Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's April... And Still Snowing

There's not really been a lot to write about because nothing is happening. It's April and not only do we still have 120+ cm of snow on the ground, it snowed another 10cm this morning. It seems like it's just two steps forward (it warms up and melts) and one step back (it snows again). It's been a little colder than usual too so there has been no chance to get plastic up on the greenhouses and we have nowhere to plant anything. It's so frustrating to be in April and still buying all our greens from the store. We have some plants indoors but not enough to really get a start on the garden. The predictions are that we'll have snow on the ground until May 14th but it will depend on how much more snow and rain we get between then.


It's hard on farmers because we're all running low or are out of hay, and we're still having to keep our animals fed despite there being no Spring grass for them. Another frustration caused by such a long Winter. I'm so looking forward to Springs warmer weather and gentle breezes.

It's been a  good lesson for us though to know a harsh Winter. We know that in the mobile we can get through with 5 cords of firewood, less once we get some more insulation done and if our wood is good and dry. But I still can't wait to get a house built that will hold the heat better and give us more space. As for power, the bills have been crazy so we really need to get rid of any electric heat. Now that Chris and Will aren't living out in the other buildings they aren't running heaters all the time which will save us a bundle. But having a comfortable passive solar house will for sure save us energy and money. If it costs us $40,000 to build a basic house that then saves us $3000 per year in power to heat our home and water, then the house will pay for itself in 14 years. Which is a very reasonable time frame I think. Plus it will be a comfortable home for our family.

We've done several designs for our future home but haven't yet settled on a finished plan. We know some of the conveniences we'd like such as a garage, mud room, library and a nice kitchen. But it's equally important that our home is passive solar, has some kind of solar power and solar hot water heating, uses wood heat and is affordable for us. We have no savings yet and are thinking of ways to have an income even after retirement. It's a lot of planning but we think that if we're smart about it now it'll be good for us in the future.

4 comments:

  1. Have you checked out the earthship in PEI. It's kind of interesting.

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    1. It's on my list of things to do :) I think we need to decide exactly what we're going to build here and then start!

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  2. Just a thought but you may want to consider adding a compost water heater into your hot water heating system. A fellow named Jean Pain was heating hot water in compost piles with great success in France. There is lots of info and plans for his system on the internet and Youtube. He was heating hot water to 60 degrees C or 140 F at 4 liters per minute. He also had a gas (methane) digester set up in the center of the compost for use with his gas stove, generator and farm truck. Jean managed to produce 100% of his energy needs on site. I grew up on Vancouver Island myself and like you I am on my way to Nova Scotia an a few weeks. Picked up a 50 acre farm near Digby and will be walking the property and starting a to-do list for the farm and orchard by mid June. All the best with your farm, Robert

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    1. Hi Robert! Hope your trip went well, or goes well if you're not here yet. Thanks for the suggestion on the compost water heater. I've seen those before but wondered if my pile was big enough to be useful. We don't produce much compost because the animals eat the scraps. Maybe a manure pile would work. Have a great time and stay in touch!

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