June’s Candle Give-Away Winner!

Congratulations to Our Winner!

And the Winner Is…

Each month Pauper’s Candles gives a FREE Scented Soy Wax Candle that we make on our off grid homestead.  Those individuals who are part of Our Email Family are automatically entered each month.

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Pauper’s Candles Summer Scent Pomelo Sage.

This month’s winner is receiving one of our new Candle Summer Scents, Pomelo Sage.  This scent is fresh and tangy with a touch of citrus.  I started selling this scent, along with our other summer scent Pineapple Cilantro, and received many positive comments while selling these at my Farmer’s Market.  You can purchase our candles at our online store.  Click here to Shop Our Store

If you are interested in being entered into our Free Candle Give-Away each month, you can Join Our Email Family by going to our homestead business website, www.pauperscandles.com

Unboxing our new off grid water heater

This past week I have been busy installing our new off grid tankless propane water heater.  The tankless propane water heater we had before was only a temporary fix that lasted 5 years.  I never intended on using it for so long, but other needs on the homestead kept taking priority.   We are finally replacing our camping style tankless, propane, water heater, Ecotemp L5 with a new tankless gas water heater the Excel Pro NATURAL GAS 6.6 GPM.  The Excel Unit is powered by our invertor.  It doesn’t take too much electricity when sitting idle, but it does have a phantom load. This unit is way more cost effective than a standard electric water heater. And for us, it is a good alternative to the more expensive units on the market.

But, before you decide to run out and purchase one, I would wait until I test this unit out first.  After seeing two separate negative reviews on Amazon concerning the product, I am waiting to give it my complete confidence.  I had never installed a unit like this before, so the video shows my excitement for the unboxing, but I did not notice the problems with the instructions until the next day and several of the parts as I started to get involved with the install.  As far as my excitement goes, I was very tired and just finishing up the school year.  This is my excited but exhausted look at the same time.

When our propane unit died, my wife and I continued to use our wood cook stove hot water system.  I would heat the wood cook stove an hour before bed and shut the dampers down.  When I awoke the next money, I would open up the dampers, feed the stove, and the water was ready for a hot shower within 15 minutes.

I finally began install on the propane unit Tuesday, the day my contract for teaching ended for the year. I believe I did the unboxing on Monday night after I finished my grades, cleaning my teaching area, and mowing the lawn for the 1st time of the season.  I have been wanting to install a larger propane tankless water heater for years that would supply hot water to every faucet in the house during the late spring, summer, and early fall months.  Before we only had hot water from May – October from a single spigot in the home, located in the shower. During those months, we filled pots of hot water and walked them to the kitchen sink for dishes.  We didn’t mind so much as long as we had a hot shower any morning we wanted one.  Before we purchased our camping style propane unit, we showered at my work during off hours or stood buck-naked in a large pail in the kitchen and sponged bathed.  This was obviously before we adopted our son.

The Excel Pro Natural Gas 6.6 GPM Tankless Gas Water Heater… So far, it has been a bargain, but the jury is still out on it’s overall performance. It works great and hot water is now at every faucet in the home, just as if we were using our wood cook stove water heater system but without the heat.

So far, our new tankless water heater is working fine.  It is, however, off gassing a propane smell.  I am currently working on tracking it done and may possibly have to make another trip to a big box hardware supply store and replace the connector on the unit with a better one.  For now, I am seeing if my fix worked.

I will upload sections of the install over the course of the next few weeks.  I don’t want to bore anyone, but some of you who may consider purchasing a unit like this may appreciate the info.  Personally, this was my first install, like so many other things I do on the homestead.  I think it went rather smoothly with only a few setbacks and extra trips to the hardware store.

Thanks for joining us.  If you have a tankless water heater that you installed and did a blog or vlog about it, please provide the link in the comments below.  The more information out there, the less confusing it will be for others on how to do this without having to call a plumber and paying a $75 or higher hourly rate.

I would also like to make it clear, that my wife and I do not receive or ask for endorsements when we describe products on our website.  We, like everyone else, search the Internet looking for deals and buy what we can afford.  Once the unit checks out, we will probably place it on our Amazon Store, but if you want a better buy, you should go direct to the company.  I will supply all this information as well as the cost at the end of this short series.

Thanks for visiting Living a Sustainable Dream, being a part of our online community, following, subscribing, liking, and commenting.


Think Kitchen Sink!

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I love my 1940’s sink. This has been a terrific off grid sink.

We decided to purchase a 1940’s double sink, double drain board sink for our kitchen, when we built our home. Being off grid and knowing we would not have a dishwasher, we thought that this may be a great choice. After having our sink for 5 years, this has proven to be a super choice for us.

Having the drain boards built into the sink has proven to be wonderful. Having a double sink has been great because one does not need allot of water to do dishes: Just fill up the sinks, one with soapy water and the other with clean hot water and you can do all your dishes without using much more water from your faucet.

1940 kitchen archive.org

In the 1940’s these sinks were in every home from farm home to suburban home. They typically came with metal cabinets below. With a little searching, one can still find these sinks today! Thank you archive.org for the picture!

Most of the 1940 sinks had metal lower cabinets that the sink rested on. These sinks were installed in just about any home regardless the lifestyle, farm homes, to  suburban homes, to urban homes. The sink we found did not have the metal lower cabinets.  I recycled some wood cabinets from the old cabin on our property and made the opening on top fit my sink.  I then purchased a faucet from my local big box store and was able to find one that fit the holes that were already made in the sink.  I was excited to find a faucet that fit the sink.

If you love old, vintage things and like to recycle items these sinks may be a great choice for you. Picking the right appliances for your needs makes the day to day chores much more enjoyable. I am going to enjoy our sink for many more years to come.

Out Building Location = Smart Homesteading

Mark and I have been living on our homestead for about 6 years and every time we get ready to build an out building, garden, solar array, pump house, etc…we find ourselves asking many question such as:

  • Where do we want to locate this building or structure and why?
  • How often are we going to use this building or structure?
  • Can we use this building or structure for more than one thing?
  • During snow season, are we going to need to access this building or structure and if so can we put it near another building and be able to make one path to both?

Behind me is our home, solar array, garden, and wood shed ~ Location, Location, Location

We are about to break ground on a new shop/barn this summer and found ourselves wanting this building near our home because we are going to be using it for many different functions, shop for car repair, storage, Pauper’s Candle Shop, Room for small repairs, garage, and I am sure many more functions we have yet to think of .  As it has been said, “location, location, location.”

We hope this video encourages you when building your home, homestead, out buildings, shops, barns, gardens, orchards, to think about each structures function and place them together that best fits your needs.  Happy Building!

Homestead Tractor Walk Around

In this quick video, I am doing a walk around our tractor.   I even added some scenes of the tractor in use as I describe each function and implement we have.

The school year is coming to a close and my schedule has become a challenge.  My wife has done an excellent job stepping in for me to maintain the blog site regularly while I grade papers, finish lesson plans, help hire a new teacher, prepare a graduation speech, and trying not to think about the dunk tank I will be sitting in during the last day of school.  That’s the beginning of the list.  Unfortunately, I have had zero time allotted for planning the shop.

Our next project after I return from a trip to celebrate a niece’s graduation this weekend is to install a new tankless propane water heater.  Our temporary hot water heater has finally ended it’s five year temporary status.  More on that later.

Remember, if you haven’t signed up for our homestead business, Pauper’s Candle Company’s free monthly drawing starting this June, do so.  Anyone signed up can be a winner, even if you are outside the United States.  We are really excited to ship our candles outside the US and see how far they will travel.  Don’t worry, we won’t rig the monthly drawing; we are using a computer program or a random drawing from a hat.  Sign up here to win.

Off Grid Homesteading: Using our chickens to prepare the garden

On our off grid homestead during the spring, we like to let our chickens into our garden to help get the garden ready for planting.  We love our chickens and they love Spring Time!  They perform so many useful tasks and require little maintenance.  As we like to say, “A Happy Chicken is a Laying Chicken.”

Here is a little chicken video you can watch as well.

Chickens are great in the garden before and after planting season for many reasons:

  • They scratch around in the dirt and turn in all up.
  • They keep the weeds down, therefore no need to weed before planting!
  • They eat bugs and therefore keep them under control before planting.
  • They eat all the plants after harvest and clean up the garden!
  • By eating all weeds in the Spring and cuttings in the Fall they are receiving some great nutrients, which is very healthy for them.
  • You can use their manure after letting it sit for at least a year as fertilizer in your garden.

Since we have been on our homestead, I have really enjoyed our chickens or Ladies as I like to call them.  Chickens give so much and require little in comparison.

Our Off Grid Home Business Powered By Solar Energy

We would like to introduce you to our off grid business, Pauper’s Candle Company, where we create soy wax candles with the solar energy we create on our homestead.   How fun is that?  Here is a little video talking about Pauper’s Candle Company.

Our scented soy wax container candles are all hand poured.  We make our candles using 100% Non GMO Soy Wax, cotton wicks, and undiluted premium grade fragrance oils or 100% Pure Essential Oil.

Here is the old cabin that is currently our candle shop, Pauper’s Candle Shop

We are currently making our candles in an outbuilding that was on the property when  bought it.  It was not livable, but with a little paint and fixing, it has become our candle shop, until we can build our shop/barn this summer.  It is fun to up-cycle and use what you have and make it into something functional.


We would love for you to join! By joining you will be entered into our Monthly Candle Give A-Way

We would like to take this opportunity to tell you about our Free Monthly Candle Give A-Way.  You can enter by going to our website and clicking the “Join Our Email Family” button on the top menu bar.  We will announce the winner each month by email.  We will also include in that monthly email, our sales, discounts, announce new candle scents and any candle or homestead videos that are relevant   We hope you will become a part of our email family.  Just click HERE!