A place where one woman has gathered resources and information to help her family survive in an uncertain future; together with occasional personal musings.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

some new stuff for the homestead


Craigslist has been good to me lately. Last week I found some items I've been looking for for quite some time. These big white cubes are 250 gallon food-grade plastic tanks. They have steel cages around them so they can be stacked, and you can screw them together so they make one 500 gallon tank (et cetera). They also have spigots on the front so water can be drained easily. These are not easy to find; they show up rarely on Craigslist, and often are unusable because they have been used to store something noxious or else they are very expensive. I lucked out; I found a guy who had 8 of them. He was selling them for $100 a piece - already a good price - but when I offered $700 for all of them he accepted. Also he took $50 to deliver them, which I thought was extremely reasonable. These particular tanks were used to store soy lecithin, which is a food additive naturally derived from soybeans. It's completely harmless unless you are allergic to soy. I'll obviously be washing them out with a high pressure hose before I use them to store water.

I know. It's been raining here for weeks on end, sometimes torrentially. The idea that I might need to store seems totally ridiculous. It always does this time of year. But all I have to do is think back to last August. Anyway, these are for the future. Do I think I will enjoy unmetered water forever? No, I do not.

Actually, I only get five of them for water storage. Homero gets the other three for use in his biodiesel production.

This is my other find. I've been wanting a woodstove for a long time. Currently our only heat is propane, and that is not sustainable long term. Also I don't have any way to cook in the event of a power outage, and I'd like to have one. A woodstove fulfills both these purposes. It's a little rusty, but I can clean that up and paint it with the special woodstove paint. It's been sitting in some guy's garage for about ten years and now he's tearing down the garage. He says it was in perfect working order when he put it out there. It only cost me a hundred bucks, so I can't go too far wrong. The only question is where and how to install it. But that is for another day. Getting it into a pickup, hauling it home, and getting it out of a pickup and into the playroom was enough work for one day.

These are small steps - they are only purchases at this point. All I've done so far is shop. Getting the tanks hooked up and made into a functioning rainwater catchment system will be a job. Ditto installing the woodstove. Recently I purchased a handgun, with an eye to butchering. That's still just a purchase too - I haven't fired it yet, much less used it to butcher a goat or a pig. But gathering materials is the first step of any endeavor, right? You can't make an omelet until you have some eggs.

Read more: http://newtofarmlife.blogspot.com/#ixzz0YDqzCkOF

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Update on self-sufficiency:

I think I have taken some pretty big strides since last I posted here. I have helped butcher a deer (roadkill, and we didn't eat it, but it was good practice) and now feel prepared to butcher our first goats in a few weeks.

To that end, I have bought a handgun and am taking a safety and training course next week. It's a ruger single action .22 revolver. Nice cheap ammunition and very reliable. I don't look forward to killing goats, but I do look forward to becoming a proficient shooter. I used to be a pretty shot with a daisy air rifle... for a nine year old.

The house is getting all new insulation in the attic and crawlspace in the next couple of weeks.

I went ahead and told my money manager that I planned on spending $50,000 or more in the next five years and why. Felt like an idiot but he was very professional.

I think I'm going to buy a 2000 gallon water tank. It's on sale for $300 which is absurdly cheap (good brand, UV protected against algae, shipped to my house) and get set up on the rainwater catchment. Right now it's been raining for weeks and there are standing ponds all over the place and the idea of needing to conserve water feels ridiculous, but all I have to do is think back to last august. It was a dust bowl here. It would be nice to know we had water for the garden.

We've been running straight biodiesel in our two cars for quite a while now. All we need to do to keep that up is maintain good relations with our neighbors who give us oil. It's time to pay them a call with eggs in hand.

All in all, I feel pretty good.

Oh yeah, I also learned just how incredibly easy it is to make decent apple beer (or tepache, in Mexican vernacular). As much as anything else, knowing I'll have access to good cheer makes me feel secure.