We are rural in that we are on a well, septic, etc.
We asked ourselves the other evening after the power went out due to thunder-bumpers, just how long we could go. Being on well and septic, y'all know that we had no water (no elec to pump) and that means no toilet facilities and no - well, you get the picture :)
DH was able to go out and start the generator to get us through the day, but it made us wonder...just how sustainable are we right now if there was let's say a 2 week (ackkkkk!!!!!) period when we had no power?
How would all of you make do? Just curious and love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
We do have the 250 gallon but when the power goes, it still won't refill a toilet :( It's just a buffer, rather than a reservoir. In a desperate mode, we can open the valve at the bottom and fill buckets for the toilet.
Trish, how do you get the water out of the tank? Gravity? and where is the tank located?
We've been talking about investing in a propane generator as a backup - our heat is propane so we already have a 100 gal. tank. That would take care of water, heat and freezer. We've attended the local county energy fairs yearly. Solar options increase every year and the rebates and tax incentives make it look like a better and better option. (Renewable too).
Wow. I honestly never gave the whole thing much thought! I just assumed that everyone with a tank would have water during electric outs...
Yes, I suppose our tank is gravity fed. The tank sits at the well house which is maybe 100 feet away, and slightly uphill from the house. I'm not sure what you mean by "buffer/reservoir"...does that mean that your tank doesn't actually keep 250 gals in it at all times? I'm pretty sure that ours doesn't keep the whole amount in, but it does keep it at 3/4 or more full. So, whenever it gets below that line, the well pump kicks back on to refill it back up. This feature may be like that for everyone, or it may be part of our set up to reduce the hydrogen sulfide that we deal with...I have no idea.
good thread for those thinking of solar one thing tho if you stay on the grid after geting solar if you dont have battreys when the Eltric goes down so wont your Solar if you dont have batterys . ive been learning to make solar panels so far i have 3 not big ones but they work. i have propane heat to . i all so have a Gasoline generator but i bought a kit now it will run off of Propane gas now to wich is a lot cheaperpropane srores better then gasoline. i have 5 50 gallon rain barrells that i keep full i also have a small RO water System to its called Bare Bones About 90 bucks . if any ones going to buy a whole house Generator make sure you get a transfer switch to id get the manual one my self. also one of my 50 gallon rain barrells is siting right out side by the bath room window
well, let's see, being as realistic as i can at the moment... if the power goes out, i have NOTHING (well, i will still have city water). but next week dyson is going to help me with a pumping system (unfortunately still elecrtic for another year until i can afford a solar panel) for my garden. it will be fed my my 3 springs amd ultimately feed my house as it used to.
i'n not concerned about batteries to store solar power for water, as i can easily put 2 cisterns up the hill behind the house to gravity feed both garden and house. i may have to take a shower in a trickle, but i can get clean. that takes care of water for house and garden.
i have a really good airtight woodstove made by vermont castings so that pretty much takes care of heat. we have a 19 acre woodlot, so except for gas for the chain saw, we are okay. actually i do own an old 2 man crosscut saw if necessary, just wish i had a mule and a long chain.
food should be no problem even if not a well balanced diet, between my root cellar and my big dry inside pantry at least for a year (depending on how many people descend on me). i'm only using heirloom seeds this year so i can save some. monsanto's new terminator terminology scares the daylights out of me.
What plans do you envision when there is no gasoline, and no propane available?
That's the key now , eh? Not that this will happen, but we want to be prepared.
The pantry is stocked completely along with bottled water since we're on a well, for 6 months, not a year :( On the new homestead --- hoping still this will come to frutition...we have all the woods we need as we're only clearing enough for the house. That will satisfy any need for cooking fuel as we have plenty of saws and axes.
We are hesitant to install a fuel tank at the new place but are considering it - just weighing the benefits versus storing fuel. Right now, we have a 500 gallon propane tank. Wondering how safe it is to store for a long period.
Solar is new to us and we're just now doing good research on what we can achieve.
dea.i have said it before... but get mazria's book and do your homework long before deciding on what kind of solar, or even investigating solar. it's a lot like learning math tables looooong before you get to trig.
paul, it's a 600-700 Page book by edward mazria called the passive solar energy book although it covers a LOT more than passive solar. my copy is the expanded professional version. if you'd really want a copy, you'd have to search more than amazon.
it's a primer on the fundamental concepts of solar energy, heat theory and thermal comfort. mine has 4 clear overlays in a back pocket to calculate the amount of solar radiation on any given site, and also an overlay for shading calculations. it's an amazing reference book, and mostly about how systems work (or don't!)
Here I am doing great if I have a power outage. We are on city water and sewer so that is taken care of. We refused to have our wood fireplace converted as so many neighbors did when the gas company offered a free conversion. So heat is not a problem and is neither cooking because I am fairly adapt at cooking with fire. During the summer I have a portable airconditioner that runs on a marine battery. This was compliments of my mother insurance company. It will only cool a 15X15 room but that is okay we can all sqeeze in the same room to sleep and cool off.
I would loose alot of freezer food as my dry storage is limited but we would be okay for at least a three weeks, but it wouldn't be the healthiest of diets at the end of that last week.
My biggest concern would be if we were to have a water contamination issue here. All of the valley water comes from one source. Trucking water into the valley from other areas is almost laughable.
Now for the SC house.
We are on well and septic system but have already purchased but not installed a solar well pump. The whole set up was quite pricey but with the amount of power outages the area is prone to it was well worth the price. We are planning on a propane generator to run a good chunk of the house once we get there using a manual switch to change it over. We have a wood fire place for heat and cooking and will have an outside fire pit for summer cooking.
Hopefully we will be able to get all of these things into place before something were to happen but only time will tell.
Now that I will have dry storage space and land for a garden I plan on canning and storing with the goal of 6 months food supply.
Darius, I tried to do a search for that book and I can't find any place that has one. Guess I will have to write that down on my list in my purse.
I have a small notebook that write stuff down in that I am looking for that is hard to find or I need exact measurements for. Such as I am looking for a certain color of brick to repair an area on my FIL house. I have picture of it in the note book along with the odd measurements. So if I stumble across someone selling or giving away old brick I can see if it will work.
Opps off subject again.
The water plant here is partly wind and solar powered. Considering we our yearly rain fall is less then 4 inches per year and we always have some sort of wind it is about the only smart thing that this county has done. We have had times that the area surrounding the plant has lost power for a few days and we have never experienced a water loss. YET!!!!!
To bad that in about 10 years at the rate people are moving here and wasting water their wont be any left. The county purchased the wind turbines and solar panels on a tax bill about 5 yrs ago and it is a 20 yr tax bill.
Most Water Plants Have a Priorty List if theres Going to be a Shoratge of water Hospitals Nurceing homes Fire Dept Police Stations Etc Etc you may want to get some 50 gallon rain barrels and keep theam filled up the small air cond is a good idea with the marine battrey but dont for get to get a battery charger that battrey will last about one night you can buy a 12 volt solar battery charger on e bay for around 3o bucks its worth it that site i put up above this is for RO water Systems i got mine there 79 bucks cleans 50 gallons a day Paul
Paul, actually I did check that site out and bookmarked it when you were posting about your solar powered rain barrels.
Rainbarrels are just not a possiblity here in this Las Vegas house. We are in the process of trying to sell this house and those would just not fit into the landscaping or the neighborhood CSR's.
This is one of the very reason for us wanting to move. Las Vegas is more into living only in the present. People here don't remember the past they blow it up and no one seems to want to look to the future of how what they are doing is going to impact tomorrow.
I used to work with a couple that owned a home on what was then the outskirts of town. They dug their own well and septic system. Then a few years after that a housing development was built just beyond them bringing city water and sewer to the area. Within a year or so after that the county managed to force them to hook up to city water or face high taxes and fines.
I really don't remember how the county managed to do this but I do know that they tried to fight it all the way up to the surpreme courts and still had to connect with city water and then pay all their legal fees. They moved from that home to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Kansas. Last I heard they are happy and back on well and a septic system.
I am curious about something though...
Can an old well or septic system that has sat dormant and unused for many years be restarted (for lack of a better word) or would a new ones need to be dug. And can you have more then one well on a property coming from the same water table?
Here is my reason for asking. I THINK we have an old well on our property. I am still trying to research through the assessors office if it was an opperating well, an original rejected proposal or an attempt at one that maybe didn't hit water and was plugged up. This well is much closer to where I want to put my greenhouse and gardens. I think it would be wonderful to have two wells if possible, both being solar in a perfect world.
We have an old hand-dug well for water in addition to our usual water well. You can drop a bucket down all year for water. It has served us when there was a power outage. If it was long term, I guess we would have to make an outhouse on the property somewhere for THAT business!
RO's are good systems as long as they are well maintained. the home (peritoneal dialysis) systems i sold did pretty well overall but one woman almost died because the filter was taking out too much magnesium (or not enough, i forget, it's been years since i even thought of it).
i will probably put some kind of filter on the water from my spring next year when i install it into in my house with a solar pump and a cistern uphill to gravity-feed the house. I still want an old-fashioned hand pump by the sink like my grandma had, and i even actually own one although it's never been used! came from Lehman's.
i have no clue how my city water reaches the house. i do know the reservoirs are way up the mountain but surely they pump it somehow down where are somewhat flatish. i just know i want OFF city water, and off as much elec. as i can slowly do.
most solar options are not viable for me due to the degree days here.
casey, i have a second copy of mazria's book i will send you when i get my books from storage. it's missing the charts in the back sleeve but i'd guess they could be photocopied on transparent paper from my set. never figured how i lost the first set, and with my transit, i did a LOT of layouts.
We are rural and our power goes out regularly. We have a large stone fireplace inside, firepit outside and lots of wood along with chainsaw and woods. There is a creek just over the hill large buckets and teenagers to haul water. My short fall would be food maybe I need a large storage of dried beans.Being former primitive campers helps a lot with survival skills.
If I can jump in, Phicks ~ your city water scenario came true here when hurricane Rita brought too many refuges to our small town. Then blew the lights out... we have 3 water towers. But the refuges were housed in schools and other public buildings and they flushed and showered and ran water unnecessarily and guess what! Less than 24 hours and the water towers were drained. Not a new thought but I hope never to be dependent on anyone besides the Lord and ourselves!
We have deer and enjoy venison here. Which presents another question ~ any thoughts on how you would preserve a whole deer? Without electricity to run the freezer? Without electricity to run the Excalibur dryer? Without electricity to run the range so you could can it? Have to share or eat lots fast?
Good going on the canning. I also can meats. I have a propane range w/ pilots. We buy 500 gal so would last a long time. My DM canned on a wood stove. Tough job in the heat but I know it can be done. With the grill and brick oven, you could also dry meats easily.
You Can Smoke some All So Make Jerky i all so keep a 2 burner camp stove and a lamp plus a heater to all run off of coleman fuel the stoves could run off of K 1 fuel i keep a few cans of fuel you can buy breif case solar panels cheap that will charge a 12 volt battery i have a 2 burner eltric burner that the battery will run to
Hi, Everyone! I find all of this info very interesting. I've been wanting to go this direction for several years (since being without power due to an ice storm for 14 days several years ago back in Omaha). My husband and I now live on 15 acres in Ky. We have a large kerosene heater which we heated with the first winter here, a coleman stove, coleman and oil lanterns, lots of flashlights and a large smoker grill. Since we have 5 acres of wooded land, we have access to lots of dead wood. Do need to buy a chainsaw though! I'd love to have a well, because the county water is awful. Not sure about how to store water for drinking. Have read lots of info, but just can't seem to grasp the how-to. I do keep several milk jugs filled with water in the freezer to thaw if needed. We are going to put gutters on our mobile home to catch and store rain water. I stated storing groceries a few months ago. Probably have 2 -3 months of everything we'd need as far as frozen meat, canned and dried foods. Still need to stock up on some more dairy items, cleaning and paper items. The garden is coming along well and am going to try my hand at canning and drying foods this year. We do have chickens which should start laying in a few more weeks. That will help alot, too.
Would like more info on the briefcase size solar panel???? We are trying to figure out how big a greenhouse to add onto the south side of our home. Husband Al is starting to understand my desire to being more self-suffient and more energy-conscious. Yes, it's about saving the earth, but it's also about saving money. My elderly MIL constantly complained about the hundreds of dollars she paid every month for gas and electricity. We are totally electric here, so need to start working on getting away from the grid.
If I drifted way off this forum, I'm really sorry. I have been reading so many. In a way though, all of the things I mention all go hand in hand.
as i recall from y2k, storing water only needs a couple of drops of bleach dependeing on jug size. walton foods has that info on their website. i think mine was 1/2 cup per 55 gallon food grade barrel but I would NOT rely on my memory.
Quoting: Yes, it's about saving the earth, but it's also about saving money.
It IS about both but to sound selfish, my number one priority is to save my family!
Food storage is easy to start small and be persistant. It gives you an incredible sense of worth to know that in lean times you can still provide adequately for family.
When you asked about the briefcase size solar panel and in the next sentence mentioned a GH, may I ask if you were hoping to use them in conjunction?
I also agree with Phicks about a propane range. If you buy one, be sure to inquire about electric ignition. In the early days of electric ignition you couldn't even light the burners with a match. It is also a bit archaic but you can also heat with freestanding propane space heaters. My interest next will be a propane tankless water heater.
I actually had some published Clorox info about treating water for drinking. Now days the Clorox formula has been changed and I found this old info from Red Cross...
Water Purification Using
Clorox Bleach - New Information
From Red Cross
Information for anyone who responds to inquiries about water treatment after disasters:
The Red Cross National Headquarters has received inquiries from the public about the fact that the Clorox Company is introducing a new product, "Clorox Ultra", which increases the concentration of Sodium Hypochlorite from 5-1/4% to 6%, and adds Sodium Hydroxide to the mix, which has not been in Clorox before. I contacted the Clorox Company for an explanation. Their explanation follows.
Yes, it is true that Clorox is changing the concentration of its regular household laundry bleach from having a 5-1/4% concentration of Sodium Hypochlorite to 6%, and that they have added Sodium Hydroxide to the formula. They are doing this to reduce the size of the containers and in response to market research. They are introducing "Clorox Ultra" slowly across the country, starting in the West and Midwest. It will be on the East Coast by fall. They will completely eliminate offering the "old" Clorox bleach upon introduction of the "new" Clorox Ultra.
However, the Clorox representative stated that the new formula has been tested and is safe to use to treat water at home. The only reason why it has not been approved by the EPA for use is simply that the company has not completed that process yet. (It takes a long, long time for all that paperwork.)
The recommendation to use for water treatment remains the same:
1. Filter out/remove any solid impurities.
2. Add 16 drops of the bleach per gallon of water and stir. This is the same recommendation for either the 5-1/4% or 6% concentration.
3. Let stand 30 minutes.
4. If it smells slightly of chlorine, you can use it.
5. If it does not smell of chlorine, add another 16 drops and wait another 30 minutes.
6. If it still does not smell of chlorine after two doses, discard it and find other water.
If you have further questions or individuals who contact you with technical questions about Clorox Bleach that you can't answer, let me know, and I can give you the name/number of the Clorox representative to refer these people to.
Rocky Lopes Community Disaster Education American Red Cross National Headquarters
By all means do not use the various scented bleaches either.
You may want to consider running your chlorine disinfected water through a charcoal filter to remove the chlorine before drinking. In addition to improving the taste, it will reduce the stress on the thyroid of having to deal with the chlorine.
OK guys - power outtage? I'm fluffed. Even the fancy new boiler needs electricity to ignite. I cook with electric and I'm going to look into finding a stove that uses gas without an electonic ignition right now. I have a rain barrel and looking for parts to make the second barrel work - so, depending on how much I've hand watered - I might have some water. I have pounds of rice and other grains - but how could I cook them? And then there are the cats to feed. There are some leftover cans of cat food from before I started raw feeding - but that wouldn't last long. On my list to do it to learn to dehydrate raw meat and hope they will eat it. I'm back to running the tag sales on the weekends looking for camping stuff - to cook with in case of an extended power outtage. I don't even have a barbeque! Thanks for the thought provoking (and depressing) question.
Thanks for the water treatment info. Just what I needed!
My interest in the briefcase size solar panel is to power our laptop and cell phones.
The GH is to take advantage of passive solar heat. We are on top of a hill with no trees shading our place at all.
Guess my mind was racing when I wrote my first post, because I didn't explain myself right. We have to travel because of my husbands work for months, or a year or two, at a time. So it's tough to get things set up here the way we want. We want to be self-reliant, self-sufficent and live as cheaply as possible. Everything that could be instituted to make us as such, could also allow us to be able to stay home.
I, too, want to be prepared to take care of my family in the event of an emergency that could last months on end. My heart goes out to people that have had to live through a major crisis. I just know that by being prepared and living as cheaply as possible is the way to go. I would love to be totally solar. I would love to have our own well for water. I would love to grow and raise all of own food. I don't want to live as the Amish do (just an example), but want to know if we have to, we can.
The propane suggestions were great. too. Need to work on that.
We have spent the last month getting our hayfield whipped back into shape to resemble a yard and a garden, and doing a lot of repairs and refurbishing. We had been gone for almost 2 1/2 years the last time. So our place showed serious signs of neglect!
Daius, if I could have found someone with what you were offering 7 years ago when I left my ex, I'd been on the next bus!
Promise not to get so lengthy in future posts. Like I said ealier, I have read so many forums, that I feel like I know all of you personally. Guess I'm just wanting you all to know me better.
Yankeecat ~ good thought to remember the pets too!
I chuckled at your power outage comment. Sis lives in a major urban area and didn't realize her cordless phone wouldn't work if the lites are out. Oh for being so sheltered! : ))
Msrobin ~ you should be able to take advantage of the GH for add'l solar heat if built as an attachment. As you said it was an open area, you might also consider plant some deciduous fast growing trees for shade/cooling in the summer. I suspect it would be welcomed even in KY.
msrobin, if you have wood available you have all the cooking and heating fuel youll ever need and its absolutely free! Look into the modern woodstoves, m,any of them are rated safe for mobile homes and some come with cooktops. You will need a GOOD chainsaw though and lots of muscle and some time but you can completely do away with ALL of your heating and and cooking fuel expenses. I heat my home with wood in the winter and it saves me a lot of money. I bought a top of the line woodstove and it paid for itself in two years in saved propane. Heatinf with wood actually becomes a way of life. Wood is normally cut, split and stacked one winter for the following winter. Cutting wood in the heat of summer is a miserable business but on mild winter days its actually pleasant work and good excercise. Plus you have the satisfaction every spring of knowing you are prepared for the following winter. Heating with wood also demands loading and caring for the stove during the heating season, its not like modern furnaces that you never think about unless its not working right. Its a good way to get back in touch with the land and the changing of the seasons. For me, I would never go back to propane alone (i keep the old propane furnace for when we are not home for long periods of time which isn't often) Last winter I found a top of the line log splitter at half price and considering it cost less than a season of propane the money was there to buy it. I don't worry about fluctuating fuel prices anymore, actually the higher they go the better I like it because I am saving even more money. With the price of heating fuels today if you live in an area thyat has abundant wood, even buying wood cut split and ready to burn is a deal comparatively. If I had to quit cutting today say for health reasons, it would still be cheaper for me to buy wood than go back to propane. by the way, I am a 44 year old woman, not burly but healthy and I can cut wood, I just limit the diameter of logs, you don't need to be a lumber jack to do it, just be active and healthy.
Our biz takes us away for the most part at the end of each month so, sorry I've been absent past few days. Welcome Robin :)
Today was good affirmation for us that we're headed in the right direction. Both our parents came for a long lunch and visit - they're 83, 83, 84 and 85. As they looked around the house my mom said quite seriously that if something happened, that it looked to her like we could house several families for a couple months :) That made both of us quite happy ! Then the 4 of them chatted with us what it was like for them during the depression - they all had very tough times living in various parts of the country.
We're far from sustainable, but we're making progress !!
Congrats on the Parents Get-together, Dea! No doubt about it you'll learn many perspectives and much info from them. (I grew up under the guidance of my Grandparents and tend to attribute much of my upbringing to their lifestyle and their perspectives. With the "older generation" comes much knowledge.)
CajuninKy: Caneyville is about 40 miles North of Bowling Green, 25 miles East of Beaver Dam. Little town...pop. 650, I think. Where is Inez? There's several people from Ky on Dave's Garden, I noticed.
phicks: We spent about a year in Bartow, just South of you, and another 6 months or so in Clewiston. Found a wonderful little bar in Winter Haven that we visited several times! Did a lot of beach trips on weekends! Spent thanksgiving weekend 2 years ago going thru the Keys. WOW! Being from the midwest (Ne & Mo) I was fascinated by the coast lines! Got a lot of inspirations for my paintings. We also spent a year near Mooresville, NC. Got to see mountains for the first time.
spot8907: Never even thought of getting a wood stove for inside. I was thinking of cutting wood for the grill! Just an airhead moment, I guess!
We have a wooded area probably 200 feet away on the west end and another I'd guess 500 feet away on the east end of our place. Since this was a hay field, we don't have any trees nearby to provide shade. We've planted a few, but they aren't growing very fast. We have an above ground pool that I use frequently during the day to cool off...convienently located near the garden, where I spend a lot of time. Al built a 12 x 12 lean-to in front of an old camper near the pool. We spend a lot of time there when we are not traveling. I painted the camper to look like a log cabin, so it didn't stick out like a sore thumb here. There's probably 5 acres of woods here, so we have access to plenty of firewood.
If any of you have Big Lots Stores close by you this mnth they are selling a Black & Decker 200-Watt inverter for 20.00 it normaly runs around 39.00 its a really good deal you can run ac or dc off your car or use it for a solar panel i bought 3 just to have paul
After Rita we did without power for almost two months, we did however have city water (wasn't potable) to flush and shower with (cold) The city was lucky enough that a local company, Temple Inland, kept the city sewage plant up and running with a generator. At home we had a generator big enough to run a few lights, fans and small fridge. I cooked on our propane grill (it has side burners) and we have several backup tanks that we keep filled plus the one that is on the grill. As for water I always keep several (at least 5 cases) of water in reserve that we rotate out as we don't drink the water here anyway..so between myself, DH and dog we use those about every month and a half or so.We have enough veggie seeds to last as well as if I needed to grow food long term, short term we have at least 3 months worth of canned/dry goods (yuck) in the pantry, although the DH would get really sick of humas and couscous *LOL* We also have two solar lights, an inverter, a hand cranked NOAA radio/TV (a hand cranked radio is a MUST have for weather emergency). My main problem would be my medications. I only have enough insulin for a month at a time right now, if It looks like we would have another situation like Rita I of course would get another several months worth but tops would be 3 to 4 months worth of insulin, the crazy meds and others I can do without and live...But no insulin and I have a problem. Also a few things pet owners might not think of for those weather emergency (i.e. hurricane aftermath) get babygates cause you'll have to leave your doors open for air also get a good sturdy tie down stake, cause your fence will be bye bye. This year we are looking into getting a small window unit A/C as well as a better cooler, also looked into rain barrels
I have an inverter, and a 12 volt ice chest that I bought at walyworld for about 60.00 the ice chest does not work as a freezer but I also have a chest freezer so I am thinking if I move all of my frozen goods the the freezer and set up a deep cycle battery/solar panel to run the chest I can at least disconnect the fridge and save that much power.
Tomorrow, I am going to start building a fire pit for cooking and look for my bow saw. I know it is in the shed at my mothers house somewheres or maybe in the old Chevy blazer across the creek.
Now it is off to the walyworld web site to check deep-cycle prices.
*darius - I now have my car back and Tue is looking good for a road trip. Mon. I have a teleconference I have to attend*
Pagan nope have to have the insulin, and while it can be kept for several days out of the fridge it breaks down after that. Not as touchy as they say but can't just toss it in a purse and go either. But gas is never a problem in our neck of the woods even after a hurricane *LOL* I run low I go knockin on the FINA refinary door...so I should be able to run a fridge, my problem would be in getting the insulin itself. It was about a month or so until a pharmacy opened here after the hurricane and then the supply was very very limited.
Meds are a major problem in times of trouble. I wondered when I watched tv footage from Ms after Katrina. The first thing the residents asked the Natl guard for was their prescrips. I thought why on earth wouldn't a person have a stash if it means life or death with out them.
Well... I am now finding out. DH and the insurance co. They won't let you get more than a month at a time. Talk about making me paranoid. I do not understand as I am paying for the drugs. The insurance only pays $1,000. and only after we have met our phenomenal deductible at the years end. Tried to be prepared and find our hands are tied.
lol yep, I get three months at a time through our Insurance RXmail order so that helps but if it's not early into that three month period I would still have to fight to be able to get permission to get extra. If not I have to pay full price, I don't know about ya'll but I don't really like laying out that kind of cash if I don't have to. For all of my meds a one month extra supply would cost about 1200.00. LOL I really need to start getting more bang for my buck *G*
I think we can handle a lot out here for a few months without power and running water if we had to. I forget we have a 10,000 gal swimming pool and a pond down the hill and a 3 season spring. And as I said earlier, we have all the cooking and heating issues taken care of. I'll be getting solar set up to power our cell phones and laptop computer soon, plus picking up a wood burning stove for the house. But I definately need to get our food storage expanded, along with other neccessities.
Due to Al's work schedule and only 1 vehicle at the moment, I haven't been able to get to the store for 2 weeks. Out of dish and laundry soap, need vinegar for pickles and need lots of sugar and flour and other staples. And I was doing so good stockpiling until recently. I'm sure kicking myself now!
Power and transportation disruptions are where the family herb garden/supply can be of help. The key here is using common sense and knowing how to use the plant and knowing how one responds to a particular plant medicine *before* an emergency. I'm thinking of Gymnemna sylvestre here. It lowers blood sugar and has helped many people either eliminate or reduce their need for insulin. Assuming the disaster that knocked out the power and transportation systems doesn't annihilate the garden as well, this *might* be a way to stretch the insulin supply until new supplies are available. A big caveat here is that we need to test how our bodies respond to this herb (ie, how much and how quickly does it lower *our* blood sugar and affect insulin needs) before needing it in an emergency.
If you are not using insurance to pay for your meds then they can have no say in how much you get at one time. Just have the doc write the scrip the way you want it and go fill it at any pharmacy you want, even online. Just tell them "no insurance" when you have it filled. Make sure they give you ALL of your meds at once - some sneakily try to give you a month's worth at a time because it costs more (more profit for them) if they dole it out that way. My thyroid meds cost me half as much to get 90 days at a time as if I got one month's worth.
I do this all the time, or rather, DID, when I had insurance.
Thyroid here and I got two years worth filled (accidentally) for $60. Should have been one years supply but Dr says to half the pill and pharmacy didn't put that on the label. I made sure I still half it with the Dr and shame on me for taking advantage of the pharmacy...
Sorry, no sympathy for the pharmacy. I'm sure they still made their profit for the day.
Another source might be your doc - there's a lot of samples that are often given out of many medications. Obviously, insulin is not one of them, but perhaps any others ... just don't forget to rotate out your stock pile, they don't last forever.
Yes to the samples. A friend in nursing said there are very few drugs that deteriorate when stored under proper conditions and most drugs will last far longer than the exp. dates. I can get the names of the few drugs next time I see him. One I recall was an antibiotic but the names don't stick if I don't take it...
I take Armour thyroid (natural thyroid) and it unfortunately crumbles when you try to cut it in half. Otherwise my thyroid meds would be even cheaper than they are!
Lately I've been getting them for free from the manufacturer through their prescription assistance plan (I'm in school, working on a doctorate, and have virtually no income). They will only dole them out to me three months at a time. Since I don't pay for it, I don't gripe, LOL!
First of all, it's raining good and steady, a regular little thunderstorm! Don't know how long it wil last, but hopefully for a little while for my yard's sake! :) Ordinarily, I would be very grateful for the rain for my garden and saving the money on my water bill. But...
A couple of days ago I wrote a post, after remembering we had a 10,000 gallon swimming pool, which we could use the water from in case of an emergency situation. Well, the key word there was HAD! Yesterday, I was building a new chicken coop and I never made it to the garden and pool area. Well, sometime during the day, I guess the seam busted. It flooded my garden. The pool sat 10' from the garden entrance. I had 6 squash planted along the front of the garden and it got it hard. Think I only lost one plant...had too many anyway. I picked up squash near the back end of my 20' rows. I can only imagine what a sight that must have been, water gushing through the garden! Good news? The whole garden got a good watering.
Carat: I had just noticed the night before that it needed a shock treatment, which means no, it didn't have much in the way of chemicals in it. We got a half inch of rain while ago, so sure garden is fine. With such a thorough soaking, I'm sure everything will really take off now!
Dyson: Come on over...head east, probably 9 hours or so. That'll give me time to find a recipe. I always plant too many seeds. Haven't tried a cassarole, yet, but need to. We always just fry it. Read in one of the threads that you were having hip surgery? Hope you are doing okay.
Pagancat: Mixed feelings about the pool. Al bought it for when the grandkids were coming to stay for a few weeks 4 years ago. We only used it to get in and cool off for 15-20 minutes, then back out to work. (Repeated frequently throughout the day) It was also a great big blue eyesore. No way to disquise it.
Al has been wanting to put in a garden pond with a waterfall...guess we've got a liner and a pump now!
Dyson, your recipe is so much easier! Mine was squash, chopped onion, 4 tbsp butter, 1/2 c milk, 1 c crushed saltines and 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little hot sauce, bread crumbs on top.
No power here tonight - on batts and an air card so I'll be brief - if we had to stick it out like this for a month or two, we are good. Don't want to run the generator as it's wasted fuel. fun times, eh? best to all, Dea
Rain barrels on 3 corners of mobile home, 2 100gal barrels on shed. Replaced swimming pool. Outdoor shower is ready to put together with 150' of garden house to heat the water as long as we have running water. Garden is bigger this year and being hand-watered with rain water, too far away and not high enough for gravity feed. Lots of milk jugs and my trusty wagon are working fine for that, though.
Have turkey fryer with 2 bottles of propane, can use it for cooking and heating water for bathing and a two burner propane stove top for cooking. With the big gril though, we could do all of our cooking on it. Have lots of cast iron skillets and plenty of firewood.
Ran out of money for the greenhouse addition on south side of mobile home, but have the stuff to build the solar window heaters for the 4 south side windows. Also have the stuff to build a semi permanent greenhouse on the open south side of lean-to addition on camper. Worst came to worst, we could live in the camper with the lean-to addition and greenhouse built on. We now have some nice size solar flood lights that could be used indoors. Still want to buy a woodburning stove.
.I failed miserably at my canning and drying attempts last year, so have to study more on that. We still have a month's supply of food left, but will start stocking up again when Al goes back to work. Haven't acquired the solar charger for the laptop and cell phones yet.
Wow, this is an incredibly informative thread! Thank you for all the information. Propane has gone up so much in the past year, that we are considering using the humongous wood furnace in the basement, only we know nothing about how to use it. We do have many wooded acres with a lot of fallen trees from last winter's ice storms and the wind storms in the spring, so we have plenty of wood.
We could probably save over $2,000 a year using the wood furnace. We are also thinking of installing a full-house generator which would be propane-fueled. We went a week last winter with no electricity due to a severe ice storm, and I learned to cook on a propane stove and we bought some propane space heaters that are safe to use indoors. Our water does not require any electricity, neither does our septic tank, so we had plenty of water. We have propane for our water heater, and that worked just fine, no electricity required for that. But, the propane furnace does not work without the blower motor, which is electrical. I had a hard time keeping my chicken's water from freezing - I would add hot water to their water every couple of hours. I wonder if anyone makes a propane fired or wood fired outdoor water heater for livestock? Our ponds all froze over, and we had to open up the ice so the horses could get water. This year we have goats, also, so I do need to figure out how to keep that stuff from freezing.
We don't have any animals right now besides chickens and only had a couple of goats and some rabbits before. Can't imagine having to keep water thawed for horses, cattle etc.
We've been lucky so far that out here we haven't lost our power (we are totally electric), but if we do, I still want to be able to be reasonably comfortable. A lot of us are trying to get to the point where if there is no electric available to power the water pumping stations or gas pumps or cash registers, that we can still lead a halfway normal life.
Robin, you bring up a good point: commercial gas pumps need electricity. I had a rude awakening one summer when traveling W-E across NC on my way to New England, cutting across just behind a hurricane. No gas stations open, and even the rest stops along the interstate had barricades up because there were no lights in the rest rooms.
I remember the old hand pumps for gasoline... you didn't get much with each crank, but they DID work. Several months ago, I considered getting a 55 gallon tank w/hand pump and filling it up... add some stabilizer to store. Now it would cost $50 more than just 4 months ago. :(
In the event of severe weather damage, even if you could find a station that had working pumps, the price for gas would be outrageous! When we were in Florida a couple of years ago when there were so many tornados, the area we were in wasn't weather-affected, but gas shot up overnight by 50 cents a gal because it came from the gulf coast. It costs us $25 more to fill up now than it did in December. Can't believe it! So with Al off work, we go to town no more than once a week, sometimes stretching it to two weeks. When we run out of something, it goes on the list for the next trip.
I was out working in the garden earlier and thinking about how sustainable we actually are. I was hauling 8 gallon milk jugs of water at a time on the wagon to water each plant individually, instead of wasting water on the whole garden. Wiped my face and rinsed my hands in the rain barrel. I used most of the water in the one rain barrel and have 5 more to work out of as needed. Planted a couple of more rows just using a hoe. Took my breaks in the shade.(It's now 100* on this hilltop.) I was patting myself on the back for not just turning on the hose to water and convincing Al earlier this spring that I really didn't need a tiller. Managed just fine. I know not everyone has the health or time to do this like I do at this time. I was just thinking this is my job when I'm here to do this. I may not draw a paycheck for all my hard work, but what I save on groceries, water, electric (AC), gas for a tiller, etc is worth so much more to me because I'm home.
But anyway, other than not having enough groceries stockpiled at the moment, we are in really good shape at being totally sustainable in the summer time. And it's not going to take much to be able to say the same for the winter. Now that's not to say that we wouldn't miss all the conveinences of running water, electricity or fuel, but we can do without if we have to.
Sorry for rambling on so much!
I really feel it's important for people to learn to do without all the modern conveiniences because you never know when you'll be forced to. I'd rather know ahead of time that we could manage, instead of being in a panic. The ice storm over the winter in the midwest left a lot of people without electricity for a couple of weeks. f you think about all those little towns wiped out by tornados recently, even if their houses weren't destroyed, no utilities for how long? A lot of those people had to have worked in the towns. If their businesses or jobsites were also destroyed, no paychecks coming in. Scarey thought, isn't it?
We've been considering buying a 200 gallon gas tank that sits on an above ground stand that my neighbor has for sale for $200. We can get the coop to come out and fill it like they do our propane. It would save us many 10 mile trips to the gas station when the Ranger or mower runs out of gas. Or, we could fill it with diesel for our tractor.
We bought a tiller because when we moved here, we were both way overweight. But since I quit the sitting behind a computer and/or traveling all the time job, and I started doing work here on the farm we bought, I have dropped 3 sizes, but I am still not strong enough to use a hoe only on my garden. So I think the tiller was a good purchase for us.
Today on the news online, I think it was cbs, they were talking about hybrid cars and how fast they are selling right now. So apparently, they've known about cracking water for hydrogen a long time. They just didn't want us to know about it
Beth, My point was that I COULD do it all by hand if need be. Believe me, I sure wish I had a good tiller for when we expand the garden, plant trees or put in new flower beds. But there were things that I wanted more, so I passed on the new tiller.( We do have a very old tiller that's a bear to run and hasn't even been started in 3 years.) I REALLY wanted the 9 bushel bagger we bought that fit the new garden tractor...lots of mulch for the garden and planted areas!
Congratualtions! Way to go on the dropping the 3 sizes! I get out here working my tail off and sweating like a pig and all I do is work up a healthier appetite! LOL! Actually, it's not the quanity we eat, it's all the high fat and high calorie stuff we eat, plus eating dinner so late at night..
Robin ~ a suggestion for heating the water for an outdoor shower. In my younger days, my Dad built one and used a large metal barrel, painted black. He would fill the barrel with a garden hose and the sun would provide the heat. He attached a line and shower nozzle to it with a valve to cut it on and off. The barrel was also elevated so it was gravity fed. Us kiddos loved playing in it and we were diligent about refilling the water. When he would get done in the field for the day and would take a shower, the neighbors would hear him whoop and holler when the "cold" water hit! LOL
Beth, we also heated an old farmhouse with a basement wood burning furnace. Ours was radiant heat. The fire would heat the water in the pipes and convection would circulate the warm/hot water upward through a radiator system of pipes. Some houses had the pipes under the floor so the heat was where it was needed. At any rate, if you intend to use it, find a chimney sweep to check and make sure all is safe. Question any old timers in the area that may have also used a similar furnace for tips and pointers. Also, only, only, only burn dried firewood. The wood we would cut this summer would be used not this coming winter but the next. Dry wood burns faster and hotter but leaves less creosote in the chimney which can cause chimney fires. I love dried wood also as it is lighter in weight and easier to tote.
On the above ground fuel tank ~ they are great but in these days of high gas prices, fuel theft is getting worse. Farmers are having trouble securing their above ground fuel tanks. In this area, there are reports of people drilling a hole in a cars' gas tank and draining the gas. This damage causes the owner to have to spend up to $500.00 for a new fuel tank. Many locals are finding their lawn mower gas can missing even, seems they develop legs and walk off!
Robin, if I may ask... what problems did you encounter on the canning and drying the past season?
Guess the hot water in a 55 gal drum would probably last longer than the hot water in a 75' garden house! Good idea!
My first attempt at hot water bath (?) canning pickles (sliced), recipe straight from the Ball Canning Book. I know they sealed, heard (and counted) all the lids pop, centers were all depressed. Six months later, I opened 3 jars, the pickles were soft and mushy. Thinking the jars might have been in the hot water too long before it came back to a boil? Cucumbers were a few days old and a little large. Stored the jars in the coldest spot in the kitchen well away from heat, so don't think that was it.
I dried zucchini and yellow squash, they both molded in the gal plastic jars a few weeks later. Obviously didn't dry well enough. I've got one of those Ronco dehydrators, not near as good as the Excaliber, but I did try to monitor the temperature, rotated trays and dry for the recommended time.
Green with envy of everyone else's successful canning and drying!
Hi, PC! I wondered about the humidity here too with my zucchini and squash. I have dried onions and celery before and it stored fine. Are you having this horrible heat too? It was 100 Thursday and 103 yesterday and expected to last several more days. Too soon for all this!
Drove to Bowling Green yesterday on the county highways, saw lots of hay being baled. Maybe it won't be so bad this year with a shortage!
Nope - this year should be a bumper crop of hay. The gas prices are keeping the hay prices up, some, but not half as bad as it was.
Sounds like you are a little warmer - we're still in the 90's, but shew... it beez WARM!
Yeah, any little bit of humidity would ruin stuff... I wonder if you had any dampness inside of your plastic jars? I've just done the ziplock baggies. I had some strawberries mold, but I think it's because I kept opening the bag... heh...
We have a ton of hedge trees and locust trees - I know we can use the wood for fence posts, and my neighbor told me that they burn a very hot fire, but I'm not sure how long you should wait after the wood has been cut to use the wood.
We have four fireplaces and want our wood seasoned by at least one year. We use deadfall. Trees that have died or come down in windstorms. When the ground is saturated, the roots just don't seem to hold them. In that regard, we are not "raping" the land. This large oak came down after lots of rain a month ago. It took quite a few smaller hardwood trees and our power line out. This will be firewood not this winter but for next year.
I thought people on this forum might be interested in our Passive Solar GH
I just cleaned it out for the summer until early most of the plants in Oct. It was built in the early 80's after the last energy crisis. We run no heat into it other than a short run of flu from the back of a wood stove in the house into the greenhouse then back into the chimney. This acts like a waste heat recyling system that keeps the GH above freezing along with the GH's thermal mass rather than just going up the chimney. To utilize the heat in the GH we just open the doors. Our house has the main living spaces along the common masonry wall that concrete block pardged gray with the interior walls being faced with brick for more mass. The floors in the GH are brick set in sand. The glass is really glass panels used for sliding glass doors set in recycled cypress wood from an old Rheingold brewery in NY. There is a venting panel which is opened and closed manually with an old pulley. Window and doors on the east and west end for more ventilation. Part of the south side is set into the side of a hill, thus below grade. The orientation is 5 degrees off due south. The architect was Charles Sawyer from Cambridge Ma and he worked with Mark Ward of Concord, Ma who is a wizard in GH construction and has vast knowledge about old GH's and restoration of them.
The rooms on the north side of the house are insulated between the southern rooms and can be closed off to retain more heat in the southern rooms or opened up to distribute the excess heat during clear sunny winter days. Works well. There is a central open stair well to funnel heat upstairs. We use the wood stove mostly after 3:00 when we close the GH doors. We had preheat water tanks in there for many years, but I opted to remove them for more plant space when they needed replacing due to rust. We are currently putting in an on demand hot water heater as after an energy audit it became apparent that a great deal of our energy bill is just for heating hot water continuously. Stupid waste. It will pay for itself in two years.
So the short of it is that the GH primary function is as a passive heat source for the house, second as a GH for plants that will grow in an unheated environment and thirdly as a nice spot to send on a cold, but sunny day in the winter. I am posting this now as in the winter the GH structure is hard to see for all the plants. My only regrets about it is that it isn't two feet wider and that I don't have a bigger potting, storage area on the east end. But we love it beyond all expectations. Patti
First picture looking east from 2/3 down to the west end. Sink and potting/storage end. Stove pipe and one entrance from the family room/kitchen plus door to the east side herb garden
second picture is looking toward the west end and the other door going into the dinning room/kitchen and the west end window. This area has a table and chairs. The kitchen is between the family room and dinning room with big windows overlooking the greenhouse for light. Patti
Pardged wall and floors. We leave the hibiscus and some jades and the agapanthis in it for the summer. I am also leaving all my hippeastrum in it this summer. We have a big avocado that grow from a pip that DH throw in one of the
raised beds that has loved it and it provides natural shade for some plants. We need to cut the it back as it is about to break the glass. Patti
This is the east end exterior view and like the west end it has no glass except for the door. You can see the steps up to the south beds as the GH is buried on part of that side. We built the house down from the top of the hill so we could set the GH into the ground. We have a basement on under the north part of the house that was a one room school that we started with 6 kids in 1986, but now has 150 students, but not at our house. But that is another story. Patti
Thank you MsRobin and Gloria125. We do love it and means a great deal of saved money on heat and the added pleasure of having a GH. I can't grow many things as it gets too cold at night, but I manage to keep it full. I have to propagate my seedlings in the living room as the temp swings are just too great in the GH. But that works too with a heating mat on plastic on the floor in an east side bay with a lots of windows plus a sky light. The living room is very cool but it warms up very quickly by opening the doors to let the excess heat flood into that room if we are using it or if I have tender plants in there.
Last is a collage of some points misc. points. The first picture is from the second floor and shows the vent and angle of the windows, plus the west end of the GH which is the dug out and the exposed part of the GH. It provides a really nice spot to get out of the prevailing winds and have some sun. The next is an inside picture of the brick wall that runs through all three rooms on the GH wall with wood stove in a dome to collect more heat and a peak through the window at the old pulley in the GH that opens the vent. It seems to be the only picture of it that I can find. The other two are of the table area in the GH, one full and one now empty. The end. Patti
I would have to say we are 80% sustainable - and it took years of getting here and the hard part was thinking and re-thinking everything we needed to do.
We started by converting our massive lawn into gardens and our lawn got bull-dozed and replanted with a low maintenance lawn called NoMowGrass, which got thicker every year. We had to do some weed maintenance the first few years, but after that the weeds seem so few we don't do much to remove them. Best thing- less mowing, no chemicals and very little watering.
Our gardens get expanded and we love the heirloom varieties because we save seed and can depend on that year after year. I kept the gardens away from the house because I have an issue with rodents and snakes that like tall things...like my tomatoes. I know I should leave them there to eat bugs, but they just freak me out.
We put in an outdoor wood fired kitchen where we put the food away and are doing better at it every year.
We built a small aqua-ponic unit that houses our red claw crayfish on the bottom - they are our pride and joy. They grow to small lobster n large shrimp size and they are actually freshwater crayfish from Australia. They multiply like crazy and so I find them very sustainable even though they are tropical and we live in MN.
On top of the cray tank (which we also have some sunnies in) we have a double layer shelving system. On the top are our tomatoes that clean the water, but the water is high in nitrogen so we add minerals to off-set that. The next layer is leafy greans and they get rotate plantings. I just got some Tarpon Strawberries and can't wait to see if they keep producing all winter under grow lights along with the tomatoes.
We also give up our car during summers and use our bikes, even though we live 11 miles from town. It takes us 45 minutes, but its a nice ride. We haven't gotten rid of the car, but we really plan out our trips with it these days.
We also have other things we do and eventually I hope we will be completely off-grid, but for now, we just reduce, reuse and recyle as much as possible.
I've learned so much here, reading all the entry's, but !!! Why did it end? So many people here have / had great idea's, very interesting idea's, and story's! I want to learn more, and hear more! Can we get this sight going again? Please!! We need the info for our near future!
We have a cottage in North Georgia (Maypop) and have lost power for weeks in winter there. The house is spring fed with a reservoir cistern but, like folks with wells, water has to be pumped. Unlike those with wells, the cistern lid is right at ground level and can be pulled for access. The downside is a spring tank needs to be cleaned at least annually. Years ago I got the idea to get two garbage cans for the basement and fill them with water for toilets and dishes in the event of outages. We do have to retrieve water to fill toilets as needed. I keep ten gallons of drinking/cooking water in the house. If there was a need beyond this it would mean a drive and hike to the cistern down the hill.
Our cottage is an 1,800 s.f. A-frame with glass walls on the southern exposure. In summer we are buried in trees but in winter we can sunbathe on the living room floor while snow is on the ground. It's not well insulated and is old. We have to install storm doors and windows in autumn. We rebuilt our fireplace after a tree went through the roof and damaged the original fireplace. It is lined with Isokern firebrick and can heat the main floor kitchen, dining &living space. http://www.rusticfireplaceinc.com/isokern_fireplace_systems.html The master bed and bath is cool but sufficient. For greater warmth we have an old Pilgrim woodstove in the basement. If the power is out we can disconnect the main HVAC duct and connect it to the woodstove. The fan on the woodstove won't work but we will get fair heat from the convected air moving from the basement upwards. Enough to heat two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. There is approximately sixteen acres in mostly hardwood. Trees are always falling so we never need to cut trees. We tractor as much wood as we need and store it in the tractor shed. One storage section of green wood to age and one to burn. We burn red and white oak and hickory. The soft wood and smaller tree branches are burned in the outdoor fire pit.
Outside the kitchen, I built a three-sided fire pit with a sand floor and lined it with reclaimed firebrick from the old fireplace. The walls are stacked stone and from the original fireplace exterior. I have firebricks that can be stacked and arranged for a grill or to place a pot near the fire. I keep a few basic cast iron pieces just for open fire cooking 'cause the bottoms get nasty and love to cook over open fire even when the power is fine. If the weather is foul we have a gas grill and extra propane under the deep overhangs or I cook in the fireplace.
Both homes are stocked with lots of flour, whole grains and beans. Really lots! We have a kitchen garden that usually has something growing year around. Not always though. There is evaporated milk stored and a couple of cans of tuna, salmon and sardines but not much factory processed food. I do a lot of canning including soups, sauces, chili, meats and beans. There is easily one hundred quarts and pints of assorted foods in each house. Since energy efficiency is required in an outage we turn to the canned foods. Otherwise, I rotate the products and replace as needed.
I have an outdoor tub at the entrance to my garden. In summer I lay a hundred foot hose in the sun, from the faucet to a post that has a mounted, hand held shower. I've got a little basket with soaps, shampoo, even bubble bath. At the end of the day I can either shower or fill the tub and soak while I enjoy a view of the garden or down the mountainside and into the woods. Yellow jacket season can be challenging. I need to net or screen the bathing space.
Amazing set up, but I am not surprised at your cleverness and energy to save energy. We are sitting in our family room, with the passive greenhouse doors open that is currently and for free, flooding in the heat on this cold (29), but sunny and bright day. No need to fire up the wood stove until around 3:00.
I am intrigued with you outdoor Kitchen and as we have a nice stockpile of old Vt bricks saved from an old chimney that had to be taken down, I might be digging a pit and breaking out the cast iron up there come spring. Thanks, Patti
Patti, compared to the charm and sensibility of New England settings, we are pretty bare bones. Here are photos I managed to find regarding the process. One thing to be aware of is to only use fire rated brick for the floor. The brick on the floor in mine is from the interior walls of the old fireplace . Regular brick or stone can blow up. You can use other brick or rock for the walls of your pit because they don;t get as hot.
First I dug a foundation and filled it with course sand because it is stable and reduces the possibility of an underground fire. I hosed it to level and layed the white fire tiles. Many were broken but I mosaiced them and hosed sand in the joints. Then I stacked the stones. It took a while for all the sand to settle and the excess to wash out. Because the pit is on the side of a mountain, I built a back wall to prevent flames from spreading uphill in a breeze and made a stone lip on the front to keep wood from rolling out. One of the first test runs was a jambalya with garden ingredients. These photos may load in weird order. I don't know why that happens frequently for me.
Clear instructions and you are cooking up some fine vittals to boot. I can see this happening come spring. I will keep you posted. I will have to overcome the eye rolling DH but he keeps asking me what I plan to do with that pile of bricks. Ha, now I have an answer with pictures. Thanks, Patti
I've grown accustomed to eye rolling here. Boston boy meets South Beach, back to the land, 60's feminist girl. Guess you'll have a few more months of snow to shovel before you can start your project.
I think Laurel has me beat on jars of home-canned foods although I only have myself to feed, not a family. Most things I "put up" in pint jars except for various meat and vegetable stocks that I do in quart jars. My walk-in pantry has some dry goods (such as beans and whole grains) stored in half-gallon jars, and I have 2 huge cans (maybe 25 pounds each) of salt and sugar.
I don't worry about storing water since the spring is really close to the house. It does have some minor bacteria content (although my neighbor drinks it with no problems), but the water can be boiled or run through a micro filter that I have.
I'd love to have a wood-fired oven (like a bread/pizza oven) in the yard.
Darius, I checked out the downstairs pantry after that post to make sure I wasn't high on the "brag meter" and, in fact,there are over a hundred cans here in Atlanta. There may be more at Maypop. We use minimal salt and almost no sugar.
In Atlanta, I have a wood fired Earthstone pizza oven http://www.earthstoneovens.com/about_earthstone.shtml and outdoor kitchen. It looks like an igloo and then you design and build, or have built, the outer shell. Mine is Tennessee field stone with blue stone counters. There are huge misconceptions about wood fired ovens. It's not like an open fire BBQ. Restaurants generally use gas fired or gas and wood combo pizza ovens. A wood fired oven takes many, many hours, and a good coal bank, to bring to stable cooking temperature. It's an almost all day project. It's way more complicated to get going than the fire pit. When we fire the pizza oven I make sure to have a 24-48 hour plan of rotating foods to roast and smoke. With an open pit you can get an expanded metal rack (that steel diamond grid stuff you see at parks on big grills) and grill or get scrap sheet metal to make a tent for baking. I have both the fancy item shipped from California as an anniversary gift and the one that cost nothing that I built myself The pit is way more flexible.
I ran out to take a few pics of the oven and kitchen in the wet today. The other photos are old.
Now I am totally in awe. I have a friend who needs a project. Could be that I convince him to build one for us. He loves rocks and baking bread and is always game for heavy work and works for room and board. Though he is welcome with his family any time without lifting a finger. DH makes No Knead bread about every other day beginning now until late spring and we are always smoking anything we can. Patti