When the Battery Bank Dies…

At the end of this past summer, our battery bank of seven years decided to die.  It was an interesting cascade failure event.  One batter cell went dead and could not be revived, then another battery flagged a similar problem.  Pretty soon I was isolating batteries that would no longer hold a 6 Volt change.  The isolation meant I had to drop from a 3 string battery bank to a 2 string system.  I ordered the batteries at the perfect time.  The sun was shining well into September which carried the system long enough until the replacements arrived.  I was happy to receive them, another few weeks and we would have been in real trouble, running a generator to make due for the lack of electrical storage.

The video published was in a file waiting to be edited and published.  I admit blogging and YouTube videos which have grown intertwined has dwindled, and I discussed that briefly on another post.  Currently, I am enjoying Christmas break and I am gearing up for the return to teaching after the New Year’s holiday. I hope this post and the New Year 2019 greets you well.

My wife and I plan to make a list of this year’s highlights this evening and save them to be read next year.  It will be a bonding time between us as we recognize our successes despite the obstacles around us, including replacing a dying battery bank. I plan to include my son in the event as well, and I am curious to hear his own version of events.

May you enjoy this New Year’s Eve, celebrating with family, friends, and have a chance to reflect on the highlights this year.

God Bless,

As I return home, an Appendix prepares to Leave.

At each stage of the journey… I would text the grandparents to update and be encouraged by their prayers for our son.

Off grid or on grid living; it makes no difference when troubles come.  I believe we are judged by those around us, whether we like it or not, on how we handle the obstacles we face in life.  What began as a series of posts to remember and share our vacation to the Medora Musical and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, became a test on how we handle adversity when it comes.  However, little did we know the greatest challenge was not the engine or being stranded, it was caring for our son’s emergency appendectomy less than a week later.

In the video, I wrap up my return from Columbus, MT.  I also share the cascade failure of events that occurred within moments of being home.  However, today, even as I type this post, the inverter has thrown a Low Battery code at the beginning of a beautiful, cloudless, summer morning.  This means our battery bank, is beginning to fade at an exponential rate and will most likely not last until late fall when we really rely on it. (Sigh).

Life is full of struggles and right now many of you who are reading this post or watching this video are facing struggles right now of your own.  You’re ready to throw your hands up in the air, like a bad rap song and stomp away from the mess.  Yet, there is no place you can escape to that doesn’t have troubles of its own.  I remember living a life riddled with student loan debt, a mortgage, we were one incident away from total financial collapse.  During that time, I would sift through realtor.com for hours looking for land I could build my off grid “palace” and be free of all the financial stress my mortgage and student loans brought me.  Now that the off grid dream has come to fruition, I still face troubles, just a different set of troubles.

Wherever you are, life will happen.  And, life is messy.  So, how can I encourage you today in the midst of this mess called life?  I can speak about how my faith in Jesus brings a peace through the midst of the storms of life. I can talk about stepping back from the moment while in it. Thinking through each circumstance, but then surrendering to the outcome, whatever it is.  I can talk about enjoying the part of life that the troubles have not touched directly, which could mean a free for all family water gun fight hours before an appendectomy.

I do know that I am tired, and I mean really tired.  I see so much discord in the world, and I wonder how much of it is people transferring their problems, anxieties, and issues onto others.  The world has enough trouble of its own for me to be adding to the quagmire of issues.  So, my car’s engine blew up. Compared to our son’s appendectomy, the car is meaningless.  I am in a cascade failure of events, and yet, I am strangely at peace with it.

Facing one problem at a time, and what is next will wait in line.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” 2nd Corinthians 1: 3-4

Kioti Tractor Box Blade Implement Setup (when I can get to it)

My first sunny day of Spring Break and I wanted to be prepped for summer projects.  I had to disconnect the Winco generator from the Kioti tractor and reattach the box blade.  However, due to winter still hanging on, I had to work a day to clear a path to even get to the box blade attachment.  I stored the box blade under the roof of the old derelict cabin, the cabin we hope to bring down when we can afford to build a barn shop.  After this sunny day, we entered over two weeks of steady rain.  I came down with a terrible cold and was immobilized from working outside in the rain and eventually I had to unhook the box blade and place the generator back on to recharge the battery bank.  I had never needed to use a generator in April before since we moved here 7 years ago, but the skies were so dark and gray.

Currently, I am fighting another chest cold and doing my best to stay on top of my busy schedule at work, but today I am resting a for a bit.  I think I have been burning the candle a both ends.  Yes, pun intended, see our candle special below.

In this video I toy with a new technique, split screens, I am learning while using the free open source Blender software.  I use a combination of Movie Maker and Blender.  Blender to do overlays and split screens.  Movie Maker for captions and syncing sound.  Hope you enjoy the video.

Yes, I made more work for myself storing the box blade where I did, but I wanted it stored in a place that was not exposed to the elements and this was the only place I had.  Once I have a new shop, things will be less chaotic.

Want to support our channel consider purchasing a Pauper’s Candle for someone special this Mother’s Day.  Promo code [MOM2018], sale ends this May 13, 2018.  https://paupers-candles.ecwid.com/ Pauper’s Candles makes 100% soy wax candles using power made by the sun.  Many of our scents a phthalate free.  See our link for phthalate free candles and learn more. https://pauperscandles.com/our-candles-that-are-phthalate-free/

Tractor + Generator = Power

Before we even bought our land and were planning our off grid homestead, we wanted a diesel generator as our backup power system for those endless cloudy days.  Why? Because, the cost of dyed diesel is cheaper, and, most importantly, I don’t have to worry about the fuel going bad after a few months of it sitting in storage.  With diesel, I don’t have to add extra expensive fuel additives to preserve the gas for a year.  Yes, I am putting more wear and tear on my tractor, but I am also running it in the winter and not letting it sit for long periods of time doing nothing, so either case I am probably even on future tractor maintenance.

Our previous RIGID generator is still with us and still without a pull rope assembly and can be used if needed in a pinch. However, I had grown tired of the gas generator’s fussiness with the gasoline industry’s ever changing recipe and their self-destructive design to make people even more dependent on them each month to purchase fresh fuel or buy additives.  It seems that diesel has been the one line of fuel that has not been messed with as much as the others.  It is perhaps, the industry’s one nice gesture to the people who are so dependent upon them.

We have finally purchased our “expensive” diesel generator. But, it wasn’t that expensive in combination with the tractor.  We already own the tractor, so adding the Winco 15kW PTO generator was half the cost of a Honda 5.5 – 7 kW gas generator.  The great news, as well, is no more pull starting. Even if the RIGID was only 4 pulls to start.  It’s brutal when the back is already thrown out from some other incident and I still had to go and pull start a generator.  Did I mentioned the price difference in our area for dyed diesel compared to non-ethanol high octane fuel necessary for small engines.  The price difference in our area is 90 cents a gallon.  At this price, the difference for a 5 gallon fuel tank is about $4.50 savings per gas can we fill.  That adds up when all the calculations are done between how many times on average the generator needs to run during the cloudy winter season.

If you own a tractor and have the horse power, a Winco tractor generator would be an excellent backup in case of a storm or power outage.  The fuel would be the same you use for your tractor and can be stored indefinitely (20 years).

This post was not sponsored by Winco generators or Kioti tractors.  It is, however, sponsored by our off grid homestead business Pauper’s Candle Company. Visit today for your next candle purchase at https://paupers-candles.ecwid.com/

Cooking with My Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch: 3/4

Welcome to Part 3 in my series, Cooking with a Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch. In this video you will see how I make pumpkin puree from a sugar pumpkin and how I make my pumpkin pie filling using the pumpkin puree. Also you will see how I maintain and use my wood cook stove to do this. How fun is that? May you enjoy part 3!!!  Part 4 will be coming soon!

part 3A Krista

Homemade pumpkin puree!

Behind the Scenes:  While I was filming this section of the video, the background noise you hear is from our plow truck. My husband was working on it out in our meadow and he finally was able to fix it and moved it to the front of our house, where he finished prepping it to be ready for when the snow falls here at our homestead.  As an extra tid bit;  As I am writing this we still have no snow on the ground, which is very unusual.  We may not have a white Christmas, which would be very unusual.

To all our readers:  Here is a sneak peek at my finished Pumpkin Pie from my final video, Part 4.

Krista and Pie_Background

My finished Pumpkin Pie! Mmmm!!!

Thank you for watching and may you have a wonderful day!


How do we have followers and subscribers?

This weekend our YouTube Channel grew to 500 subscribers.  However, we have been purposefully not chasing the YouTube algorithm.  Because of this, we never thought we would ever reach 500 subscribers within this past year.  We demonetized all our videos, intentionally try to stay away from click bait titles, and focus on content.  Basically, living as we preach.  We are thankful for all those who have chosen to follow our posts here as well; we are currently at 148 followers, three of which are male strip clubs in Australia. Who would of thought?

When we started this blogging it was to let others know you can live an off grid live style without compromising modern conveniences to the point that your life becomes all consumed with chores.  We still have many chores, but we have many of the modern appliances to shorten those duties to a manageable time line for us.  I still work full-time off the homestead while my wife works the homestead and her business, Pauper’s Candle Company, on the property.  When I get time off work, I am doing a large portion of the repairs, maintenance, and building new systems to integrate into our daily lives at Living a Sustainable Dream.  So, a big thank you to everyone who has been able to glean information or participate vicariously in our adventures in modern, off grid, homesteading in Northern Idaho.

Why a Tractor Shed?

Sometime this summer I had an idea that changed my perspective on the type of back up generator we needed.    See the past post from whence we came.  When we were first in the planning and designing stage of our off grid home, we realized the sun could be blocked for days even weeks during the winter months.  We also realize our battery bank could easily float us power wise for 5 days.  A few years back we had 1 full sunny day in the month of January and 2 partial sunny days out of the 31 day month.  It was a rough winter and our generator was relied on heavily through that month.

Unfortunately, last year the pull rope broke on our generator and after trying to find a part that not only fit it, but also worked more than once proved impossible.  I debated throwing more money at this well used 6.8 kW generator, but decided I wanted something more powerful.  I believe now that I was drawing or expecting too much current from this generator to charge the house, run the well pump, and all the other various appliance we turned on while the genie was running.   We needed something with a little more electrical kick.

The original vision, but we could never justify the expense, was a diesel generator.  A nice USA made Perkins diesel generator is priced between $6,500 and $8,000.  I didn’t have that extra cash flow, but to purchase a new RIGID costs about a $1,000.00, which I would not purchase now because of the starter recoil assembly fail.  We decided to use what we already had, our Kioti 35 hp diesel engine and PTO (Power Take-Off) which turns a shaft connected to a generator.  This generator would be about twice what the RIDGID would cost and 1/4 of what a Perkins would be.

Once I post about the shed construction, I’ll show a demonstration video of how this type of generator works.