Around the ‘stead July Update

To say I have been busy busy is an understatement. You would think we would have a custom built mansion. Alas, that is not the case. So what have you been slaving over Ms Belle? Grab your cup, follow me around and I’ll show you!

wpid-20140617_203414.jpgWe have a fridge! Yall. Seriously. After 2 years being fridgeless, wow is it a change I am still trying to become accustomed to!  We bought a 7cuft GE deep freeze and a Johnson Temperature Control. It was super super simple – plug the freezer into the Temperature Control, the Temp Control into the outlet. This allows the freezer to act as a fridge with higher temps but for a whole lot less energy. Most refrigerators use around 500 watts per hour. This setup uses around 150 watts per DAY. Loving our kegerator… and seriously feeling like its a total waste to have a kegerator and not have taps on it… #justsayin… wondering how carbonated sweet tea tastes… another project for another day…?

To power that fridge, we installed another solar panel, giving us two 100 watt panels. It takes about 2 days of normal usage to fully charge the 2 golf cart batteries we currently have so another panel is (again) in the near future. Good thing we are treating the solar upgrades as an electric bill. So what does that mean in terms of what we can run? It means now we can run 2 LED light strips all night, charge all of the phones/tablets/rechargeable batteries and run the laptop or Wii for a few hours a day. When we installed all of this it had started getting hot so we started running a fan. *All night!* It should run the kegerator as well but… the kegerator gets the boot to save power for that glorious, glorious fan. But it’s ok, a bucket of ice keeps everything cold for 2-3 days depending on how much we use for tea.

wpid-20140803_183624.jpgDownstairs is drywalled and taped but not mudded. I’ll get to that after I get the older ones bedrooms mostly finished.

wpid-20140803_183843.jpgAdding drywall meant all the wiring is ran – Glory glory!  It also meant I got to do a mini-wardobe makeover! The plan is a full wall, floor to ceiling wardrobe with lots of neat things built in… priorities won and this is what I came up with until I can get to it.

wpid-20140803_184346.jpgOne side at a time the built in beds/bookshelves are getting done. There was quite a bit of learning here and a little bit of “well it worked’. Like learning that the smallest baseboard molding is just over 2″… and that looks really funny with the future molding that will go over the roof transition. Which meant the beds had to be taken out, bases built up and everything put back together to accommodate the 3″ base. Only something wasn’t straight because one bed wobbled. A lot. And while trying to shim it up I accidentally dropped the shim behind it, just out of reach… and the wiggle stopped. Hey I’ll take it however it works! The 3” base also means we can do toe kick drawers under the beds. Yay for more storage! Then I ran out of wood… maybe 1 more sheet for shelves…?

wpid-20140803_203153.jpgSince we are spending more time upstairs now, I had to have a way to make sure BabyGirl wouldn’t go near the stairs. After seeing the prices of store bought baby gates ($60!!) and looking at some online I decided to DIY that as well. Tada! For under $30 and an hour of work a custom made baby gate! The guys at Home Depot are beginning to know me very well. While shopping for that wood one of them asked me what the project was that day, after replying that I needed a baby gate he questionably looked at me and asked “a store bought one?” A little laugh and no I am building it, he laughed and said “I should have known that”. Haha! Who knew I would ever be That Lady. This will be upgraded with spindles to match the stairs, this wood recycled to some other project I am sure to come up with.

With some scrape wood from the beds, the stairs were turned into pint mason jar storage (for my canned goods) and the upstairs wall turned into quart jar storage (for my homemade mixes).

wpid-20140803_183448.jpgAs I was loading the shelves it occurred to me that soon I will not need to purchase these canned items again! I’ll just can them myself! Sweet!

wpid-20140803_183359.jpgStill finishing to do, more shelves, adding doors and making it pretty, but the functional part is there. I love these storage lids yall!! Since it was starting to come together I had to make some cute labels. After searching high and low and not finding what I wanted, I decided to go ahead with the chalkboard contact paper labels.

wpid-20140803_183414.jpgIt wasn’t my favorite solution but its growing on me. The chalk markers wipe off but paint pens do not. I used a combination depending on need for the jar.

The solar oven got a slight makeover… after siliconing the gap between the frame and the base I had to put a couple of screws in to hold the aluminum flashing down while the silicon dried.  The next day I lowered the glass lid… forgetting there was a screw in the way. And shattered the 3rd piece of glass.  So I upgraded to thicker, tempered glass. Maybe this one will survive longer than 6 months… and maybe sometime this summer I’ll actually be able to use it!

We put up the gutters and the search is stepped up for inexpensive ways to hold massive amounts of rainwater. Currently thinking in terms of aluminum trash cans since 55 gallon and 250 gallon food grade totes seem to be non-existent in our area recently. Even contemplating getting fish pond liner and building something to hold it. No worries, its just for washing purposes. I still want safe but it doesn’t need to be food grade.

A lot of cleaning up outside has been going on. The area is cleared for the outdoor kitchen redo since we were gifted a huge grill! Slowly but surly all that extra stuff we have been given/have acquired but is no longer needed is finding new homes. And the “bon fire” pile is growing more and more… I’ve literally been begging people to come take as much as they want. We may end up having a few bon fires this fall… maybe a Welcome to the Practically Completed Homestead Party finally??

We have been truly blessed with a mostly pleasant summer unlike the scorchers we had the last 2 years. Praise God! While we still have August to go (typically our hottest month), it looks like this summers pattern should mostly continue. Here’s to hoping for a nice end of summer and lots of work to get done! Then on to the list of fall projects. But lets not go there just yet 😉  Even though it has been a pretty moderate summer, I wussed out when it started hitting 95 regularly… and bought a window unit. Wow is that thing amazing!  We can run the geni for a couple of hours and cool the house down enough to be comfortable. Sometimes its even enough to make it :gasp: chilly! We are using more gas than normal but with a 14 hour run time on 4 gallons, its not bad! And gives us an excuse to play the Wii a bit.

Whew – see how crazy its been! One step at a time its coming together.

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Around the ‘stead July Update — 8 Comments

  1. Wow! What amazing progress you have made! I am swinging by from the Homestead Barn Hop, and I can’t wait to look back at your archives to see what you have been up to! I love the jar storage on the stairs 🙂
    Heather recently posted…garden happeningsMy Profile

  2. Wow – my first time here and I am impressed! Came here from the Homestead Barn Hop. It looks like you guys are on your way to having a wonderful homestead! Love the jar storage in the stairs, the bunk beds, and especially your attitude! You have a new subscriber. Have a wonderful week.
    Vickie recently posted…Canning Organic Plum JuiceMy Profile

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