Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Updates From Peaceful Forest Homestead

I have badly neglected this blog. Not that I meant to. No, I have just had so many things taking me away from my writing. Even my other blogs were neglected. I am trying to remedy that. It seems like summer just started and it is already over with. Not that it bothers me. I am not one for hot weather anymore. It is too uncomfortable for me and I enjoy cooler temperatures. You will not hear me complaining when the weather changes this year. Besides cold weather is easier for me as far as cooking and cleaning goes. Hot water and hot food cooking on a wood stove is super simple compared to any other methods.

My treasured curio cabinet is now part of my everyday life!

This past spring and summer there were many changes on our homestead. Since we moved here, we hadn't done too much work on the inside. It was always the barn or the solar/wind system that came first. I was tired of that. Why should we always be last? So we made a few changes inside and what a difference it has been. I added colorful curtains and moved some pieces of furniture around. It made me feel happier and more content. I love bright colors and now every time I look around the room, I smile.

Cooking with electric now!

Another change we have made this year is increasing our power coming from the solar panels. We had to replace our lead acid batteries in our battery bank and I am so glad we did. The batteries we bought are Battle Born LiFePO4 lithium ion batteries and we could only get two at this time. Even with just two replacing the 24 lead acid battery bank, we have not run our generator since we installed them. Over 3 months now! Now maybe that doesn't sound so exciting, but it means that I can now cook with electric. Most people who know about off the grid systems will tell you that it can't be done. But we have done it. I figure I won't be doing it in the winter when it is pretty sunless around here, but I will be cooking on our wood stoves then. Life keeps going on here at Peaceful Forest Homestead and we just do the best we can each day.

All Text & Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Woman's Perspective


A woman's perspective on living-off-the-grid? Sure, I can tell my perspective, but it may not be the same as other women's experiences. I had a reader ask me for "a woman's perspective on living-off-the-grid" and to write it as a blog post here. When I say "off-the-grid" here, I mean off the utility power grid such as electric companies. Of course, as of now, 2016, I have lived this lifestyle for over 17 years. I was in my forties when we started and it was like an exciting adventure. At that time, with no alternative energy system in place, we weren't using computers or anything electrical. Our days were spent getting firewood, bringing in water, preparing food and in general just enjoying this new way of life. A propane refrigerator and stove came with the house and we used those. A bit later, my  husband hooked up the wood cook stove we had purchased previously before moving here. Our lighting was all done by kerosene lamps and we had a lot of them. Fourteen to be exact and that included two lanterns for outside.

Cinders in our first garden on the front yard!

At that time the woods came right up to the house and surrounded us. We usually began our day by drinking coffee at the kitchen table looking at our huge collection of homesteading magazines. Nobody came here except for my husband's daughter, Hollie and her baby, Angel and my son, Jeff, who has lived with us off and on over the years. Our parents did not care for our dirt road, though my husband's parents did travel out here every now and then on Sunday after church. Now with them gone, we only have an occasional visitor, usually my husband's brother, Ken, my stepson, Jeffrey (yes, both of our sons have the same name), my son or my brother, Mickey. Very rare though! Before my father-in-law died in 2014, he liked to come out every now and then.

Peaceful Forest Homestead November 2016

I find as I have gotten older, it is not as easy as it was back then. Now I don't have a vehicle that I can drive, so I am really isolated. I have bad knees and need a cane to walk if I go anywhere. I seem to get along okay here without one, though when I am outside I carry a small shovel for balance. We were never able to make the important improvements to our house due to money. Those would have made a big difference now, I think. We put money into our energy system, such as in solar panels and a small wind turbine. Over the years, parts had to be replaced and the good thing is that those things are coming down in price now. We really needed to have done other things to make this house more senior friendly than it is right now. Hopeful about that in the future, but don't know if it will happen in my lifetime.

Wind Max 400

Life happens, so things change over the years. We lost beloved family members, people and pets. Working on various projects that couldn't be completed for some reason or other. Accidents happen. We have more power than we started out with, since back then we had none. I believe the internet has sidetracked us a lot. Spending too much time on it, when I could be doing more important projects. This coming year, I am cutting back on my time online and only spending time on sites that are more important to me, like doing my genealogy research. Other than that, I need to be working on our food and house.

Our Road

For the most part, this is a good way to live. In the country away from areas that could have terrorists nearby or some type of unrest. Growing as much of our food as we can, harvesting and preserving it. Generating our own power, the more we can produce, the less of the other fuels we need. Right now we are limited due to our batteries getting old and needing to be replaced. Once they are replaced, I can't see us running our generator more than once a week or so. Providing our own needs is the way it used to be. Not running to the store constantly to buy something. I am probably one of the most frugal women you could meet, trying to make everything last as long as possible. What else can you do?

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

katlupe's Thoughts For The Future

Leaves Changing Color and Falling

As summer slips into fall, I contemplate some changes I am making in my life. In the course of uncluttering my house, I was selling items on eBay. Yes, I sold off a lot of things, but the time and money spent on eBay was not conducive to what or how I want my life to go. Especially at my age now, in my sixties. I want less stress and a more relaxed lifestyle. That was not how to attain it. So I have stopped selling on eBay or anywhere for that matter. I am still getting rid of stuff but just taking it to my local thrift store.

Tree Tops Around my Yard

I like to write and that is what I am best at. This is the pursuit that suits me best. Writing my thoughts, as on this blog, or describing my lifestyle on my other two blogs. As all my readers know, I wrote two cookbooks which are still for sale on Amazon in the Kindle store. I would like to add a paper book version of both of those using Amazon's Create Space option eventually. Some of my Facebook friends brought to my attention that they would like me to continue my story on my Enduring Word blog, which I haven't written on in a very long time. So I shall look into that too.

Peaceful Forest

On the home front, I am desperate to clear out a bit of space in this crowded house for a small exercise area. Long before I moved here, in my previous life, I had a whole exercise room that was devoted to all my equipment. I used free weights and had a few pieces of other equipment. When I ended up divorced, I had no place for that equipment in a city apartment. I still have the hand weights and would like to buy a new incline/decline bench and a recumbent bike. I am really feeling the need for a regular exercise program. When I first moved out here, I race walked. Plus I worked at the horse farm where we bought our horses, which was a real exercise program in itself. Now with my knees being in such sad shape, I need to find an alternative. I think this will do it. So I am very hopeful. I found the equipment I need which is not very expensive. Now to make the room!

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, August 08, 2016

Biker Music Video, Riding

I wanted to share my husband, Larry Lupole's new video, Riding. He filmed this video while riding his motorcycle. It was a process doing this because he had to stop to come home to edit it in the computer before going on with it. I think he did a wonderful job.

The music he wrote and recorded on his album, Classic Fantasy, that is available for sale in my eBay store, katlupe's Shop.

I hope you like it.

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Social Interaction

Social Interaction

Many studies are cited that state people who are loners or introverts without much social interaction die younger than others who are more social. I do not believe those studies one bit. I see more stress and anger created by social interaction than anything else. Of course you love your family and friends and often put up with a lot more from them, that you would from other people. I believe the studies done and included in publications and other places are meant to make you join in, as our government tries to steer us toward being collectives or one world government. Doing their best to make all people of all countries, being the same person, as far as their individualism goes. Same as people following each other on Facebook and you read what they write or think, then you start believing it yourself. Not me, for sure. I am not that type of person. I have always been one to make my own path, however right or wrong it may be. It is mine.

Fast Food

It brings to mind the studies done on steering us toward high carb diets, low fat foods, processed foods, drinking soda, using sugar and white flour products. Now everyone knows or should know, those foods were making us sick and eventually killing us. Why did they do that? Money, greed and power. Sick people make money for big pharma. If you don't believe me, read the book The Big Pharma Conspiracy, The Drugging of America for Fast Profits by Max Fitzer.

My Favorite Place

On a more personal level, I feel healthier and happier with no social interaction at all. I have 588 friends on Facebook and my interaction with them is in my control. With a flip of a button I can be instantly alone and away from the hot topic of the day. Tomorrow they will be on to something else. During canning season, I check my eBay sales and then I am off it for the day. When I didn't have an eBay store, except for writing my blogs and eBooks I had no need to be online so much. At the moment eBay takes up most of my time online. I had badly neglected my blogs and recently have been trying to bring them back. The older posts need to be updated and revised and of course, I always need to be adding new content.

I hate driving in traffic!

After a day of social interaction on Facebook, when we have shut our computers off for the night, I let out a sigh of relief. It almost feels like a day spent fighting traffic on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour (though I can happily say, that it has been many, many years since I have been there). Some people may need social gatherings, buy not all people do. I remember my father's doctor urged him to go to a senior dinner near his house because he was alone. He went and he looked around and said "Wow, these people are old." Most in bad health and sickly looking. He was probably older than most of them. He never went back and lived to be 93 years old.  He was working on a carburetor in his garage the day he had a stroke that would eventually lead to his passing less than a month later. He was happy and didn't need social interaction either. I am quite content with my life the way it is and like my social interaction to be with the people I choose on my computer. If I don't know the people in person, it doesn't really matter. When you write back and forth to someone, I feel you get to know them much better.


Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Changes In My Life

The road to my home goes through the state forest.

I have seen many changes in my life over the years. Even if you do not live a long life, that holds true for everyone. Life would be pretty boring if changes did not take place. Looking at a person in their nineties, we often hear remarks of wonder of all they have seen in their lives. I discussed all the changes my father had seen in his lifetime with him often. He loved to talk about it. He was very alert and knowledgeable right to his last days. These conversations with him were some of my favorite conversations with him that I will always treasure.

The pot of gold is my homestead!

In social media we are discussing our favorite periods of our lives often. Someone will post a picture of some item we used in the past asking if you remember using it. Many times that once forgotten item will take me back on what I call my memory train. Back to another time and place. I personally don't have any really bad memories, unless I count as a teen, becoming a single mother and running away from home too scared to tell my parents. That turned out okay though because of my mother, who always made bad situations better. Two other bad periods for me were my two divorces, which is a subject better left buried.

Our Barn

For the most part, changes in my life were many and usually at the time, I felt they were good. I liked change. It was exciting to explore the new things it would bring to my life. One of the biggest changes of course, was moving to my off the grid home in 1999. That was the year everyone was preparing for the year 2000 and what was going to happen due to computers running everything, known as the Y2K. Truthfully, we didn't do much as far as the Y2K was concerned once we moved here. Instead we were busy preparing for winter. No computers. No televisions. In fact, I gave away my own big screen television because I felt even if I could ever power it - it was out of place here.

Cooking and heating water on my wood cook stove.

Was the change good for me? I thought so. Now I think it certainly was. Living with no electric bill for over sixteen years was good indeed. Over the years we have saved thousands of dollars including the cost of our alternative energy system. No cost of fuel for heating, most of the time, except for gas and chainsaws and their parts. I think we have only purchased about four loads of logs in all that time. I haven't figured out how to eliminate propane (for cooking) since I need it for canning. All winter I cook on my wood cook stove, which is my favorite method of cooking. I also use the wood heating stove for cooking and heating water during the winter. One time the propane delivery man asked me, "Don't you cook?" I sure do! I cooked and baked a lot back then. Homemade made from scratch. No processed foods most of the time. I still cook, but don't bake so much now since we eat low carbs.

Our road in winter

In 1999, my husband could cut a tree down and let it fall across the road and not have to hurry because of cars driving by. It was days before we'd see one or two cars go by. Now more and more people are moving from cities to the country. Mainly from NJ, Long Island and NYC in our area. I don't blame them for wanting to leave. It has made us think of looking for a more secluded place. But then again, do I really want to start over again? In our sixties? Right now we are centrally located from several small towns and one small city. Once our two elderly cats are gone, I think the traffic on our road won't be such a big stress point for me.

Peaceful Forest

My most recent change has been doing almost all my shopping online. Yes, even groceries and household products. It is easier for me to find what I need on the four sites I shop at regularly, Amazon, Netrition, Emergency Essentials and Walmart. I don't have to drive anywhere, which is good because at this time I do not have anything to drive (another big change for me). Most people do not like change and I am one of those people, IF it is forced on me. I need the changes to be my own doing.

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole