Our house in 1999
I have been amiss in writing on this blog since May of this year. I have been really working on my home-based business and that includes my website Solar Baby. For that site I have been detailing my own efforts at building our alternative energy system. Since it is a fairly technical subject it takes more research on my part. Making a living from home isn't as simple as putting a website up and watching it bring the money in. I wish it was!!
Recently I have connected with a friend that I lost contact with. Her and her husband were featured in a magazine that my husband and I read. The article was about the best places to live to run a home-based business and they were featured in the St. Petersburg, FL section. We ended up meeting them and moving there only to find out that Florida was not the best place for a home-based business. So both of us ended up working in the fast paced Home Shopping Network. It was not really for us as our hearts were still in running our own home-based business. That was many years ago and now when I recount to my friend how our lives have changed.....I am amazed!
Front yard now!
Living on our off-the-grid homestead in the middle of the state forest to so many people seems that we are trying to live old fashioned or before technology. But that is not the case at all! We are of the future. Using some of the old ways and many more of the new. Very many of the old ways have helped us get to where we are today by sacrificing. Such as:
- I have been washing my laundry by hand for over ten years now.......not many people would be willing to do that today. As soon as our water is brought into the house, I will be using my brand new washing machine that is waiting to go into action. Can't wait!
- My husband completely built our two story barn with manual hand tools, with the exception of his chainsaw for cutting the boards.
- He has even used a scythe for cutting our lawn......did not like it at all, but he did it for one whole summer. He still uses it for cutting down growth in our paddock (our horses are so fussy they will not eat everything that grows out there!). He now uses a Neuton electric lawn mower and does not cost us one cent as we charge it with our own solar system.
- We used kerosene lamps for most of the time we have lived here.....at one time we had 14 of them and lit them every night. Two were lanterns that hung outside and my husband used one for going out to the barn to give the horses their night hay. Our light usage now is free as we have lights in our kitchen that turn on with a normal switch and really light up the kitchen.
- We still carry in our water from the hand-dug well which is pumped by a pitcher pump. This will be changing by next year I hope.
- Our hot water is heated by our stoves....either our wood heating stove, wood cook stove or our propane cooking range and poured into the bath tub or the sink for dishes. We plan on using water collectors in the future.
- By far, the hardest thing I have had to sacrifice has been no refrigeration. In the winter here in upstate NY it is very easy and no effort at all. But these warmer months have tested my patience many times! Since we are reworking our root cellar it is not cool like it usually is in the summer. One whole wall is torn apart and lets warm air in. When that is finished it will be better than ever with the changes completed. So for the time being I have been using an ice chest in my pantry, which is also torn apart. I have to buy ice every time I go to the store and it does not last more than one day. This is the second time I have lived over a year with no refrigeration. The other time I kept fresh water from our well in the ice chests and changed it several times a day. I guess back then I wasn't quite so busy as I find it hard to do that now. I will be purchasing a Sundanzer refrigerator and freezer, which are two separate units. They are built like a chest freezer, but one is a refrigerator. They use about as much power as a laptop each. So they are coming! Need to get two more solar panels before we add them though.
The thing about these old fashioned ways is that they usually don't cost anything. Except for the kerosene for the lamps. So while we save our money to put in the technology to bring these conveniences to our homestead, we still use these old ways of doing things. The technologies that we plan to use will cost us money up front to bring them in, but in the long run they will pay for themselves with no other cost. Then some of the old ways are still the best ways.....like the wood cook stove or the wood heating stove. My husband plans on adding radiant floor heat using evacuated tubes, but we will always have a wood heat stove and I would NEVER give up my wood cook stove. Though I plan on replacing my old wood cook stove with the Pioneer Maid. New technology on an old fashioned product???? We'll see when I get it.
I will touch back on some of these ideas in future posts. And especially as we complete some of our projects. Have a wonderful homesteading day and enjoy your summer!
Copyright © 2009 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2009 Kathleen G. Lupole