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Homesteading: Homesteading ?????

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Forum: HomesteadingReplies: 38, Views: 634
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phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 8, 2007
11:11 PM

Post #3170502

Any one useing Wind Power or Solar ? Any one Makeing there own Methane Gas From Pig Manure?
Virginian
Falls Mills, VA

February 9, 2007
1:24 AM

Post #3170841

I'm not phicks, but a friend of mine is totaly solar. He has a large solar cell, about 4' by 5'. It charges six deep cycle marine batteries. He can run one 40 watt light bulb, his laptop, and cell phone for about three days without more charging. I should also mention that he lives in a 12"dia. dome tent, heats with wood, and doesn't have running water. He has lived this way for two winters, rivaling Throreau's time at Walden. He seems content.
sylvi74
East Bethel, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 13, 2007
7:09 PM

Post #3185366

What state/zone is he in?

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

February 16, 2007
4:03 PM

Post #3195358

Virginian must not have marked this thread to watch... he's usually responsive.

I want to put in a solar panel to pump water from my spring uphill to some holding tanks. I'll use that water to gravity-feed my garden areas.
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 16, 2007
8:38 PM

Post #3196364

they have solar Windows to it helps heat the house
sylvi74
East Bethel, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 20, 2007
1:40 PM

Post #3207799

I am interested in solar power but I live in MI - land of no sun. I am moving to MN - land of a little bit of sun, LOL. Still reading up to see if solar would be worth it.
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 20, 2007
1:43 PM

Post #3207806

check up on wind generators to
fourx
Nth Coast NSW
Australia

February 26, 2007
9:00 AM

Post #3225899

I run everything on solar, and have done for over twenty years- there are certain things you have to adjust too- no microwaves or blenders, or vac cleaners, unless you put in a huge and very expensive system..but it works for us OK.

CARAT

CARAT
Vegas,NV Filbert, SC
(Zone 7b)

February 27, 2007
5:01 AM

Post #3229158

fourx, I can live with out the microwave and the blender but I am a clean freak and dont know if I could do without my vacuum...
fourx
Nth Coast NSW
Australia

February 27, 2007
9:11 AM

Post #3229309

Brooms work on carpet squares on polished wood floors, Carat, and provide a little gym-fee free workout at the same time:)

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

February 27, 2007
1:31 PM

Post #3229842

Casey, I guess you'd best not come to visit me! My house is always a nasty mess, even the kitchen except when I'm canning, baking or cooking. I'm like my mother... I can use every pot/pan and utensil for a simple meal!

I hope I will be able to clear out around the spillway where my spring overflows into the creek within the next month so I can measure flow. I'm thinking there might be enough flow/pressure to install a water turbine to generate electricity for the house... or at least SOME of the electricity. Then of course, I'll have to learn how to install all the hardware... converters, inverters, storage batteries and all the other bells and whistles of generating and using electricity.
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 27, 2007
2:28 PM

Post #3229989

Darius this might help i bult one it supplies enough power to light my out side bldging and runs 3 fish tanks pumps lights and heaters on one deep cycle 12 volt battery am geting another battrey this week to paul http://www.rain.org/~philfear/how2solar.html

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

February 27, 2007
2:52 PM

Post #3230063

Pretty cool, Paul! Thanks.
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 27, 2007
5:13 PM

Post #3230469

Darius the best place to get a Solar Panel is on e bay make sure its 12 wtts or better i got my deep cycle battery at a junk yard i payed ten bucks the rest of what you need is at radio shack paul
luannewolf
Fayetteville, AR

January 20, 2009
1:47 AM

Post #6026401

Back to methane gas from pig manure! Heifer International is a non-profit org that works on giving animals to poor people throughout the world. They have drawings of two 5-gallon drums welded together with a pipe that comes out the bottom. Add manure to the drums, get methane out the pipe! A little more involved than that, but not by much. www.heifer.org
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 24, 2009
6:14 AM

Post #6181759

Good news about solar. The price has finally dropped below $2.00 a watt. The average price was about $5.00 a watt three years ago. With the 30% government rebate, you can buy for $1.39 per watt. This is thanks to the new CIGS technology. The down side is that they take up more space to produce the same amount of electricity. This isnt a big deal if you have lots of room and can wire panels together yourself. By the way, it is really easy to wire panels together. Just have an electrician wire them to the inverter. Here is a website that shows the best prices available right now.

ecobusinesslinks.com/solar_panels.htm

Stand alone systems with batteries are extremely inefficient but much cheaper than getting electric run to your property if you are in the middle of nowhere. The best way is a grid-tie system where it spins your electric meter backwards. You never waste an ounce of electricity and by federal law, your local provider has to let you do it as long as you notify them. It is important that they know you are feeding electricity back into them in case they have to work on the lines. They also have to pay you if you have a surplus but they wont pay you nearly what it is worth. It is a great time for solar as they said the magic number was $2 per watt for it to be cost effective but it could never get that cheap. Now you can get it for less than $2. I am sure they will come up with some other reason why we shouldnt do it now. Let me know if you have any questions as I have panels and have been looking into this stuff for the last few years. GO TEAM!!!!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

February 24, 2009
4:32 PM

Post #6183239

Love the link, Paul (haven't checked juju's) One thing that has been getting in my way was how to put the component parts into a usable system. I can wire a house. But the converters and inverters were baffling. think I might just be getting a handle on this.
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 24, 2009
5:16 PM

Post #6183575

I just wired up all the grunt work and brought all the wires to the finishing point and then let an electrician do all the final steps. I saved a ton of money that way.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

February 24, 2009
5:26 PM

Post #6183633

How complete is your system, Juju (sorry I love saying that!!)

Enough to keep a family almost modern yet off the grid? Enough for independence? There are so many levels of electrical independence...
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 24, 2009
6:31 PM

Post #6183971

No, it is pretty small. It produces about 4-5 kilowatts a day. I can run an entire office all day and night plus an aquarium extras. I am a bit of a hog in there. I could definitely run a cabin. It was about 4000 but I could buy the same system now for 2000. Prices have definitely dropped. If you knew how much electricity you would use per month, in kilowatts, I could give you a rough estimate of the cost.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

February 25, 2009
12:17 AM

Post #6185565

I might come back and take you up on that. Feeling frazzled now, but definitely interested. Our biggest wasters are the water heater and heat pump. The house is all electric which I hate, but ---one step at a time...
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 25, 2009
2:02 AM

Post #6186085

The most cost effective use of solar energy is a solar water heater. You can make your money back in just a few years on one of those units. Give it a shot.

grownut
Clarkson, KY

February 25, 2009
2:14 AM

Post #6186158

Been dying to. DH is not sold so I typically do a lot of research before going for it!! ;-)
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 25, 2009
2:43 AM

Post #6186317

The investment is lower and the payoff is faster. Make sure you keep some of you bills from before you hooked one up and after. That will turn their head.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

February 25, 2009
2:04 PM

Post #6187880

I've been thinking of doing a seasonal solar water heater like we had as a kid when I was growing up. (Seasonal here, year-round in Miami.) It's an easy convective loop, and cheap since you don't use any medium to exchange heat. I think I'd put the drain valve/hose bibb just above the storage tank (water heater) so I can attach a long garden hose to drain it down for winter.

My only problem is getting someone to help. I'm pushing 70 and not as strong as I was, nor as sure-footed on the roof!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

February 25, 2009
2:57 PM

Post #6188077

If I thought I could pull off an escape I'd trade you for it! siiighh.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

March 9, 2009
12:12 AM

Post #6239805

My place is totally off the grid. We didn't design the house to be solar, but it is (accidentally) very much like the cliff dwellers had in terms of sun usage, big windows on the south & west. I have a solar system which looks pretty dogpatchy because I assembled it piece by piece as bigger and bigger solar panels became available. I moved up here full time almost 7 years ago and bought a new inverter & controller then. I think I have about 550 W in panels, times 10 or so hours on a sunny day. I have 10 6-volt golf cart batteries, hooked up for a 12V system. Last year I was running out of power in the winter, but my son helped me tilt the panels for winter use, and it made an enormous difference, the batteries are getting completely full by mid-afternoon. I do have a microwave, blender, coffee maker, vacuum cleaner, satellite TV & internet, Staber clothes washing machine, and dry the laundry outdoors by preference, although I do have a propane dryer for emergency use. I don't use anything electric for very long, for instance I just use the microwave for a minute or 2 at a time. I use propane for cooking, water heating, and have a propane refrigerator and a smaller electric one. When the system was smaller, I hooked up everything myself but my son helped me with the new inverter & controller -- he is a lot sharper! I also have a wind generator but it only works when the batteries are low AND we have a lot of wind. Well, we have a lot of wind most of the time, but the batteries only accept input from the wind generator if they happen to be low, e.g. during the night. I have a separate solar system for the pumphouse -- the water level is at 600 feet so it only pumps 1.5 gallons per minute but that's plenty since I pipe the water to a 1500 gallon holding tank, and the house water comes from that. There's a separate faucet up by the horse stable, where I have put in a new garden & will be converting the stable to a large greenhouse for next winter. The only thing I don't have is a solar water heater -- that would really help with the propane bill -- I hope to make one this summer.
50glee
Huntersville, NC

May 25, 2009
12:47 AM

Post #6592773

Oh sooo glad I found this thread.
Have been telling hubby about solar and alternative energy,
- selling energy back to the companies
- as he exclaimed old age "took' his wife! LOL

will be checking out some of these links too!
thanks for sharing!

i would LOVE to be off-the-grid.
I just get so totally burned up that we can be charged
- what the market will bear
- for necessities like electricity and water.
Madness!
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 25, 2009
2:23 AM

Post #6593158

Speak of the devil. Our gas water heater died on us so I am going to start checking out the salvage yards for a 30 gallon water heater. I am going to cut the shell off and get the tank out and put it on the roof or on the ground in the backyard. I am not sure if I am going to build the insulated box to put it in yet since those tanks will get up to 120+ degrees anyway during the summer here. I will definitely need a box to put it in during the winter so it stays warmer. Total investment should be 50 buck for the pipes and 30 for the junked water heater. I should make back my investment in a few months. Building the box for the winter should be the biggest investment. Probably 100 dollars.





AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2009
2:23 PM

Post #6594747

Good luck with the water heater, Jujube. My propane bill is much larger than it needs to be, a solar water heater would really knock it down.

I am just finishing setting up a combination filter/aerator system for my 300-gallon horse water tank -- sold the horses, but this week expect to take delivery on the 100 catfish fingerlings, which will live there. The filtration system stars a 12-volt bilge pump, and will be powered by 2 old solar panels (small) and a 12-volt battery. Hope it all works! All I have left to do is some minor soldering on one of the panels, and I am the world's worst solderer. This system won't have a controller or inverter or anything complicated. Made the filter out of a coffee can, and the return water will spray into the tank from above, adding oxygen. If it isn't enough, I will occasionally drain some water out of the tank into the veg garden and add fresh.
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 25, 2009
5:00 PM

Post #6595414

I have a 300 gallon raised goldfish pond and I do the same thing. When I want to spot water some of by fruits or veggies I take the "fertilized" water out of the pond and give it to the plants. That way I am doing water changes more frequently but not in a wasteful way.

Good job.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2009
11:13 PM

Post #6597050

Right on! Water is too scarce around here to waste. Is San Marcos hot & dry, too? I put a picture of my catfish tank "in progress" under the heading "Tilapia no, Catfish yes", with a description.
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 26, 2009
5:00 PM

Post #6600099

San Marcos is just now started to escape from the worst drought in history for the town. My farm had only received 3 inches of rain this year up until this weekend. We received 2 inches over the holiday. Last year we only received about 45 percent of normal rainfall and cattle were dying because there was nothing to eat. However, on a normal year we should get 32 inches of rain. We havent had a normal year in quite a while. I will be happy with 24 inches. I left you some hints on your other post as well.

AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 26, 2009
5:22 PM

Post #6600188

32 inches of rain sounds like heaven but your drought sounds terrible. We didn't get much snow & rain during the winter so things were bad here, too, except that the last 3 or 4 days we have had about 3 inches, I think. I haven't seen puddles across the roads this big for several years.

Note about the tax benefits of buying solar equipment: My accountant says you can only take the deduction, one time, and my solar supplier says the tax rebate only applies if you hire somebody (like them) to install it for you. So when I buy new panels or whatever, I don't get any tax deductions at all. YMMV. Don't know yet whether the president's new plans will affect this.
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 26, 2009
6:47 PM

Post #6600539

I claimed and received the rebate for solar panels that I bought and installed myself. I would look it up on the internet. I dont recall ever hearing about someone having to install it for you. I have not heard of the one time shot either.

Landscaping92
Asheville, NC
(Zone 7a)

May 28, 2009
1:03 AM

Post #6606893

My duck when in to my neighbor yard and got killed by his dog. Is there anything I could do legally like making him pay for my duck and my suffering.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

May 28, 2009
1:43 AM

Post #6607088

Not if your duck went into HIS yard. Asheville, like many cities, requires animal owners to keep their animals under control and in their own yards or somehow restrained..
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 28, 2009
2:50 PM

Post #6609117

How did this switch to dog/duck legalities?
dougf4
Hayden, ID

June 9, 2009
3:35 PM

Post #6663544

Anyone interested in homesteading should visit this site and become a founding member!

http://www.theruralindependent.com/forum/index.php

Also check out this site as well:

http://www.theruralindependent.com/

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Homesteading Threads you might be interested in:

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Share your homesteading experiences and dreams. PeggieK 246 Jul 4, 2012 8:18 PM
Ways to "Live off the land", share your ideas PeggieK 149 Mar 25, 2010 10:10 AM
Looking for possible partners in a homestead darius 71 Mar 24, 2012 3:49 PM
Explain makshi 49 Aug 6, 2008 2:36 PM
Ducks vs. Chickens nivlac 85 Apr 23, 2013 6:45 AM


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