So here are some updates: Homero sought out an oil burning furnace and intends to convert it (simple, he says) to straight veggie oil. It will heat his shop this winter and if it works well out there, we'll switch out the propane heater next year. Also, he has been producing enough biodiesel to run about B30 in the two diesel cars. For a while we were running straight homebrew, but he has kind of slacked off and now we only have enough to fill the tanks a third full and top with regular diesel. I hope and faithfully believe that he will keep it up. Otherwise, we're just out all the money we spent on startup. AND he wants to spend another $1,000 on a centrifuge.. which is totally a necessary item IF he will actually be brewing enough biodiesel to run the cars and cleaning enough veggie oil to power a home heater, but a total waste of money if not.
Let's see what else... there was something in particular I was going to write about and it has escaped me for the moment. Oh well, while I'm waiting for my brain to turn back on, I think I have decided on a smaller, grid tied, battery backed up solar system that will power just a suite of "emergency" appliances out in the shed: the chest freezer, which will run all the time, and enough power to run a half sized fridge, a hotplate, and some lights in the case of extended power outage. That would probably be something like eight solar panels instead of twenty, and something like $12,000 instead of $30,000.
Of course, currently I'm worried about paying the property taxes this year, so what am I thinking I'm going to lay out half a year's income on solar? It's not that I don't have resources; I do. If I choose to spend my inheritance, I could totally transform this place into the homestead of my dreams. I have about a quarter million dollars: that would buy me a helluva good solar system, a big-ass rainwater collection/purification system, and all the household repairs I could want, with money left over. But it's hard to commit to spending that, especially when you realize (as I have reluctantly come to realize) that our earning potential, long term, is fairly shitty.
As I think I have said before in this forum, saving enough money to pay property taxes into the foreseeable future is priority number one. We are going to need all the land we have, and I doubt property taxes are going away anytime soon. But, what am I going to leave to my kids? If I leave them a functioning homestead, I probably can't leave them cash. And vice versa.
Okay Time's up. Gotta go.