Working on "off grid" situation
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  1. #1
    Registered User Shelli_wnj's Avatar
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    Default Working on "off grid" situation

    I am thinking about our many power outages over the winter, and how that could possibly get worse with all the budget cuts that have been happening around here. I know it doesn't directly affect the power lines, but with the work crews being downsized and the threat of ice and snow, it's just a matter of time before it goes off and doesn't come back on for a while. So I have started to prepare, but I am at a loss for some things.

    We have a coal stove, which is good for heat, and has a flat surface on the top, but it's not specifically meant for cooking. Heat would be covered, even if we run out of coal we could use the firewood we have accumulated from all the fallen trees. We have a week or more's worth of water, but we run off of well water which means that if we loose power, we loose water.

    So my two main concerns are cooking and water. For the short term, I have a pantry full of canned goods that wouldn't taste great room temp, but wouldn't kill us either. And as I said, I have about a week or more's worth of water.

    Do you have a powerless solution to cooking indoors, or a water solution that has worked for you? Please share

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    Registered User pollypurebred39's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of is heating water on top of the wood/coal stove and using it to cook beans in a thermos. I know I saw how to cook beans in a thermos in a thread somewhere on here.

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    Member Darlene's Avatar
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    We have a propane stove (think camping stove) we can use indoors and always have extra gas for that and our outdoor gas grill. We have an artisan well so we always have water but unless we run the generator for the pump we won't have much pressure.
    Planning ahead is good stuff indeed.





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    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Fondue pot takes awhile but it does work. I also have a teapot that has the tea-candle holder underneath and it does keep water hot for as long as the candle holds out. I rotate the tea candles, letting them "set up" again and they last a long time. Both items are fairly small in size so for a larger family would probably not be very efficient.

    For water, I do not have a solution as we are not even supposed to collect rainwater in my area. (last I read up on it, anyhow)

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    Registered User lparker's Avatar
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    Our cook stove runs on propane. We made it a point to get one that lights with a pilot light...doesn't need electric. We have several kerosene lamps and a few led headlamps. If we need water...gravity fed spring water supply in the cellar. Wood stove in the cellar.

    The trouble with what we have is that it doesn't help you a bit.

    You might be surprised at how good a pot of stew tastes when left on the top of a wood/coal/ stove.

    Lee

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    you can make a small solar oven and set in a window for cooking.

    I agree about cooking the beans (and rice) in a thermos - boil the water, add the beans and or rice, let set in the thermos. TA DA!

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    We have lived off grid since September, 2006. We used our propane grill and a free standing 2 burner propane camp stove when we first moved here. I have also in the past had to cook over a wood fire and have cooked on a wood burning stove. I use cast iron dutch ovens, skillets and griddles in different sizes to do most of my cooking. I also have some heavy cast aluminum pans. Heavy pans seem to do better on alternative heat sources in my opinion. We have our own natural gas well and have it connected to our home now so we use it as much as possible, but I feel confident that if it went dry we would still be ok. We have plenty of wood available. We do what we can to conserve our natural gas even though we don't have to pay a gas bill. We want to preserve our resource. We have insulated our home well as we have been building it. (By the way we are building it ourselves with no mortgage.)

    We have hauled our water in since we moved in here supplimenting that with collecting rain water in buckets and other containers. If there is a creek or pond near you it is possible to haul water from there for toilet flushing, plant watering and such if rain water isn't an option. Rain water can be used for washing. I have also been known to melt snow and ice for toilet flushing. We have several 6 gallon water cans that we kept full for cooking and drinking. We are now able to store approximately 1675 gallons of water in two water tanks and use a shallow well pump when our generator is on to supply our home. When the generator isn't running we still use buckets and a decanter with a spigot that I got from the flea market.

    We generate all of our power either by solar or our gas generator that dh has converted to natural gas. We use invertors and a battery bank for power when the generator isn't running. We conserve power by shutting our electronics off with a power strip, turning lights out when we leave a room, by using energy star rated appliances and cfl bulbs in all our lights. I bought LED Christmas lights for the tree this past Christmas. I always shut my computer completely down and only use it when the generator is running.

    We have satelite internet and tv, but we are prepared to do without these. We use cell phones as we have no land line coming onto our property. The phone company says because we don't have a power line, they can't give us a phone line.

    It seemed like a real sacrifice in the beginning, but we got used to it really fast. It helps remembering this has been our choice. We chose to do this before it became necessary and we had no choice. It is much easier to get used to doing something new when it isn't by necessity with no choice.

    I hope this helps and encourages you and others to make the move off-grid before there is no grid.

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    For the water -- My well, has a removable top, so I can let down a bucket on a rope to get water if needed. I also have a well with a hand pump. We generally watch the weather reports and if we think there might be problems with the electricity, we fill everything possible with water - pitchers, thermoses, bathtub, jars, etc.

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    Registered User Trishagirl's Avatar
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    We have a camping propane stove and a kerosene heater for backup heat if we lose power. We also keep a case of water on hand and jugs of spring water for emergency.

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    Registered User Sassyclass's Avatar
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    We have a camp stove for cooking and heating water, a kerosene heater for heat, and a portable camp shower/toilet. We are total electric so if the power goes out we can't even use the toilets. I have several jugs of water in a storage cabinet.
    I can tell your the camp stove actually saved us on Thanksgiving about 3 years ago. We woke up with no power and needed to get showers before going to dinner at IL's. DH got the stove out and we started heating water for our "baths". Once the water got hot enough we just took the pan into the bathroom and sat on the side of the tub with our feet in it and wallah. Of course we had to use some of the bottled water for rinsing. It took awhile but we were squeaky clean when we were done. I was just thankful it wasn't my turn to fix the turkey.

    Cat

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    I'm not in an area where I can have access to water if it came down to that. On the other hand, I do have cast iron pots and my apartment complex may have some outdoor barbeque grills I could use. (Would be cold in the winter though.) On the other hand, I do have some useful skills (the hearth cooking classes I've taken) that I could use as barter if it came down to that. Hmmm. I think I'm going to look for more classes like that....

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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    What kind of camp stoves and heaters can be used indoors - I keep trying to find this information but have had trouble locating it. My apartment is also electric so this is very important to me!

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisygirl View Post
    What kind of camp stoves and heaters can be used indoors - I keep trying to find this information but have had trouble locating it. My apartment is also electric so this is very important to me!
    Those that are fueled with propane are generally safe for indoor use, as is sterno (that's what most caterers use to keep foods warm on a buffet)

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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshine View Post
    Those that are fueled with propane are generally safe for indoor use, as is sterno (that's what most caterers use to keep foods warm on a buffet)
    You ROCK!!!

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    Registered User HappyMama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshine View Post
    Those that are fueled with propane are generally safe for indoor use, as is sterno (that's what most caterers use to keep foods warm on a buffet)
    Yes be careful many are not for indoor use.

    I have a solar oven that I love, it rocks.

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