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.