The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Taking stock

Chicken tractor in the snowOur first full day without power brought us back to basics: animals, water, food, and shelter.  The animals, luckily, weren't too hard.  Huckleberry and Strider came bounding up to the trailer through snow over their heads (nearly a foot deep now, but finally slacking off) and Lucy pranced and played in the drifts.

The chicken tractors were completely covered, and one had half-collapsed under the weight of the snow.  I brushed the tops clear and saw hungry hens eager for their breakfast...once I'd shoveled out the tractor so they wouldn't get their feet wet.

Without electricity, the fan on our exterior wood furnace doesn't run, which means that most of that heat dissipates into the great outdoors.  Mark first rigged an ingenious setup using a DC fan and the golf cart's battery banks, but the plastic fan quickly melted out of whack and stopped running.  At this point, I gave up and curled myself under a sleeping bag on the sofa with Huckleberry and a book.  But Mark wasn't deterred.  He dusted off the generator, and soon we were back in business!  Lights, power, action!  Heat!  Even electricity to top off the cold level in our fridge and freezer and keep our food safe.

Luckily, we had drinking water stored up, but food was going to be difficult since we cook on an electric stove.  It took most of the next day for me to figure out how to cook in and on the wood stove, ending up with food that wasn't charred at one end and cold at the other.  But at least we had the basics we need to keep the farm rolling along.

Stay tuned for part III soon.  Meanwhile, feel free to check out our ebook about starting your own business and quitting your job.

This post is part of our Two Weeks Without Electricity series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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