The Secret to Good Goat Milk

The Secret to Good Goat Milk

The triplets born last month are doing great.

I’m having technical difficulties with my computer’s wireless connection, and am borrowing another family member’s to get this post up.  So I thought I’d dig an old post out of the archives which may be of interest.  My comments are closed on older posts to control spam, so please come back to this post for your comments.

Whenever I talk to dairy goat owners or read posts about goat milk I am amazed how few seem to know this very simple tip about how to keep goat milk from getting that “goaty” flavor.  Most people I know who think goat milk is bad tasting have had bad experiences because this simple technique was not used.

Here is an old post called “The Joys of Goats on the Homestead” which was originally posted nearly two years ago back in February of 2011, before we lived on our new homestead.  That was also before we had experience milking a cow.  We’ve learned to enjoy raw goat and cow milk equally well, with their varying uses.   There is nothing like drinking milk and kefir or eating cheese and butter from your own dairy animals who you know are free from GM feed and other undesirables.

The Secret to Good Goat Milk

Jody and her kids

The Joys of Goats on the Homestead

What says, “Naaaa” and eats tin cans?  I grew up believing goats eat anything.  After 14 years with goats, we know that is false.  They chew on things out of curiosity, but are actually very picky eaters.  If hay touches the ground and gets stepped on, they won’t touch it.  They do love to forage and clean up overgrowth in the woods or on fence rows…(read more).

I hope you enjoyed the post.  And I hope my computer issues are soon resolved!  The Secret to Good Goat Milk

The Secret to Good Goat MilkBlessings,

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

A New Year on the Off-Grid Homestead

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Planting pigeon peas as companion plants to our young fruit trees...they add nitrogen to the soil

We prayed for direction in 2012 and set many goals; some we reached and others we didn’t. I shared much of what we did in 2012, our first year, in “A Year of Work on the Homestead,” Part One and Part Two. Here is a list summarizing what was completed, some of which we had wonderful help with from family and friends:

-Reroofed the big storage shed
-Finished the first phase of the deck with a tarp roof
-Erected the greenhouse skeleton
-Built perimeter fences on north side
-Got a cow (Buttercup), made butter & cheese
-Drilled a well
-Set up battery bank and 2000 watt inverter
-Built fences to enclose animal runway and our living area
-Prepared our garden area
-Planted fruit trees
-Built large roof over deck and camper
-Completed second phase of deck
-Installed solar panels
-Planted beginning phases of edible landscape
-Put in a few raised beds (rows)
-Cleared fence row for center paddock fence
-Bricked wall for fireplace on deck
A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Southern Bush beans that were later planted in our new raised rows...then froze when the temps dropped right before Christmas and we forgot to cover them...blah!

 

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
The first of our raised rows…made of composted soil and dried horse manure, then covered with several inches of hay.

 

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
Sugarcane we started…hoping to plant it after it roots and try it for animal fodder

 

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
We started soaking and sprouting various grains for animal feed

 

As a family we spent time trying to learn more about how things were done in the “old days.”  It’s amazing how ignorant of basics we have become.  There is so much to learn that our forefathers took for granted as basic knowledge.  Did the industrial revolution rob us of a basic education, putting us out of touch with reality?

 

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Candle making

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Weaving

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Drilling

Some things DIDN’T get done that we’d hoped would:

-Complete greenhouse
-Set up aquaponics system
-Build root cellar
-Plant grass and grains in cleared areas
-Build paddock fences
-Set up greywater and rainwater collection systems
-Finish raised beds (rows)
A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Our extended family grew in 2012...I'm holding my new nephew

Those things are now on the list to complete in 2013, along with the following:

-Screen the deck
-Install our windmill to pump water
-Increase chicken flock
-Build solar dehydrator
-Build brick oven
-Paint big shed (red & white)
-Move fences behind house to enlarge yard
-Build arbor
-Fix bad spot in lane (with crushed shell)
-Expand orchard (including coconut palms)
-Put down crushed shell in parking area
-Make window awnings
-Take classes to learn blacksmithing (Silver Oak) and other skills

And if all goes well and God provides we’d also love to:

-Start bee-keeping
-Build a carport
-Build a wind generator

Is that enough to make our heads spin, or what? It’s an exciting list which we can’t wait to get done, but we know it will only be accomplished with God’s help. If they are His ideas He will provide the way as long as we are faithful to do our part.

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

This first week Silver Oak already accomplished one goal...taking a blacksmithing class.

A new year makes us pause to look back from where we’ve come.  We revisited a few places this year that we had not seen for four years.  My, how our family has grown, in more ways than one!

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Five children in 2008...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Six in 2012 (Honey Bun finally joined us in 2009).

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

A little crazy in 2008...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Crazier still in 2012!

As the new year begins we face some great challenges in our nation that we have never faced before. Will there be civil war or rioting over gun control? What changes will take place? What will they mean for our families? What will they mean for us as Believers?

The most important goal for the coming year is to draw nearer to Jesus, preparing ourselves and our children for what may be coming. We must prepare our children to stand alone for Truth. In this fast changing world Jesus is the only One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He alone can be a true place of refuge no matter what we face.

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

A family who settled among the palmettos in central FL many years ago...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

...and another one doing the same today.

Meanwhile we cry out that God will have mercy on us. “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” II Chron. 7:14

I pray this will be a year of God’s blessing on you, and on our land.

A New Year on the Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Newborn kids

The last 10 days of 2012 have been a flurry of activity. Four new kids were born and our “new” outdoor fireplace partially installed.  It has been COLD several nights. Temps like 28°F (-2°C) may not be cold in the north, but in central Florida it brings challenges for tropical plants. This property is often about 8°F (4°C) colder than forecasted for the nearest small town, and we have been scrambling to protect our new fruit trees.
In older days citrus growers used smudge pots (outdoor heaters) during a frost or in freezing weather to warm the groves and protect the citrus crop.  Now they run massive water pumps to irrigate all night during a frost. In the past we’ve used Christmas lights under covers to help warm our plants.
Since we are now off the grid we are trying non-electric alternatives. During the coldest night we not only covered our new fruit trees with sheets and blankets, but placed candles in glass under the covers to create warmth for the most tropical trees that are most cold sensitive. We used small cheap candles in glass and placed them in wide-mouthed canning or gallon pickle jars for double protection from fire. It worked, and so far the worst damage has been where sheets touched leaves and frost burned through a bit. Even the moringa trees, the most cold sensitive trees we have, suffered only mild leaf damage by using the candles. We’ll be visiting Dollar General for more $1 candles. Hopefully next year we will be prepared with frames to support the covers as well as a completed greenhouse.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Our small moringa tree looks more like a ghost

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

By midnight the temp had dropped to freezing so we placed a candle in glass under the sheet to keep it warm

The Saturday before Christmas Silver Oak and I drove to a nearby city to purchase a few loads of old brick we found through Craigslist. We paid $125 (plus fuel) for what we calculated was around $1,000 worth of antique bricks, pavers, and fire brick. The sellers were happy to get rid of bothersome piles (at their asking prices), and we were delighted at the affordable price for something we really needed. I am especially happy for the character added by antique and previously used brick.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Our poor pick-up was loaded to the gills with all the brick and pavers, plus some nice pallets they gave us for free.

The brick is being used to build a wall and hearth around the freestanding fireplace that’s been sitting on the edge of our deck the past few months. In his younger years Silver Oak worked summers for a block mason, and when we married he was employed by a brick mason, learning the trade. He ended up doing other things but is now putting that experience to good use. The wall is done and hopefully the hearth will be soon.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

This was the mess on the deck...

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

...but you'll find beauty there if you look closer.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

The mortar is mixed just so

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

These old brick tongs hold 10 bricks at a time for easier transporting

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

The base of the wall which will be behind the fireplace, protecting the camper from high heat

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Each brick was carefully placed...

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

...and leveled.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Slowly the wall took shape. When it got too tall scaffolding had to be hauled up onto the deck. More mess!

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

But once the wall was finished and the mess cleaned up, it looked lovely. There sits the fireplace waiting for the hearth to be built, and of course the chimney to be completed.

I LOVE brick, as you can see by the pictures.  They seem so…historic.  I wonder what story is behind these formerly used bricks.
Jody and Rosie, our Nubian goats, were due around Christmas and looking quite large, so we hesitated to be gone from home long. But last Sunday we were in town all day for church and participating in an evening Christmas program, arriving home late. Of all days, Jody decided to kid even though she had not given signs of imminent labor that morning.
The cutest little triplets were waiting for us when we got home, completely dried off and fluffy; two matching tri-colored does and one brown and white buck. Jody was being a good mama and had everything all cleaned up. But two of the kids were looking quite droopy and hunched up…not a good sign. They came a little early, which may be why they were not as frisky as sometimes, and when they didn’t have help getting that all-important colostrum into their little tummies within the first 30 minutes, they were losing strength and the ability to nurse.
That was a late night as we worked with those kids to get them to latch on. We ended up using a large syringe to force feed them some of Jody’s colostrum because they didn’t have the strength or will to suck. The next morning we did the same, then switched to a bottle with a nipple, until they were strong enough to nurse. Christmas day they were two days old and still needed encouragement to latch on, but soon got the hang of it and took it from there.  Watching them now you would never know the prancing and playful kids were ever in distress.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Three cute kids!

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

But not a healthy looking pose.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Evenstar feeds them with a large syringe...

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

...then with a bottle when they were stronger.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Blossom helps them latch on to Mama

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

By the third day they are doing great on their own!

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

The two little girls, Lizzie and Phoebe

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

And Zack, the handsome buckling

Christmas day was pretty laid back for us. Our time with extended family worked out better other days, so we stayed home and spent a lot of time relaxing. I even started reading a book just for fun, something I have rarely done since moving here.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Enjoying the homestead on Christmas Day

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

As you can see the weather was quite mild that day.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

What a luxury...sitting down with a book! The fireplace was still sitting on the front edge of the deck.

Three days after Christmas Rosie went into labor. She had one big buck…that’s it! He is twice the size as the triplets, since he is the “only child.” He stubbornly kept looking for milk in all the wrong places, resisting any encouragement from Rosie or one of us to try her udder. After 30 minutes, against his wishes, I finally pried his mouth open and helped him latch on. Eventually he got it.
Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Just born, still wet

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Soon on his feet.

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Sorry, no milk here!

Antique Bricks and Nubian Triplets

Finally got him going

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Christmas Made Simple

Christmas Made Simple

The busy, hectic, holiday season! Every year we hear remarks about trying to remember the real “reason for the season” amidst all the stress and activity. “Don’t forget what it’s really all about….” I’ve often pondered how to eliminate unnecessary busyness so the Person of Jesus Christ can be the focus, instead of immersing myself in distractions, somehow hoping a Jesus focus still happens.

Christmas Made Simple

It's fun creating a cozy atmosphere using what we have...the baker's rack was a trash find we repainted and now "lives" on our deck. Notice our Big Berkey water filter to the left of it.

It’s kind of like trying to eat lunch in the middle of the animal runway. We can expect to fight for every bite as intruding goats boldly claim our food and eager horses nibble at every available morsel. It’s possible to do, but likely much of our lunch will go to the persistent thieves. Why not sit peacefully outside the fence to quietly digest our meal? If we really want to focus on eating lunch, which is the best setting to place ourselves into?

How do we expect to effectively focus on Jesus and give as He did in the middle of mainstream American materialism? Would it be easier to accomplish this in less wealthy parts of the world?

On a trip to Romania in 1990, just following the revolution and liberation from a cruel Communist dictator, I well remember Romanian Christians voicing concern for us as Believers in America. “We have been harrassed by persecutors who hate Jesus, but you have a greater enemy: materialism.” I was only 22 at the time, but their voices have continued to echo in my ears the past few decades.

What do I want to pass on to future generations? As helpmeet to my hubby and nurturer of our children, my role can influence many. How can I help divorce our family from the grip and bondage of materialism  in America? It is so normal here we don’t even recognize it.

I grew up looking forward to Christmas as “the best time of year!” Why? Because of the gifts I would receive.

It bothers me to hear comments from the children indicating they can’t wait till Christmas to open their presents (if that’s all they’re excited about). It also bothers me to hear about all the shopping that still needs to be done as “the day” approaches, as if we are obliged to give each other gifts, whether or not someone actually needs more things. Is there something wrong with NOT giving gifts to those already overladen with material things?

How many times have we reminded our children that Christmas is about GIVING, not GETTING? But we keep doing the same thing year after year.

Last year, after simplifying our lives by getting rid of a huge amount of things and moving to our little off-grid homestead, we certainly didn’t want to begin accumulating STUFF again. We had a family conference and got excited about making lists of things really needed here on the homestead, like garden tools and gloves, watering cans, fruit trees, seeds, and plants. That really made Christmas feel refreshingly different around here. Actually, the children didn’t receive gifts from us till this summer, when the budget and land preparation allowed us to get their promised fruit trees. They didn’t mind because we are all working together toward common goals in this adventure, and they each enjoy caring for and learning about their personal trees.

Christmas Made Simple

Our 2012 Christmas poster

This year we decided as a family to give to others less fortunate, instead of much to each other. We’re spending under $60 on our family of eight, but giving to others the same types of blessings the Lord has given us this past year. They include a pair of rabbits, pair of chickens, goat, box of food, 40 trees, LED solar light system, tin roofing, tools, kerosene lantern, Bible story books, and more. This is possible because of ministries like Gospel for Asia and Christian Aid Ministries who set up ways to give these things in countries like Haiti, Romania, and India for much less than what they might cost us here.

We made a poster with a collage of the gifts and placed it on the fridge. From our experiences this past year we realize in a small way how much each of these items can mean to a family. On Christmas we will talk about this and reflect on blessings the Lord has given us, especially by drastically lowering his standard of living to come down and save us.

Another way to simplify this season is by limiting time, money and energy for decorating and baking. A homey atmosphere can be maintained with a few simple decorations used year after year. If it is stressful to write an annual family letter or send cards to family and friends now, do it for Easter instead. Make homemade gifts well in advance or offer gifts of service rather than material gifts when possible.

Christmas Made Simple

The children help make whole food gingerbread men.

Deciding we don’t HAVE to participate in every banquet and special event helps too. But caroling and playing beautiful Christmas music is a priceless tradition we don’t ever want to miss.

Here is a key: just because everyone we know does something (peer pressure) and we’ve done it all our lives (man’s traditions) doesn’t mean it must be done. If it distracts from focusing on the Christ of Christmas, it just isn’t worth it.

Christmas Made Simple

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! By the way, our kiddos are counting the days till Christmas, knowing they are getting almost no gifts from us. It's going to be a happy day!

I pray you have a blessed Christmas!

Christmas Made SimpleBlessings,

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The front of our "house." The freestanding fireplace is sitting there temporarily, waiting to be permanently installed on the deck.

Last December 10 we moved into our tiny house, so this week we are reminiscing about our first year as a family of eight living in 350 sq ft. In the modern tiny house movement I understand that tiny houses are generally 500 sq ft or less. Often they are built on trailer frames so they don’t need building permits. Our tiny house is an 48-foot semi trailer converted into living quarters. To see more read my recent post called Our Tiny House.

Actually, with 20 acres to roam and a large deck built this fall, we have plenty of room to stretch and enjoy, so we really don’t often miss a bigger house. We love that it helps keep life simple, and doesn’t take as much effort to maintain, leaving time and energy for more important things. It is easier and more efficient to control the climate indoors, and we enjoy the family togetherness a smaller space provides.

There are times we miss bigger indoor space, like during the rainy season when mosquitos are bad and the wet soupy mess outside keeps everything indoors, including line drying our clothes. Or when we have lots of guests and want to all be in the house at the same time listening to a piano concert by the children. Or when it’s 95° F (35C°) outside and I need to talk on the phone while the younger ones take afternoon naps. If someone needs “alone time” it can be tough.

Most of these needs are now met by the large covered deck and the extra space in the camper. The deck gives room to spread out for projects or play, eat around the long table passed down from Silver Oak’s grandparents, and enjoy the outdoors without being in the elements. The camper belongs to Silver Oak’s parents who use it when visiting from the north. When not used as guest quarters we take advantage of the second bathroom and the quiet study area.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The camper is on the left, our tiny house on the right, and the deck in between.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The front door to our tiny house is behind one end of the long heirloom table.

 

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

This is the same front door a year ago, before there was a deck.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The opposite side of the long table, facing the camper.

I was asked for tips on making a tiny house livable for a family, so thought I’d share practical ideas about tiny house living. Without some of these things in place it could be difficult. If you have more to add, please share.

- Sell (or give away) everything not necessary for living efficiently, especially larger items and toys that don’t serve a function useful enough to deserve their space. Rid yourself of little things rarely used that cause clutter. In a tiny space clutter can overtake you quite quickly.

- Narrow down clothing needs. Keep only shoes useful with many outfits or a variety of purposes. Do laundry daily (except weekends) to decrease the need for so many outfits. Store necessary extras or seasonals in another space (see next point).

- Have a tight storage shed for extra supplies and things you must keep but don’t have room for in the house. Hand-me-downs or clothing purchased inexpensively may be hard to replace without spending more. Limit the amount stored to what is reasonable for your family’s needs, and get rid of the rest. This storage space allows you to buy in bulk or hunt bargains, and stay organized. Keep in the house only what is currently used, and the rest organize in the shed.

- Use every space creatively. Make “drawers” under couches or other furniture with trays or shallow bins that slide in and out. Make sure dressers and cabinets use space wisely, majoring on vertical space. Taller chests of drawers and bookcases are better.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

You'd never know the little white cabinet in the master suite...

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

...has "drawers" under it.

- Install cabinets and shelves near the ceiling wherever practical. Keep a fold-able step stool handy to access them easily.

- Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. With limited counter space this makes a huge difference. Keep dishes washed and put away.

- Cook from scratch. Large uniform bins of basic ingredients (grains, etc) take less space than processed foods in supermarket packages.

- Sweep main walkways and kitchen often, and wipe down counters and sinks. Many people in a tiny space creates dirt quickly, but it only takes minutes to make it clean again.

- Build bunk beds into the walls and make them narrower like in a motor home (around 2 1/2 feet wide).  Build them three high and leave a little storage space under the bottom one.  Our bed is in a loft with closet space below. See pictures here.

- Partition off areas with curtains or doors for modesty when dressing or undressing. Assign areas to certain people at different times for this purpose.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The green curtain separates the children's bedroom from the living room area. The bedroom has a set of triple bunks on each side of the aisle.

- Make sure everyone (especially older ones) have their own personal private space.  They may each have their own bunk, as well as private drawer space for personal things.  Give them a quiet corner for a period of time each day for quiet time, journaling, etc.  This may need a written schedule in place so these quiet corners can be rotated.

- Have play areas outside the house where children can play and stay relatively clean when they are dressed up for an event or already showered. We use the covered deck and camper for this, but a corner of the storage shed would do as well if close to the house. This way little ones can stay busy when the house is being cleaned or must stay quiet, or someone needs privacy for dressing, etc.

- An outside covered deck is wonderful for a large table to eat together in nice weather. It gives a lot of extra breathing room. That table can also be used for projects and schoolwork, etc.

- Keep a few folding tv tray tables handy to pull out when weather does not permit eating on the deck. We also have a child’s table inside for the little guys, while the rest of us sit on living room chairs or couch and share tv tables.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

A tv tray is stored between the curtain and the head of Farmer Boy's bunk.

- Consider having an outdoor stove/range or method of cooking for hot days so your tiny space does not get heated unnecessarily.

- Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer, making it double as a DVD and CD player.

- Open windows and air out the house daily to keep a fresh supply of healthy air.

- Stay on top of odors. If something smells bad it’s hard to get away from it in a tiny space. A Year of Life in a Tiny House Candles, incense, and matches are helpful, and of course eliminating the source of the odor. But don’t introduce toxins in the meantime, as in a tiny space it will be more potent.

- Use hooks to hang bath towels, wash clothes, scarves, belts, or long ribbon to hold hair clips and bows. These hooks can be on any useable wall space, or on racks hanging over doors.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The door to the "master suite" stores aprons on hooks.

A Year of Life in a Tiny House

The other side of the door stores more.

- Use shower curtains that are not transparent so one person can shower the same time someone else is combing hair or brushing teeth.

- Make a rule that no yelling, running or “horsing around” is to happen in the house. In a tight space rambunctious behavior is magnified, and will likely cause damage to possessions or others.

- Another rule: no projects or toys in walkways. As long as walkways are cleared, it’s livable even with a temporary “mess” of legos or sewing.

- Make the tiny house beautiful and comfortable so it feels like home!

I’m sure this is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a start. I would love to hear from other families whose permanent (more or less) residence is tiny.

A Year of Life in a Tiny HouseBlessings,
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Energy Crisis on the Off-Grid Homestead

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Our pitcher pump installed in November was a lifesaver during this small crisis

Unlike millions who recently lost power in a storm, we are not affected by power grid failure. But that doesn’t mean we don’t ever have a power crisis. Whether we are on or off the grid we all need to think about being prepared for the unexpected, and not being so dependent on electricity.

On Thanksgiving day we were thankful. The next day our thankfulness was challenged when all of our generators died.

How many generators do we have? Well, we had started with two. “Old One” (4000 watt, kinda small), purchased before Y2K, served us well after a tropical storm the following year, and again when Hurricane Charley knocked our power out for 13 days. That summer we bought “Big One” (8000 watt, twice the power) really discounted as an open box deal, to run more of our household at a time in power outages (there were more that summer).

This first year here on our new homestead we over-used these generators, but when one needed servicing we had a back-up (unless, of course, we failed to repair one!). We bought “Tiny One” (800 watt, very small and portable) at Harbor Freight for $90, handy for small odd jobs.

Several months ago our trusty “Big One” quit working. It cost more to repair than it was worth, so the repairman, who owed us money, gave us “New One” (2500 watt) to try, since “Old One” also needed repairs.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

This was "Big One" who ran everything including our air conditioners this summer. My dad installed breaker boxes on our main generators to make them more practical to use every day.

With “New One” we had to alternate charging batteries, running the well pump, and using the washer as it could not handle all at once. But we managed fine. That is, until the day after Thanksgiving.

We’d had a power crisis in October as well.  Our inverter and batteries are protected from the elements under our deck, which is great as long as no one pressure washes the deck.  Groan.  When we finished building the deck in October we pressure washed and sprayed it with Thompson’s water sealer.  We thought the inverter was protected, but didn’t realize water was running in from nearby boards.  As with many projects, we stayed up late to finish it, and our brains were probably not fully functioning.  When the power started blinking we realized too late what had happened.  That was a $275 mistake!

Till Silver Oak could get the parts and repair the inverter (the FET board was bad…I’m sure you know what that is), we used our back-up system which is a cheap inverter and automobile battery charger.  Once the main inverter was repaired Silver Oak made a shield over it with metal flashing.  Now if we pressure wash (or someone trips with a bucket of water) it should be protected.

 

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Our main inverter, a 2000 watt magnum purchased from an Amish businessman in OH.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Repairing the main inverter as the blue one (under Silver Oak's head) and the big black automobile battery charger are being used as back-up.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Inverter repaired...

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

...and covered with this flashing with the sides bent down so water will run off beside the inverter rather than into it (there is breathing room under the flashing and plenty of ventilation around it, in case my brother sees this and becomes alarmed...ha!).

Then came the day after Thanksgiving.  Silver Oak was using the skid loader we’d rented over the weekend. “New One” suddenly went wild and a connecting rod came loose (I’m sure you know what that means). We pulled out recently repaired “Old One” (but we had failed to do a test run). It fired right up and lasted…about five minutes. A terrible knocking noise proclaimed something was badly wrong with that one too.

We suddenly found ourselves with four non-working generators. “Tiny One” had problems too, but after an hour of tinkering Silver Oak got it running, taking precious time as the skid loader sat waiting. “Tiny One” is very fuel efficient, but must run nearly all day and night to charge the batteries. We became extremely conservative with power usage to avoid an outage.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

This is "Tiny One." It works in a pinch. Earlier this year Silver Oak made "pigtails" for each generator to make it easy to quickly switch from one generator to another when necessary (notice the short cord from the generator to the house power cable). Pigtails are adapters for the various electrical outlets on different generators.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Making a pigtail

“Tiny One” slowly charged the batteries, but could not run our well pump or washing machine. For a week our only source of water was from our recently installed pitcher pump in the front yard! One day I pumped about 50 minutes with Evenstar filling in periodically to fill the water tanks on the roof (200 gallons). Silver Oak set up the small utility pump we used before we had a well when we hauled all of our water home. We pumped into the tub, then the utility pump pumped it to the tanks on the roof.

What great exercise! There I was, pumping water with the pretty little old-fashioned pump into an old tub that used to be my grandpa’s, under a clear blue sky, in our front yard. What a life! But I got worn to a frazzle! I wondered how I could survive doing this every day till we had a generator that could run the pump again.

But never fear. We conserved water like never before, and it lasted three days! We turned off the little diaphragm pump that creates water pressure for the house and used gravity flow. It takes amazingly less water when not pressurized. We used the diaphragm pump for showers, then turned it off. For larger amounts of water, irrigating, and animals, we used the pitcher pump. The kiddos actually prefer it for filling watering cans to water fruit trees and plants. That’s the way it used to be done. We could do it too.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Filling watering cans to irrigate the new fruit trees

Silver Oak had to work so we limped along using “Tiny One” and the pitcher pump. Then, one week after Thanksgiving…”Tiny One” quit too. He just wasn’t made for running that much.

I pulled out the oil lamps, filled them and trimmed the wicks for lights that night to reserve battery power for the fridge only. My dad thought it sounded like “Little House on the Prairie.” I said it was more like “Little House in the Scrub Woods.”

Silver Oak’s landscaping work had to wait…he stayed home the next day to install the remaining solar panels! My dad changed his busy schedule and surprised us by coming out to help. He brought with him an even bigger surprise…another generator! He had serviced it for a friend who insisted we use it temporarily. What a blessing!! We immediately did several loads of laundry, and of course, filled the tanks on the roof again.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

My dad and Silver Oak install the solar panels on the (south-facing) deck roof.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Flexlight (also Thinfilm) panels adhere directly to a metal roof, making them impossible to steal or break in a storm unless the whole roof goes. Once they're stuck, they're STUCK!

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

The panels are wired together in groups of three. They continue to function in indirect sunlight or partial shade. Even during this season when the sun is farthest south, we are getting plenty of "juice" to charge our batteries.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

All solar panels installed on deck roof and wiring completed!

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Another view

In two days the solar panels were completely installed, and we have been in business ever since!! The following morning it was so neat to look at the inverter screen inside our front door and see the batteries charging with no generator! They were so depleted they didn’t fully charge until the second day, but once fully charged we tried running the washer off the inverter as well, and although it takes lots of power, it works!! If we do laundry in the morning with plenty of sunshine, we’ll be fine.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Around 8:00 the next morning the inverter screen showed our batteries were already charged to 12.6 volts. The night before it had been down closer to 11 volts. When allowed to get too low battery life is shortened.

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

The power crisis gave me an excuse to use our oil lamps. This one is an antique we bought from an elderly neighbor years ago.

It’s hard to describe how exciting it is to be virtually generator-free after depending on one for over a year! We still can’t run the big well pump on solar with our inverter (2000 watts is too small), so we run the generator just enough to fill our water tanks. That will be remedied when we install the windmill that is still waiting in its box.

Our energy crisis made things a little tough for a week, but it was a huge blessing in the end. It forced us to prepare our oil lamps and practice conserving water and power, and gave us a glimpse of life without our power system. The more familiar and prepared we are with these things, the less stress a real crisis will be. Most of all, it forced us to get the solar panels done!

How did we cope with loss of water and power sources?

- Used alternative water source (what if we had not recently installed the pitcher pump?)

- Eliminated high water pressure

- Saved used water (gray water) for flushing toilets or other jobs not requiring totally clean water

- Used portable handwashing jug if there wasn’t water from the faucet

- Turned everything off except the fridge

- Used oil lamps for light at night if needed (it was so homey)

- Thanked God for the beautiful 55-70 degree weather!

Until the windmill is up we will use a generator 20-30 minutes a day (rather than 4-8 hours).  Our power bill just plummeted to under $5 per month.  Aren’t you a little jealous?  Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead

Energy Crisis on the Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two
Blossom holds a kid born last winter

I was hoping to post this last week, but we rented a skid-steer loader and root rake over Thanksgiving weekend that kept us quite busy accomplishing our list of to-do’s before returning it.  Then we had an energy crisis when all our generators went “kaput” almost at once.  They weren’t made to be used as hard as they’ve been used this year.  So everything else is on hold as we work hard to get the rest of the solar panels up this weekend, and, finally, live mostly generator free!

Recently I posted Part One of an overview of our first year here on the off-grid homestead concerning our power system, drilling a well, laundry methods, and greenhouse.  Now I’ll focus on the living things on our little homestead.

Our three Nubian milk goats had kids early in the year, making it necessary to streamline the milking area and provide a secure pen for the kids and their mamas. With coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and other wildlife around we didn’t want to risk accidents. Our two dogs, Hershey and Laddie, are a great team in guarding our livestock at night. They are quick to notify us of anything unusual going on. But we would hate to invite trouble by not having proper accomodations.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Our oldest goat, Jody, had triplets

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Kids enjoy kids!

One dream that came true this year was buying a milk cow! Buttercup is a gentle Jersey cow who supplied us with lots of milk for kefir, cheese, sour cream and butter for several months till we dried her up in anticipation of the calf she was to have in July. She was getting quite large and ready to “pop,” but the calf never came. The former owners thought there must have been a mistake and she was probably bred by the neighbor’s bull a few months later than they thought, making her due in December. Sigh. How discouraging to discover we dried her up several months early and missed out on all that milk! We had stored lots of extra yummy homemade butter in the freezer, but we’ve long since run out and have resorted back to buying less-than-superior store-bought butter again. Bummer!

December was almost here and Buttercup was looking rather lean, so a friend of ours who grew up on a dairy stopped by to check her. He discovered she is carrying no calf! Either she was never properly bred or she miscarried out in the woods somewhere and we never found out. This is a sore disappointment!! What do you do with a wonderful milk cow that is dry and there is no hope of getting more milk from her till she calves again at least nine months from now?!? Our next door neighbor has a bull that we put her in with to see what happens. But if you have any good advice, I’d love to hear it. Should we try selling her, hoping she is bred this time, so the next owners will fare better (who will want a cow that didn’t take last time?) and look for another milk cow, or should we just focus on other things this year and wait for her to calve again? Our goats will kid again soon so we will have their milk, but it is much harder to separate cream from goat milk.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Buttercup in her new milking stall, unfortunately not in use now that she is dry

Anyway, the little milking barn connected to the chicken coop that we moved out here last year needed upgrading for all the new activity. The goat milking parlor area was securely enclosed to double as a newborn pen, another goat milking stanchion was built, and a larger milking stall built for Buttercup. The barnyard area got a fence built around it with a runway to the back acres which will one day have several paddocks to rotate grazing areas.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

The enclosed milking parlor area which doubles as a newborn pen

That leads to the fencing…for months it seemed we were constantly building fence, trying to stay ahead of the sneaky goats who managed to find the end of the newest fencing or some other way to get out. They were constantly trying to find some way to our living area to eat our juicy young trees and plants, and they succeeded a few times. As long as the fences were not secure we did not dare buy the fruit trees or anything else we hoped to plant.

Finally the back eight acres had fence all around them, and a new fence was built on the north side of our living area and in the front acres so most of our fence issues are solved. Occasionally the ornery goats still find their way around the field fence near the back of the property where there is still only barbed wire, but now they can’t get into the middle section where we live and are planting all sorts of things. We have a nice board fence in front of our house that completes the enclosure around our garden and orchard area. Ha! Let them try!

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Part of the fence that encloses the barnyard area and runway to the back paddocks

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Another fence that encloses our living, garden, and orchard area

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Lots of field fence and barbed wire were put up through the palmettos

As for our other animals…two setting hens hatched a batch of chicks together this summer, and we recently bought some meat chicks which will be ready for butchering in later this month. From the batch of 12 keets (baby guinea fowl) we raised last spring only one bachelor is left. He makes his rounds socializing with our other animals and squawking at anything unusual. Maybe we’ll find him a wife that won’t get eaten by a fox, now that the fences are built. Evenstar’s rabbitry has grown this year to include meat rabbits, fiber rabbits (angoras, etc), and pet breeds. Now she is adding guinea pigs to her collection. As long as there is a market and she can sell the offspring, it is a worthwhile venture.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Chicks with their mamas

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

The ten meat chicks with Mr. Guinea standing guard. He always sounds the alarm at anything unusual which is a great protection for our animals.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Both dogs and guineas have alerted us to dangers, including this eastern diamondback rattlesnake, which is rated by some as the most dangerous animal in North America.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Evenstar has expanded her rabbitry

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

The babies are always so cute!

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Riding on the back acres

As far as our orchard is concerned…we now have one! It’s small but we hope to make it bigger. In September we were finally able to purchase trees at a great end-of-summer special…six trees for $100! After months of clearing the graveyard and hauling in horse manure to build up our sandy soil, we were ready to plant! I’ll post more details about our orchard later, but the trees are thriving in their new homes. So far we have seven citrus trees of various kinds, some papaya, banana, fig, Florida peach, avocado, mango, coconut palm, pomegranate, mulberry, and moringa. We can’t wait to eat their fruit. More patience needed!

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

The fruit trees waiting to be planted

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Planting the Florida peach

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Farmer Boy waters his Myers lemon tree

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

We emptied many loads of manure

In addition to the orchard we have the beginnings of our edible and medicinal landscaping in the front and back of our tiny house. While we were still building the deck it was difficult to put anything in the ground, but now things are slowly taking shape. So far there are a few blueberry bushes, various medicinal and culinary herbs, around fifty pineapple plants, elderberry, aloe, hibiscus, and more. We’re trying to follow some good advice about planting trees first, then perennials, and then seasonal crops for the most long-term benefits. We also laid a pallet of sod to replace the hay-covered sand under our clothesline and part of the back yard. Grass may not be viewed as a luxury until you live without any for nearly a year. It’s lovely!

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Spreading dried manure in the front yard to prepare for edible landscaping

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Starlett "helps" with the landscaping

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

We planted over 50 pineapple plants from someone's discarded tops

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part Two

Grass under the clothesline!

Looking back over the year, we see things that didn’t get done that we hoped would, but the Lord has graciously provided for what we have and has helped us to do some things that weren’t part of the original plan. And we have been greatly enjoying our homestead. We have goals for completing several more projects before the end of 2012. I’ll try to keep you posted.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part TwoBlessings,

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off-Grid Homestead

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

I'm very thankful for the pitcher pump Silver Oak installed for us...now we have a water source even if the electric pump or generator don't work some day. I laid the recycled bricks up to get a foretaste of what it will look like when Silver Oak lays them in "professionally" (he used to be a mason).

As we continue to reminisce about our first year on the new homestead, we are filled with gratefulness for the Lord’s many blessings. Here is a small list:

- His protection…no one has been seriously injured in our move and all the work that has been done

- Family, friends, and neighbors that have given of their time to help with things we couldn’t do alone

- A very secure and cozy tiny house that meets our needs perfectly

- A wonderful family in which every person (parents and six children) is excited and on board in this adventure we are living

- A well…we have never been more thankful for a fresh water source than after living without for six months

- Newly planted grass, plants, and fruit trees

- Fences that keep our animals where they belong

- An awesome view of the stars at night that you never see in or near town

- Our own little slice of land (20 acres) that we can work on and make into our dream

- The opportunity to work the land with our children and the sense of satisfaction it brings

- The loving care and provision of our Heavenly Father that builds our confidence to face whatever uncertainties or trials the future may hold

- A loving and faithful God Who never changes as our nation and world change dramatically

I must share a little story demonstrating God’s care for me recently. It’s about pumpkins. I love decorating with pumpkins in the fall, but with nothing in the budget for something so temporary, purchasing some for decoration was out of the question. Even if we would have extra funds there are needs at church and otherwise that should come first.

We’ve been picking up a produce market’s huge scrap bin to feed their thrown-away produce to the animals a few times a week (some of it is ”too good” for the animals, so we eat it ourselves and save greatly on groceries). I thought surely I’d find a pumpkin or two in there. But weeks went by with no pumpkins except a few rotten ones.

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

The animals enjoy the "smorgasboard" they get when we unload a scrap bin

So I asked the Lord for a few pumpkins. Well, always remember that the Lord can do whatever He pleases and He’s a God of abundance! Several days later Silver Oak came home with an entire huge bin of large pumpkins! There was something slightly wrong with them and the produce market only sells top quality produce. We had big pumpkins coming out of our ears!! I decorated the front yard, fed the animals for days (pumpkin is a super food and great for livestock and chickens), and composted the rest.

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Pumpkins in the front yard...notice the grass! It was leftovers from one of Silver Oak's landscaping jobs.

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Another view from the gate

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

And from the other direction...notice what the chickens are eating

There was also a box full of small pumpkins which looked perfectly fine to me. I had a blast finding homes for them all over the deck and in the house for a homey touch of fall. And we’ve been eating lots of pumpkin dishes the past several weeks!! The Lord answered that request way beyond my expectations!

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

On the deck

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

More pumpkins

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

The sitting area of the deck...sooooooo thankful for this deck! And for my mom who recently repainted all my wicker furniture!

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Now when we host our small house church we can do it on the deck!

We now have hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouting all over from feeding pumpkins to the animals. The younger children and I have fun pulling them where we don’t want pumpkins growing! Next I want to try saving and roasting the seeds. More pumpkin fun!

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Picking pumpkin sprouts

Lesson learned: don’t ask the Lord for something unless you’re sure you want it. You may get more than you bargained for! Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Gratefulness for our First Year on the Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,

 

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Our front yard one year after moving, October 20, 2012

The past few weeks we’ve been celebrating living one year on our off-grid homestead, memories of moving, and enjoying our tiny house.

Just over a year ago our power source was a little 4000 watt generator (leftovers from Y2K), two 6v batteries, and a 350 watt inverter. We had no fridge except the tiny one in the camper, till we found a nearly new and very efficient 18 cu ft Energy Star refrigerator through Craigslist. We soon added a few more batteries, but the weather was beautiful as usual here in October, so we needed little electricity except for lights at night, our cell phone chargers, and laptops. We now have ten 6V batteries and a 2000 watt inverter/charger (which is as big as we plan to get), and we’re installing solar panels so we can eliminate the generator most of the time. Some day we hope to make a wind generator to help charge batteries at night or on overcast days.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Our power system three weeks after we moved...we had upgraded to four 6v batteries and a used 750 watt inverter, along with a car battery charger.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Now we have 10 6v batteries, a 2000w Magnum inverter with a charger (upper left), a cheap 2000w inverter as a back-up w/no charger (lower left), and a charge controller (upper right) for the 14 solar panels we already have installed.

We installed Thinfilm solar panels directly on our tiny house roof in August. They peel and stick to a metal roof, making them virtually theft-proof and storm proof, unless the roof is destroyed. It’s a newer technology, and we found a great bargain price from a supplier here in FL for a whole box at a big discount. We didn’t want to cut too many corners on this, since we are completely dependent on making our own power. This kind of solar panel works even if a leaf or shadow falls on part of it; the rest of the panel continues to work. It also works with indirect lighting, although not very efficiently.

We have not installed the remaining panels on the deck roof because of rain wicking between the sheets of metal with the shallow pitch. That is being remedied and we hope to have all solar panels up and be independent of generator power soon!

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

My dad and Blossom installing the first Thinfilm solar panel (also known as Flexlight)

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Fourteen were installed on our house roof; the rest will go on the deck roof when it is fixed

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Believe it or not, with the help of the children, I ran the wiring from the solar panels down to the charge controller while Silver Oak was at work so his precious time could be spent doing the final connecting of everything. Maybe I'll become an electrician like my dad (just kidding!).

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

My dad and Silver Oak ran power out to the sheds. How wonderful to not have to grope for flashlights going into the sheds at night!

For over six months we lived here on our new homestead with no well. We’d hoped for one much sooner, but other more pressing deadlines and projects (like fences for the animals, working on our tiny house, remodeling the shed for the rest of our belongings, etc) always crowded time for well drilling. When we did tackle the job we had many difficulties and it took two and a half weeks to complete. What was supposedly going to take a few hours turned into a nightmare at times. It was one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced here, but the Lord saw us through and blessed. It is so wonderful to have plenty of running water.

Until the well was drilled Silver Oak would fill several 55 gallon drums with water from my parents’ well in town before coming home after work, or we filled them with the massive neighboring orange grove pump. He brought the filled drums home and used a small pump to run the water up to the tanks on our roof. We constantly monitored water usage because it was no small chore to refill the tanks.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Filling tanks with the huge pump in the neighboring orange grove

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

The back side of our house with water tanks on the roof

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Digging that well with water and a PVC pipe with teeth on the end

One time Silver Oak was on his way home with a heavy load of water and he pulled off to check the wheels on his little trailer, making sure they weren’t getting too hot. When he burned his hand on the wheel he knew the bad bearing was worse than he’d thought. It was late on a Saturday night and he was totally exhausted from a long day of work in town and had a sleeping son in the truck with him, and now a burning hand. He figured he could leave the little trailer parked beside the country road and get it in the morning when he could see to replace the bearing. To his utter dismay the next morning it was gone; someone had helped themselves. That was a big disappointment and he still misses that little trailer, as well as the barrels it carried.

After we got our well we really splurged and bought an old washer to do laundry since it was no longer a big deal to use so much water. It’s a nice break from using plungers and a spinner as we did for over six months, but it also means using much more electricity than before. We’ll see how it works out when all of our solar panels are up and running.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

It takes about 30 minutes to do a large load of laundry this way

The greenhouse is mostly built, thanks to friends who came in February and July for frolics. Everything else always seems more demanding, but when we can focus on that a few days we should be able to finish the structure and put the cover on, which is waiting in its box under a tarp.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Putting up the greenhouse

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

The view from our deck one year after moving

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One

Silver Oak also moved the playground from our old house to our new back yard

In a few days Part Two will include more about our animals and plants and trees.

A Year of Work on the Homestead, Part One  Blessings,
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Our Tiny House

Our Tiny House

Our tiny house last December soon after we moved in. Notice water tanks on the roof and camper awning on the left.

A year ago when we moved to our off-grid homestead we thought we’d live in a camper for a few weeks till our tiny house was ready. But we waited a month and a half for it to be delivered, stuck in the sand, unstuck, and properly put into place so we could start remodeling for a family our size. Our tiny house is a 48’ semi trailer that was once converted into office space, then further converted into living quarters by relatives of ours. They had added beautiful flooring, windows, insulation, finished walls, ceiling, a kitchen, and more.

When we finally got our tiny house, we made a master bedroom at the front end which was formerly a bathroom/laundry room. We removed everything except the tiny shower and toilet, added a pedestal sink (remember that great trash find?) behind the door and built a loft for our bed with closet space below. It has been quite comfortable for us and we enjoy our “master suite!”

Our Tiny House

Our tiny house was delivered but got hopelessly stuck in the sand near the front of our property.

Our Tiny House

It took several weeks to get it unstuck and moved into it's final resting place.

Our Tiny House

Renovating the laundry room/bathroom at the front of the trailer that would become our master suite

Our Tiny House

Building the loft and reinstalling cabinets in new locations

Our Tiny House

The finished product

Our Tiny House

A slightly different angle

Our Tiny House

The pedestal sink behind the door, next to the toilet

The other end of the tiny house became a bedroom for our six children. Silver Oak built triple bunks on each side, with a little storage space underneath and closet space against the rear wall. Each child has their own private bunk space, and they have totally adjusted and enjoy all sleeping in the same room. We’re blessed seeing our children develop close friendships as they grow older, and find this tiny space to be positive.

Our Tiny House

Building the bunks in the far end of the trailer

Our Tiny House

View of completed bunks, not yet painted

The front door of our tiny house is on the side of the trailer, opening into the kitchen. If you turn right upon entering you will face the door to the “master suite.” In the master suite the shower is immediately on the left, with the toilet directly across from it on the right, and the pedestal sink snuggled in behind the door. Standing in the doorway you will face our loft. There are two small chests of drawers before the loft, and our closet and other storage area is beneath it.

Turning around to leave the master suite you will face the kitchen with counters, sink, stove and fridge lining the sides and a walkway down the middle. Beyond the kitchen is the antique secretary on one side, doubling as a china cabinet, and small table and chairs for the younger children on the other side. Next is the piano and living room. A big green curtain divides the living room from the children’s bedroom at the back end of the trailer, making it possible to close for privacy or open for air circulation.

Our Tiny House

Our range is across from the front door.

Our Tiny House

Next to the range

Our Tiny House

The counter on the other side of the kitchen

Our Tiny House

Beyond the kitchen, this is how it looked when we were getting it ready to move in.

Our Tiny House

This is after it was finished. The bunks are beyond the curtains at the rear.

Our Tiny House

The view from the living room back into the kitchen. In the background notice the door into the master suite. The front door is to the right of Evenstar.

A wonderful addition to our 350 sq. ft. house is a large covered deck connecting the house to the camper which we use for a schoolroom, second bathroom, and guest house. This makes it possible to live quite comfortably in a tiny house even with a family of eight. We had hoped to complete the deck last winter but more important things came first, like drilling a well, building fence, and preparing to grow food. A small part of the deck was built in January, with more pieces added a few weeks later, including a temporary tarp roof.

Our Tiny House

The first small section of deck is built from upcycled materials soon after Christmas.

Our Tiny House

More deck is added plus a tarp roof which served us for four months

In May, with help from family and friends, we built the big roof over the deck and camper which is a huge blessing in protection from the elements. Finally, last month the rest of the deck was added to span from our house (trailer) to the camper, creating a wind tunnel, dogtrot style, to keep us cooler during the summer. Right now we are thoroughly enjoying this lovely deck! The next phase is to enclose it with screen to keep out bugs and mosquitoes. That will hopefully happen this winter.

Our Tiny House

In May the big roof was built.

Our Tiny House

It covers the deck and camper

Our Tiny House

Recently the rest of the deck was added over to the camper.

Our Tiny House

Silver Oak's big helper

Our Tiny House

When the upcycled lumber ran out we had to buy some new boards which makes an interesting pattern.

Our Tiny House

Our deck exactly one year after moving to the homestead.

Our Tiny House

Another view at one year

Next time I will update you on more happenings and improvements made this first year on the homestead. As you join me, be reminded that all has been provided by our loving and gracious heavenly Father. Starting from scratch with very limited finances may be tough, but the blessings from all we’ve learned and the richness we feel living on our own land with no debt (including no mortgage in case you don’t classify that as debt) is invigorating and worth it. The Lord meets our needs in unexpected ways many times. Witnessing His undeserved faithfulness when we are helpless grows our faith in ways we would not have experienced otherwise.

Our Tiny HouseBlessings,

Our Tiny House

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, The Wilderness Wife, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Memories of Moving

Memories of Moving

Doing schoolwork under the canopy during the weeks that our home was a camper

We lift up in prayer the millions who are experiencing hardship in the cold with no electricity right now.  Let it be a wake up call to the rest of us to be prepared for the unexpected when the systems we trust may let us down.

One year ago when we moved to this off-grid homestead we knew we were in for adventures and a lot of hard work. The night we moved in was no exception. The little chicken coop was reassembled with the help of friends and family since our animals had to move with us the same day. There was not yet a fence around our living area, so to avoid invasion by our curious and potentially destructive goats we had to build a quick fence before going to bed. All the children went to bed except Evenstar, who helped Silver Oak build fence around the camper area while I unpacked the many boxes crowding our already very limited space in the camper. We got to bed early the next morning, and the goats were fenced out! Our possessions were safe unless they broke in as they did the first week after the move. Blah!

It may seem backwards, but for over four months on our new 20-acre homestead, the goats, chickens, and horse were running freely outside the fence and we were “penned up” inside. It got better as the year progressed and we got more and more fences up. Whenever a new fence was finished it was always exciting because it gave us more freedom to plant or do other things without animals getting into it, or it allowed us to separate animals or keep them from escaping.

Memories of Moving

The morning after the move...putting finishing touches on the new fence around the camper

Memories of Moving

We were penned in...

Memories of Moving

...they were shut out

Memories of Moving

The chicken coop and Evenstar's rabbit hutch, seemingly setting out in the middle of nowhere

Living in a camper for six weeks was challenging with eight of us sharing that little space and no other place to go except outside or into one of the sheds. We did make one corner of the big shed into a temporary office for Silver Oak even before it was refurbished, but it was kind of like being out in the elements in some ways. Fortunately the weather was lovely so it was refreshing to be outside, where there was plenty of work waiting to be done. We did schoolwork under the canopy and cooked on the gas stove in the camper or the grill outside. We probably missed our piano and a second bathroom more than anything. When we did finally move into our 350 sq ft tiny house, it felt huge!

There was no place to store outdoor things as well as many indoor things when we moved, so it got stacked out in the open area between the camper and the northern property line. As we settled in, the assortment of “junk” grew larger and larger. It was good and very useful junk, but I thought it looked horrible, especially since it ended up being the main view out of my kitchen window after moving into our tiny house, so I named it “the graveyard.” Much of it was good lumber waiting to be repurposed, left over from someone else’s projects. We have built many things from that lumber this year at very low cost, so it was a valuable “graveyard.”

Included in the “graveyard” were stacks of stepping stones and landscaping blocks, concrete blocks, bricks, large planters, used fencing, used propane tanks, 55 gallon drums, tires, PVC pipes, five gallon buckets, water storage tank, sets of wooden steps and rails, gates, tubs, and many other items that are extremely valuable in developing a homestead inexpensively.

I am happy to say in recent months we’ve relocated almost all of the “graveyard” contents to more desirable places and it’s being transformed into an orchard and garden area. The fencing is in the back pasture waiting to divide it into paddocks, the plumbing is stored on brackets hidden behind a board fence, and the lumber is in the “lumberyard” behind more board fence. Now I love looking out my kitchen window at the 10 newly planted fruit trees and a few volunteer tomatoes and squash growing in the garden area.

 

Memories of Moving

The "graveyard"

Memories of Moving

Another view looking toward the house

Memories of Moving

Starting the big job of clearing the "graveyard" this summer

Memories of Moving

We got up an hour early many mornings to move things bit by bit

Memories of Moving

The new lumberyard

Memories of Moving

This is all that is visible of the new lumberyard from the house...a fence made from someone else's discard pile

Memories of Moving

We hauled in and spread decomposed horse manure to prepare a garden area where the "graveyard" once was

Memories of Moving

The new garden area as it appears now

The big shed had to be refurbished before moving things into it. We had sold or given away a lot of our furniture and other belongings before moving. But the rest, including many books, keepsakes, camping gear, stored clothing, and filing cabinets, had to be moved from their temporary places in town within the first month or two after moving here. Restoring the big shed became a huge priority to meet those deadlines. It has been such a blessing to have that extra space to store supplies or anything else we don’t have room for in our tiny house.

Memories of Moving

Refurbishing the big shed

Memories of Moving

Finished except for the paint job it still needs

The adventure of getting our tiny house ready to live in will have to wait till next time.  I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures.

Memories of MovingBlessings,

Memories of Moving

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, The Wilderness Wife, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

One Year On the Off-Grid Homestead!

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Our fall friend, Hillary, stands watch for us

Today marks one year since we moved out to our 20 acre homestead on our journey to a sustainable lifestyle. It’s hard to believe it’s gone so fast. Today we looked over all of our goals for the past year and set new ones for the coming year. Our goal was to be relatively sustainable by this fall. We have not accomplished all that we had hoped, but fall isn’t over yet.

We are so thankful to the Lord for all He provided and brought us through this year. He taught us a lot of lessons and we have seen His faithfulness many times. Last summer God graciously answered prayer by providing this property that met our precise requests. We made a very low offer with all the funds available, and the seller (bank) accepted. Amazing! That was enough confirmation that this was God’s place for us. In spite of moving ahead slowly when time and finances were tight this year, we have been so blessed to live debt free on our own homestead, and are living completely disconnected from the power grid.

Before moving we cleared enough palmettos for our living area and for a long 1/3-mile lane back to it. It was hot and rainy and miserable some days, but it finally got done. In the meantime we simplified our lives by selling and giving away many of our possessions we could do well without. We also set up a small shed that Silver Oak built during the summer with repurposed metal given to us by a customer. This was the first mini building to be placed. Close to it we placed a much larger shed that needed to be remodeled before it was usable, and a camper to live in until our tiny house was ready. Our dryer was installed (clothesline), the septic done, and a tank for storing water.

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Endless clearing of stubborn palmettos

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

There was excavating for everyone!

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

And plenty of grunt work.

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Clearing the long lane

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

The first building in place...Silver Oak's little shed

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

The camper waits for us to move in

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Digging out palmettos to make way for the big shed

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

The big old shed is added

On moving day we brought what we had to have, leaving the rest in town in temporary storage. The chicken coop and milking parlor combination that Silver Oak had built in the spring was taken apart and reassembled the same day to accommodate our animals who moved with us. With the help of friends and family we got it all done!
One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

The dismantled chicken coop and milking parlor is loaded and ready

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

The mess waits to be organized

I’ll be back in the coming days to share more memories and photos of our move off-grid and our first year!

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!Blessings,

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Canning Applesauce Off-Grid

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Delicious and sweet is the applesauce, as well as the good time we share making it!

We recently made applesauce from apples my parents brought down from Michigan. This is our annual fall tradition, but last year we missed out because we were in the middle of moving here to our new off-grid homestead (can you believe it’s been nearly a year!?!). That means this is the first time we’ve made applesauce or done canning off-grid. Not that it was much different than before, but since we don’t have a big freezer like we used to, we decided to can most of it this time.

In our opinion there is nothing better than applesauce we make ourselves! If we could we would have some with every evening meal, but we were not able to make enough for that this time, and will be happy to enjoy it once every two weeks or so after almost a whole year without any.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Cutting the washed apples in half

Our process is simple: wash the apples, cut them in half, and cook them in large waterless stainless steel pots till they are soft. Waterless cookware is better because it takes only about 4-6 oz of water in the bottom of an eight quart kettle to do the job. This means it doesn’t take as long to heat them as it would if the kettle would be full of water, and the nutrients are not leached from the apples as when they are cooked in all that water.

When the apples are soft enough to easily poke them with a fork we start running them through the Victorio strainer, which separates the pulp from the sauce. I love this because we never have to core or peel our apples! I found my Victorio strainer at a thrift shop last year for a great bargain, but it was missing the wooden plunger, so I found another wooden gismo at Goodwill to take its place. Now I don’t have to borrow my grandma’s old Victorio stainer from my mom every time we make applesauce.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

The Victorio strainer

With the freshly squeezed sauce we add in some raw honey and a little cinnamon. Meanwhile someone must be on guard to make sure it doesn’t all get eaten before it’s packed away. :)  We love it half frozen, but with limited freezer space we put some in the freezer and canned the rest. We processed about two and three-quarter bushels of apples and ended up with 37 quarts of applesauce.

Last year I also found another canner at a thrift store, so now I have the ability to can more at one time, which is a blessing when canning for eight. A cooking range inside and outside also came in quite handy. The inside one is for use in cooler months, and the one on the deck is to keep the heat out of our tiny house when it’s hot. We had both ranges going at once, one for cooking apples and one for canning the jars of applesauce. With our big table on the deck and our “dogtrot” breeze flowing through it was quite a pleasant place for the operation with plenty of space for all of us to work.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

It was roomy and breezy on the deck

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Two canners cut the canning time in half

I had six eager helpers. We don’t make applesauce every day, so it’s a novelty. Everyone had to take turns cranking the Victorio strainer because too many wanted to do it at once. What a blessing!

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Taking turns and working together

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Preparing the canners

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Cranking and dipping

In the middle of making applesauce the generator began having fits. Our big generator is getting its internal governor fixed (whatever that is!) so we are using our little back-up generator which we purchased 13 years ago. It has seen better days and we jokingly refer to it as the one that uses as much oil as gas. Sure enough, after running about four hours it needed more oil. I sent Evenstar out to do the job so I could keep the applesauce process running smoothly.

Evenstar was battling the generator when I suddenly heard her hollering for help! Water was gushing from somewhere off the back of our house. Oh no!! Did the plumbing from the tanks on the roof burst? Or had a tank sprung a bad leak? I raced back there to discover that the plug on the water filter going to the house had broken loose. I stuck my thumb in to stop it temporarily while Evenstar climbed up to close the valves from the tanks to stop the flow (I’m a “chicken” when it comes to climbing up there, but Evenstar doesn’t mind a bit, fortunately). For about 45 minutes we had no water while I took the filter apart, cleaned it, whittled down a cork to plug the hole and reinstalled it, all the while trying to keep the applesauce rolling. Fortunately we had some clean rain water collected and some water already in a tub that we were using for canning so we had water to work with.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

The finished product...yum!

In spite of the trials the last of the mess and dishes were washed up by 4pm. I suppose the biggest differences doing applesauce off-grid were issues during the process, like fixing the generator and water leak. But hopefully next year’s applesauce episode will run smoother as things get set up more efficiently.

Canning Applesauce Off GridBlessings,

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

Our homemade tooth powder

If you haven’t already done so, read part one of this series here, and part two here. This post is a summary of the tooth infection story and what worked for us.

Silver Oak has had only minor tooth decay the past 20 years, but in his younger years he had many large fillings, especially in his molars. I have no doubt the changes we made in our diet and lifestyle during the first years of our marriage have played a major role in that. Many of us have learned things about diet in recent years we never knew before.

Dr. Weston Price spent a large part of his life as a dentist studying the diet of people groups all over the world and the resulting impact on teeth and overall health. His studies have greatly influenced many and we are so grateful for what he had to share. Since studying some of his writings about making a healthy environment in our mouths to promote healthy teeth and bodies, we made more changes.

Now we rarely use toothpaste, which in some ways discourages healthy teeth. We make a tooth powder, which we place on our palm and scoop up with a wet toothbrush. The powder is two parts baking soda to one part salt. Baking soda helps give our mouths a healthy ph level and salt is a natural antiseptic.

After flossing and brushing with powder, we use Spry from the health food store to rinse out our mouths.  It contains xylitol, which fights cavities and freshens our breath since the powder is not exactly delicious smelling. I would love ideas for a more sustainable and healthy mouth rinse that is good tasting, so tell me your ideas.

Flossers take the pain out of flossing. I now effectively floss in a few minutes, where using string floss used to be so laborious I rarely did it. Flossing helps remove the beginnings of plaque build-up and decaying food that may be stuck between teeth.

If we can keep any plaque from beginning to form and keep a healthy ph level in our mouths through proper cleaning and diet, the likelihood of developing cavities is greatly diminished. When any colonies of plaque-forming bacteria are allowed to reside in our mouths they can build deposits of plaque which makes a safe haven for them to multiply. Then, especially during the night when bacteria fighting saliva is not being secreted, they have a hayday in our mouths.

Doug Simons teaches how to brush teeth with a stick, either a flat type toothpick from the store, or crafting them yourself with certain kinds of wood. He says they get cleaner than with a toothbrush and floss, and feel smooth and polished all the time. We have yet to try that, so I will let you know when that happens. But if sustainable is what we’re after, this idea fits the bill.

Silver Oak’s recent tooth infection taught us many things. We’ve made a plan in case we face something like this again.

At first hint of toothache:

  • Ask the Great Healer for help
  • Bite on whole clove with affected tooth
  • Oil pulling with 1 tsp coconut oil & essential oils
  • Refrain from sugars (they feed bad bacteria)
  • Clean teeth well with tooth powder and floss (or stick)

If it appears to be an infection continue the above and add:

  • Prickly pear wedge or poultice, depending on severity
  • Tooth packing with crushed fresh garlic and cayenne powder
  • 2 oz Ionic silver 3x per day
  • Suppliments of garlic & Vitamin C several times per day

Hopefully we will continue with these steps until two days after symptoms are gone!

Silve Oak missed three days of work, making this ordeal an expensive endeavor, but so would being treated by a dentist. Then he would have missed work AND had a big bill and drugs to take. And we wouldn’t have gained the experience and confidence in dealing with this problem ourselves, which could be fatal in the event there would be no dentist available.

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

Horsetail (Equisetum Hyemale)

There is one thing we still need to address. As Silver Oak has gotten older some of his teeth with the large fillings have started to break. The recently infected tooth needs a new layer of enamel covering the broken part as the natural barrier against infection that teeth normally have. Dentists say that will never happen. Doug Simmons and Weston Price have said differently.

At Doug Simmons’ advice we just purchased a horsetail plant (Equisetum Hyemale) for $4 and hope to grow enough to use as a supplement to aid in healing that tooth and strengthening the enamel on all of our teeth to prevent cavities or heal any that may appear. Varieties of this herb grow wild in many places around the world, and it propagates easily. It contains the highest amount of silica available in plant form, and silica is what it takes to grow new enamel (as well as healthy bones, nails, hair, and ligaments).  We hope to see how it works.

Blessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Prickly Pear Cactus grows almost anywhere and is a natural refrigerant, useful for fevers and inflammation.

Part one of this series can be read here.

I was recently reminded that serious infections must be fought in at least three ways. The first is prayer.   When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three The second is fighting it locally (or externally), and the third is attacking it internally. These should be continued two days after symptoms disappear to make sure the infection is completely gone. That is easier said than done, because after an intense battle with infection we want to relax and move on to something else as soon as we start feeling better. But the cost can be high.

When Silver Oak’s infection seemed to be gone less than 24 hours after using prickly pear cactus, crushed garlic and other things, he stopped treating it too soon, and the infection and toothache returned worse than before. Now we had to be more aggressive than ever if we wished to do it without drugs or a dentist.

The prickly pear wedge was no longer enough to fight the growing infection, so I made a poultice for the outside of his cheek which covered a much larger area than a wedge could. I cut the cactus pads in half the long way and scraped out the gel. The goopy slimy stuff was placed on a paper towel and plastered against Silver Oak’s face, covering the entire jaw area around the infected tooth. It was tied on with a long strip of cotton wrapped around his head. He looked quite a case!

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Cutting the cactus pad in half after removing the spines

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

The inside of a pad cut in half

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Scraping the inside with a fork to remove the gel

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Scraping the other direction to break it up more

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

The loosened gel with the skin underneath

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

The slimy gel was placed on a paper towel...

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

...and applied to the cheek, jaw, and upper neck area.

Poultices are slow acting so must be applied about eight hours to be effective. In the meantime time Silver Oak kept his teeth brushed with tooth powder after every meal as mentioned in the last post, and we kept his “holey” tooth packed with crushed garlic. We repacked it every several hours, using a Q-tip to press it into the hole. We mixed cayenne powder into the garlic packing to help fight infection and stimulate circulation and encourage faster healing to the area.

Silver Oak could feel the drawing effect of the poultice at times. Making poultices kept us busy hunting down more prickly pear, scraping off the needles, and mashing fresh batches. It was a bit of work for several days, but it really helped reduce the visible swelling on his jaw. At first, if he went for any period of time without a poultice, the swelling and ache would return.

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Wearing a poultice in this way is a "pain," but not nearly so much pain as a bad toothache and what a dentist may have to do

In addition to the poultices Silver Oak began taking 2 oz of ionic silver three times per day. Ionic silver is a powerful weapon against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. We purchase ours by the gallon from Galen Yoder at Nature’s Defense (to order by the gallon contact him, and no, we don’t make any commission on sales When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three ). It is hard to estimate the value of keeping a generous supply of ionic silver on hand in the face of possible epidemics or other medical emergencies. It has an indefinite shelf life if stored in a cool, dark place (and we’ve heard the FDA is trying to take it off the market…???).

Another very powerful routine Silver Oak began was oil pulling, which fought the infection locally and internally. We are impressed with the results as we learn to use this idea more. At least once each day he swished one teaspoon of virgin coconut oil (other oils will work but coconut is superior) in his mouth along with a few drops of cinnamon, clove, and other essential oils. He pulled this mixture through his teeth and swished it for 20 minutes before spitting it out. This pulled toxins out through the bloodstream in the mucous membranes. Twenty minutes is necessary to mix the oil thoroughly with germ-killing saliva, making a powerful pathogen killer duo.

The white foamy liquid filling his mouth was spit out, but not down the drain. The extracted toxins dared not be swallowed, and coconut oil solidifies and can clog plumbing, so it works best to expel it into the trash.

After three days of consistently using prickly pear poultices, garlic and cayenne packing, oil pulling, ionic silver, garlic and vitamin C capsules, refraining from sugars, and keeping his teeth cleaned, Silver Oak was again free of pain, swelling, and infection. This time when he went back to work he remembered to use the items I packed for him. He discontinued the poultice so he could work, and after a few days of no symptoms he stopped everything else. Since that time (over six weeks) he has had no signs of recurring infection.

So, if we had it all to do over again, what would we skip and what would we do for sure to get rid of the infection? And what will we do to make sure the infection won’t return to a compromised tooth without going to the dentist for a filling or a crown? More in part three coming soon!

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of ThreeBlessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Wildcrafting Wednesday Herbal Edition, Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

From L to R is our battery bank, inverter, and (for now) one charge controller for the first set of solar panels we installed. Marble the cat surveys Silver Oak as he connects things in the middle of the night.

Six weeks ago Silver Oak came down with a serious toothache that incapacitated him. That means it was really bad! He had stayed up the night before to finish connecting the newly installed solar panels. He was tired of high fuel bills to run the generator for hours every day, and the electrical work had to be done when the sun wasn’t shining on the panels. He finished at about 4:00am, and the next day his tooth attacked him.

The bad tooth was a broken-apart molar with huge fillings from his younger years. It had been sensitive for a few months and he hadn’t said anything (naughty!). It was just waiting to strike when his resistance was down from stress and lack of sleep. The infection and pain moved in with a vengeance.

We like to learn as much as possible about dealing with things like this ourselves during a time of non-crisis when there is also opportunity to go to a dentist if needed. Experience, skills, and knowledge are even more valuable than a stash of stuff, in our opinion. We recently purchased a DVD called “Alternatives to Dentists” by Doug Simons which gives many helpful instructions on how to deal with tooth issues when a dentist is not available (some of his teachings we don’t agree with but much is very helpful).

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

My dad helped install these peel & stick solar panels on the roof of our tiny house...more on them in another post

Using things we have on hand and previous experience, as well as Doug Simons’ teaching, we spent the next several days seeking the Lord’s wisdom for treating Silver Oak’s infection. Sometimes I’m frustrated by bloggers explaining things they have not successfully done themselves. I purposely waited this long to report what we did to verify its success.

Whenever there is a serious infection, I try to remember to fight it locally as well as internally. First we went after the local area since he was in so much pain.

He placed a whole clove between his teeth, biting it firmly with the ailing tooth till it eventually disintegrated. This has been successful in the past for toothache. It numbs pain (especially in the mucus membranes) and fights infection. This time it numbed his jaw, but the infection was too deep and severe it didn’t stop the ache.

Silver Oak brushed his teeth with a combo of baking soda and salt (2:1), followed by rinsing out his mouth with Spry. This powder cultivates an environment with the proper ph to inhibit growth of plaque-forming bacteria and is more effective than toothpaste (especially the “normal” brands with all the junk in them).  Brushing is especially important before bedtime so the mouth has a healthy environment all night long when there is less helpful saliva to fight the bad bacteria.

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

Prickly pear cactus growing on our homestead

We went out and found prickly pear cactus and, after scraping off the needles, I peeled the skin and placed a wedge of cactus “meat” into Silver Oak’s cheek next to the bad tooth. Within five minutes Silver Oak said he felt something drawing out of his tooth. I then crushed a clove of garlic and packed as much as I could into the broken tooth. The pain slightly subsided enough that he drifted into an exhausted sleep.

When Silver Oak awoke several hours later (remember he had gotten no sleep the night before) he felt so much better that he ate dinner with us, then brushed his teeth again. I repacked his tooth with crushed garlic and made a new cactus wedge to place inside his cheek against his tooth. He slept fine that night (with no pain killers) and felt great in the morning. I sent his teeth brushing supplies with him to work, as well as another wedge of cactus and capsules of garlic, golden seal, and vitamin C, but he felt so good all day he didn’t even use them! Very naughty!! I told him if he was my child I would…well, we won’t go into that.

Needless to say, he failed to learn from my mistake with my infected foot several months ago when I stopped treating it too soon. We had successfully fought the infection enough for it to recede, but it was still simmering in there and came back even worse than it had been before. It was so bad by the next morning he couldn’t go to work. I was worried we would have to use the dentist after all, but our ammunition was not yet used up. We had to pull out the bigger guns and be more aggressive now than ever.

Part two of this series is coming soon!

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three Blessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country LivingNatural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Enjoying Our Off-Grid Homestead

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Exploring the beautiful front acres of our homestead

This summer has been challenging here on the little homestead God has given us. We knew this path would not always be easy, and this summer has been no exception. Last week we spent a few dinner times praying and fasting as a family, seeking direction and relief from some of the stresses we have felt. The Lord answered in some special ways, and I feel more positive about the future again, even though some hardships are not yet lifted. But God has promised to help us through our difficulties, not necessarily out of them.

One Sunday recently we had a very special time together. Our church’s worship service was switched to the evening before, so Sunday we had an entire day of rest as a family. It was a day to remember!

A few of the girls got up early with Silver Oak and went fishing at the pond. With all the recent rain the pond level has risen dramatically! They caught three little fish, throwing one back because it was too tiny. It was fun even if it wasn’t overly productive. As soon as we can we’d like to stock that little pond with Talapia. Sound good?

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

The peaceful pond

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

The solar electric fencer on the new electric fence. It's hot!

After chores and a good breakfast we took a hike through the front seven acres of the property. We wanted to see the pond that is running over, walk through the beautiful woods, and see the lush green grass growing up there. We admired the new solar-powered electric fence Silver Oak just completed on the north side. The grassiest part of our property has been unavailable to our horses and Buttercup (the Jersey cow) until now because there was no north fence to keep them out of our neighbor’s yard.

The weather was absolutely beautiful! Since the first of September we have seemed to turn a corner. It’s been noticeably cooler at night and the mornings stay cool longer. Sometimes it’s not getting really hot till closer to noon. Lovely!

On our hike we met a gopher tortoise. We also found all kinds of tracks…about three sizes of deer tracks, plus coon tracks, large squirrel-type tracks (fox-squirrel?), and some kind of three-toed tracks. We found various plants and herbs, like horsetail (we think), prickly pear cactus, blackberry vines, blooming lantana (which we sadly chopped up because they are poisonous for cows), wax myrtles, and elephants foot (with properties similar to plantain). There is an old falling apart mobile home we got a closer look at, and took pictures of a bee colony living in one of the walls.

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

The tortoise didn't seem too bothered by our presence if we held still and just watched him go by.

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Plenty of prickly pear cactus...edible and medicinal if the needles are removed

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

The falling-apart mobile home that waits for us to dismantle it...some day

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Blossom poses behind a waist-high shoot of elephants foot which Silver Oak protected when mowing the front pasture because of its size

When we reached the grassy area near the front of the property the younger children got carried away doing summersaults. It felt luxurious to play in grass, since everything around our house is still sand. We look forward to progressing enough to put some sod down. I didn’t realize how wonderful grass is until living about 10 months without. Sand is better than the palmettos that were here first, but we are all ready for grass!

As the day got hot the children (and Silver Oak) got this crazy idea to swim in the pond. I didn’t grow up swimming in pond water like Silver Oak did, and it took some convincing to get me to go. I worry about snakes, for some reason! But I gave in and off we went to try it. It ended up being a blast! I took pictures until they convinced me to get in near the end.

One bank of the pond rises sharply out of the water, providing a platform to jump from. Most of us are good swimmers, but Silver Oak and Evenstar were the only brave ones to swim across the pond and back. Though the water was quite warm, they felt cold water from below in the middle. We are not sure how deep it is.

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Some going for a swim, others resting (reading) in the shade on the "beach"

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

The brave ones swim back from the other side

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Jumping off the high bank

The high water level made visibility very clear around the edge where we entered, but lots of grass grew around some edges and extended out into the water, although not very tall or thick. There was so much splashing and thrashing by the children that if any snakes were lurking I’m sure they hastily made their escape. It still made me nervous. We’ve learned that water moccasins swim with their bodies on top of the water and their heads up, making them easy to spot unless there are hiding places, like tall, thick grass. Other water snakes are harmless.

We started pulling on grass growing in the water, and discovered it pulled up easily. Some was rooted near the edge but had runners going into the water about 12 feet long. We stood at one place and pulled out lots of grass. In a little time we easily cleared quite a bit.

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Pulling the long grass out of the water

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Removing a little grass made a big difference

Back home we showered and the children kept commenting on how much fun they’d had. It is neat that we have our own swimming hole; another alternative for cooling off when air conditioning may not be available. Everyone wants to go again, but it must be with adult supervision so it may have to wait for another family time.

To the children’s delight Silver Oak hung a discarded semi tire from a tree in front of our tiny house. Our pineapple tops are planted all around the same tree, so a few of them have suffered a bit from the extra activity. We’ll just relocate them or plant more next time we get pineapple tops.

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

It's a hit!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the deck in the breezeway, or taking naps. It was a time to reflect on the many blessings God has given us as our dream of a sustainable homestead unfolds.

Enjoying Our Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Linked w/Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, Natural Living Link-up, Homemaking Link-up, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

Rose Petal’s daughter Evenstar bringing you Week Twelve of Homestead Scenes:

~Fun at the Pond~

Several weeks ago our family had a chance to go swimming in our pond for the first time! We had a blast! The water was nice and warm near the top, but cool and refreshing underneath. We all enjoyed splashing about in the shallows, but a few of us more adventurous ones also swam out into the middle where it is quite deep.

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12Pulling out grass to destroy the would-be water snake habitat. The pond is really high right now due to all the rain we were having several weeks ago. In a dry season a lot of this would be part of the shore.

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Homestead Scenes ~ 12And here’s the parting shot.

 

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for your visit and come back again!

Homestead Scenes ~ 12

 

Linked w/Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Natural Living Link-up, Homemaking Link-up, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

My victim

Yesterday it happened. Silver Oak was gone and a big rattlesnake showed up. We had practiced just in case, especially since killing one this spring, but I was sure hoping it would never happen.

It was naptime and the younger children were snoozing before our traditional Friday night date in town while the children spend time with Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins. My peaceful afternoon was about to be disrupted. Around 4:30pm Blossom, our 13 year old, came breathlessly sliding across the deck (literally). “Mommy, Mommy, there’s a rattlesnake out here!” I had a headache and was quite tired after a tough night and shoveling rabbit manure earlier that morning. Somehow the word “rattlesnake” transformed me instantly.

I yanked on my leather cowboy boots, hollering instructions to the girls to stay behind me unless given permission otherwise. I grabbed Silver Oak’s .22 rifle and took off, then wheeled around and went back for the key to unlock it. I may have practiced these moves, but somehow in the excitement of the moment my memory failed.

Blossom said our two dogs and the two surviving bachelor guineas were raising a fit in front of the barn, and upon investigation discovered they had a big eastern diamondback rattlesnake cornered. Now that is a blessing! Wish I could have gotten a picture of them, but I wasn’t in photographer mode at the moment. Those faithful guard animals may have saved someone’s life! One reason we got guineas was because of their reputation as snake-watchers. Now we’ve witnessed it first hand.

As I rounded the corner, sure enough, there were the guineas up on a mound of uprooted palmettos, fussing at something. The dogs were barking furiously, but as soon as he saw me, our gun-shy Australian shepherd disappeared into the woods. I couldn’t see the snake because it had crawled up over the pile and was trying to gather its wits on the other side. I cautiously followed the ominous rattling sound and found its large body coiled up under a palmetto at the base of the mound.

I am not a good shot, especially when nervous, so I got as close as safety allowed. It helps to know that a snake cannot strike more than 2/3 its length, so initially I stayed six feet away, standing on the mound above it. At the first shot the rattling stopped, and the snake appeared dazed. I unloaded the gun on it, trying in vain to hit the head, getting closer as it became clear that it was quite disoriented. When I ran out of ammo I laid down the gun and hollered at Blossom to get the long handled square shovel I had used that morning for scraping up rabbit manure.

With the shovel (and a prayer for help) I lunged at the snake from my perch above it on the mound, pinning it down about eight inches behind its head. Silver Oak told me later that may not have been the safest thing: if the shovel would have broken or slipped I could have ended up right on top of the snake! Shudder!! But the Lord helped me and with my weight leaning on that shovel I held that snake down. It was NOT getting away! Then the snake did a strange thing. It reached its head around and bit itself! I guess it bit the first thing it came to, which was its own body. I saw the side of its fangs and a big white balloon (the sac of venom?) in its jaw, as well as a bit of blood oozing out. Shudder again!!

With me pinning the snake down, I instructed Blossom to take the pitchfork and stick its head to the ground, keeping her boot-clad feet and legs at a safe distance. When that was secure, she chopped its head off with the ax. Only when its head was off did I feel safe releasing my weight from the shovel. I know that was probably overkill. But I would rather kill it three times than take the risk of it escaping and possibly harming one of the children or animals, or myself.

We dragged out the snake and measured it at six feet long! I took pictures, then dug a hole and buried the head. By that time I was dripping with sweat once again, so headed in for a second shower.

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

The dead snake with all the weapons of warfare and three of the faithful guardians

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

The guineas cautiously approach to get a better look

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

The mound where the snake was first cornered is in the background. Hershey, our black lab mix, has alerted us to several rattlesnakes over the years. She's earned her keep.

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

The younger children stand on top of the mound looking down at the spot where we killed the snake

I asked Blossom if she feels like a hero, because she is the one who actually killed the snake by stabbing it in the head, then chopping it off. I don’t know what I would have done without her quickly and bravely following instructions. Our oldest daughter, Evenstar, was gone with Silver Oak in town.

We’re thankful for the Lord’s protection once again, for faithful guard dogs and guineas who alerted us and kept the snake at bay, and for cooperative children willing to step out of their comfort zone in a crisis. And I now have a tiny bit more confidence to face a scary creature like that again if necessary, but hope I never have to!

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

I Shot a Rattlesnake!

Linked w/Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Natural Living Link-up, Homemaking Link-up, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday

 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

I’d Die Without Air Conditioning!

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

A tiny a/c for a tiny house - it doesn't take much to cool a small space

As I write this paragraph I’m enjoying 77° F (25° C) inside our cozy tiny house while Hurricane Isaac brushes past us, blowing and raining. We even uprooted ourselves a few hours ago because a tornado was spotted south of us, and we slugged through the mud holes out to the end of our dirt (now mud) road to be ready to get out of harm’s way in our vehicles if necessary. Thank the Lord it was a non-event, but a good drill. Now I’m very thankful for air conditioning while it’s hot and muggy outside, but even more thankful that I’m learning to be less dependent on it.

Growing up mostly in Central Florida, we had central air conditioning in our house since I was quite young. I’ve always been an inside person in the summer, venturing into the miserable heat only when necessary and wondering how people survived before the days of a/c. I definitely understand why some early settlers lived here only in the fall, winter, and spring months, as many people still do today.

Now we’re living off-grid and trying to become as sustainable as possible, and a/c is something I’ve had to start parting with. There are air conditioners with slow start-up technology, efficiently used with a small solar electric system like ours, but they are costly. We have a window unit in our tiny house that cools it very well, but runs only with the generator. Since our goal is to use generator power less as we get more solar panels up, we are working our way right out of an a/c. Sigh.

What can we do to make life more liveable during the hot and humid months? When I am hot, I am miserable. I detest sweat running down my back or dripping off my face. The heat saps me of strength and energy, and literally gives me a headache. It makes me irritable, it’s hard to think, and productivity wanes. I am a heat wimp! In order to rid myself of dependency on a/c, something needs to happen.

Here are some ideas we’ve been implementing:

- We did some research before setting up our little house to see what early settlers did. One idea was a dogtrot cabin. It is basically a house with living area on each side of an open porch that acts as a wind tunnel. Doors and windows off the “tunnel” catch the wind and create a breeze in both sections of the house. We set the camper parallel to our tiny house, and built a roof overhead. Daily we feel the benefits of this wind tunnel, even when there is not much breeze otherwise. Until late June when the hottest weather kicked in, our insulated tiny house stayed relatively cool because of the dog-trot effect. Now that it is really hot, it is usually still bearable on the deck between the house and camper, especially with our new roof and radiant barrier insulation.

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Our "dogtrot" effect

- We get out early to do outside work in the coolness of the morning as much as possible. By the time it’s hot (between 9:00 and 10:00am) we can come in and do something else, like schoolwork and piano practice. By then it is time to start the generator so we can run the a/c, the big well pump to fill our water tanks, and the washer for the daily load of laundry. We run it till the batteries are fully charged or we don’t need it otherwise. In the evening when the batteries are charged it cools off again and is comfortable without the a/c.

- We make cool and refreshing drinks that replenish electrolytes and keep us hydrated. This helps with headaches and feeling sapped. Freshly squeezed limes or lemons and a little raw sugar in cold water, or our solar iced mint tea are our favorites.

- At times this summer the generator had mechanical problems, or we cut back because our budget didn’t allow for so much fuel consumption. That meant going without a/c some days. Once Silver Oak was outside with the children using the water hose, and to their delight he sprayed them with water. As I strolled past he got ornery and shot a spray at me as well. It felt so good I asked for more. This may seem obvious, but when it’s hot it really helps to get wet. Swimming pools, ponds, water hoses…as the water evaporates off your body it feels refreshingly cool. Of course that is an “outside only” scenerio, but when it’s hot inside it feels better to stay outside anyway. When the heat of the day is over, taking a cool shower feels so delicious! I really look forward to it when I’m hot. It cools the body temperature, and then we’re ready for the cooler evening hours and staying clean until bedtime.

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Our pond looks inviting when we're hot, but we haven't been brave enough to try it yet

- Making a decision to rejoice even when sweat is rolling helps as well. A few months ago I was challenged by the song, “He’s all I need, He’s all I need, Jesus is all I need.” I wondered, “Can I really be joyful if it means going without ‘necessities’ like a/c? Is it true that He is all I really need?” I prayed and said, “Ok, Lord. If I don’t really NEED a/c, I’m going to trust You to supply my need in that area as well as other areas of my life.” I was tested on that sorely in the following weeks, and soon I realized that He really was helping me, and it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. This leads to the next point.

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

This powerful fan is good for pulling air through the house and cooling it quickly

- After using less a/c, we discovered something: we actually started developing a tolerance for heat. Even I, the heat wimp, noticed a difference. The thermometer could say 82° F (28° C) and the humidity could be high, and it didn’t bother me as much. I used to be miserable in anything over 79° F, so was taken by surprise when I realized it was 82° F or 84° F inside! I never believed I could acclimate like that, but I can’t argue with proof. As I write (at a different time than when I started this post) the humidity is 77% and the temp is 81° F here in the house, and I feel perfectly comfortable. That is a switch. Now when we go somewhere with a/c our poor children complain of being COLD! Imagine.

- Fans are a must. With fans in our windows and over our beds, we’ve been very comfortable without a/c at night all summer.  Window fans pull cooler outside air in, and fans over our beds blow directly on us. Fortunately it always cools down at night. In fact, often by morning we need a light cover because it gets too nippy. During the day fans circulate air which makes it FEEL cooler.

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Each child has a personal fan in their bunk

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

A lightweight fan in our master bed/bath window. These "O2 Cool" fans fit easily in our small windows and use either AC power or batteries.

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Swimming in Grandpa and Grandma's pool

This summer we went swimming in someone’s pool. When we went inside to shower it felt freezing cold because of the a/c, so we turned the water on nice and warm to keep from chilling. Suddenly I realized the irony of the situation. Taking warm showers surely made the a/c run more. So we were using electricity to cool the house, then using more to take hot showers because it was so cold inside, which caused more electricity to be used to keep the house cool. Growing up that way I never thought of it. Now that we make our own power, it seems a bit silly.

I’m happy we’re learning to cope with heat during July and August, the two “killer” hot months here. I have more hope about actually surviving without a/c if ever required to. But I also look forward to fall and the beautiful temperate weather we enjoy most of the year here. Soon we can remove the window a/c and stay cool using only the breeze, and hopefully charge our batteries using only the new solar panels on the roof!

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Blessings,

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!

Linked w/Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, Natural Living Link-up, Homemaking Link-up, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday

 

Id Die Without Air Conditioning!
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
 Page 3 of 14 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »