The fall is my favorite season. Winter gets too long and cold, summer too hot and spring is really messy. But I love the fall.
And we’re coming up on it now. The quiet of the dog days is past. In case we weren’t motivated by the slight chill in the air, a neighbor came down and said, “Snows a’comin. Could be eight feet this year.”
I don’t know if it will be eight feet. But people sure wish it would be, after this last year’s light snow pack. And the neighbor was looking out for us. The cynical take on this is that our neighbors want us to be prepared, because if we aren’t, they’ll have to bail us out.
We don’t know what we’re doing for the winter, honestly. We’re doing our usual grasping sort of thing, in which we keep stepping forward and saying YES. I don’t doubt I’ll get stuck at some point. And maybe stay up all night keeping up with the snowfall. But we’ll find our way.
And we can always fall back on that friendly neighbor.
WHAT WE DID THIS WEEK or…SUMMER TO FALL
1. Water. I’m so proud of this. I’ll lead you through the entire system.
Our natural spring is at the highest point of the property. The water seeps up into two 100 gallon concrete collection tanks. The overflow from those tanks is then routed down into our duck pond, and from there into another smaller pond, which has been dry since June. Here’s a bit of the hose running from one of those tanks downhill to our yurt. It is all gravity-fed. No pump.
Here’s the sediment filter that takes out any large chunks. And the connection going off to our shower.
We have a black plastic tote that holds seventeen gallons of shower water. I can let it heat up in the sun or pour a hot kettle full into it.
And the shower is yet further downhill, (we live on a steep hill), so we have plenty of water pressure.
Here is the sink.
And we have a drinking water filter. There is some coliform bacteria in our collection tanks. We may at some point do a bleach shock, which is what is recommended. But then we have a bunch of bleach water to dispose of, and that is slightly less than desirable, having no “away” in which to flush it. For the moment, we prefer to use the filter.
2. Solar power…in the future. We put in our solar-powered attic fan and it’s like our warm-up to solar power. Now that we have lived about four months without any power at all, going back on the grid seems pretty unnecessary. We need lights. I need to be able to charge my computer. I guess it would be nice to run an appliance now and then, especially coming into winter. So we’re watching sun patterns, thinking of putting one full solar panel up on sticks on the chicken house roof. Obviously till fumbling our way into this one.
3. And…firewood. Lots of firewood. My arms have never looked so good. (Of course, you know, that’s what I really care about.) This year all our firewood is coming from the acre of wild woods between the yurt and the ponds. Standing dead or down trees. Nick cuts them into rounds with the chainsaw and throws them to the woodpile. Then we take turns chopping. And the kids look for lizards and strange bugs in the pile.
WHIMSY OF THE WEEK
So much. We have so much whimsy around here. But my favorite little joke right now is that we switched to a solar nightlight, from our battery-operated lantern, and it’s a little too bright. So we put it under a colander. It’s like sleeping under a mirror ball every night.
MIRACLE OF THE WEEK
Water. Truly. I know I already covered this. But, water in the desert! The brush is going all orange and red and the grass is crispy, but we walk over to the spring and the trickle perseveres. It’s a beautiful thing. #waterfromarock
OBSTACLE OF THE WEEK
Our big kids aren’t getting along very well. I think it’s less the circumstance we’re in now than it is every single place we’ve been over the last year, including the circumstance we’re in now. Now the seasons are changing again, and they’re not sure if we’re moving again. They have very little to dig into for security.
Sometimes I wish I could rewind the whole thing and do it again knowing For Sure that it’s all going to turn out okay. But I can’t do that. And I’ve been off and on a ball of nerves this last year, bringing a new baby into the family in a strange place, moving in with another family and then moving out, putting the kids in school and then taking them out again. Putting pressure on my kids to be flexible and resilient and well-behaved. And wise. At ages 4 and 5.
No Major Awards for parenting around here.
But we persevere. I made the kids a slideshow of pictures of them lovin’ on each other, and that always helps.
Remember how when we moved out here I SO did not want to deal with doing laundry off the grid? Well that was four months ago, and now we have water, and I can’t wait to start doing laundry off the grid! We got a front-load washing machine on Craigslist and are working on a plan to hook it up to a stationary bicycle. Have any of you done this? Share tips!!
As always, thanks for coming along with us on our crazy homesteading adventure! We’re glad you’re here.