Author Topic: Our "Experiment"  (Read 38971 times)

Offline notsofast

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Our "Experiment"
« on: March 17, 2012, 12:59:05 PM »
   We've decided to go ahead and move onto our land. It isn't so much something we WANT to do as it is something we NEED to do. My girlfriend just lost her job so, now we're back to relying on one income. As things sit right now we won't be able to afford to keep living in the hotel, paying for the land and all the other bills, sooooo.... we've decided to go ahead and move. the move will drop almost $1,000 a month off the bills.
   We still have no power and no water on the property, which presents an excellent opportunity to "test our mettle" so to speak. It'll give us a chance to check our preps, know how, and creativity. We should be able to get everything on and in "full grid function" in about two weeks.
   So, here's the deal... I'm gonna post, starting tomorrow, sort of a "play by play." What we've done, how, why etc. and what the outcome is. Maybe it'll give someone an idea on how to do something or help us see where our own ideas and preps have holes. which, as we all know, is something we should all do from time to time.

LIGHTING
   As of now, we have several solar yard lights, the little LED ones, which will be charged during the day and set around the house at night. We also have a couple of oil lamps for the same purpose as well as flashlights, candles etc. i also have some small 12 volt batteries like the ones that come on those small Chinese made four wheelers and some old Christmas lights i might try to rig up some how but, i'm not sure.

COOKING
   We have two small grills and a few bags of charcoal. Also, on the land, we have several good sized trees that are downed which i'll use in lieu of briquettes. we can also use the grills to heat water for bathing as the septic is hooked up but no water was ever run to the property.

WATER
   This is the biggest problem but, we have, of course, several 5 gallon buckets which will be used to store water. The plan is to take three or four to work every day and fill them up while I'm at work. Really not too much of a problem, just a little hassle. plus not too far from the property are several creeks i can use for non potable water.

MISC. ELECTRIC
   I've got the inverter in my van that can be used to charge the cell phones, laptop, and other small things for a little entertainment at night.

 So, there ya have it. Shouldn't be too bad. We pretty much have the basics covered and should be okay... i think. lol

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 01:15:09 PM »
We did much the same thing when we built our cabin. The propane tank where we were living ran dry at the end of February, and we weren't going to have it filled again. We moved with our two small children into a construction zone. We did have lights, heat, and water in place though.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 01:19:09 PM »
Best wishes to you, notsofast.  Looking forward to reading the log of your experiences.

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2012, 05:25:24 PM »
Well... We took a load of stuff out to the land and had our first "adventure." Had a blow out in the middle of nowhere. Not really the middle of nowhere but, it' about 6 miles to the nearest store. Neither of us had cell reception, which was normal. But, we also didn't have a spare or jack... My fault and a long story. My girlfriend finally got a signal out by walking a half mile or so up a hill, turning on the speaker phone, holding the phone way up and yelling. Lmao. All in all it set us back about 3 hours, which in turn cost us the rest of the day, which means we have to get up extra early in the morning...  fabulous  ::). Plus, we now have to fork out for a tire. Sheeesh.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2012, 05:55:52 PM »
 ;) Welcome to homesteading. The first 3 weeks can be the roughest with sporadic glitches now and then afterwrds. It is well worth it however.

Cedar

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2012, 06:31:27 PM »
Cedar, oh, I know... We've "owned" the land since december. And I don't know anyone who's been through as much as we have over it. Lol. It's been a rocky one so far but, I think we've got it licked now. From here we're just camping for a few weeks... basically.

And on a side note, we've been told how stupid it is to do it this way. Goes to show the mentality of some people. If we took a tent and went camping for a few weeks it would be ok. But, to live in your own place without utilities is nuts. Pffft.

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2012, 01:25:07 PM »
It actually sounds to me like a wonderful adventure! While we were building our house, we lived almost 2 years without water or electric. We had a little 5kw Coleman generator to run the power tools for the construction and watch some TV at night. Light was several oil lamps. We hauled water from a year-round spring in the National forest. I cooked on a propane camp stove or on the woodstove or charcoal grill.  A cooler for a few non perishable foods, but we mostly ate canned food or stuff that didn't need refregeration, like vegetables and potatoes. The only part that wasn't a wonderful adventure was the Luggable Loo toilet. The sound of a flushing toilet still gives me warm fuzzies 16 years later.   :D

Offline BigAl

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2012, 02:30:43 PM »
You might want to get a pair of FRS/MURS radios to keep in contact with each other if you will be separated by any amount of distance.

I really like the TRI-Square XRS radios, they are spread spectrum frequency hopping (enhances privacy/security) and provides good distance, They run about $80/pair with included rechargeable battery module and will operate with regular batteries as well.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2012, 03:09:40 PM »
I really like the TRI-Square XRS radios, they are spread spectrum frequency hopping (enhances privacy/security) and provides good distance, They run about $80/pair with included rechargeable battery module and will operate with regular batteries as well.

See these two old topics for more discussion on these radios:

TriSquare eXRS FHSS ISM HT's

eXRS radios

Offline viking

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2012, 07:38:33 PM »
Congrats on getting out and trying!
Truck stops are good places to find 12v items.
The 12v coffe pots don't seem to last long.
I picked up a 12v alarm clock. It works great and doesnt draw much power.
Good luck on your adventure!


Offline pokeshell

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2012, 08:34:05 PM »
Good Luck!

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2012, 01:35:53 PM »
First night went fairly well. Grilled some pork steaks and canned veggies from the food stores. Had an issue with some of the solar lights, not sure if it was a problem with the lights themselves or if they just didn't have enough charge but, no problem... Broke out the oil lamps.  Heat wasn't much of an issue either. Didn't really get hot until about 7 o'clock. About 8 I ran an extension cord to the inverter to pull the warm air out, after about 35-40 minutes everything was fine. Around 11 o'clock we had to breal out the blankets. Found out today it's gonna be alot longer on the water than we thought. Oh, well. Lol

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2012, 04:09:46 PM »
That's awesome.  It won't all be warm and fuzzy fun, but it should be a growing/learning experience.  Good luck!

Offline Cedar

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 04:16:44 PM »
Found out today it's gonna be alot longer on the water than we thought. Oh, well. Lol

Hang in there. Eventually you will get water. My neighbors gave up after three dry wells dug (in an area reknown for not having good wells) and ended up hauling 400 gallons every day for 10 years. Anything is possible with perseverance.

Cedar

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 04:39:46 PM »
Last night went well, also. Found out the solar lights that weren't working were defects. This is a good example... I know we have a bunch of new folks, so lesson is this: the more techologicaly adbanced a prep is, the more likely it is to fail. The oil lamps have yet to let us down. Just something to keep in mind.

Found out yesterday we needed almost 4x's as much water line as we thought. That's what tge deal was with that but, called a place today... They're asking a little less than half what the others were so it won't be so bad.

Also, a bonus, and something i'd hoped would happen... My GF has started changing the way she thinks about stuff. A little more "outside of the box" if you will. She's taking the things i've told her or just things i've said in passing and starting to adapt them to the current situation. It's shows she's starting, just after a few days, to develop the "survivor" mindset. So, another lesson for any new people, IMPROVISE, ADAPT, OVERCOME.

as far as coms... Murs or anything... Not really necessary. We're only on two acres, which is well within  yelling distance.

I am going to buy a couple of flashlights today for security purposes.   We know people have been coming to the property while it was empty, "parking", drinking, or smoking dope, whatever. Since we've been out there at night we've neen hearing what sounds like someone walking around. I grew up in the country so, I know it's not leaves or whatnot. It could be dogs or even wildlife, but last night we swore we heard a cell phone ring. With no outside lights it basically me hoping I walk up on who ow whatever it is. On a side note, however... The area has had many sasquatch sightings over the years... ::) lmao

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2012, 04:39:45 PM »
Night three went ok. No problems so far. Expecting pretty bad weather tonight. Hope we don't lose power. Lol.

My "stepson" has become quite the little homesteader. He's not even two yet and is following me around handing me tools, taking it upon himself to drag stuff to the burn pile, eating like a "big boy", basically just snatching stuff off the grill and munchin' down.

Even the GF agrees this has been good for him. Were he a little older i'd be afraid of  "culture shock" but, he hasn't even noticed there's no tv or lights. Lol. He's too busy running around like a little backwoods hooligan.

The neighbors came down yesterday, admitted they were just being "nosey." I find it a little odd they came by the day after were heard someone walking around. GF says they seem alright but, I haven't met them and to be honest, don't really think I want to.

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 05:11:56 PM »
Between work and the pretty bad weather I didn't get a chance to post yesterday... Still going good, so far.

Found out the coyotes are bad in the area, not a surprise, I grew up not too far from where the land is... Not unusual. GF knows to keep a good eye on the baby. Buying a new gun in a week or so, probably just a little .22, but, it's just 'yotes for now.

The baby's appetite has improved 4 fold. I think it's a combination of being a little healthier already, running in the yard all day beats the hell out of walking around a 12x13 hotel room, and different enviroment. He also was waaaaay more energy.

Due to the rain we found all the leaks, not as many as I thought, it's just the two I already new about.

Hoping to get the temporary power on this week, we'll see. We've got another round of bills due already....

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 11:37:10 PM »
Don't know if this would help you out or not

Detailed background and instructions on how to make a zeer pot clay refrigerator

http://practicalaction.org/zeerpots

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2012, 05:45:16 AM »
Sounds like you are having a blast! Hopefully you will be able to get set up before next winter. The little one will definitely be healthier with all that fresh air and exercise and so will the adults.

Enjoy and keep us posted.

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2012, 04:46:35 PM »
Still good. Don't wanna use up bandwith with "unproductive updates."

Got a sturdier grate for boiling water. The little grate on the grill wasn't handling the extended high temps too well. Four cinder blocks and voila, perfect for bath water.

We're only using about 12 gallons of water a day. May sound gross but, bath water is pulling triple duty. Whichever of us is cleanest goes first, some gets pulled out and reheated, reused, then is poured back into a bucket and used to flush the toilet.

Water is the biggest deal. We're fine without any electricity. In fact, the GF told me this weekend she "doesn't care if we get the power on." She's enjoying the lack of distraction, increased "family time" and, I'm sure, the fact that i'm not yelling at the t.v. nonstop telling people what kind of idiots they are.

So far this had turned out to be more of a "self exploration" thong than I thought." Living this way requires more dedication, drive, discipline than "ordinary" life. I highly recomend it.

Offline idelphic

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2012, 06:36:48 PM »
I have to say that I am a tad jealous..  With the kids it's difficult to drop the power for any amount of time.  I've kicked them out of the house for part of a weekend to limit my use of power,.. but it's still there...

Best of luck to you,.. hope things continue to improve for you both.

Offline bigbear

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2012, 10:32:23 AM »
Good luck to you!  It sounds like you have a shelter/cabin of some sort.  Can you set up a basic water encatchment system of some sort to offset some of your water needs?

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2012, 04:37:22 PM »
Big bear, we've got several 5 gallon buckets. A couple get left out if it rains, other than that no catchment. I  simply fill up a couple at work every other day or so.   
We've got a mobile home on the property. Just no utilities.

I seem to have been right about not needing a/c in the summer, granted it's still spring but, themps are fine. In fact, with the canoy over the trailer and the "weeping" of the trees it get's ddown right col. I'm talking 40-ish, sleeping with two blankets cold.

Tried to rig some sort of external antenna for the cell phones last night but, alas... Any ideas?

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2012, 04:46:37 PM »
Wire coat hanger and tin foil?  ;) Oh no wait that is for the old tv's sorry got nothing.  Sorry couldn't help it.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2012, 06:20:00 PM »
I am going to buy a couple of flashlights today for security purposes.   

Grab an airhorn for $15

,  they will chase anything off, even BigFoot (hey, he JUST wanted some coffee). And forget the electric coffeepot. I started making my ex (before he was my ex) coffee on the woodstove and it was easier, and he preferred it. Said it tasted like REAL coffee. $29.



Cedar

Offline Cedar

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2012, 06:22:38 PM »
I haven't met them and to be honest, don't really think I want to.

ALWAYS meet the neighbors. In case of an emergency, you have someone as a close contact. If you do not meet them and are on a handshaking level, YOU will be the weird unsociable one who everyone should be suspicious of.

Cedar

Offline Cedar

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2012, 06:25:44 PM »
We're only using about 12 gallons of water a day. May sound gross but, bath water is pulling triple duty. Whichever of us is cleanest goes first, some gets pulled out and reheated, reused, then is poured back into a bucket and used to flush the toilet.

You catching that rainwater?

Cedar

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2012, 06:58:41 PM »
I am soooooo jealous

Offline Matglock

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2012, 08:15:39 AM »
If you don't plan on getting power soon, you may want to consider buying a deep cycle marine battery and charging it at work to run your inverter.  I have one rigged up at my barn and can run several cf bulbs, tv, and DVD player for hours.  Mine is rigged up to charge off of a 15 watt panel off the roof.  Bought the panel and charge controller from northern tool.

Offline notsofast

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Re: Our "Experiment"
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2012, 03:49:29 PM »
Cedar...

 I've got airhorns lol. Bought 'em a while back.

Yep, catching what rainwater we can.

As far as the neighbors go... I've had pretty bad luck with neighbors. To be quite honest they almost always tend to be a burden in one form or another. Or they tend to be drunks, druggies or both and from the looks of the way the keep their yards..... Mehhh. Ya know? Besides, she's met them. That's enough. Lol. I know it sounds counter productive but, if they get comfortable they can be a drain on an already resource scarce situation. I could be wrong, they could be great but, i've thought that about neighbors in the past. Another point... We've been having stuff come up missing. Nothing major, just unopened sodas, bug spray, etc. that is left out when we leave for a little while. Sooooo....

Fannie/idelphic...
don't be jealous. Lol.

Matglock...
 I have several small batteries 12v 2 amp I could use but, I don't know if hooking them up to the smaller batteries will mess up the inverter... ????