet itself.  There once was a very heavy, festive brass sculpture right over the sink.  I, in an era of exhaustion, knocked this thing down one morning while washing the dishes.  The sculpture was fine, but the faucet head broke its fall on the way into the sink.  This didn’t break the faucet, but it did leave several pinprick holes in the top where the sculpture hit it.  For the last year, it sprays us in the face and a few other directions when we turn the water on too hard.  So we learned to turn the water on more gently to do that same job.

That is, before we figured out that a paper towel, or even better a little plastic bag, over the top of the faucet head would “fix” the problem.  Mostly.  Clearly its on the list, and now that the sap is rising the faucet will likely get repaired with the spring cleaning.  But for a time t taught us to to be thrifty with our water use.

Of course, in a house built in the nuclear age, there are many inefficiencies.  Another is the toilet.  Being from 1967, it consumes something like 3 gallons per flush.  It is also teal, which we find too delightful to just discard.  The last original toilet in the house, it began to run intermittently last spring.  In a fit of handiness, I decided to replace the innards.  This went relatively well and dandy until I noticed that the water was not staying in the tank. In fact the floor was getting quite wet after a night .  The toilet was on probation for weeks as I tried different things with the gaskets.  I finally took the blasted thing out in the backyard and filled it with the garden hose to see what was going on.

It had a small leak in the tank, about halfway up the right side.  I just confirmed yesterday that this was not getting the wall wet, but that  it was definitely drip-dropping on the floor.  So I put a pan there to collect the water.  I could dump out a full pan every week much more safely than toweling up the floor every day.

I think I’ll have to varnish the inside this spring, but what will my cat do?

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My cat discovered this large pan of water the week I put it down, and has been drinking from it ever since.  He’s so thirsty now that I never see more than a small puddle at the bottom of that pan.  I am thinking about getting a smaller pan, as he’s so far ahead of the game.

An ideal of conservation is that waste producers can find someone to use their waste as feedstock.  This is no always as easy as it seems, but its a wonder when it comes together.  Sometimes the user is better at finding uses for the waste than the producer.

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