"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Off grid

It was pretty cold when we were at the farm last week.  Naturally, I had the Dover stove merrily burning away - well, it kept the kettle permanently hot and also created a lovely warmth within the house.

I spoke about heating bean bags on a previous posting, but I have always heated them in a microwave before.  I will not be having a micro on the farm so I was determined to see if I could heat the bean bags using my Dover stove.

So I placed some pearl barley in a tray...
Empty homemade beanbag waiting for hot barley...
And placed that tray in the oven section of the Dover stove, and left it there until the pearl barley felt hot to touch... (roughly an hour - the oven reached 140oC / 284oF)
Oops - I had forgotten to organise myself a funnel, so, as they say in South Africa, "A boer maak a plan" (a farmer makes a plan)...
"A boer maak a plan"
... the chimney from one of my paraffin lamps worked beautifully though LOL  You have to work quickly - the pearl barley is pretty hot...

I placed the warm bean bag in RMan's bed, so that when he climbed into bed, his feet could be nice and toasty.  It worked a treat!

Hooray - another electrical appliance I know I don't need again!

And, talking about electrical appliances, as you know we have a chest freezer on the farm.  And in winter, when there is less sun, I have been worried that our solar power battery storage may not be adequate for 24 hour operation of the freezer.  So I purchased a timer.
Appliance timer
- to save solar battery power
I have set the timer to switch off at 8.30p.m. and switch on again at 8.00a.m. the following morning.  (The sun only rises at about 7.45a.m. on the farm at the moment) We don't have much in the freezer (only the food we need whilst we are there) because one of it's main purposes at the moment, is to freeze 5lt bottles for use in a cooler box - to create a fridge.  Oh, okay, RMan beers also need chilling in the freezer...  So there is nothing that can "go off" - whatever food is in there is covered with the 'spare' frozen water bottles and it all stays good and frozen overnight.

So that also works a treat - I love it when a plan comes together :)


  1. It's funny thinking about you being in Winter, Dani. We've been close to 100 all Summer here.

    The past two nights have dropped into a bone chilling 67 degrees and I'm shivering already. Toss me a bag of beans girl...I'm freezing!

  2. dont hate me for saying this but keeping beer cold is worth being on the grid for!

  3. Great problem solving Dani. You will have all the little issues worked out by the time you move there full time.

  4. Tami - LOL - we'll be there in a month of two...

    Wickets - I agree, but if you can be off grid AND have ice cold beers then why be on grid? :)

    Jane - Thanks - just need to discover what the issues are LOL I do like solving "problems" as quickly as I can - even to the point of anticipating 'worst case scenario'... LOL That's me - a worrywart.

  5. The bags of barley sound like a pretty good way heat the foot of ones bed a bit. My wife will like hearing about this one as her feet are always cold.:)

  6. Mr H - Your wife is the same as RMan - me - my feet are out the blankets even in winter LOL

  7. Dani, thanks for the tip. I don't plan to heat any beanbags, but have an old metal shade that goes over the chimneys like you used and I've been wondering what to do with it. Now when I need a really big funnel I'll know to use it. ;)

  8. I think RMan is a lucky man.

  9. tffn - LOL

    Frann - He knows it LOL

  10. I am glad you bean heating experiment went well. Very ingenious using the oil lamp chimney for a funnel! Perfect. Once you put the beans in the bag are you able to leave them in there and just heat the bag when you need it? or do you have to take the beans out each time? I had a nice bag of something(rice I think with lavender) that we used the heat in the micro...it got infested with bugs and I had to throw the whole thing out. It would have been smart of me to freeze it periodically to avoid that. Just wondering about you r"bean" bag. Emily

  11. Emily - Nope - you need to take the beans out each time, otherwise you'll end up burning the bag.

    Reckon if the beans got hot enough, it should kill any unwanted chancers. And, if you do get chancers, just heat the beans / rice / barley and the chancers will be history :)


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