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Archive for March, 2016

 

DSC_0233I know that I am a few days late, but happy spring.  I have been working too many hours lately and so I haven’t had time to do much blogging.  Spring this year feels incredible to me.  We had a warm spell about a week ago, and on top of the light winter we had, all of the snow melted.  I was able to stand outside on my property and look around.  To really take in the experience we were having.  We had made it.  We had built a house and made it through the first winter.  I truly believe that what we have already accomplished was the hardest part.  The emotional and physical strain of the experience has been like nothing I have ever been through.  I still believe it was worth it.  Now that we have stabilized, we can take our time.  There is no urgent need to complete a project so that we can have a place to live or heat for the winter.  There are things that we should probably get done, but we have a solid roof over our heads so we can complete projects more casually.  We can take the time to do things really well and to enjoy our projects.  We can take the time to explore the property and see what is there.  We can really begin to appreciate the life that we have chosen.  There is still plenty of work to be done, but we can function at our own, slow, thoughtful pace.

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Making Changes

Permaculture is a great system.  The solutions it has come up with are fantastic.   However, I feel like I am restricting myself by labeling my homestead as “permaculture.”  I use many permaculture concepts, but also plenty of things that are not permaculture.   So I am changing the name of the blog.   Nothing too exciting because we haven’t really named the homestead yet.  Some day we will come up with a name for it.

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Without running water, baths are a little more of a project.  Not really all that bad though, now that we have got the hang of it.  You just have to start collecting the day before.

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Yes.  We are melting snow to take baths and showers.  As long as we get as good start, we have no trouble getting plenty for all of us to get clean. It’s actually easier than buying the water and lugging up to the cabin. Although, it didn’t snow that much this year so we did have to buy some water. The snow is getting to be too muddy.

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This is our tub. Notice tje wood stove in tje background with the melting snow. A nice pile of firewood next to it. That 5 gallon bucket is the best part though. We have a camp shower with as submersible pump so we can take a shower. Fantastic upgrade we made. And ed reason the tub is not in the bathroom is because we have to carry it outside to dump it when we are done. Through a doorway would be too much.
So there it is. Our shower.

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One of the issues we have here on the homestead is keeping food cold.  We have a cooler that goes through tons of ice all summer.   Then during the winter the food freezes.  We plan to put in a root cellar this year for sure, but what if we could do better, passively?
A fellow blogger is working on this very concept.  I am very excited about this project and can’t wait to see what they do.  If they succeed, it would mean so much to any of us living off grid.  I don’t know all the details of the project, but it looks like they are trying to use the winter ice to cool a root cellar all summer.  That would be amazing.  
If any of you out there are as excited about this as I am, check out the link to their project.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/root-cellar-passive-cooler-at-peace-of-earth-farm–5
They are currently trying to raise some money to get things going, but the link also explains the concept.  If anyone would be willing to donate or to spread the word, it would be greatly appreciated.   Just think about what this could mean for us off gridders!

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After working so hard all summer and into the fall, we hit winter and started loosing motivation and we ran out of money.  It has worked out just fine though.  We have kept busy with daily chores and a lot of relaxing.  No complaints at all.  I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to start working on the house again, and I have been working a lot of extra hours, so we’ll get back to work soon.

After all the insulation went up, somebody told me that when they couldn’t afford to put walls up they covered the insulation in cardboard to keep the kids away from the insulation.  This was a perfect idea for us.  It turned out to be an extra good idea because the kids love to decorate the cardboard wall covering, and I won’t ever have to clean the walls off.

DSC_0209This piece of artwork is especially good.  My son is potty training.  We don’t have electricity and therefore don’t have really good lighting.  There are scary shadows in the bathroom at night and so the little guy doesn’t want to go on the potty or even go near the bathroom.  His sister came up with the idea of drawing “scary things” on the bathroom walls to scare away the scary shadows and protect her little brother while he was going potty.  Makes me a very proud Mommy to see how much my babies love each other and want to help each other out.  I love this piece of art so much that we will be framing it once we take it down to put up a real wall.

We have run out of money for sure, but that hasn’t stopped us from having a good time.  I am very proud that my children have plenty with just some markers and makeshift cardboard walls.  We have a great life here.  It has been very difficult and a lot of hard work, but it is all worth it.  We have struggled plenty to get where we are, but my children will never know it.  They are happy and healthy and have tons of fun, even without electricity.  Yes, we have a generator and they watch movies sometimes, but that will pretty much stop when spring gets here.  The kids won’t even notice.  They are too busy splashing in puddles and watching the chipmunks.  I couldn’t be happier, but it would be nice to have a little cash to work on the house!

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Winter here has been unseasonably warm.  You would think that this would be a good thing, and it has been for the most part.  We haven’t needed much wood for heat because it has been warm.  We barely have any snow on the ground, it’s going to melt faster and has been easier to trudge through. Mud season shouldn’t be as muddy as usual because we don’t have 6+ feet of snow on the ground to melt.  I should be able to get to gardening soon too!

However, now we are getting closer to spring and the warm and cold weather is causing us a little trouble.  We get a couple inches of snow, followed by a couple inches of rain, followed by a freeze.  The whole property is a sheet of ice.  We can barely get around.  Bringing the kids outside is a huge chore because it is so slippery.  Bringing supplies up is a huge pain because it is so slippery.  Our driveway is especially bad.  We somehow managed to divert the water drainage directly to the bottom of the driveway where the water pools and freezes into a solid skating rink.  This gets especially interesting when I get home at night and it’s pitch black out.  We have found a few projects that need to be done before next winter for sure!

Next week is supposed to get up to 50 degrees, so we should be able to get through this ice business pretty soon though!

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