Monday, June 18, 2012

Homestead News

I have been neglectful where this blog is concerned. It seems that the
days get away from me. My Beloved is still truck driving for the same
company, but on one of their accounts. It is nice. While on the
account, he will be home each weekend. That is a blessing indeed! Most
of the time, he has been out on the truck 3-6 weeks at a time. The way
the trucking company works their days off (called home time in trucking
lingo) is that he gets 1 day at home for every week spent on the truck.
The company requires that the drivers not on an account have to stay on
the truck 3 weeks before getting time off. After the 3 weeks, he would
have 3 days at home. To get 6 days at home, he will have to stay out on
the truck for 6 weeks. That is the most he will be home. Like many
companies, this one has a policy that limits how long you can be at home
without having to remove your gear from the truck also. In this case, 6
days is the limit. Any more than that and he has to remove all of his
gear and there is a high probability that his truck will be given to
another driver. He is currently in a new truck and so is not wanting to
risk being given an older truck.

Having my husband home on weekends means that I am working my daily &
weekly chores around so that the weekends are free for our family time.
Last weekend, we went to a store and picked out the paint colors for all
of the rooms of the house. We are going to be working on them
throughout the summer. We are hoping to have the house nearly done by

Luckily, the plans that we have for the house will not be too hard to
work out. We are following our dreams of taking this home back in
time. While we will have a few modern conveniences, they will be
minimal. We found a place to buy the old fashioned lamps that run on
natural gas or propane. These were a precursor to the modern electric
lights. Many Amish families still use gas lighting today. They provide
a very nice amount of light that is comparable to electric lights. The
only adjustment that we will be making is to have a separate propane
tank just for the lights. The reason is very simple. If the lights
share a propane tank with the refrigerator and stove, then the lighting
will be dimmer. By having a separate tank for the lights, we will be
able to get the most out of the lighting.

Over the past month, I have found that the refrigerator is becoming
wasteful. It is a full size refrigerator similar in size to the
electric ones. With my home canning everything and not cooking enough
to have a lot of leftovers, the refrigerator is at least half empty at
all times. It seems a waste to keep that refrigerator cold when so
little is stored in it. A quart of almond milk, cheese, butter and eggs
are the primary items stored. The only other thing in there are a jug
of water and one of sweet tea. While in the store, we looked at smaller
refrigerators. We are considering getting one the size of an RV
refrigerator. It is about 50% larger than the small square office-type
refrigerators. The refrigerator that we have now will be kept as a
back-up for during holidays and for use in our outdoor kitchen.

As I think about our plans for our home, I am enjoying the thought of
taking it back in time. Having an outdoor kitchen will be a blessing in
the summer months especially. No heating up the house while cooking or
baking! The shower house will be great also. In the summer when we are
doing some really dirty/muddy work, the ability to clean up before
coming to the house will be nice. We will still have a bathroom
indoors, but the shower house will be used the most often when the
weather is warm.

Our home is gradually going to become an old homestead again. It will
have the old fashioned feel while still being modern enough to manage to
meet the technology needs. Beloved is going to put up a tower similar
to the windmill towers behind the house. On the tower will be our wind
power generator that we will be building along with the solar panels.
The batteries will be stored in a sheltered box within the tower
structure. An electrical line will carry the power to the home. We
plan on getting a good quality power inverter to make all that energy

This week, I am working on sorting more things for our upcoming yard
sale. Beloved chose to have it the weekend after the July 4th holiday.
He will be home then and will be helping to tend the sale. Overall, it
is a busy time for us. The kids are homeschooling through the summer.
Mornings they do school and in the afternoons they play in the pool or
we go out for the afternoon after their rest period. Though the days
are warmer, the breeze keeps the house about 10-15 degrees cooler than
the outdoor temperature. We are enjoying it. The kids' play yard now
has a small pool and other water-related toys to keep them cool as they
play outside. Add the shade from the trees and they are very comfortable.

The apple tree is loaded down with apples for the first time. They are
the Winesap variety. In previous years, the tree either has done poorly
or the insects & birds got to the apples just before they ripened. I am
hoping that the apples will survive so that I will be able to can some
up as pie fillings and chutney. If possible, I would love to dehydrate
some also for snacking.