Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Anyone who lives in the country is well aware that at certain times of the year accumulations of dirt gets tracked in. Along with the dirt is tree pollen. Here in Colorado we have two seasons - snow season and no snow season; there is a time sandwiched between those two seasons when the snow is melting and bare ground appears in patches where dirt and mud can present an indoor problem. When you have 16 paws and four human feet coming and going frequently dirt/pollen is going to get tracked in.
To combat that constant tracking in of dirt we have commercial grade indoor/outdoor carpet in the back of the house but the front has normal carpet. We have a color that doesn’t show dirt and it is vacuumed every day to get the dirt/pollen out, but this time of year and other times still more cleaning is needed. Since we live 50 miles from the nearest carpet cleaner rental that presents a problem for us. When you factor in the rental cost, the 200 miles to rent and return the carpet cleaner ($32.00 in gas alone) and a bottle of carpet shampoo not including the driving time, it can get pretty costly to shampoo a carpet as often as is needed.
We found that buying our own carpet cleaner is more practical. Cleaning our carpet twice equals what a new carpet cleaner costs as opposed to renting one, which saves us the time and cost of driving into town. Since we actually clean our carpet several times a year we therefore save money by owning our own carpet cleaner. We have tried several carpet cleaners over the years but the one pictured seems to be durable, and gets the carpet nice and clean. If we can time the cleaning to coincide with when we have the wood stove going we can then put an oscillating fan in front of the wood stove and by blowing the warm air it dries the carpet very quickly.
We also live in a very heavily treed area where tree pollen this time of year is high. Anyone that has allergies knows what tree pollen means. We have one dog that is very allergic to tree and grass pollen and we have a sensitivity to it also. We both start to take allergy medication before we start sneezing and have runny eyes. We have to closely watch our allergic dog (also in the photo) to keep him from having an allergic reaction. Having a clean carpet void of tree pollen is essential for our comfort and also our dog. Dogs react differently to allergies and they also lay on the carpet putting them in direct contact with any pollen tracked in. They scratch a lot and his eyes get overly sensitive and irritated. When the pollen is at its peak we have a set of Doggles (eye goggles for dogs) that he wears to keep the wind blown pollen and grit out of his eyes so they don‘t get as irritated. It is also this time of year when we like to have the windows open for fresh outside air. So for our comfort we have to have nice clean window screens to trap as much pollen as possible before it is blown inside the house. We can’t totally avoid pollen but we can keep it from over powering us inside the house and give us all more comfort and sanctuary from its irritating effects.
We have decided that we can clean our carpet as often as necessary by owning rather than renting. Two carpet cleaning treatments equals the cost of renting and saves us considerable time. We and our veterinarian have tried several things for our boy who has allergies and sensitive skin over the years but we have found being on top of the program and prevention does better than the cure. We purchase a special non allergic shampoo and keep as much pollen outside as possible. His diet is void of grain and allergy causing components. We don’t think giving a dog steroids often for allergies is good for them so we put more effort into prevention than cure. This seems to work better than letting it go and having him so uncomfortable so often. He also seems much happier - hence we are happier - with this regime than taking strong medication.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray go to: http://www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com