Our Small Solar System
Some members of my family, friends and other people STILL think my husband and I are living old fashioned. No way, no how are we living old fashioned! It is true that some of the old fashioned ways of doing things appear to be outdated. If you are striving to do things with as little paid fuel sources as possible, and have to use a bit of hard work to do something, then I can see how someone may have that idea. We use many manual tools such as the wheel hoe to plow our raised beds, hand drill, rotary mixer, a hand blender, hand saw..........as well as the old fashioned shovel for digging. My husband dug out a whole room in our house next to our root cellar, for storage of our batteries, our water pump and pressurized water tank. Now if we had to pay someone to do that it would have increased the cost of adding this on. Instead our money has gone for the building materials. I appreciate the work he did............especially since he has a crushed elbow. In fact, his doctor keeps telling him that eventually he will have to get an artificial one. I can't see that happening! He did it though over a long period of time.
Bringing the internet to the middle of the state forest!
We use laptop computers to run my online business. I can get orders from my store, package up the orders and print out the shipping label right here from my computer. Put it in the mailbox in the morning, and there it goes on the way to the buyer. Fast, easy and don't have to leave our home. We recently changed to the satellite for our internet connection. I am not 100% percent happy with the provider, Hughes Net, though for the time being it is faster than dial-up. If Frontier ever brings DSL to our area I will be more than happy to sign up. That is unless my husband is able to get us connected to one of the wireless networks. Our computers are all set up for that.........it is just that where we live is not. So that is all high tech methods that enable a homesteader to make a living without leaving their home every day. No driving back and forth putting miles on your vehicles. It has enabled us to only have own one vehicle which is so much cheaper.
Cooking breakfast on a wood cook stove!
We heat and cook with wood. I also have a propane stove which I use pretty regular. But my wood cook stove is my favorite method of cooking. No cost except for getting the wood. Contrary to what people will tell you, it does not heat up the house anymore than turning your gas stove's oven on. I like it and it much easier to cook on than the common electric or gas stoves. I cook a lot of meals on the wood heating stove through out the winter. Letting a roast, stew or chili simmering on it all day.............drives my men crazy with hunger! LOL
Meter for our system
The most technical part of our homestead would have to be our alternative energy system. We are off-the-grid so there is no other solution for us except generating our own power. Having done this for over ten years now, it is pretty much old hat to us. But when visitors or delivery men/women come here they are all intrigued with the system. We use five solar panels for our power source. New York state is not known for having much sunshine. But it does have some. Probably the lowest of all the U.S. states. That is why you have to have more panels than someone who lives in.............say, New Mexico, California or Florida. It can be done and it is, as I am living proof of that fact.
The Neuton Lawnmower
As we add things to our house and homestead it will all be items that can work as independently of fossil fuels as possible. Our lawn mower is electric. A Neuton, which my husband loves. He had such times with gas powered ones over the years. Now this one has not had any issues at all. He bought four batteries to go with it. When one battery conks out, he just takes it out and brings it inside, puts it on the charger. Then takes a charged one out, and pops it in the mower and off he goes. He also bought a Neuton garden cart for me and I love that more than I knew I would. I am able to get my gardening done so much faster and with my bad knees I can use the cart to help me walk. I love working outside since I got this cart.
Cabrio Washing Machine
We have a very high tech, energy efficient washing machine that we will be using once the water is hooked up inside. I don't plan on buying a dryer though as I'd rather hang the laundry outside and dry the natural way. My luxury items will be a Kitchen Aid mixer and a new dishwasher. Those are two items I really need and want. I like to bake our own breads and the Kitchen Aid will make that job go so much faster. As I get older I can see the advantage to accepting help that some appliances give. Like the dishwasher. Standing for long periods of time result in much pain for me nowadays.
Living in the middle of the state forest!
My husband says our next vehicle will be an electric vehicle for sure. I look forward to that. So by combing some of the old ways with the new ways you live a more peaceful existence. Not inhaling gas fumes while you mow the lawn or plow your garden is one way. Not listening to the loud noise of a chainsaw while cutting your firewood is another.......instead using a crosscut saw and working at a slow, steady pace out in the forest listening to the birds. Makes those jobs more enjoyable.What do you think?
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole