So, over the past few months, I have had some questions sent to me, and I will answer a few of them over the next few days.
1. Are you on grid or off grid? How to you survive without electric?
We are on grid. If you thought we were off grid, then you probably only read a few posts from when we were out of power. We can easily survive off grid, and have several times. We are on rural electric. We loose our power several times a year. Sometimes it is off for a short time, such as during a power surge. But, we have also lost power due to farmers cutting a buried line or getting equipment caught up in a line, a squirrel in the substation, blown transformers and ice storms. In 2007 we were without power for close to a week.
We supplement our heat (propane furnaces) by burning wood. So, when the electric goes out during cool weather, we can still stay warm. When my husband built the house, he had the exterior walls put in at 6 + inches instead of the normal 4 inches in our area. That extra 2 inches of insulation helps the house to hold in the heat. We can also cook over the fireplace in cast iron, or fire up an antique propane kitchen stove that is in our dining room, by connecting a propane bottle to it. We are in the process of moving an old wood cookstove to the basement for the ability to cook and heat downstairs as well.
We also collect antiques, which are all in working order. We have oil lanterns, cast iron, all sorts of kitchen items, lots of non-electric entertainment items (over 1000 books, plus board games, puzzles...), and a few solar powered lights.
We do have a generator which can run the freezers and refrigerators. If worse comes to worse, we can also move into the camper which is smaller and easier to heat with its propane furnace. We also have a small power inverter, which can recharge our phones/laptops/cameras from a vehicle.
We have a large stocked pantry, to ensure we won't run out of food if snowed in. A good part of our food is canned or dehydrated, so it won't require electric to keep it fresh. We stock up on feed during the winter for the animals, and also have extra hay on hand.
So, basically, as long as we have food, water and warmth, we are ok.
During the summer, if the electric is off with no A/C, we can go to the next town over to cool off at the library, or the kids will go to the pond for a swim to cool off. We have several large trees around the house, so we can easily access shade and a breeze.
The only issue I have when we loose the power in the winter is how to keep the stock tanks from freezing. We are still working on that one, as we use electric heaters in them. I am considering getting a propane heater for the stock tank, but am a little leery of the open flame involved.