Accidental kaizen!

A serendipitous thing happened today with my outdoor water setup. I call it accidental kaizen!

My watering can just happened to be underneath the old coffee urn that I use as an outdoor dispenser for water in my outdoor trellis-room as a convenient way to wash my hands outdoors (like when I need to switch from a “dirty” landscaping task to some task that requires cleaner hands).

So, as my hands get washed (or as my toothbrush gets rinsed etc.), the rinsewater trickles down into the watering can, whence it can then be reused to water certain areas of the yard where there is no tender or edible vegetation. Or on a mulch pile that could use a little extra moisture etc.

In permaculture design we refer to this kind of reuse as “energy cycling.” Reusing resources onsite as many times as possible in a trickle-down kind of way.

(Another example of energy cycling would be using old clothes as attire for dirty outdoor tasks rather than throwing them away. And then as the clothes get super worn out, cutting them up into rags which can be used in a downward-cascading hierarchy of tasks — from neat to messy — before finally ending up in the compost.)

Kaizen is one of my favorite concepts. I first learned of it via the world of Japanese business/industry. It means continuous incremental improvement.

Kaizen is a great fit for permaculture design and “DEEP GREEN” living.

(BTW the soap-dish isn’t visible in these shots but it is nearby. It’s a neutral-toned bowl I rescued from the waste stream. Although the bowl is plastic, it’s sturdy and nicely shaped, and it seems to have been made to look a little bit like wood or ceramic, which is very in keeping with my wabi/sabi-inspired aesthetic out there.)

Updates May 13:

• I ended up snapping a couple of pics that show the soapdish. There are a few pieces of an old cake of Maja soap in there, one of my favorites. It lasts a long time and works really well. BTW if it rains, I get some free liquid soap in the bowl. Or, if it starts raining a whole lot, I turn the bowl upside-down over the cakes of soap to protect them from getting totally melted.

• Because the spigot of the water container doesn’t quite stick out far enough for the water to make it all the way into the watering can, I made a tall funnel using a sheet of flexible transparent plastic which I have had sitting in my “purgatory bin” for a while. (The purgatory bin is my way-station for temporarily diverting things from the waste stream. Utimately I either find a use for them or send them on to landfill.) So basically, I kaizen-ed my kaizen from yesterday! I’m really happy with the funnel.

You can see pics here in this post on my deep green Facebook page.