Ready for Winter

October 16, 2013

The days are getting shorter and colder. It’s been a great fall so far, but the nip in the air lately is an unwelcome reminder that winter is on its way. This past weekend was spent getting the property winterized.

Friday was an all day rain affair. With the second story walls up and braced, tarping the house was difficult but Ken did the best he could. The tarp did a good job of diverting the rain from the open area over the living room into a barrel and out the door. Saturday was cool and windy, so we untarped the house and let Mother Nature dry it out.

We closed down the bath house for the winter – drained the water barrel and the black hose that serves as our solar water heating system and took the pump in for the winter. No more shower facilities for Ken until next summer as the water is solar heated using a black hose on a lean to on the south side of the bath house. 100 feet of black hose is snaked over black asphalt roofing shingles on the lean to. Under the lean to is storage for garden tools. We have a small circulating pump which circulates the water in a small hot water tank (located above the sauna in the bath house) through the hose. On a nice day you can heat the 8 gallon tank to very hot in about 30 minutes. We also have a low watt electric element in the tank but you need a good sunny day to provide enough power to use it. We found that if you have the power for the heating element, you also have the solar power to heat the water. This last summer we never used the element at all.

North side of bath house . The water barrel sits on top of a stone pillar to take full advantage of gravity. However there is a small pump to fill the water heater and shower. The bath house contains a sink, tub with shower and wood fired sauna.

North side of bath house . The water barrel sits on top of a stone pillar to take full advantage of gravity. However there is a small pump to fill the water heater and shower. The bath house contains a sink, tub with shower and wood fired sauna.

South side of bath house contains the black hose to heat the water, a selkirk chimney for the sauna stove, and 2 solar panels. The solar panels provide power to for our 12 volt system which powers a fridge and water pump.

South side of bath house contains the black hose to heat the water, a selkirk chimney for the sauna stove, and 2 solar panels. The solar panels provide power to for our 12 volt system which powers a fridge and water pump.

Showers for Ken now are a luxury, and require a trip down the road to my Mom’s place. Since the Winnipeg Jet’s channel is only to be had at my Mom’s, he will get to shower whenever the Jet’s play. Now there is one advantage to the hockey season!

The garden pump and hoses were also drained and brought in for the winter. This spring Ken hooked up a new jet pump for the garden and built a pump house to protect it from the weather. I guess it could stay in the pump house for the winter but we haven’t had much luck with plumbing and winter lately. It seems any small amount of water left in a valve is a problem. Simpler, and cheaper, to just bring them in and let them dry out good.

Oct 16 2013_Pumphouse

Since the rain is our water source we have rain barrels everywhere. This weekend we emptied the bath house rain barrel but soon the others will need to go as well. If you don’t empty them, it’s another split barrel to replace next year.

Our Anastasia bee hive didn’t need to be winterized this year as we didn’t manage to attract any bees. It was built late in the spring so perhaps too late to be colonized this year. Hopefully next year we will have residents.

Oct 16 2013_Bee House

The tomatoes continue to ripen at a frightening pace. Sunday I sorted through half of the boxes. At that point I had about 5 gallons of red tomatoes. I washed, scalded and peeled these. Monday I cooked them up and canned 8 quarts of tomatoes and 4 quarts of salsa. Since I forgot to bring the rest of the red tomatoes back to the city they will be waiting for me next weekend. Hopefully there will be time to can again. I figure I need about 24 quarts to supply me with tomatoes for soups and stews.

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About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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