Although our trailer is STILL not moved to its final resting place (hopefully it WILL be today!), there have been definite steps of improvement on the new homestead this week.
First of all, our ability to obtain water has greatly improved. The wonderful neighbor who helped us get the semi-truck unstuck is proving to be an angel once again. As Silver Oak drove past his place one day (toting the large aerator tank with a new supply of water from town), he waved my hubby down to ask how things are going.
He asked Silver Oak if he was tired of hauling water all the way from town. What a question! As foreman of the orange groves in this area, he uses a huge pump to irrigate the groves. He can fill up our 200+ gallon tank in less than three minutes! It usually takes at least 30 minutes filling up with a normal hose out of my parent’s well. He told Silver Oak that whenever we need water we should just stop in at his place and fill up.
What a blessing! No more having to schedule trips to town around need for water, and our time efficiency was just multiplied! What a neighbor! Now I KNOW he’s an angel!
And we purchased a fridge! Our long-term goal is to learn to operate without modern refrigeration as much as possible. We’re learning fermentation, dehydrating, curing, and root cellaring, although the latter is a big challenge in hot muggy Florida. But as we learn, and as long as it’s possible, we’re taking advantage of modern conveniences to make life and learning easier.
So far since being off-grid we have been using the small camper refrigerator and some coolers to keep our food fresh. We switch freeze packs every day with freshly frozen ones from the little camper freezer. That works great for produce. But the camper’s gas fridge is not keeping up for some reason, and we have lost food to spoilage.
So we made it a priority to find a super high efficiency fridge. A gas fridge would work, but they are expensive and rare in Florida where propane is more costly.
We had been advised that the Energy Star requirements change frequently, becoming more and more efficient, so to get the highest efficiency unit it should be less than four or five years old. Also, side-by-side and bottom freezers are not as efficient as top freezers, and extra gadgets can take more power, so we wanted a bare basics unit.
After checking out a nearly new fridge listed on Craigslist, we bit for it! It was manufactured only one year ago and appears to be just what we need, and was only $200! It is rather small (18.1 cu ft) for a family of eight, but much bigger than what we’ve had the past three weeks, and will take less power than a bigger one. And since we’re working at not depending on modern refrigeration, it should fine.
Running an electric fridge means using more power, so we also added two more batteries for power storage. We now have four deep-cycle golf cart batteries in series and in parallel, which means instead of 12 volts they are combined to create 24 volts, and are converted to a/c power with a little 750 watt inverter. Hopefully the available power will not be depleted too quickly every day so our batteries will “live” as long as possible. I’m TRYING to learn about this electrical stuff which has been like Greek to me. If there are problems when Silver Oak is gone I want to understand how to make things work.
I’ll be back soon to let you know more good things happening around here.