Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Solar Panels On The Homestead

Having just added another solar panel to our array of panels, I am experiencing the joy of having more power. We operate our home now on 180 watts of power from the panels. I just can't imagine that people would rather pay the electric companies those big bills that keep going up. Our system we add to little by little until we get it to where we want it.

Recently on a forum that I belong to, someone commented that he lived for 12 years off the grid, but now is more than happy to pay the power a $50. a month to take care of his needs. He did not like worrying about how much power he used or how much each appliance used. So he would rather pay for the option of the electric company taking care of him. I like to take care of myself.

When the power goes out around here, I don't even know it until a few days later if someone mentions it. My computer can be on all the time if I want, as that is the main thing I power. Of course, I don't need all the "comforts" that the "yuppie" world needs. I love my life the way it is. Every morning I can wake up and get my coffee, go out to feed my horses, walk with my dog and browse in my garden. Then I go in to get on my laptop and get to work.

It all ties together. Being a "homesteader" these days, means making your living at home, but not necessarily selling produce or livestock. But you can make products such as goats' milk soaps or lotions, woodcrafts, do sewing, word processing, internet research, paralegal, even secretarial skills from your computer and telephone - but you do it from your own homestead! And you are there to take care of your daily chores or to make your products. It's a great life. 

Copyright © 2005 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pets' And Horses' Personalities

One of the things I love about working at home is that when I am working on my computer, I can see my garden. I love seeing those corn stalks gently moving in the breeze. This is the first year that I have planted corn here. As I told you before, I have raised beds now. So I planted my corn in them to see how they would do. One thing I know I did wrong was to plant them spaced too far apart. I forgot. They hold each other up if they are closer. I noticed that in the farmers' fields they were really close. Mine will be closer next year.

Tomorrow, my daughter in-law and her daughter are coming up for the day. Her daughter is at the age when girls are so horse crazy. She loves to ride my horse, Tawny. Tawny is half Thoroughbred and half Shetland Pony. She's the most loving horse you could meet. She will rest her chin on your back if you're working in the barn or in her paddock. And she loves to lick you.
But looks can be deceiving. She tried to kill my pet chicken once. And we were right there. She went right after her and tried to stomp her to death! I had her go after our cats and our dog, who is a good sized dog. But I think it may have to do with the fact that she is the low horse on the herd totem pole. She can be in the barn and the cat will rub on her face from the stall gate and she's fine with that. But if they are out near her, she'll go after them unexpectedly. I punish her every time, so eventually she'll learn not to do that I hope. My other two horses, aren't like that at all. And they are the spirited ones!

Animals are sometimes as sneaky as people! Our tortiseshell cat, Callie is very affectionate and not afraid of anyone or anything. I saw her chase a big dog out of our yard once, and she was right on his butt hitting him with her claws, as he ran yelping toward the road. The thing is that if cats would learn not to run from a dog, the dog wouldn't chase them. She doesn't run from them, but toward them. One time, a stray dog, came to our house and she would not allow him to come on the porch.

My friend and her boyfriend, have 3 little dogs. Callie plays with them and is usually the winner. One of the dogs, barks at her, and she'll go right up to her and rub her face on hers. That dog doesn't know what to do or what to think. Of course, Callie is used to living with our dog, Nikita who is a big lab mix. She picks on Nikita all the time. But she has known her since the day she was born and sometimes, I think she may think that Nikita is her mother.

My husband used to work at a barn  training horses. One of the nice things about that job is that he could take me and our dog to work with him. Nikita loved all those barn cats that she would chase as soon as she got there every morning. Then one morning, they were waiting for her. This one cat, Sawdust didn't run, he went after her instead. Then they all chased her together! It was as if they planned it. After that, there would be times I'd find her cornered in a stall by a cat. And of course, that is where my cat, Callie was born!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hot Dry Summer This Year

This is the driest summer we have had since we've lived here on our homestead. The ground is so dry and brown and crackles as you walk on it. Even when other people used to talk about having a drought, I used to feel thankful that we didn't have that problem.

It's scarey to me because we live in the middle of almost 4,000 acres of state forest land. We have three horses and if there was a forest fire we would have to get them out of here. At this time, we don't even have a horse trailer. But we have discussed finding a used three horse trailer in the future. That way, we'd be able to drive them out of here - probably kicking and screaming the whole way.

But neither one of us would ever be willing to leave any of our animals behind to save our own skin! We have a commitment to all of them. And we are working on solving these type of problems, before they are a problem. Then if something does happen, you know what to do immediately. We do not have a horse trailer but that is what we'd need. It would have to hold three horses at the same time. The only other thing I could thing of would be for my husband to ride one horse out and lead the other two out with blind folds on. And the horse he'd have to ride out would have to be our littlest, Tawny. She part Thoroughbred but is more Shetland than that and she is one tough cookie. So she'd be the most dependable. The other two would be nervous wrecks if there there was a fire around them. Very nervous girls.

Hopefully we will never have that problem. But it could be a realty with all the things that keep happening in the world around us. Praying that it don't.

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole