Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall Harvest For The Self-Sufficient Homestead

Dark Shadow

Fall is definitely in the air. No birds singing to wake us up in the morning.  Or to put us asleep in the evening. No robins following my husband around while he mows the lawn. No robins in the garden when I am out there working. I miss the robins the most. Soon I will have chickadees and blue jays at my bird feeders. Chickadees following me around to let me know they need more bird feed. I know fall is pretty and that everyone likes the cooler temps. I like fall and it has always been my favorite season because of the colorful leaves and the fall harvest. But I do love the robins and miss seeing them hop all over the lawn. And I definitely miss hearing the birds singing together! It is my husband's favorite sound.

Kale from the garden

Yesterday I canned 8 pints of kale from my garden. It will grow  back and hopefully, I will get some more. I like to add it to soups and stews in the winter. This year I got a nice crop of it. If you cover it in really freezing weather it should over winter enough to be part of your winter greens menu. Tomorrow I am planning on pulling up the old bush bean plants that are done and re-plow the bed. Then I can plant more winter greens or a quick crop of something that will come up before winter.

The day before yesterday I canned 14 quarts of green and wax (yellow) beans. I mixed them together after one of my Facebook and Homesteading Today friends mentioned she does that all the time. I think I will too from now on. They look pretty. So far I have canned 41 quarts of beans and am hoping to can 14 more. One quart a week for a year. That is how I am planning our pantry vegetables. Each vegetable we eat, one quart a week for a year.

Pumpkin Plant

I have one big pumpkin in my garden. It is really big and I never have grown one this big before. I can pumpkins and winter squash by first letting them cure in my pantry or root cellar a few weeks first. That improves their flavor. Then cut them in cubes and peel them, in either order. Whatever is easier. Then I put them in a pan with water covering and bring them to a boiling temperature. Then you can go ahead and process them according to the recipe in your canning book. Though most canning books now tell you not to can them but I have this information from Jackie Clay, Growing And Canning Pumpkins on it. Scroll down to the first question and she tells you there why you shouldn't can the pureed pumpkin. I have a large harvest of winter squash I will be doing the same way.

Speaking of Jackie Clay, she and her spouse, Will, had an accident and fell from the roof of the hay storage building they were working on. They were hurt pretty bad and Jackie has had to take it easy for the time being, though from the looks of her blog, she is still working hard. She wrote an excellent article in Backwoods Home Magazine, Building and Stocking Your Pantry. You have to read that article. It is excellent, as usual Jackie gives the best information.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Choosing The Best Knife For You

A tool that most homesteaders and most country people carry with them is knives. It is a tool that is sometimes misunderstood. It is not meant to be a weapon but often used that way so people tend to see one and automatically think it is threatening. When you are doing chores it is one of the things I borrow the most from my husband. He carries his in his pocket at all times. And yes, if we go to a government building he has to give it to the guard before we go through the security gate.

When you choose a knife to carry, you have to first determine what is your purpose in carrying one? Is it for hunting and skinning your game? Or is it to carry with you for all those times you need to cut something doing your chores? For me, it would never be hunting. It is definitely for cutting the fence line, cutting baling twine to open a hay bale for my horses, cut something out of my horses' manes, cutting a plant or weed in the garden or the forest, etc. There are so many chores that you can use them for, I could never list them all here. I am usually  using a  pocket knife that I can easily carry in a jacket pocket, pants pocket or even my purse.

A folding knife is probably more sensible if you are carrying it in your pockets or purse. My husband's knife is one that folds up and he likes that kind better. I carry one in my purse more like the one in the above photo like multi purpose pocket knife.  One thing you must remember to do is to keep it sharpened. A dull knife isn't much good for any job.

Another type of knife that I want to mention is the survival knife. This is a knife that would assist you in times of emergencies or disasters. If you are lost in the wilderness or forced to live out in the forest for some reason or other, a survival knife would be one, if not the most important item in your gear. You will need to choose from stainless steel or carbon steel blades. Stainless will last and is virtually indestructible. Carbon steel is known to hold an edge longer, but will rust faster depending on where you are and what you are doing. Here is a link to an article I thought was excellent on all points to consider for your survival knife, 7 Things To Consider Before Choosing Your Survival Knife.

I hope this is helpful for you in choosing what types of knives you need for your homestead. Teaching your children from a young age how to handle a knife and what it is for is a good way to avoid accidents. If they know about them, then you will avoid kids playing dangerously with knives when you are not around. I know my brother and I were always around them as we came from a fishing and hunting family. These are important skills for everybody to know in case you are ever  in a situation needing to use a knife for survival purposes or an emergency.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Organizing The Modern Homestead

Elderberry plants earlier this month

This blogging network is huge. There are so many communities to join to network now that I can hardly keep up with it. Since I blog, I belong to more than a few. Then there are the networks I joined that are for people who sell online like on eBay or Bonanzle. After that of course, is Facebook, which my networks there are many: homesteaders, solar people, plant people, natural medicine people, classmates and friends from Crescent City, Fl, Flagler Beach, Fl and Harpursville,NY, business networks, on and get the idea. I also belong to a few homesteading forums, a herbal forum, myspace, linkedin, and some others. I haven't been finding the time to go to some of them much lately.

One of the things that is keeping me busy is trying to update my eBooks so I can put them for sale on Amazon's Kindle. I am updating by adding a lot more information and took all the photos out. The photos take up too much space and I think people would rather have more written information.

See the modern homestead lifestyle includes having to make a living also. So you are working almost constantly. I think organization is the key to that too. I am working on the automating of the homestead as well as my business life. Trying to make our life simple and easy. Working at home means when it is time to harvest a crop from your garden you can take the time to spend a few days doing that. You are not forced to go to a job and wish you were at home canning your vegetables. I know that feeling.

Tim Ferriss's book, The 4-Hour Workweek has many suggestions for changing your life to allow for all those things you have been wanting to do without necessarily becoming Donald Trump to do it. I had bought his book a few months back and then got busy and didn't start implementing those things into my life. Now I am re-reading it and studying the things I can do to improve our life here on our homestead. He has many tips for  not wasting time. His book and website gives you the idea of how you can live with the freedom of working only four hours a week to generate your income. And spend your time achieving your dreams! Now who wouldn't want to do that?

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sharing Photos On Wordless Wednesday

On The Way Home!

Hay Bales Got Rained On!

Hay Bales On The Field

Truck Trail Through The Woods To Peaceful Forest Homestead!

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Off-The-Grid By Nick Rosen Review

Forest Surrounds Our Home

Nick Rosen, of the Off-The-Grid forum,  recently released his book, Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America in July. I read this book with great interest to learn more about other “off-the-gridders”. I found the history of General Electric eye opening and read aloud many parts of that chapter to my husband. I especially loved the part about General Electric marketing directly to the housewives in those early years to lure them into buying electric appliances. It paid off too. Now nobody can live without many of those items and they are considered essential in most homes.
Nick Rosen is a journalist and documentary filmmaker and writes about living off-the-grid for the London Times, The Guardian and Reuters. He traveled across America interviewing people who were willing to let him into their homes and wrote his opinion of them and their lifestyle for this book. I understand from his book that living full time off-the-grid is not something he does currently but something he would like to do in the future. From his forum I get the feeling that he is promoting going off-the-grid and many of his members are either already doing it or dreaming about it.
One of the things that I find misleading about his book, “off the grid” is that many people will think it is about how to live off the grid, or about how to set up the various systems that the people live with. It is not. It is about what Nick Rosen terms the off the grid movement. I wrote in an earlier post on Solar Baby, “Why We Chose To Live Off-The-Grid”:
I liked reading and learning about so many other people living this way, as personally, I only know a handful. Nick Rosen gives you the picture that people living this way are eccentric characters and living this way out of necessity or political reasons. Many people living this way are doing neither. I won’t mention the pot growers or smokers, as that has nothing to do with being off-the-grid. I know people living on the grid who do both too. One thing I feel we have in common with many of the people interviewed is the need for seclusion. The feeling that the world is too crowded and needing space to live without someone breathing down your neck or at least at the front door. In my father-in-law’s house if you stand at the sink, you can see right into the neighbor’s dining room and see exactly what they are eating! Not for us, that is for sure. Nick introduced me to many people that I would be interested in meeting in person and discussing our systems or how we do certain household chores.

I especially was glad to meet Wretha as she is one of my regular blog readers on Solar Baby. Carolyn Chute I liked because she was the author of the book, The Beans of Egypt, Maine, and I read that many years ago. But for the most part most of the people in the book are not anything like my husband and myself, so I wouldn’t figure that all people living off-the-grid are like them. Makes me wonder if he wrote about us, what kind of picture he would paint about us? Maybe not so good………..hmmmm????
I don’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy his book because I did. I liked reading his impressions of  the off-the-grid lifestyle here in America since he is from Britain. It is also informative if you are searching for a community where you can go off-the-grid and fit right in. I have so many people contact me on this subject, but they are either just dreaming of it and not really serious, or they are afraid to take those first steps to do away with life as they know it on the grid. This book proves it can be done and that you do not need tons of money to start. Just what I have told people over and over.
So check it out and let me know what your thoughts on the off-the-grid movement is. Is just that you don’t want the electric  bill any longer? Or is that you want to live away from mainstream America in a secluded location? Or is there another reason? I’d be interested in knowing what people are thinking when they request the information from me on going off-the-grid.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, August 23, 2010

The August Harvest

One basket of butternut squash picked!

My garden looks like it is coming to the end of the season...........but wait! It doesn't have to end yet, after all it is only coming to the end of August. September, October, November and December can be used for a new harvest of cold weather crops. You can even grow some crops under the snow or in a cold frame during the winter. Just have to be aware of the plants you choose and how they can survive in colder temps. The two that comes to mind are kale and spinach. They both grow pretty good in the cold weather and you can eat them as fresh greens in a salad or cook them. Just make some kind of a cover for them to protect them from the cold night time temperatures.  Cabbage too, is another cold weather crop and can be grown when your weather cools off. 

I have reseeded my lettuce beds and once they are producing again, the last one that I kept will be reseeded also. We like to eat fresh salads as much as possible. This year we have been slowly changing from store bought salad dressings to our own homemade ones. I have always made them if I have time but the convenience of the store bought ones seemed to win out. Not anymore! I have gotten my recipes back out and we will be using them. They are much better and you can put what you want in them. Those salad dressing don't seem to cost a lot, but that is deceiving. If you add up how many bottles you use in a month, it adds up to quite a bit. Instead buy your ingredients for the dressings in the biggest containers you can store and afford. Now you will have some awesome salads!

Kale Growing Pretty Good This Year!

If you are planning on stocking up for the winter, the greens in the garden such as kale, spinach, collard greens or any other kind of greens can be canned. Look in your canning book under greens and follow the directions. Then these can be used in soups, side dishes, added to casseroles or eaten as a cooked vegetable. Unless you have a really big family, I would can them in pint jars.

I will can my butternut squash cut up in cubes. I have canned it in the past and it comes out really good. We can have it in pies or cooked as vegetable. My husband especially loves the winter squash and pumpkins. I expect to get at least another basket full of the squash and then pick up a bushel at the produce market. I want to put a lot of it up so we have some variety in our meals. 

What is growing in your garden that you can harvest for your winter meals? Or maybe you can buy a bushel of something and can it. Just remember if you are canning vegetables you HAVE to use a pressure canner and I do not mean a pressure cooker. They are two different things. It is important to buy a canning book and follow the directions for the safety of your family. It is not hard once you have done it the first time. It becomes addicting once you see all those jars of food on your shelves! My husband knows how to can and he helps me often. He would rather eat the foods I can than anything that comes from a store or a restaurant. I really like that. It helps to have your spouse support your efforts at eating well and not resisting it. I am sure it is because he can see and taste the difference in the foods.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Too Much Stuff!

I posted a question on a bloggers' site asking people there that if you had to leave your house suddenly, and could only take 5 items - not people or pets, what would you take? If you have ever worked in a nursing home, it becomes apparent that many of the people who move there cannot bring all their stuff with them. Usually they have to share a room with one or two other people and share a tiny bit of closet space. All those things that seemed important to you at one time, now seem to lose that place in your life. If it is not something you can use on your own, it is highly unlikely you will be keeping it in your new home.

Many residents would move into their new room and have boxes of stuff. Soon enough the aides would go through those boxes and they, not you, actually make the decision on what goes and what stays. After all, they are the ones who will be taking care of you and that includes your stuff. Even your clothes get eliminated. Now I have no immediate plans, if ever, of moving into a nursing home, but it gets you to thinking about all that stuff you think is important.

My own mother never had to move into a nursing home permanently, when she finally was put in one, she died the very next day. I still to this day, believe she did something to cause that to happen once she found herself in that situation. She had told me once that if my father died before her, she knew how to cut off her breathing, and that is what she would do. Her death was due to her not breathing, and the nursing home said they did not have the right type of oxygen for her. So they rushed her to the hospital and it was too late. We took the life support off her. Didn't mean to wander off the subject.

I said I would take my computer, camera, Bible, my herbal and Peterson guide books and purse. All my photos will eventually be on my flashdrives that I use in my computer. Everything that used to take up much space has now become smaller and more compact. That is why I have been getting rid of so much stuff. Many of my books are now for sale on Bonanzle and I am not going to hang onto stuff anymore. It is just stuff. Doesn't mean that much to me or anyone else.

Maybe it is from my parents always moving and us having to leave behind our things that made me hang onto so much stuff over the years. But I have weaned myself of that now. Now I want everything clean and easy to care for. Organization to a clean, uncluttered house and life, is the real key to success. I am lucky that my husband is in complete agreement with me on this matter.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Storage Planning For Self-Sufficiency

The squash & pumpkin plants

I have been very busy working so hadn't gotten a new post on in a couple of days. Finally have sat down to update my eBook, My Homesteading Journey. So many things have changed since I wrote that book back in April of 2007 that it needed quite a lot of updates. I am planning on offering it for sale on Amazon on their Kindle. So the updating process is in progress.

Our weather here has been pretty nice, not as hot as many parts of the country but not really cool yet either. Our Maple trees have been changing color already. Too soon! When it gets breezy now we see many leaves dropping from the trees. Makes me kind of sad to see this summer coming to an end. It has been our best so far. Every summer since we have lived here, my husband will complain about not having a summer. Last year was the worse and was even titled, "the year of no summer". Not this year. This year more than made up for last summer.

This is the time of year I start making my list for what I need for food and supplies. How much of this, and how much of that. I like to buy the vegetables that I don't grow or didn't grow for some reason or other. This year I am planning on buying a 50 pound bag of carrots at a local produce market I go to. These carrots are shipped from Canada and are big, thick and very tasty. I will pick them up in the morning and start canning. It usually takes me a few days to get the whole bag done. Then I will go back and buy a couple of bushels of beets and do the same as I did with the carrots. I am thinking of also doing the same with potatoes. You can do that with any vegetable you do not grow yourself. A large quantity is usually cheaper and easier to can at one time.

Squash & pumpkin plants spread out and need room!

I have been canning green beans and will continue as long as I have them. I may pick up an extra bushel of them if they have them.  So for the time being my list will include these fruits and vegetables:

1.  Carrots

2.  Beets

3.  Potatoes

4.  Pumpkins

5.  Winter Squash

6.  Pickled Hot Peppers

7.  Applesauce

8.  Apples

9.  Pears

10. Grape Juice

12. Elderberry Juice

13. Dehydrate celery leaves & celery

14. Dehydrate green peppers

15. Dehydrate onions.

16. Dehydrate wild plants for medicinal as well as for eating.

I will be canning meats but I can them after I get done with all of these. That will be another list itself. It looks like a lot of work but this is our food for the year and some of it lasts longer. One year I canned so many pumpkins that we ate them for a good four to five years. This is my favorite part of the homesteading life. The gardening and the harvest and food storage. Self-sufficiency is the end result.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Security For Your Homestead

Rural Areas Need Protection too!

One thing that runs across peoples' minds when they see we live out in the middle of the state forest is that they would be scared to live out here. Most of them though, are scared of wild animals, such as mountain lions, bob cats or bear. What I am most scared of, would have to be the human animal! They are the ones who steal or destroy. If you live out away from neighbors and have to leave for a few days or even a few hours that gives someone the perfect opportunity to break into your home or barn and steal your valuables.

Well, even out here you can have a security video camera to protect your homestead. Many of our neighbors have security systems and even the hunting camps now have them. A funny thing that happened, (well not really funny, and especially not to them!) is the closest hunting camp to us was broken into, and it is owned by policemen and lawyers as a hunting lodge. You'd think they would have a security system in place. They didn't then, maybe now they do.

Since our home is off-the-grid, you probably think we are too far away for a home surveillance system to do much good. But that is not true. We really are not that far from our nearest towns, which is Oxford and Greene. A system like this would give you that peace of mind so that if anything happens at your home while you are gone, it will not go unnoticed until your return. In fact this system alerts authorities before they even break into your home!

ADT Home Security offers a backup battery and equipment guide so you can better understand how to set up a home system and get your protection in, before you need it. In case of a power outage the high capacity backup battery will keep you connected. So you stay connected and are never in danger of  any kind of trouble or break-ins. I know you will rest better and have peace of mind when your home is protected from intrusions.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Self Sufficiency Includes Your Job Or Business

A few miles away from us is this farm with an awesome barn!

I am writing a short post this morning because I am up very early with my husband having coffee and he is viewing videos about making generators, and I am listing more books on my favorite site, Bonanzle. The idea on this site is for everyone that sells there to also buy there. Makes sense to buy from the same people who buy from you. I look through their booths and find their prices to be excellent there depending on what you are searching for. I guess I always like to do things that are not ordinary. So most people sell on eBay or Amazon and I choose a site like Bonazle. Course, I love that name!

Having to make money on the computer is core to my homestead. As I posted yesterday, my physical problems are affecting me very much so this is the ONLY way I can have an income. I am selling books on Bonanzle and guitar strings on my websites. It is not real easy to do this and get sales. You have to keep promoting it and marketing constantly. I love working on the computer or why would I also be writing four blogs and trying to work on two books also! Crazy, I am sure comes to mind.

If you can work from home, order your supplies online and grow a garden and can your own food...........then life can be so much nicer as you are supplying most of your own needs. Most times you have to travel to and from the job, then do what someone else tells you and then run to a store and pick up something for supper. Have you ever walked all over a store trying to decide what to buy for supper? You feel like hitting your head against the meat counter! What can you buy that is quick, because you don't feel spending your whole evening in the kitchen preparing a meal that takes a lot of time. Then cleaning up, after the 15 minutes it took your family to consume it.

Working at home means you can leisurely prepare a nice meal over a whole afternoon. While in between you are back and forth at the computer listing more products, or writing another article, or working on your website. So many things are done at home in the same period you are working on generating your income. No more rush, rush. And if you get sick or hurt a leg or something, you are at home and can nurse yourself back and still be earning your income.

If you work at home what helped you make that choice? Was it from necessity? Or was it something else? What do you find is your favorite reason for staying home to earn your income? I am really interested in your opinion of this subject. I get tired of people who think if you work at home you do not work. Or that you are not earning a living and are always trying to tell you about a job they know about. Usually they are in worse shape financially than I am! I am not rich by no means, but I can pay my bills and buy what I need, and that is all I need or ask the Lord for.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, August 16, 2010

Physical Limitations On The Homestead

The Road To My House This Morning

The chickadees and blue jays are making their selves known now, after spending the summer out in the forest. The robins are still here, but not quite as prominent as before. I am always so sad to see them leave. One day, maybe in September we will notice they are not here anymore. Then fall will be here. I can't help to be sad to see the end of summer this year. This has been our best summer so far in 11 years of living here. Our garden is the best we have ever had and I don't want to see it end. Fall has always been my favorite season but my husband is having some physical problems and I worry about the hard winter on the horizon.

My winter squash and pumpkins in the garden are looking good. I will be canning them and probably buying more to add to them. Our apple tree this year is the best I have ever seen. The apples look good and are much bigger than usual. Usually they don't look real good and we end up feeding them to our horses. I always buy apples to supplement our pantry and can some and keep some for fresh eating. Fill your pantry as much as possible now while you can grow or buy the food fresh.

Pumpkins are growing good!

As you get older you will get many physical complaints and it is not easy to live with. My knees are so bad now that I am using  a walker in the kitchen. Outside I carry a small shovel with me but use it like a walking stick. I try to work around my physical problems. Goodness, I am only 58 and feel I shouldn't be in this bad of shape. After all, I was an avid exerciser most of my life. I belonged to a health club and also had gym in my home. Race walking and working out with weights were two of my passions. How could this happen to me?

One thing that has helped me very much is my Neuton garden cart. It is electric and I can take buckets of water or compost out to the garden or wherever. Makes it easier for me if I do not have to be asking someone to assist me. Right now I am still in the process of automating by ordering supplies online, so I don't have to try to walk around in stores like Walmart or the grocery stores. I shop at one Mennonite market, Pine Ridge and one local restaurant supply store, MainesSource, but for the most part, I'd rather buy online. No walking or driving to it.

This week-end I spent part of the day picking blackberries with my son and the other half organizing my pantry and putting away foods that I had just canned. Now I am hoping to buy beets and carrots to can, as for some reason or other,  I can't get either one to start in my garden. Canning food thankfully, is something I can do pretty easily in the kitchen by using a stool to sit on when I need to get off my legs. You just work around your physical problems because if you just decide you can't do it, then what will you and your family do when there is no food to eat in the winter? Besides, it is good for you to keep pressing on, Good for your confidence and good for your self worth.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, August 13, 2010

Part Two Of Our Alternative Energy System

Off The Grid Homestead, Peaceful Forest

Setting up a solar system for your electrical power does not have to cost you thousands of dollars. For one thing if you start small and stay connected to the grid you can lower your power bills by not having to pay for so much coming from the grid. We have a friend who supplies his power to his televisions, computer, lights and stereo from his solar array and a small wind turbine. So if the power goes out he still has those items going. And he has a pellet stove that has the electric fan so he can plug that into the power coming from the solar system for heat if needed.

350 watts of power!

When we started here in 1999, we had a very small system. One 50 watt solar panel, a tiny charge controller, two fork-lift truck batteries and an automotive inverter bought from a truck stop. If our batteries were low and needed charging, we had no generator and would just pull our old car up to the house and hook it up to the batteries. Not hard to do, but not real efficient either. But it worked.

Meter and Charge Controller

Now our system has grown steadily, but slowly since then. We now have  five panels and  they are on the barn roof. Every morning they are getting good sun. That is key to a solar system, that your panels are in the best position to get the most sun for the longest period most of day, all seasons. Not easy as the sun moves and there are periods where they get the sun longer in the afternoon than real early in the morning. The funny thing about these panels is that they just work. They don't make any sounds or do anything noticeable, yet they are responsible for running my laptop all day long. I think they are awesome and am proud to be using wasn't that many years ago that I lived in a very fancy, luxurious home in one of those upscale neighborhoods. When I think of how far I have come.............I am so proud!

Our Inverter

The inverter is where the DC power is converted to AC for use with your appliances and lights, etc. The charge controller controls how much power comes into your batteries. You do not want to overcharge them as that would ruin them. The controller is your monitor. The meter next to the charge controller is what we use to see where our power is at, when we have to charge the batteries or if the sun is bringing in any power. We can also use it to check anything new we are adding to our system such as a light or a bread machine or a washer. We can tell how much power that gadget uses.

24 Exide batteries is essential to our system!

I don't want to flood you with information here. These are the basics of our system though we have some other components such as the combiner box and our generator also. Our generator is not the type you use for camping or in regular homes when the power goes out. It is a special DC only one built for off-the-grid homes. If you are still interested please check my site Solar Baby and I will be detailing our system there in a few days. If you would like to start researching yourself, please check my Energy Learning Center on Solar Baby. Any questions?

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Living With An Alternative Energy System

Our Solar Array On The Barn Roof

One of my readers on this blog commented recently asking me to tell about our alternative energy system. Since I write a blog called Solar Baby already, I guess I didn't think my readers here would be that interested. Different kind of readers on that blog. This blog is more about homesteading and my ideas and thoughts on various subjects. So cruising various communities on The Blog Frog I saw on the homesteading community, Homestead Revival where members mentioned going off-the-grid. So I figured, maybe there is an interest in it? Especially when we are in an oil crisis constantly. When we endanger our own country, water, sea life, air and environment by our need for oil! Now please, do not post comments in reference to how much oil it uses to manufacture one panel. How much oil does it use to keep everyone happy? Too much! Anyway, this is the way we have chose to live and we really like it. I could never see either of us wanting to live on the grid ever again.

When we moved here in 1999, this house was a hunting camp and hadn't had full time residents living in it since 1923. We have been working on it and adding to it for 11 years now.  Living off the grid with a small system makes it so you have to learn to do things differently anyway. You can’t  just hook up a dryer and use a microwave without studying your system and how it would handle those excess energy hogs. You learn to give up items to be able to have other things. It may seem to be inconvenient, but when I see people posting things to do to live simply or to conserve………….I know I already live that way. Those things are routine for me. We are very frugal with water, with our power, with food, with driving anywhere. I use a clothesline for drying my laundry. I do many things manually and I guess many people do not like to do that. I don’t mind. Some of those jobs are my favorites.

We use a pitcher pump for our water, though that will be changing within the next year or so, we have used it for 11 years already. In the winter our pipes are never froze! I can pour a cup of warm water down the pump and it thaws it and I can use it almost instantly. It makes a difference to have that fresh water all winter. We get all the water inside for the day in the morning. Then we usually have to bring the horses more water some time during the day. And again at their supper time. That is when we refill water in the house again. So hauling it by hand makes us very frugal with it. I will stay that way, I hope, once it is in the house and running through our pipes.

For the next few weeks I will try to explain my electric energy system on this blog. Share my information with others and hope that it may make some of you think of the alternatives rather than just following the flow by using grid power.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canning Green Beans Again - Wordless Wednesday

Bush Bean Plants Waiting to Be Picked

Waiting to be cut up

Finished product!

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My List Of Homesteading Essentials

Morning At Peaceful Forest Homestead

Homesteaders are different from the main stream masses. We already downsized before it became fashionable. When we chose to go into this lifestyle termed as "homesteading"............. what do you need a big screen television for? What do you need a fancy sports car for? And designer clothes and jewelry? None of that stuff has a place in our lifestyle. It just takes up room and then one day you notice that you haven't used it, viewed it or worn in a year. Out it goes!

So what does a "modern homesteader" need to maintain this lifestyle? I have come up with my list that I will have to keep adding to most likely. It changes over time and is unique to each individual homestead. Some raise livestock for food, some like us, do not. My list will not include them since I do not have them. My livestock are my horses and they are not for food. LOL For pleasure only.........not sure if it for their pleasure or mine!

1. Manual tools - Shovels, Pick, Rake, Hoe, Wheel Hoe, Post Hole Digger.

2. Chainsaw and manual saws such as the buck saw and crosscut saw.
    Essential for heating and cook stove wood. Also for clearing land or getting wood for posts.

3. Cast Iron Cookware - well seasoned and knowledge to use.
    I'd be lost without my cast iron cookware as I can cook in a stove, on a grill or in a fire pit.

4. Canners - Pressure & Water Bath.

5. A good supply of canning jars is especially important.
    Once you have a good amount of these you recycle them by using them over and over.

6. Wood stoves - for heat and cooking

7. Supply of containers to start plants in.
    I start most of my plants in March so I start them in the house in a whatever container I find.

8. Wheelbarrow and garden cart.
    For transporting wood, plants, compost, rocks, water, etc.

9.  Books, Cookbooks, Gardening, References for whatever you are doing.
    If the internet was down or in a SHTF scenario you'd still have references for help.

10. Large glass jars, wooden boxes, baskets, containers to store food in pantry & root cellar.
      Storing foods in your pantry and root cellar needs some kind of containers that pests cannot access.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated August 2016