A woman in her late forties went to a plastic surgeon for a face-lift. The surgeon told her about a new procedure called "The Knob," where a small knob is placed on the back of a woman's head and can be turned to tighten up her skin to produce the effect of a brand new face lift. Of course, the woman wanted "The Knob."
Over the course of the years, the woman tightened the knob, and the effects were wonderful -- the woman remained young looking and vibrant. After fifteen years, the woman returned to the surgeon with two problems.
"All these years, everything has been working just fine. I've had to turn the knob many times and I've always loved results. But now I've developed two annoying problems:
First, I have these terrible bags under my eyes and the knob won't get rid of them,"
The doctor looked at her closely and said, "Those aren't bags, those are your breasts."
She said, "Well, I guess that explains the goatee."
bruce Fine wrote:my mother has grid tie solar, she never has electric bill, but one thing that amazed me is after a storm took out power lines on the street the grid power went down she had no power even though the sun was shining, I guess that's just the way her systems works. I'm no expert but just in practical terms I would think that type of set up needs to have a way built in to still provide you with power no matter what happens with the grid power.
Your mother is TIED to the grid. Really just a supplier of electricity for it. What she uses comes from it. If she was INTERtied to the grid, most likely she would have an inverter that is set to supply her needs first with excess going to the grid. That works fine while the sun shines, but even with an inverter favoring her needs, without storage ability (aka batteries) she would be without electricity when the sun isn't shinning.
We have been stand alone solar long enough to remember when that was OFF grid. Intertie used to mean dual ability for electrical source. Now off grid has broadened to mean anything off main stream (like homesteading).
It makes us shake our heads to see HUGE amounts of PV panels mounted on roofs. Our entire house functions perfectly OK with 10 350 watt panels. And we aren't living in a yurt either. Appliances include - dishwasher, 2 chest freezers, washer, (gas) dryer, 2 computers (laptop), TV/dvd player, CF and LED lighting, occasional use of power tools, vacuum cleaners, electric (rechargeable) toothbrushes, electric shaver, hair dryer, curling iron etc. etc.
What the sellers of grid tied power DON'T tell you is how roof mounting can decrease output of PV as well as life span of those panels. PV crystals do NOT like heat. Even though here is an air space under the roof mounted panels, heat still builds up. So expect to replace those panels in less years than properly elevated mounted panels will last.
Not only do I find that the small mouth jars are cheaper, and frankly not all that more difficult to use,the lids are cheaper too. And as far as the sealing bands go - as soon as the jars cool all the way down - REMOVE the bands! (wash and dry to prevent rusting) If the jar isn't sealed you want to know and really the band doesn't provide any function after that. The only exception I know of is for sauerkraut where leaving the bands on is recommended (probably due to fermentation?) Using slightly rusty bands on sauerkraut might be a good way to use those.
I pick up jars at thrift stores just checking the jar rim for smooth surface. I really like finding the little 10oz. jars that can just the right amount for 2 people. The little standard 'half pint' jars may be good for jam, but they don't hold 8 oz., more like 6 oz.which isn't good for most recipe uses like tomato sauce etc.
Thanks Thomas for steering me towards this information. Seems information will be he 'easy' part, locating A-2 milk will be the real challenge. The irony is that I live not far from a couple of dairies, but this being California, every one is quaking in their boots about laws and regulations.
A book I am reading mentioned that some breeds of cows produce different casein types. This book mentions Holsteins produce a casein referred to as A-1 while Guernseys produce A-2. Supposedly the A-2 is better, more digestible and less likely to make a body react to it.
Has anyone heard of or had any experience with this? I've also heard, but without verification, that pasteurizing alters the casein in milk to where it 'sticks' to artery walls whereas raw milk's casein doesn't do that. Any feedback on that?
One negative way stress effects one's body is by putting on weight. Stress causes release of cortisol which encourages fat production and storage.
Now before everyone makes the Olympic jump to 'bad foods eaten' leap, pause and ponder how one's body is really trying to protect itself by doing this. I have come to my conclusions based on knowing there's a Diet Industry totaling over $60 BILLION each year. And the greater fool bottom line is that dieting does NOT work (long term. 95% of dieters end up heavier after the REgain. AND all the stress over foods and eating only ADDS to the stress and fat production.
ANYthing that helps one to de-stress is a step in the right direction. (for those concerned about eating body honoring check out Intuitive Eating by Tribole & Resch 2 registered dieticians who have been un-dieting people for decades)
I make use of this concept by recycling gallon milk jugs! These are free in cost and I find they work very well. The opaque material diffuses the sunlight and plastic is a bit of an insulator from cold temps. When I am finished with them they recycle on too.
First off, lets all understand that 'solar' is several things - wind, water, heat and electrical 'power'. These all result from the sun's energy hitting the earth's atmosphere. The term 'the grid' originated from electrical power lines (originally DC!) developing to supply electrical power to those who wanted that.
Other posters on this thread are right - there is NO truly 'independent' stand alone power - its all based on industry produced equipment. I do not claim nor seek to be self-sufficent as I have no intention of mining ores, refining and foundry those into items I desire. I decided a while back to be as self reliant as I could be. This required me to get as hands on AND knowledgeable as I could manage. (we all have limits of ability and energy too)
Regarding living 'off grid' - initially our land rather forced us into going this way - power line extension was outrageously expensive (hence cheaper land). So we tip-toed into alternative energy. When we moved onto our land we sold almost everything we had that had an electrical cord. We started off very small - one 35 watt PV panel and old batteries. But we had lights, radio and a light in the propane refrigerator. As $ allowed we slowly added a few PV panels, upgraded batteries and more energy efficient appliances (Sunfrost replaced propane frig.)
The BIGGEST advantage of developing one's alternative system as you go is that one can learn to live comfortably within the 'limits' that one HAS. Our initial little single panel system taught us the folly of trying to get more from a system than it had to provide. We developed a 'count to 3' habit - 3 things (2 lights, radio) on were maximum and ALL would go OUT if we turned on another light! Self regulation is a great teacher. And we developed alternatives that replaced previous no-thinking-required practices. Bed warmers replaced electric blankets, Muscle power turned grinders, made food and sunlight dried clothes on a line. No need for a gym membership when one lives more direct!
Regarding grid tied cost factors, consider that the power companies routinely OVER produce so as to be capable of supplying electricity when needed. So 'adding' excess power from individual systems really isn't needed. Check out how the 'pay back' $$s have decreased and will continue to do so. Math still runs a business.
The bottom line is that its more and more possible for making use of direct 'solar' in whatever form one can manage/afford. This is a 'tip-over' change that happens each time a newer technology begins displacing an existing one. Think steam engines giving way to fossil fuel engines which gave way to electrical motors etc. I'm old enough to remember telephones that were cranked to 'ring central', and needing to engage an operator to make long distance calls. All that has now been replaced with direct dialing world wide!
So I've developed my own attitude named mioneering which blends the best of functioning 'old' ways with more energy efficient new devices. Keeping within our limits and demands minimized, provides us with as self reliant and enjoyable a foot print for life as we can cobble together.
elle sagenev wrote:It would take more than some solar power to make it worth it for us. We would freeze to death. We can heat with our wood stove but we have no trees. We'd be ok for a year, maybe 2, then we'd freeze to death. So to go off grid we'd need to convert our heating system to something electric. This would cost A LOT. Then we'd have to get a combination of solar and wind power. Quite a lot of them. At least 3 wind turbines would be needed for regular use. Solar for when it isn't windy out.
SO basically, if the power goes out and the world runs out of gasoline, we're freezing to death.
Yes Elle, 'power' does need to be appropriate for one's area and uses too. Lack of trees was one of the major reasons we removed Wyoming from our list of choices. And for the very same reason you stated - winter COLD. A bermed house would be a good start towards not freezing, but it would be plenty cool in winter. I fear that wind turbines might be negatively effected by extreme cold too. Is it possible to begin planting trees that could provide future winter heat? That is one of the things that we liked seeing when we visited Germany - blocks of trees rotated on land parcels. The trees don't have to be anything special, only grow to converts sunlight into 'fuel'.
I find it interesting that the original term - 'off grid' applied to living not connected to the electrical power grid. That never (only) meant living without electricity, just not grid supplied source. If you are content to live electricity free - bravo for you. All those Amish can't be wrong either. However having lived with solar powered electricity for over 35 years, I appreciate having a freezer and other electrical niceties especially as we age and aren't as physically able as we were in our youth! Just wondering - if you don't have electrical power, how do you connect to the internet? Even a smart phone uses electrical power.
Hands down I choose to be grid free - in the original sense! - aka independently solar electrical sourced.
If one looks, there have been waves and waves of 'back-to-the-land' movements through out history. Often this was after wars - sort of a return to basic values and more peaceful lifestyle. Humans have also lived without electricity for centuries. Electricity is NOT a 'basic' albeit currently felt to be a 'necessity' of life. For sure electricity is a mighty leverage of energy, but unfortunately way too much of the generation of electricity is from a 'stored energy' source. Not bad when that when its water in a dam flowing thru mechanical generators, but coal and oil continue to be major sources of 'power'. Those are already reducing to less and less efficient AND 'clean' levels. With the sun's energy being showered on the earth constantly, why not make use of that?!?
Yet the biggest obstacle to evolving from 'grid' to grid-less remains one main element - attitude!! its soooo easy to discount change as 'too expensive' or 'taking a step backwards' or 'not possible for everyone' etc. etc. etc. I prefer to think of any potential solution(s) based on an old Chinese proverb - The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep.
Jan White wrote:When we first moved to our property, we had a 40W solar panel and an old car battery. That kind of set up doesn't get you much juice. We learned to mostly just not use electricity. If you can do that, you'll be fine either way.
Like you Jan, we started off with a single (35W) panel and old batteries. It gave us light and radio. What it really gave us was learning to live withIN what we had. We slowly added panels, upgraded batteries and ended up with all the 'modern conveniences' we truly wanted. its been over 35 years since we first moved off grid, but we still choose to live that way. Besides NO BILL is so lovely!
I find it very hard to be the exception to the rule. You have to take a lot of risks and do things that many people see as 'irresponsible'.
Life is risky why sweat taking risks - especially calculated risks! What's risky about growing food? I'd say it riskier to drive on roads to and from a job each day. And how is growing food 'irresponsible'??? Sound like others are being (jealously) judgemental.
As a 'millennial' I get FOMO and I wondering if all my efforts will be worth it in the long run when all my friends are ski bums that aren't interested in staring families or owning property.
Your friends sound like they are the irresponsible ones ;-)
So some personal background. I live in a small mountain town. I grew up in this town, i left to go to school, but even with my travels I never found I place I loved more than my home town. Lucky for me to grow up in such a special place! That being said, in town there are so many people with acreages that can't manage them. They have to work a 60/hour week just to pay their mortgage so the are lot's off people would would welcome help in this area. They want to have the dream life but had no idea how hard it is to keep a chicken alive in bear, fox, coyote, eagle, hawk, skunk country.
The last job I had before I chucked the work-day routine paid $20/hr. - in 1983!! Hubby and I have been 'retired' since then living our lives by doing what we both wanted - build own (paid for) home and slowly reclaim some abused land. Sure it was hard work, but the physical labor paid us back more than any gym membership ever could.
To live here and invest in my business I've had to be creative for income. I kid you not, that's how people confirm my identity. This year I've work as a ski coach, retail staff, project manager, white water photographer, outdoor educator, cleaning staff, book keeper, social media aid, seed collector ... all on top of running my small business essentially solo. I hope to earn enough this winter that I can work on just my market garden and composting services next year.
I've put so much money and time into the business without making anything back... but this season I will break even (Not including my time yet). I'm pretty stocked about that so I'm going full force for next summer.
While its fabulous that you are willing to work so much, the trick is to work as much as you can FOR YOURSELF. You don't get taxed for the 'work' of making your bed, washing dishes/clothes or digging in your garden. The more you can generate by your own efforts, the less you 'lose' to costs of working a job. (taxes, time away from home, capital gains vs. regular income etc.) Living 'cheap' = le$$ needed to be 'earned'.
This being said I feel like I had it easy. I came from a middle class family, escaped university without student debt, and my friends, family, and community have been SUPER supportive of my initiates. I lucked out as there is now a demand of local, organic food where before the farmer's markets where for plastic trinkets and mini donuts. That and the surge in tourism has also increased the demand for restaurants to seek out local suppliers. My status as a 'local girl' has been endlessly helpful. My community WANTS me to succeed.
I'm sure this is what Joel Salatin and others like him came to realize and continue based on.
Burl Smith wrote:I got the base Roper model for $200 on sale at Lowes. Six months later things weren't right so I turned it on it's side and discovered a loose belt that had no tensioner, so you basically need to replace the belt every six months. It works but you can't interrupt the cycle to redistribute the load when it bangs around on an unbalanced spin.
As shown above, newer appliances are NOT built to either last or work beyond basic functions and repair usually ends up costing as much or a greater % of what it costs to replace anyway.
Its beyond sad that all these 'daily use' machines HAD been engineered to WORK for us, but now are more engineered to be cheap and easy to assemble, function to warranty date and then break down soon there after. I talked to a appliacne salesman who knew his stuff regarding repairs. He told me that refrigerators now have compressors that last about 1 year. Most of us older folk KNOW about refrigerators that ran well for 15 or 20 years. If one takes into account the cost of a series of several 'cheapies' (like the Roper for $200), it doesn't take long for a more well engineered and built machine to pay back investment in maintenance and bother too.
(I always talk to repairmen before we buy any appliance).
In the meantime, I do the same as Jay and put down pieces of old cardboard/landscape plastic to attract them, then in the morning feed them to the chickens and ducks. I've done this for about 2 weeks, and I'm finding fewer and fewer and seeing a lot less damage.
I have done this in the past, but the problem is it's a community garden, and it's not that close to my house. So I only get up there twice a week. I can't check on it every day. So I don't know if making a home for them is a good idea in that situation. My thoughts were more along the lines of making it a PITA for them to get to my plot. I could maybe put a board down in the empty plot next to it, but it would probably get moved.
I bought a cheap soil tester. I 'tested' the tester by sticking the probes into vinegar and baking soda finding it reasonably in line. I also found out that drier climates tend to have more alkaline soils while wetter climates overall have more acidic soils. The tester verified that for us. I've since been adding sulfur to increase the acidity of our soils and our plants are doing better. I also try different varieties of the same plants to find which grows best under the conditions we have.
Allazandrea Cottonwood I am glad you are the 'exception to the rule' I only wish there were many more like you! (and even ONE in my area!) Following your passion is a wonderful way to live and enriches all that is around you too.
A neighbor here tells me of her 'story' - even as a very young girl she wanted to live on a 'ranch/farm'. Her ranching aunt smiled and said Yeah, sure' but she DID find a man who likewise enjoyed gardening, raising stock and living a la natural. She is now in her late 70s and lives on acreage with some hens & fruit trees only wishing they could find a young couple who wanted to co-habitat their land and carry on this passion.
We live in the 'bosom' of Ma Nature and have a decent garden by using these animal deterrent methods -
1) plant what no one eats - rosemary, irises, daffodils, sage, oregano, thyme top our 'landscaping' list.
Our is a steep hill side lot so fencing is near impossible for heights to keep deer out. We individually fence off our fruit trees and have re-useable mesh wire cages for individual plants in our (food) garden. This limits us to 'bush' varieties but find those are easier to water and harvest anyway.
I like the ducks option re snails & slugs, but have also used wood ash as a barrier around plants to keep snails/slugs at bay. The rough dry alkaline composition of ashes deters snails who need damp to 'go' on. I also wonder if some dry compound like lime or chalk wouldn't be a good barrier. We used ash because we have a wood stove and plenty of ash from winter burning. Ash also adds some minerals to the soil but is best used if soil is already more acidic. Its not useful for us now as our soil is very alkaline.
Our area is blessed with a 'bark' plant that takes the outer bark from logged trees and sifts it into different sizes for garden use. One would think that pine bark would be acidic, but its actually alkaline so do check how those wood chips are effecting your soil besides providing moisture barrier and potential soil conditioning.
Lucas Green wrote:Not to pick a fight but why would you ever use Linux instead of an updated version of Windows? I get the despise for Microsoft, but their OS and productivity software (just word, excel and outlook alone) are far superior and save more than their cost?
I'm with Mart Hale - trust of Microsoft and Google, in all its forms, is why I turned to Linux. I feel a lot more secure in my online use and I still have access to the Windows features (like Wordpad) that I prefer over Open Office Writer.
I'm frankly very tired of how Microsoft hasn't improved it OS but only added patches on top of patches and Google like intrusions that do not serve me, only those unidentifiable entities (usually advertisers!) who want to data mine me.
After using nearly every version of Windows (since 3.1!!) on my computers, I didn't want to 'upgrade' again so I got a laptop that is DUAL OS - Linux and Windows 7. I mainly use Linux but have Windows 7 for older programs that I still use. And while I am a 'digital dino' (been around computers since late 1960s), I am not a programmer type so Linux is very bare bones for me. Yet it works fine.
I used to keep my seeds in the refrigerator but found out that was ruining them by moisture. The heirloom seed site that I order from had a blog on seed saving which I can't find a link for now. In essence it said that keeping seeds DARK and away from humidity were the most important factors. Cooler (50s-60s) temps are best too. The way I have been keeping seeds is to place in zip lock type baggies that I put into a empty (large) coffee tin with plastic lid and that kept in our cellar. Also some seeds stay viable longer than others. basically the smaller the seed, the less year/s it can remain viable. Larger, more dense seeds (beans) can remain viable for several years. Do mark your seeds with variety name and year of harvest.
wayne fajkus wrote:I am pretty sure it was discussed in a recent podcast with Paul and Julia winters. Paul guessed the total cost of the farm at $20 million. There was speculation of big money in the shadows, with oprah winfrey being a guess.
Thanks Wayne for this insight. It does not surprise me one bit. There is so much 'big money' sloshing around that those with it are trying to get that stash working in ways they think will 'support' them. In the end, its not really about money, but about who is willing to do the WORK and the ability to take the goods to market. Much as agriculture is a necessary part of (human) life, its all driven by 'stored' (aka fuel) energy. Ponder that and try not to come up with a very potential train wreck racing down the tracks.
Travis I've long operated under the motto - If its broke, can it be broke-er?!? I've repaired my '58 VW bus, repaired an early 1960s Kenmore using a car fan belt, rebuilt the pump on my Westinghouse washing machine, rebuilt vacuum cleaners, backyard engineered too many things to mention (including 3 solar panel mounts, one on tracking frame.) and choose a Staber washing machine for its energy efficiency AND self repair-ability. The Staber is a top loader, tumble drum washer. I've had mine for over 20 years and have done all the few repairs myself. Most new appliances are NOT built to be repaired, just replaced.
This video is pretty and tells a story about the dreams and lifestyle that these people desired for themselves. Its interesting to watch how they learned to 'farm' getting in step with nature.
However . . .
Substance of reality is missing. The cost of the - then - burnt out land and development is just too glossed over. This was NOT a cheap, DIY labor of love. And while the 'guru' of this enterprise never had his background and achievements provided, its apparent that this couple relied almost solely on that man's guidance. Not to mention no hint at the P&L reality of this 'farm.
If this inspires you - fine. However the real heros of natural farming - Joel Salatin being one - know that any viable business does not start with, nor continue to operate on debt, or in this case someone else's deep pocket$.
The LA LA land background of these people comes thru loud and clear. A delightful fantasy that this couple gets to live. Good luck to any others that think they will do likewise.
I started to read the entire thread, but decided I wanted to put in my $2 worth (2 cents + inflation + school of hard knocks tuition).
In regards to James's initial question - I found the 'work = menial' comment dead on. While agriculture is what got humans out of caves and hunter-gather mode, the fact that agriculture continues to be one of the basic foundations of human life is soooo taken for granted I'm rather amazed there is food in stores. Sadly agriculture seems to be associated with cow dung and living in the sticks. Yet urban 'farmers' have been disproving that for quite some time now. (We visited the Integral Urban House[stead] in Berkeley CA in 1970s - 80% food grown on 1/8 acre)
Rather than muse about Millenials/Gen ??-ers, Babyboomers etc., why not discuss the universal elements - #1 attitude, do YOU want to DO ??? #2 support, find your hero in the mirror! # 3 education, reference - books, people who DO. #4 economics, not degrees, but max. usage of skills/surpluses/thrift & WHAT 'savings' are most valuable for YOU.
If you find yourself in a hamster wheel existence - what can you do to step off? Learn and KNOW your beliefs and the basis for those. The best gift a parent can give their kid is NOTHING that isn't necessary for that child to develop into the being s/he will be. Do as you say and don't expect others to do the same. Do expect and provide mutual respect, including live and let live. Make maximum use of the resource located above your neck and at the end of your arms. Direct is a zillion times better than indirect.