Just Three Things

It’s that time again when I’ve got a few things I want to share with you, none of which are enough to write a whole post about. But here’s proof that good news comes in three’s:

Our one year old hot water tank quit working recently. I wanted a tankless, on- demand water heater to replace it. The good news is, the company that made the old heater is a LOCAL MANUFACTURER!¬† American Water Heaters are made right here in good old Johnson City and are sold nationwide at places like Lowe’s and Sears. They agreed that it must be their defect so they replaced it. With the exact same model. They don’t make tankless heaters ūüė¶¬†¬† That was also the ‘bad’ news, because they wouldn’t give us a credit or refund, only an even exchange. So, we installed the next.best.thing. to a tankless -a $42 water heater timer. We set it to come on at 8 AM and go off at 8 PM but of course,¬† you’d set yours for whatever works best for your lifestyle, since there are 14 possible settings on them. It’s a well-known fact that water heating is the single largest energy user in American homes, and installing the timer has reduced our electric bill quite a bit. Even though it goes off at 8 PM there’s always plenty of pretty hot water at 8 AM the next morning too! That tells me none of us need to be heating our water 24 hours a day, it’s merely a convenience we’ve all come to rely on as a result of decades of cheap energy. A timer like this is a completely painless way to reduce your household energy needs and make your life a lee-ttle bit more resilient in the process. Now granted, it’s no solar panel, but then again, it didn’t require a second mortgage either. I also found out that if we’d had to trash the old heater, the metal in it had some monetary value and could’ve been recycled; we had 4 people stop by and ask for it in the couple of days it laid in the yard waiting to be picked up by the company! Just sayin’…


If you have an adult bicycle you no longer use, I know of three places that could use it. First is the local Family Promise organization; they help homeless families transition to homes of their own. Sometimes those families have no transportation and a bike can certainly make their lives easier. They can be reached Mon-Fri by calling Aaron at 202-7805. Next is the ETSU Yellow Bike program that fixes up donated bikes, paints ’em red yellow, then¬† ‘rents’ bikes to students for free to help them get around campus more easily. Contact them about your donation at bucbikes@mail.etsu.edu.

yellow bike

And last, but not least, if your old bike is in pieces, those pieces can all be used by the nonprofit Little City Bike Collective, which rebuilds and repairs bicycles for FREE. Their shop is located at 209 E Unaka Ave in JC.¬† Here’s the link to their Facebook page. Make some space in¬† your garage this spring, and make someone’s life easier by donating to one of these fine causes. And if you’re reading this and don’t live in Johnson City, I bet these same types of organizations in your community could use your old bikes too.¬† Just sayin’…

After recently experiencing ‘Blackberry Winter’ here in Appalachia,we’re finally moving into a season of daily gardening now, and I hope to share tips with you over the summer that will help make your food growing more successful. I sure hope you’ll do the same and share any tips you’ve found that work for you in the comments section below. We started long ago saving our eggshells all year long, drying them, then grinding them in a little mini food processor-a mortar and pestle works well too, as long as the shells are good and dry. Then we add a handful to the planting holes of peppers and tomatoes which provides them with calcium and prevents blossom end rot, something we rarely experience any more. We also add a Tablespoon of Epsom Salts to those holes to provide magnesium as well. What better way to use your egg shells, eh? We finish by adding some compost to the hole, then fertilize with some ‘worm tea’ and stand back! Just sayin’…


Helping Out In The Kitchen!

The Johnson City Bike Kitchen that is… According to their Facebook page, this nonprofit is a¬† volunteer effort to “become a staple for independent, self-reliant transportation in Johnson City, TN!”¬† I wrote about this community-building collective¬† back in May. Since then, we’ve moved to our new home in downtown Johnson City and are trying to declutter and downsize to fit our new space. One (large) thing that we really no longer had the room for, but still had the need for, was a bicycle stand. The Bike Kitchen needed one. Michael decided to donate the stand to their efforts so they can help¬† local bicyclists keep their bikes running (without charging a dime for the service)! The bike collective was¬† thrilled to get the badly needed stand, and today Michael rode his bike the mile or so to the kitchen, to get his own brakes adjusted. Cool how that worked out, huh?

The new kitchen is open on Tuesday’s from 8ish to 10 AM, and again from 4ish to 8 PM. Their new space is located behind Shakti in the Mountains, at 409 E Unaka Ave. Johnson City, TN¬† 37601. You can take your bike there and use the stand and their tools as well as get help with your repairs. They already have a nice collection of frames, spare parts and tools to work with, although they would welcome any extras you may have collecting dust in your garage-they’ll get them road worthy and pass ’em on to someone that needs transportation. If this isn’t one of the best ways to build community, form resiliency and self sufficiency, recycle old and unused bikes, all while we learn to transition to a lower energy world,¬† I don’t know what is!

In addition to operating the Bike Kitchen, The Little City Bike Collective will be holding group rides twice a month. “Like” their Facebook page, to keep up on their activities or to help with their needs: https://www.facebook.com/LittleCityBikeCollective

Bike Kitchen?
May 24, 2012, 8:55 AM
Filed under: Biking, Community Building, Creating Community, Uncategorized | Tags:

I love that Johnson City has so many developing groups that are working towards many of the very things that this blog is about. (Remember my recent post about ‘My Blue Plum is Green’? ) TODAY is a fund raiser to start a bike kitchen in our ‘Little City’. What’s that you say? Simply put, bike kitchens are volunteer-run locations that will fix bikes.¬† The current storage facility is located at 109 Walnut St. Basic services for cyclists will be offered there such as education, a sliding scale donation (no one will be turned away due to lack of funds), and a fully equipped facility for bike building and maintenance with a volunteer staff of bike mechanics. A quick internet search turned up bike kitchens all over the country and now our own ‘Little City’ is working towards one too! If this effort¬† isn’t what this blog is all about, I don’t know what is!

The Little City Bike Collective was established earlier this year to encourage the use of a fun, healthy, and sustainable means of transportation as well as making an effort to keep riders safe and bikes road ready.¬† The intent is to meet a growing demand for this mode of transportation and recreation with open arms.¬† No Bike, No Problem!¬† LCBC will be providing a variety of bike frames and parts which have been generously donated by all aspects of the community so if you don‚Äôt have a bike don‚Äôt fret, just build your own.¬† Through the process of recycling old or unused bikes they are not only helping those in need but will be supplying a demand for inexpensive transportation, the reduction of waste, and the promotion of bike safety.¬† The bike kitchen will offer tools and a staff of knowledgeable bike mechanics and enthusiasts to assist cyclists.¬† I read recently that the JC Transit Authority’s (read: bus line)¬† newest fixed route buses have bicycle racks on the front of the bus, onto which you may load your bicycle. So, if you have another mile to go when you get off the bus, you’d have your bike right there with you to ride that mile! With gas prices still hovering in the unaffordable range, riding our bikes to run errands, to work or school makes good sense cents, and the ride itself will give you extra time that you won’t have to spend in the gym later. A friend in Ohio wrote this on her Facebook page back in March:
I’m getting a bicycle. $4/gal?! Are you kidding me? Minimum wage is $7.50? I refuse to participate in the profiteering of the oil companies and the continual raping of those people who work and are broke and starving. Sick bastards have lost their minds.”

She’ll no doubt need a bike kitchen at some point! Support yours, OK?

Today’s fun(d) raiser will kick off with a¬† healing arts class from 3-4:30 PM followed by live music on 3 main stages, a silent auction and an Education Resource Center (Expo Village): showcasing your local non-profit organizations and who’s who in the development of Johnson City. There will be door prizes of pizzas, locally made¬† jewelry, wearable art and much more…

$20 Donation requested at the door. No one will be turned away for lack of funds! All donations are tax-deductible through Friends of Old Downtowne.

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