Changes on our forest homestead, that we made this past spring and summer contributed to an easier life Change is constant no matter where you live or what you do. On a homestead or farm it seems to be a daily happening. Some changes are hard and others are welcomed with open arms. As soon as spring showed up, which took longer than usual this past year, we got to work. There are many jobs on a homestead that are harder if you are living with an alternative energy system, but not impossible. We spend time researching and finding the best methods for making those jobs easier. Surprisingly, some are easier using older methods or tools of the past. Our main objective has been to use less fuels that we have to purchase. The more money we can save on that, we can put into our system to produce more energy. I am not saying that we do not use fuels. We do. We use less than we did, but still buy propane and gasoline.
In the winter we bought a Snow Wolf from Amazon. It is a snow shovel that used to be called the Sno Wovel. We had been eyeing it for a number of years. Finally ordered it and my husband’s snow shoveling job became much easier and quicker. It is the job he hates the most around here. We do not use a snowblower because he doesn’t want the hassle of constant repairs and fuel usage. Another reason is that our driveway and paths are all dirt and I guess they don’t do such a good job on them. He says they are like lawnmowers, always having some kind of issue or repairs when you need them the most. Well I am happy to say the Snow Wolf took care of that job.
To power our batteries when the weather has been rainy or cloudy for days, we have to use a generator. In the spring my husband put together a generator on a cart. That way he could move it back and forth from the barn to the house when it was needed. I used to worry about our generator sitting in front of the house in a little shed that covered it. It would have been easy to steal it after it was unhooked from the line going into the house. If we weren’t home, an easy job. He ordered a steel mesh garden wagon and attached the generator to that. The generator is a DC only type that works well for our off the grid system.
Another big job around here, though I admit, we made it that way, is lawn mowing. By clearing our land around the house, it meant more lawn to mow. If you do not mow your lawn, your pets will have a lot more fleas and ticks. They live in the grass and that is why if you go for a walk in meadows or pastures you need to take precautions not to get ticks on yourself. For years we had been using a Neuton lawnmower which is an electric model and it worked great. Lasted since 2006. It is still usable. The only problem was the batteries are outdated now and even with two battery chargers and four batteries, it was an all day job. Waiting for the batteries to charge gave my husband a break, but he likes to get the job done and not sit around waiting. He purchased the Green Works electric lawnmower with two battery chargers and four batteries. This lawnmower has newer batteries and works like a charm. He loves it. Since it is electric, unless we have to run the generator, the fuel is free. Most lawn mowing is done on a sunny day, so usually the generator is not running burning gasoline. Now the lawn is mowed in record time with no waiting around for a battery to charge.
Back in May, I wrote this post, Cooking With My New Sun Oven. I purchased the All American Sun Oven and started cooking with no fuel, except sunshine. I had my doubts about it. Even the directions that came with it didn’t make it sound that great. Well, let me tell you, this thing CAN COOK! It is now my favorite way to cook a roast. It is amazing how fast it cooks and you will really have to keep an eye on it or it will be overdone. Last winter, my friend, Susie, was showing off all kinds of things she cooked in her sun oven on Facebook. That made me determined to get one. There are some things I don’t like to cook on it, due to my cast iron skillets and Dutch oven being too big for it. I did cook bacon in it, but I like the oven of my propane stove best for that. I made a breakfast of sausage and eggs in it which came out good. I used two small cast iron skillets and they fit together real good in it. If you are going to cook roasts and meats, I suggest you get a good meat thermometer to test if it is done. My problem with it was not that anything was underdone, always the opposite. Always my fault for not paying attention to it. This is one the changes on our forest homestead that I am enjoying the most.
Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole