Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 2 - Utilities

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Welcome to Day 2 of 31 Days of Homestead Living.  Today I plan to talk a little about utilities.  Our farm uses electric and propane gas for heat.  All the farm is electric, except we have gas logs in our living room and a gas heater for the basement of our home.  This is good if the electric goes off, we would still have a source of heat on both levels of our home.  As you all know, we have been without electricity for an extended time once a year for the last two years due to tornadoes.  Each of these episodes was for a week or more.

We have several wood burning stoves we've picked up on our travels.  We love to "junk shop".  Stopping at thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets, and so forth.  So we have a few of the cast iron type and we use them at various places around the farm for heat.  We have a larger one in our outdoor kitchen, and also a smaller one on the porch of that kitchen.

We have an electric stove and oven in our indoor kitchen, and a gas stove/oven in the outdoor kitchen.  We have a gas heater in the greenhouse.  And we are considering putting a gas heater in the chicken house so the hens will lay better year round.  When it is very cold, we use kerosene heaters in the rabbit houses.

Our Outside Kitchen

We would like to set up some solar power panels, but we haven't had time to figure that out yet.  One of our friends did though.  They set up some solar panels, and hooked up specific appliances to them.  They were pleased with the results.  Maybe we can find time to try that next year.

Our electric bill for our whole farm, is less that several of our tenants get for their homes.  We have the electric for our home, and we run fans in the rabbit house during the summer.  Our well pump is electric. 
We have to leave a lot of outdoor lights on to keep the predators away from the animals.  We also run radios outside to keep the animals company, and to scare off the predators. 

We  try to watch our electric usage very closely.  We have central heat and air, but we also use window units to keep from cooling the whole house when we don't need to.  We hang out the laundry the majority of the time, instead of using the dryer.  We don't use a dish washer.  We try to make sure the lights and appliances are off if not in use. 
The upstairs clothes line

And the downstairs clothes line

Our home is a half mile off the road. This means that our electric lines are also run a half mile back from the main road.  If our lights go off, we have to call the utility company immediately to report it, because we could be, and have been, the only people who's service goes off.  Once we waited and waited for the lights to come back on.  Finally I called to see when it would be on, and the utility company were unaware we didn't have service.  Any high wind or storm can cause our power lines to come down. 

In the winter we cover the outer windows with plastic.  We hang quilts over the french doors.  I bought thermal curtains for some of our larger windows.  I stuff fabric in any cracks around the window units to save on the electric bill.  I put draft dodgers in front of the windows and under the doors to stop the cool air from coming in.  In the winter, if I use the oven, I leave the door open when I'm done to let the warm air out into the room.  Every little bit helps when trying to conserve!

As alternate sources of light, we have a supply of candles, oil burning lamps, and battery operated lanterns.  We use them frequently, and really enjoy them.  We also try to store batteries in all sizes for emergencies.

We have a crank radio, and battery opereated radios also.  When my girls were little, we had a battery operated TV, and used it if needed to calm the troops!

Well, it's getting late here so I guess I'll close.  Come back tomorrow!  I can't wait to see you them!  Honey

Wood for our stove

1 comment:

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