My life on the homestead
Well, it's been two and a half weeks since I've moved to my son's homestead; henceforth known as “the homestead”. Things are finally starting to feel settled. I've mostly adjusted to all of the changes. Change never used to bother me until I became older. I guess by the time I reached my 60s, I had settled into my quiet and not so active routine and hadn't seen much change for a few years. Boy, has that changed now! Well, not quite as drastically as that statement made it sound. Here, let me explain...
Doing laundry on the homestead is somewhat different than it was living in the city. It's not something I've never done before, but it has been quite a few years (30 something) since I have. You see, since the homestead is mostly off grid we do not have a clothes dryer. We do have a clothes washer (thank The Lord!) but we have to hang our clothes on a clothesline to dry them.
Hanging the laundry to dry is actually a good thing. For one, it is a good exercise routine, and no gym fees to pay. Also, clothes that have hung outside to dry smell so much cleaner and fresher than those dried in a dryer. The only drawback to hanging out the laundry can be the weather. Fortunately, my son has a Plan B for rainy or cold days. Not only is there a clothesline hanging outside in the open, fresh air, but there is also a clothesline hanging inside the man-shed for those rainy, cold days. Score! And, I've already learned that even the clothes hung in the man-shed smell fresher and cleaner than dryer sheets can make them smell.
How we would wash our laundry in an extended grid down or similar situation is something we should all be prepared for, no matter where we live.
Cooking's not a whole lot different for me here on the homestead...yet. Currently, in the camper, we have a stove that runs off propane. However, I do not have the convenience of cooking with my Instant Pot and air fryer as I had before. But, not to fear. My daughter is at least bringing my Instant Pot with her on her upcoming visit! So, I am mostly cooking as I normally would. With the exception that I am using my son's cast iron cookware.
It takes a little getting used to using the cast iron cookware, but I am so in love with it!! The only experience I've had with cast iron cooking is with a skillet. My mother always used a cast iron skillet and nothing else for her cooking/frying. But, for some reason, I never owned even a cast iron skillet. Now, I'm like, why???
As a prepper, I believe in always having a back-up; or a Plan B, Plan C, etc. After all, a popular prepper phrase is “two is one and one is none”. So, I'm wanting to learn how to cook with said cast iron cookware over a fire. And, that's when the cooking here will become much more different than what I'm used to. Although, I may have to obtain my own cast iron cookware to achieve said goal because I'm not sure my son would want me using his to cook over a fire with. After all, have you ever seen cookware that has been used to cook over a fire with? The black build up from the smoke? Yah, I'm guessing I will probably need to make a little investment for this to happen, lol.
Having alternative ways of cooking is something that as preppers we should all consider. A couple of suggestions for things to use as backup cooking methods would be a charcoal or gas grill with lots of fuel, a camping stove with lots of fuel (only for outdoor use), a butane counter top burner with lots of fuel (can be used indoors if well ventilated), and a small wood burning stove (for outdoor use only).
You wouldn't think such a simple task as washing dishes would be so different living on an off grid homestead, would you? Well, I didn't. However, it really wasn't something I had actually considered prior to spending a month here earlier this year.
Most of you are probably used to using a dishwasher for washing your dishes. Fortunately for me, I was not when I moved here. I was used to washing my dishes by hand. But, washing them by hand when living off grid can be even different than washing them by hand in a “normal” environment. For instance, because we don't have city water, or a well yet, we have to be conservative with our water use. Therefore, we wash all the dishes first by wetting the sponge/dish cloth and putting liquid detergent on it. Then, washing the dishes without the water running and then rinsing them once all are washed. Whereas at my prior home, I would run the water, wash the dish, and rinse it under the running water. The water was running the entire time I was washing and rinsing dishes. But, in order to conserve water, we only use as much as absolutely necessary. Please note, we are only washing dishes for two most of the time here. If it were for a larger family, I would use two small tubs of water: one for washing and one for rinsing.
A suggestion to add to our bug out bags is a folding bucket for doing our dishes or for carrying water for general purposes. I have one. It's round, and it literally folds flat for storage and weighs very little. Speaking of one being none...I suppose I should look into getting a second one of these for my bug out bag.
Taking a shower. Taking a shower here at the homestead is only slightly different than what most of us are used to. For instance, since we have to conserve water (remember, we don't have a well yet) there is a button that we push on the shower head that shuts off the water flow. So, when lathering up or washing our hair we simply push that button and it stops the water from flowing. Then, to rinse off, simply push the button and the water comes back on. I still get just as clean and just as refreshed, but I've not wasted a lot of water!
The only problem that comes with taking a shower here that I've had so far is when it got cold enough for it to freeze outside. The water in the water tank froze up for a couple of days. But, that was not such a big deal since it isn't that cold very often here where we live. And, we do have some water bottles stored up to use.
A compost toilet. Using the compost toilet has taken some getting used to, but I think I've adjusted pretty well. It has become my chore to fill up the wood chips bucket daily. Read how that happened and see a picture of the compost toilet by clicking here.
All in all, living on the homestead is not an entirely new ballgame for me. You see, I lived on a farm many years ago when my children were just babies and toddlers. Life was somewhat similar at times on the farm then as it is now on the homestead. I'm thankful to The Lord for that experience I had early on. It sure makes it easier on me now. I've always missed living on the farm and the peace that comes with that. Now, I am able to once again experience that peace and observe the beauty of God's creation of nature all around me.
There is no single mold for being a homesteader. Some homesteaders are modern and still have and use all the modern conveniences that are available; some live completely off grid and are totally self-reliant; and some live somewhere in-between. Currently, my son's homestead is at the in-between stage. He is in the process of building his log cabin with the resources God has provided for him on his acreage with the ultimate goal of becoming completely self-reliant. But, it is something that takes a lot of work and time, especially since he is doing all the work on the cabin and homestead himself. And, that's one reason I'm here. So I can help him with the little things around the homestead.
So, there you have it. How living off grid has been different for me. I know not all of those who read my blogs can be nor want to be homesteaders. However, there may come a time in all of our lives that we will need to know how to live off grid and will need to know some necessary skills to do so. That is why I want to share my experiences with you. To give you all an idea of some things that would be good to know and be prepared for in case you had to live off grid for an extended time. And, if you never have to live off grid, at least you will have been somewhat entertained and perhaps even a little blessed by my stories.
It is my prayer that you will be open to hear from our God what you need to do in your life to be prepared for what lies ahead for you personally and for our nation and our world.
As for me, I'm loving it here! Just as I knew I would. I believe I am right where God wants me to be for this season of my life.
Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!