Monthly Archives: August 2016

How do we…wash clothes

After a busy day of taking the portable septic tank to be dumped, filling up 4 barrels of water, and doing 4 loads of laundry, I got to thinking that you all might be interested in how we do some basic things here on the homestead. Such as wash laundry. And take showers. And use the toilet.

We live in a camping trailer, yes, but that trailer doesn’t have running water and is not hooked up to septic. In fact, it no longer even has a bathroom. 

The former bathroom

And even when it did, we never used it. Would you if you had to move the entire outdoor living area just to take your trailer out to dump the septic tank and take on fresh water every week or so?

Yeah, us neither. 

So, we have an outhouse of sorts, an enclosed outdoor shower, and we even have laundry capabilities, right here on the homestead. 

Over the next several days, I’m going to be doing some posts on how we do these mundane, yet necessary tasks.

And since today has mostly been about doing laundry, we’ll start with that.

So, how do we wash laundry? Well, I suppose we could take our laundry to the laundromat. Probably most people would do that and most people probably think that’s what we do. But we’re not most people. I don’t want to spend several hours each week sitting in a laundromat (the nearest of which is all the way in town). 

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Disclaimer: Pagee takes his laundry to said laundromat. So obviosly he has time for that. 😉

Not too long ago, we acquired a washing machine for free. It now sits beside our shed, with two 55 gallon barrels of water next to it. 

The first time I used it, I had to manually fill it with 5 gallon totes. That thing uses upwards of 15 gallons of water for the wash and rinse cycles – each! That’s 25-30 gallons of water per load! And it’s not that old of a washer. No wonder everyone is going to HE washers!

Anyway, we have to run the generator to run the washer, so it’s a noisy process. But I don’t have to leave the homestead to do laundry. Which means other stuff gets done while the laundry is washing. And that’s a big deal, folks!

So here’s what our set up looks like. 

(The tent in the background belongs to some friends who are visiting. 🙂 )

We use the generator (sitting behind the water barrels) to run the washer. The water pump we took out of our trailer is hooked up to a battery. 

This type of pump is nice because when there is full pressure in the line, it stops pumping. When the pressure drops (ie when you open a faucet, or the washing machine opens it’s valve) the pump automatically kicks on. Pretty sweet.

Anyway, when we get ready to wash, we make sure the barrel has enough water, hook up the pump to the battery, turn on the genny, plug in the washer, and then use as normal. 

As shown above, the wash water is diverted by a hose and goes to a couple trees. It looks redneck, but it works. 

Note: if your drain pipe is lower than the water outlet on the machine, like if the hose is just laying on the ground, all that water you’re pumping into the washer will just drain right out of the hose. Don’t ask me how I know this. :-\ 

When we’re not washing, we put the hose and table away. So far, we haven’t had any real rain this summer, so we haven’t had to worry about the washer being out in the wet. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.

And, of course, our dryer is completely solar powered. 😀

And that’s how we do laundry here on the homestead.

Off grid cold storage

No, this isn’t one of those posts that tell you how we keep our food cold with no electricity.

We like the convenience of a refrigerator. And fridges run on electricity. Or propane, such as the one in our trailer that crapped out on us several weeks ago.

We looked into buying a new one for the trailer and were staggered by the prices. It just didn’t seem like the best deal to spend that much money on a new fridge for an old trailer, especially since we’ll only be in the trailer until the house is built (ie, less than a year). We also looked into buying used, and while the prices were better, they were still fairly high, and the selection was minimal.

So instead, we decided to beef up our battery bank and solar panels and get an inverter so we can run a regular fridge on electricity. Yes, just as expensive (or moreso) than a brand new fridge. BUT, the solar generator system will be usable for other things on the homestead later down the road, rather than just a fridge to sit in an unused trailer once the house is built.

Hubby’s work happened to have a small fridge sitting around, not being used. So they gave it to us.

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It ain’t pretty, and it’s not terribly efficient, but it works. And even though it’s not very efficient, it’s small, so the power draw is fairly small as well.

So now we have four 100watt solar panels on the roof of our trailer. We have a battery box containing three 100amp hour batteries. We have a 1 kilowatt inverter. And we have a charge controller capable of handling the power coming in from the solar panels.

And if you know what all that means, you know more than I do!

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I’m just so excited to have more fridge space again. And to not have to bug dad every time we want a cheese stick or something. But I’m also thankful that for the last several weeks, we were able to keep our cold foods in his fridge, rather than an ice chest.

But then again, if we were having to buy ice every other day in this heat, maybe The Hubs would have gotten the system put together faster. Hmmmm…

Oh well, it’s done now, Hubs learned a ton about the whole process, and even I learned a little along the way.

And we again have a working fridge. 😀

UPDATE: since our fridge sits outside in the hot air rather than inside in a cool house, Hubby decided it needed more insulation.

Thus our robo-fridge!

Keeps our food cold AND looks…well, I guess it looks..ummm, OK, it looks kinda dumb. But it works! And that’s all that matters. 🙂

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

End of an Era

If you can call just over two years an era, August 4th marked the end of it.

Mom/Bachan went home to be with our Lord that day.

For those of you who haven’t followed along since the beginning, Bachan is our kids’ name for Hubby’s mom who’s declining health was the reason we dropped everything and moved to Portland, OR on July 12, 2014.

We spent nearly two years in the Portland area helping care for Mom. You can read all about our time there, which I called our Portland Interlude.

On May 20th, 2016, we brought Mom and Dad back with us to Nevada. Mom got to spend just over two months enjoying the blue skies and bright sun here in the high desert.

But the disease eventually won out and her body just couldn’t fight any more and she passed peacefully in her sleep on August 4th.

We were so very blessed to get to spend two years with her. She was such an amazing, godly woman. I hope that should I ever face the challenges she did, I handle them with the grace and strength she showed.

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Mom and Dad getting to enjoy the sunrise together for the first time in forever.

So now we move forward, with a hole in our hearts that her presence used to fill, but also with a profound gratitude that she’s no longer in pain and a firm knowledge that she’s home in heaven. The future looks a little different than it did a couple weeks ago. And sadness still lingers. But, for the most part, the joy outweighs the sorrow and we are doing well.

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Doing Well

As the title of this post suggests, we are doing well. Things are coming along and despite some sadness recently, we are progressing on the house. Our plans are in the corrections phase and we are anticipating getting to start truly building in September.

But the title of this post also has a double meaning, because we are also doing THE well! That’s right, we have our well permit and the drilling company will be here next week! Today, we rented an excavator and Pops is digging out the hillside where the well is going to go.

We had to rent such a big machine because it was the only one left in town! It’s the busy time of year. But the bigger machine means he can do the job faster. And by cutting the well pad faster, he has more time to do some other work we need done. So it’s win-win.

These are exciting times, people!

Oh, and what am I doing today while Pops is digging? I’m on fire duty.

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It hasn’t rained here on the homestead since the week we moved here at the end of May. Things are very dry, and the littlest spark can set off a wild fire. So I’ve got a water sprayer handy, as well as a fire extinguisher, and any time he’s digging into the hillside close to the brush, I’m ready.

Kindof a  boring job, but someone’s gotta do it!

Have a great day, folks!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121