The rain is really coming down outside and is preventing me from working on a lot of the projects around the homestead that I’d like to work on. On the other hand, it is giving me a chance to work on my blog. As some of you may know, I switched servers, and transported all my blog entries to the new server. Unfortunately, in executing that switch, I lost all the pictures that accompanied the entries. I’ve spent all day finding out which pictures go with each blog entry, manually locating the right pictures on my computer’s hard drive, and then uploading them (one at a time) so that the pictures are nestled right into the blog entries where they belong. That way, you all can see what I am talking about when you read my daily blog, and there aren’t those nasty empty squares with question marks where the pictures belong! It is labor-intensive work, and it is not particularly fun, but it needs to be done. The rainy weather was the perfect opportunity for me to get to work on it.
Around 4pm, I took the camera outside so that I could show you guys the rain, and spent a little bit of time working on my water system. The rain, which is still falling, gave me a chance to clean out my big water tank. With enough water in the big tank, I was ready to give cleaning it a go. I took a broom and swept the inside of it, this will clean out any algae, and make the tank usable as my main water source in the tiny house on wheels.
At the very end of this vigorous sweeping, I accidentally dropped the broom right into the large tank. Of course, the broom handle was just small enough to drop all the way down into the bottom of the tank, and now I will have to attach a magnet to some fishing line and go “fishing” in my big water tank for my broom. If it is not one thing, it is another! Luckily the broom handle is metal. Let’s just hope the magnetization is strong enough for me to get the broom out.
Once the big water tank was clean, I had to give it a final rinse. I wish that I were able to use the big tank to collect the rain that they are forecasting for the next three days. Unfortunately, even though it is clean and ready for use, I can’t actually fill it because I have to be able to move it around. First, I need to get it up off the ground and onto a pallet. I also need it to be mobile because I won’t be able to finish getting the siding on the shed with that big tank in the way.
Oh well, with my other two rain water tanks, I will still be able to collect 60 gallons of rainwater, and that will have to do. The rain is filling the medium size tank, which will then fill the small tank (which is currently my water source for the tiny house on wheels). It will be enough for my needs; it is just a shame that I won’t be able to collect the full three days worth of rain in that big tank.
Anyway, while I was cleaning the tank, I was also looking at my whole water system. There is a very small leak in the collection system, and I am losing a little bit of water. So, I will have to find that leak and fix it. I also need to put some rain gutters on the shed, but that is a task I can’t accomplish until I can afford rain gutters. I can’t wait for payday! Thank goodness it is only a few days away.
Done with the water system for now, I went back inside and continued working on my blog. As I said earlier, it is slow going, and isn’t much fun. I took a moment or two to look over pictures of my truck from when I first got her. She was so pretty, and I’m sad that for the foreseeable future, she is out of commission. Well, I can’t spend too much time wallowing; so back to work I go. Hopefully I’ll have enough indoor work to keep me busy for the next three rainy days.
You can see the full video of my day here: Rainy Day ~ Cleaning Off Grid Rain Water Tanks ~ Blog Work
This afternoon I spent cutting wood. I had a whole pile of it that I cut in the early spring and it was time to put the wood to use. Some of it will be used for firewood, and some of it is going to be used as spindles for the handrail on the staircase in my tiny house on wheels. The littler pieces of wood I am going to cut into chunks for the garden.
The process of cutting wood was made easier because an anonymous donor gave me a Harbor Freight 4000W generator. This thing is great and allowed me to use my Chicago Electric Harbor Saw all day without worrying about a source of power. The generator was made better with a little ingenuity from me. I placed it on a wagon, which I picked up (used and for a steal) today. While I was purchasing the wagon, I also bought a Delta table that matches my planer. Then I placed the cut wood in my workhorse wagon, which you guys know I purchased for $5 some time ago. The great thing about this whole set-up (including the table) is that everything is on wheels. This way, when I am done working for the night, I can wheel everything into the shed or put everything under a tarp. I believe in working smarter, not harder, and having all my tools on wheels is definitely smarter!
Anyway, with the generator humming, I cut enough firewood to fill my stove and my wagon. This was an important job, because they are forecasting three days of rain, and I need to stay warm. This wood needed to be cut before the rain made it useless for burning in the stove. So I was glad that I was able to get it done now.
While I was cutting firewood, I also took the opportunity to cut some of the wood into spindles for the handrails on the staircase I’m building in the tiny house on wheels. The spindles will be 24” and will bring the height of my handrail to 32”, which is the perfect height for a handrail. I was also able to cut up some bigger pieces of wood that will be used for the ends for my staircase.
This was a lot of work, and since the days are so short, I ended up working by flashlight. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but once I start a project, I like to finish it. Plus, I wanted to get the spindles inside because they are covered with bark and they need to cure. Hopefully the bark falls off naturally during the curing process, because removing all that bark by hand would be a major project in and of itself!
Anyway, with the stove stocked with wood, and the spindles curing, I can rest assured that the next few days will find me warm, dry, and with a project that I can work on indoors.
Watch the full video here: New Generator & Cutting Fire Wood & Stairway Spindles
This article guest written by Drew Campbell
I started the day in a fight… with my computer. Don’t believe the hype, Windows 10 is not all that! YouTube editing is a nightmare, Internet Explorer is glitchy, and I think Microsoft did something to stop Chrome from working properly. Every time I try to use Chrome, it takes twenty minutes to open (no exaggeration)! I guess I will have to revert to Windows 8. It just shows that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
After the battle with my computer, I went outside to video all the changes around the homestead. A lot of the stuff that had been left out on the side of my driveway is gone! That area is not part of my property, and my neighbors had been using it as a garbage dump. Luckily, I was able to give a friend of mine a bunch of it: the scrap metal, the wood with varnish on it, and an old wooden frame from a bed. Whatever his plans for the stuff are, I am grateful he took it because it makes the driveway look a lot cleaner, and you know what they say about cleanliness. Plus, I found out that my truck has some major problems and is out of commission for at least the winter. I won’t be hauling anything away for a while.
In other news, I gave my friend a ride home from the hospital and he rewarded me with a goldmine in the form of a cache of windows and a couple doors! As you know, I have been talking about a greenhouse for a while. Well, today that dream is one step closer to a reality because of those windows. They are in perfect order and are just what I need to start construction on the greenhouse. There is at least 34 feet of windows (as each is 4’ wide), and they came with their frames and their screens. With all those windows, the sun should heat the greenhouse nicely!
The greenhouse will be 34’ long, built on pallets, and use the same siding that is on the tiny house on wheels. While the greenhouse, will be freestanding, I will build it right off the front of my tiny home. I figured this was a good idea because it will allow the tiny home, and the greenhouse to share heat. I plan on opening up some of those windows, which will allow the greenhouse to heat the tiny house on wheels during the day, and at night, the tiny house can provide heat to the greenhouse, ensuring the perfect temperature for my garden. It’s a win-win situation. I am not attaching the greenhouse to the tiny home, however, because I like the fact that if I needed, I could pull a truck around, hitch the tiny house to it, and move on to other pastures!
Anyway, now that I have all the materials for the greenhouse, I have to get serious about construction. The first obstacle, and it is a big one, is the land. It is hard to see on my videos, but the land directly in front of the tiny house on wheels is extremely uneven. So my first task will be finding some way to level that area out.
Anyway, after getting a feel for what needs to be done to get the greenhouse project up and running, I went inside and had eggs for lunch. Unfortunately, my chickens aren’t laying eggs right now, so I had to eat store bought eggs. And I have to tell you; there is a major difference in the quality of those eggs compared with the eggs that my chickens lay. All you have to do is look at the yokes, and you can see the difference. They are much paler, and are more watery than the eggs that my chickens lay. I think the difference is in the feed that they are receiving.
After lunch I went back outside, and continued cleaning up around the homestead. I also took the time to put the windows safely away with a tarp covering them. Unfortunately, a few of the panes of glass were already broken when I got them, and I don’t want any more breakage. It’s not that big a deal, though, as I will replace those panes with either Plexiglas, or regular glass. I will have to find out which is cheaper.
Well, that was my day. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. I try to fit as much work as I can into the daylight, but I always feel like I never get as much done as I plan on. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for the homestead, and for the tiny house on wheels!
Watch the full video here: Happy Off Grid Homestead Deals For The Passive Solar Porch
I have a portable air compressor from Viair, which is powerful enough for most of my normal off grid air compressor needs. It is designed for extreme off road and vehicle use but I found it is quite useful on the off grid homestead as well.
I was first impressed with the quality of the packaging when the package arrived. These days you can sort of tell a product quality by the packaging and case that it comes with. This is just my observation but it seems like the more time and effort a company puts into the packaging shows a bit of the care that they must have put into the product as well. These days many products come tossed into a blank package with some bubble wrap and a wrinkled, hardly legible sheet of paper inside, if any at all.
The Viair portable automotive air compressor comes in a carrying case complete with all necessary accessories. The case holds a flexible plastic air hose which is long enough to stretch out to the back of any common vehicle. The ends of the air compressor hose are top notch and look/feel like high quality. These are not cheap quick disconnects on the air hose.
The power cable comes with convenient alligator type clamps to grip onto your vehicle battery. The cable itself is about 8 or 10 feet long and is sufficient to reach from the engine compartment to the ground or any stable surface nearby.
The air compressor itself is well built and feels rugged. It has rubber feet between the air compressor and the foot plate to reduce vibration and noise.
There are a couple things to be aware of when using the Viair vehicle air compressors. First, always have the vehicle running before turning on the air compressor. Due to its high power it will quickly drain your battery without the engine running. Second, it gets hot when used, so you do not want to just toss it right back into the storage case when done. You should also keep it away from anything flammable or that can melt. This is normal during operation of the air compressor but something you should be aware of.
My air compressor is rated at 30 amps for example and that can quickly drain your battery if the vehicle is not running.
I have used this air compressor at the off grid homestead for a couple months now in order to get a good feel for it. I have also used it for some non standard purposes here at the homestead. I have used it to inflate multiple tires from bicycles, lawn mowers, my car and Jeep tires. I have used it as a dump load to drain down some batteries I am restoring. Due to its high current draw it made a perfect load for this project. I have also used it as a blower hose to clean out the engine compartment of my truck when I was doing a tuneup. There is a surprising amount of air pressure that builds up in the hose. It is enough to spray through an air nozzle and blow debris out of your way.
When inflating a vehicle tire I was very surprised to see that the Viair portable air compressor inflated most tires in less than a minute. My Jeep had two flat tires and the pressure was at zero PSI. The Viair compressor pumped the tire up as fast as any workshop air compressor I have seen. I did not expect it to be that powerful and fast. Compared to many portable air compressors and tire inflators I have used in the past, this is the best. I have had tire inflators that took over an hour to inflate a truck tire. I have had tire inflators that burnt out before I could inflate a tire on my car. But this one pumped the tires right up from zero to full in no time.
I can also see using this to help clean out small engine carburetors. It is perfect for small air compressor needs due to its high power and small size. I prefer to drag this out before I get out the huge 2 gallon air compressor and fire up the generator to inflate a tire or clean a carb. It is intermittent as an air blower but it sure does the job though.
The customer support at Viair is very good as well and they are quite patient and helpful. I love it when I get a live person on the phone instead of a computer or a reference to a website. They kindly helped me through their online menu system and helped me choose the best air compressor for my needs. This varies based on your vehicle type, tire size and type of use you need it for.
This portable vehicle air compressor from Viair will be a permanent addition to my survival bug out vehicle from now on. It will also be the first tool I grab for any small air compressor jobs around the off grid homestead. Due to the fact that it is rated for 12 volts and portable I can run it from my off grid solar battery bank when needed as well.
I am sure that I will be finding many more uses for the Viair portable automotive air compressor as time goes by and I will certainly share them with you on my YouTube channel.
You can see my full YouTube video here: Powerful Off Grid & Off Road Portable Air Compressor From Viair
Viair Portable Air Compressor
I found the Black Ronin survival tomahawk at a garage sale a while back. This is made by United Cutlery and is a handy tool to have around the homestead as well as a good all around survival tomahawk. I like the feel of it in my hand. But it is not a quick draw weapon due to the spikes on the sides and the 550 cord handle, both of which catch on the sheath when you pull it out.
The Black Ronin is not very heavy but packs a good punch when chopping trees or branches. It whacks off branches with a single swing. It is not fast for hacking down trees though due to its light weight but that is offset by the fact that it is not tiring to swing all day. I can tell you this from experience. I was using the Black Ronin from United Cutlery all day out in the woods as I slashed a path through the woods for my chicken fence.
The United Cutlery Black Ronin tomahawk is made of 420 stainless steel which is coated with a non reflective coating. The ax head itself measures about 3 1/2 inches long and the entire tomahawk is about 15 inches long from tip of the handle to the top of the ax head.
When you get this tool be aware that the original 550 cord handle will most likely have to be wrapped again. These tend to come loose with use. Once you wrap it again properly it should provide you with many years of trouble free use. The one I have I got second hand and it is holding up very well under extreme use in the woods.
The Black Ronin tomahawk is made of a single piece of steel so I do not think that I will ever break it under normal use. And normal use for me is hacking and slashing at trees and branches. In the field I will be using it to cut fire wood and wood for shelters. At the homestead it makes a nice ax for light work.
The spikes on it, although they look cool and dangerous, are in the way in my opinion. If I thought I could cut them off without harming the balance of the tool I would. But I have not yet tried this in throwing. I plan to one day and I will record my results and share it with you.
You can find the United Cutlery Black Ronin survival tomahawk here: United Cutlery Black Ronin Tomahawk
Watch the video review here on YouTube: United Cutlery Black Ronin Field Test & Review Video