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How a Frugal Prosumer Heats His House

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This is an article John & I wrote back in 2009. It is a true story of real people. The names have been changes as some people get their undies in a bundle and try to cause trouble for those who are different and do things out of the ordinary.


This is a story about Prosumer, his wife, FinalFrontier, and their high school aged son, WildThing and how they live a prosumer lifestyle. These are all true stories that could be taking place in a neighborhood near you. Some of the facts and figures have been adjusted to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals mentioned and to minimize the opportunity for the master consumers to silence the voices of the master prosumers.

Today we are going to take a peek at how TheProsumers heat their house for free. No! That is, how they get paid to heat their house and get a tax break for doing it! To be a master prosumer you need to develop the habit of not only killing two birds with one stone, but killing a dozen birds with half a stone. In…

How to Build an Energy Efficent House

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Thinking of building a house or remodeling. Here are some principles for useing very little energy?




Here’s the details
Extremely Well Insulated – Around all exterior surfaces, including below ground.Virtually Airtight Construction – The building envelope in a Passive House is extremely airtight in order to prevent the infiltration of outside air and loss of inside, heated, conditioned air. The envelope is measured and tested with a blower-door test during and after construction to ensure it meets this rigorous requirementThermal Bridge Free Construction – Stops the transfer of heat and cold in the wall assemblies by breaking the thermal bridge. An easy way to understand this is that the cold air in winter (that you might feel on a window) is stopped from coming into the home and hot air or heat is stopped from transferring out of the house.Mechanical Ventilation – Accomplished by a constant supply of fresh, filtered outside air that is brought into the home while the stale air is blown…

Cutting mango

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It’s mango season and mangos are one of our favorite fruits. 
Growing  up in Taiwan John fondly remembers the huge mango tree he had in his back yard. 
When we lived in Pakistan "the mango man" would come several times a week with a basket of mangos for sale. Huge, delicious mangos and so many varieties.

We have tried many different ways of cutting and serving mangos but this is one of the simplest. But be sure you have a very sharp knife. We use the amazing Rada knife sharpener.

John has filleted a lot of fish so he thought he would try the same technique on a mango. Works nice. So fillet a mango and do the tango.







A fancy way to serve a mango.

Instead of cutting through the skin, cut to the skin and then cut crosswise. Then turn the mango inside out.





Wild Leek Festival 2018

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We have been hosting the leek festival for about 20 years. Where the word festival might imply huge numbers of people, to us the word meant fun, discovery, foraging, experimenting and introducing people to one of the first spring tonics to appear.

It always begins with whomever wants to pick leeks to take home with them. They come an hour earlier and head out to the woods to harvest.

While they are gone, the other guests arrive with their dishes to share. The potluck will have several dishes prepared with the leek leaves and bulbs. But we aren’t leek snobs so any culinary delight is welcome.

I, mary, prepare the greens John and I picked the day before so everyone can have a taste. They are soooooo yummy. These young greens are sweet and mildly garlicky. I simply chop them up and stir fry them in our big cast iron pan with some butter. Uuuuu la la.

Another powerful spring green is nettles. I make a mild and pleasing tea with the leaves.

Another way we have used leeks is to pickle …

Mary Picks Violets

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Our lawn is full of violets.   They are so full of vitamins that some people call them natures vitamin pills. Recently, I made a syrup with the flowers. I also make an eye cream (for the skin around the eyes. Rubbing it on your eyeballs could impair your sight don’t ya know?) from the flowers and leaves. Oh and don’t forget to nibble as you go when you are harvesting.

Mary’s Brother to Sister Song

Brother to Sister
Written and sung by Mary


Mary Roasts Coffee Beans

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With the right equipment roasting your own beans is easy. We have been buying the roasted beans for a couple years and enjoy the fresh ground taste. But with our roaster it brings us to a new level of delightfullness.
Our friend found the roaster at a thrift shop for the frugal prosumer sum of $8. He gifted us with it for Christmas. Yippee!
We have a nephew who roasts on a bigger level and has shared the raw beans with us for our experimenting. He is happy to share with us who his suppliers are too.
Awwwwww, the morning brew. Are we coffee snobs yet?

Mary Makes Antiseptic Room Spray

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Mary shows you how how simple it is to make Antiseptic Room Spray to keep germs away.



Learning the Frugal Prosumer way

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We've been contemplating the cost of education. And since we like to begin close to home we wondered what the numbers would have been had we as well as our son not done it the Frugal Prosumer way. In reflecting on our 50 years of working in educational institutes around the world, starting an alternative school, and John obtaining a masters degree in education and being a consultant, we thought about how important it is to understand the most efficient ways to learn. The Frugal Prosumer way is about doing things as efficiently as possible so you have more time to invest in what is most important to you. Learning is no exception, so let's look at the most effective ways to learn and get the most bang out of your investment. When you think of learning, what pops into your head? Classrooms, piles of expensive text books to read, listening to lectures? But of the different methods of learning, reading and lectures are the least efficient. Active learning is significantly more eff…

Allelon & Investing in Social Capital

As a frugal Prosumer I believe my most important investment is social capital. Social capital is created by practicing Allélón (Greek word for one another)
Social capital isn’t a new idea, although the term itself is relatively recent. In the past we’ve called it other things: goodwill, fellowship, community. The concept existed in ancient cultures as “the golden rule”, or the Biblical admonition to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you (practicing Allelon).
“The core idea of social capital theory is that social networks have value,” writes Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone. “Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a college education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so too social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups…Social capital refers to the connections among individuals — social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. You create social capital when you do volunteer work,…

Mary makes a garden cart-- Part 1 Wheels

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So John wants me to make my own garden cart cause it’s simple don’t cha know? He’s been making carts off and on for years and I really like this design.

If you’ve seen the firewood video you will understand how cool this one is. Anyway, he informs me that I don’t get to practice and he gives me the tools and well,,,,,,um,,,,,I start working. Seriously, this is not staged. I’d like to see some of you get those wheels off a bike in two minutes. ...which turned into more.

But I did have fun, and John did roll his eyes a bit. Stay tuned. I’m sure you’ll be laughing with me. But the cart is truely worth the work.