I know we are taking too much. You know we are taking too much. We know its a finite resource. We all know the damage we are doing. Part of the heart of homesteading is caring for the earth. Knowing that it provides for us and we give back to it. It is being in the natural world with the birds singing and less sound pollution. It is the earth between our fingers and perennials that feed the bees. It is a respect for natural order and weather patterns. It is about using less (but getting back more!) and making sure our grandchildren have a place to run through fields of wildflowers and drink fresh water.
It is so much easier to not think about it. But homesteaders don’t shield their eyes to reality. We know where the red dyed meat in the styrofoam packing comes from. We know that the oil fields and their destruction are fueling our cars. We know how much petroleum is used to truck in nectarines from Peru in January.
I love my wood stove. It is a requirement for me on a homestead. Wood is carbon neutral. It quickly heats the house, makes the air smell amazing, and creates a beautiful cozy glow. We have many downed branches and friends with downed branches so we haven’t had to buy wood. (I was also a smidgen lazy this last winter.) When our only heat source was wood in a homestead long ago, we used three cords and still had some in spring. A cord is 4 ft x 8 ft x 4 ft wide. Beware paying too much and only getting a face cord, which is 4 ft x 8 ft x 16 inches.
We take Grandpa’s newspapers and get them from places that are about to throw them out. Junk mail can be used as starter. My go-to is small, dry pine pieces and pine cones to start a fire. I am not as good as Doug at starting a fire and have the patience of a squirrel so I really pile up the kindling to make sure it starts. The pine cones with the cinnamon scent that you can get over the holidays are the best.
Blessed summer has finally arrived, cool and slow, but warm indeed and I no longer need to make a fire. But I do need to manipulate the cool nights and hot days to keep from running the air conditioning. Open windows wide at night to let the cool air in. Grow more trees around the house. I despise curtains, so I don’t use those but they will keep it cooler/warmer.
When purchasing a new item, see if you can get one that is manual. There are manual grain grinders, blenders, food processors, graters, and more. You get a workout and save some electricity. Purchase well made appliances that use less energy. Unplug anything with an LED light. Those buggers just keep sucking energy. I didn’t like the television anyway.
We invested in solar panels. I cannot even say it was an investment because there was no money down and we pay the same amount we paid our electric company. It is a no brainer. We are providing one hundred percent of our own electricity here on our urban homestead.
Well, that wraps up day 14 of “So You Want to Be a Homesteader.” Happy Solstice and enjoy the longest day of the year!