Determining Off Grid Power Needs

When we started planning our off grid solar system for our home, we began planning what electrical appliances we wanted and weighing that against what we could afford.  The following video are our non-negotiables.  We determined what we wanted for our home and planned the size or our solar system and battery bank accordingly.

How do we survive Living off grid?… Quite easily, really. Our list of electrical appliances we use on the homestead.

My wife and I literally sat down and determined what were essential for our lives and what could go.  Unfortunately, some items had to go because the electricity demands would be too great for an off grid system. The number one would be electrical heat.  We could not afford to use electrical heaters within our home.  A space heater uses around 1500 Watts of power per hour.  Not an option.


Another appliance we rapidly kicked to the curb was the clothes dryer.  The clothes dryer on average takes around 3500 Watts a load.  Our battery bank only 675 amp hours at 24 Volts =16,200 Watts of stored power yet to use the power all the way to zero will rapidly murder the battery bank. So, I only really have about 11,340 Watts of usable power. Three and half loads of laundry and our battery bank would done until the next sunny day.  We hang dry all our clothes on either the outside line or indoor lines I built.  Anyone who would like to make a dent in their electricity bill could begin by hang drying their clothes, easy-peasy.

The other appliance we said an automatic no to was the dishwasher because it not only took electricity, but also water.  In the future, we probably could renegotiate this one depending on the water and power usage, but we will wait for something more efficient.

My wife and I love to cook and eat at home, but we knew right away that an electric oven and range would never work.  They take too much electricity.  Our friends found a gas oven and stove top at a garage sale for $50.00 and during the warmer months of the year, we cook our food on the propane stove.  As I stated in the video, the electric oven is by far the largest use of electricity.  It uses almost 5,000 Watts per hour!  That is almost half of our stored power.

We also ditched the microwave, due to studies on how microwaves can hurt people over long periods of time.  We decided long before moving off grid to no longer microwave our food.

What has our life been like without these modern conveniences?  No clothes dryer, electric range, microwave, electric heaters, how do we survive?  Quite easily, really.

Making Pesto from Garden Fresh Basil

This year I had a great time harvesting my vegetables from my garden and preserving them for future use.  This year I was able to harvest my Basil and make Pesto.  I really love to make pesto and freeze it, so when I am wanting to make chicken pesto pizza, or any other dish that calls for Pesto, I already have the pesto ready and waiting in my freezer for me to use.

While I was making this video, the smell of the basil being processed was absolutely amazing.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh basil.

My recipe for Pesto is below and my video is above.  May you enjoy making Pesto.

Pesto Recipe

Canning Peaches on the Homestead :)

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I canned 11 quarts from 30 pounds of Peaches.  How Awesome!!!

During this time of year, late Summer and early Fall, I am busy harvesting and preserving on our Homestead.  Our own peach trees do not produce enough fruit to be able to can, so I have found a local organic orchard, where I can purchase my fruit and in this case, peaches.  I love getting organic fruit!

This year the peaches were spectacular!  It was such a fun batch to can.  The peaches were ripe, the meat was not mealy, and the peel just peeled off without much cutting needed.

The thing that I love about canning is that I know what is in my food and so I know that my family is getting the best food possible.  There is nothing like it!

In this video I show you how I process my peaches, what tools I like to use, and little tips of the trade I use to can my peaches.  Enjoy 🙂

Time to Announce Our Candle Winner for September from Pauper’s Candle Company

20170929_064335As I was making this video, I was processing pears.  I thought to myself that it would be fun to incorporate what I was doing on the homestead with our homestead business Pauper’s Candles and have our Spiced Pear Soy Candle be the candle to give our winner for the September Free Candle Give Away.

Enjoy watching  the Video to see who the September Candles Winner is 🙂

 

The pears made a wonderful backdrop to my video and pictures.  We have enjoyed making these short candle winner videos and we hope you have enjoyed watching them to find out who the winner is each month.

We would also like to thank all of you who have joined our email family and may you continue to enjoy your Pauper’s Candles.  For those who would like to Join Our Email Family, all you need to do is go to our website and click the Join Our Email Family button and fill out the short form and you are then automatically entered into our monthly drawing.

We also have our Fall Soy Candles ready at our store. Our Fall scents are Spiced Pear, Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Clove, and Harvest Moon.  Have Fun Shopping!

Fall Scents

May you all enjoy your Fall and we will be back next month to announce our October winner!!!

Why Live Off the Grid?

The two main reasons we began to consider living off the grid were the constant rise in the cost of electricity and the storms that seemed to knock out our service each year.

Living off grid didn’t start to become an option until we lived on the Oregon Coast and lived through the Great Coastal Gale of 2007.  Our home was fine, but we were left without utility service for about a week.  Our frustration mounted as we saw the rest or our town below us gain power only to be left without power and water for another day and a half because the municipality thought no one lived on our hill, as if we were all vacation homes.  So, why bother checking, just forgo delivering power.  Another full-time local on our hill set the town and utility company straight, but the experience left me a little distrustful of the people running things.  Even if we had a back up generator at the time, we still would not have fresh running water due to the pump station was beyond our legal grasp to supply power.


The real shift to getting us to consider living off the grid was the electric company’s constant rate increases.  It felt like we were being drained of what little money we had left at the end of the month.  With the rising cost of property taxes, water, insurance, gas prices, inflation in the grocery store, my wife and I saw what little savings we had at the end of the month rapidly disappearing.  We were one emergency crisis away from losing it all.  If the car died or a major house repair was needed, we would not be able to make our payments or we would have to ration the food.  This really got me thinking that we needed take back control of our expenditures on utilities.  We needed to find a way in which we could control our bills.  Going off grid seemed like a feasible solution to taking back financial control from these entities that taxed citizens into oblivion to justify their jobs.  Sorry, but it was a bitter pill to swallow to see everything we worked so hard for disappear because of rate increases during a recession.

When we bought our property in Idaho after selling our house on the coast, we knew we would be living off grid.  We had no desire to live on the grid anymore.  When control over our utilities were in our hands and our off grid system was installed, we only had one power outage.  It was quickly remedied in 15 minutes and life went on as usual.  However, we have seen several storms since we moved to North Idaho, and the area at large has lost power several times.  We would never have known it unless our neighbors called to tell us, the lights and stores are dark when we enter town, or when I go to work, the students I teach tell me about it.  I now access the utility company’s website in which I can see the outage map for the local electrical grid. When friends call on their cell phones during their outage, I give them a report of their situation all from the comfort of my well lit home while watching a movie.

What is the worst storm you have been in that knocked your power out?  Describe how you managed.

Turn Your Pauper’s Candle into a Drinking Glass!!!

About to Drink from Glass

Turn Your Pauper’s Candle into a drinking glass!!!

Have you ever thought to yourself, what do I do with this candle now that I have burned it?  We say, “turn it into a drinking glass.”  All you have to do with your Pauper’s Candle is clean out your jar and you have yourself a glass that you can fill with your favorite beverage.  If you do not want a drinking glass you can recycle the glass jar.  How fun is that?

I have always been one to peruse through thrift stores.  Even when I was in high school and “junking” or “upcycling” was not a trendy pastime, I would go to two different “junk stores” in my area to find the best treasures to clean up and reuse.  So, being able to use a jar from our candles that can be reused for another purpose is so fun to me and it feels like I get to pass on to you, our customer, a little of myself.

To learn how to clean out your jar, all you need to know is in the video below.  May you enjoy your new drinking glass. 🙂

Garden Fresh: Lemon Cucumber Walnut Salad

20170908_112731_MultiI was in my kitchen and wanting a snack and had a craving for my lemon cucumbers.  I had picked some the day before and they were chilled and waiting in my fridge.  I did the usual, peeled, sliced, and quartered the lemon cucumber, added a little salt and pepper and ranch.  As I was eating my little snack, I thought to myself that maybe a nut of some kind would be a great addition.  On hand, I had peanuts, cashews, walnuts and some treasured macadamia from our last trip to Hawaii.  I decided on walnuts, softer buttery nut.  To my delight, this tasted wonderfull!

The video below is showing how you can make this simple, wonderful, fresh snack!  Enjoy!