Friday, August 10, 2012

day off grid part 3

DAY OFF GRID PART 3
Once I’ve arrived home and got my hot water from the solar heater, it is time to bathe.  Each shower I take uses a whole one half of one gallon of water or less.  If I skip bathing one day ( on a day I’m shaving ), it takes one quarter of a gallon of water.  You can either use a bleach bottle shower ( an empty bleach bottle with two or three holes in the cap- elevate overhead and if need be shake up and down ) or just a bin with water in it that you keep dunking a washcloth in.  With a bottle I wet my head, soap and rinse then do the same for the torso and then the legs.  Each time a little bit of water draining down helps the next section.  With the washcloth method I bend over the tub and wash my head, then I’ll stand in the tub and wash the rest of my body neck down.  By the time you get to your feet the water is a bit on the dirty and soapy side but not to the point it is useless.  You might finish up with a bit of soap scum on your skin but it never bothers me as my skin is a bit on the oily side so my skin isn’t dried out.  You can skip more than one day not using soap, just water and a cloth to scrub the skin, but you do need soap every time on the face/head, crotch, butt and feet.  The torso and limbs can get by with just a water scrub.  On shave days I do wash my entire head, but a crewcut helps conserve water quite a bit.  All told, I use three gallons of water a week to bathe.  The wife, being a lot less greasy than me, can get by with bathing three times a week.  Our total is five gallons a week.
*
NEW Bison Blog CD For Sale
I've got an actual professional to achieve and format all the old blog on a CD-ROM.   It turned out really nice- much nicer to read than online. It does cost $10 plus shipping, figure another $4 or so, which might be a bit on the higher side.  But I think I'm worth it.  My cut will be about $5.  That isn't too much to ask for over five years of work and nearly two million words of pure brilliance.  Here is the link to order:
http://kunaki.com/sales.asp?PID=PX00KX7Z1I
*
As I was bathing the wife was cooking dinner.  We have a cast iron skillet and a mid sized stainless steel pot.  Every meal gets cooked out of those.  Cooking is done on propane cook stove.  This is a $25 camping stove.  Two burners on a sheet metal base.  They are designed to use the disposable gas one pound tanks, but the camping section will also offer up an adaptor that allows a hose to be hooked up to the stove and run to a larger refillable five gallon tank.  Needless to say, don’t put the refillable inside and have a proper air intake when cooking.  I’ve been using the same Wal-Mart generic cook stove for four years now.  If it was winter, about this time ( after dark ) I’d be running the propane heater.  I started out with a “Mr. Buddy” brand.  These are indoor heaters ( you will need a two inch air intake ) and cost about $100.  I got about 100 hours out of it running on low ( which is only about 4k BTU’s-it will keep you alive more than keep you comfortable ) from a five gallon tank of propane.  After two heaters and nothing but problems mechanically, I am now using a Chinese knock off version which was $80 at Home Depot ( and surprisingly, knock on wood, is working better ).
*
Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon graphics above and to the right of each article.  Or, visit
http://bisonpress.com/affiliatebooks.html
You can purchase anything, not just the linked item.  Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire.  As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  Thank you.
*
I had better interject quickly here on laundry.  Once a week I take a large gym bag, put it in one of my bike baskets, and haul laundry into town to use the Laundromat after work.  I wear a pair of pants three days, a shirt one day and socks and underwear one day.  And the same outfit on the weekend.  If working in the yard I have a dedicated set of clothes just for that I can use multiple times.  Everything goes into one washer set on cold and liquid soap is added ( powder seems to clump/stain even if dissolved ).  I only need to clean one load a week for both of us.  We don’t wear fancy office work type clothes.  Another way to cut down on the water you need at the homestead.  Okay, after dinner ( mostly one dish meals of a starch and meat to cut down on dishes used ) is dishes. Take a cup or two of hot water, add to a clean dish with soap.  This is your wash water.  You dip your veggie scrubber brush in, then scrub the dirty dish, repeating as needed.  As we finished eating we pre-clean by squirting off the plate with a two liter soda bottle with two holes in the cap.  That same bottle also washes off the soapy water.  If the pan had beans or sticky crap in it, it is pre-soaked about one third full of water.  After a few minutes, you dip the brush into the water and clean up the sides to the top.  When done soaking, I throw the food filled water outside ( you don’t want to pour down the drain and then have it freeze into a pipe obstruction ).  All told, almost no water is used for dishes.  Mainly, it is all about washing as soon as you are done eating.
*
Right after dinner, it is time for my once daily cigarette and my daily Constitutional.  If I’m feeling a bit constipated, the cigarette helps trigger the urge ( here is where a routine really comes in handy ).  I won’t bore you all again with my experiments in human waste disposal in varied unconventional ways.  I’ll just direct you to
and I won’t say anything else.  On Monday with Part 4 I will talk about lighting for after dark and your other electrical needs.  I won’t just talk about 12v and trailers, either.  You can live without all that if needed.  With today’s LED lights your electric needs could be fulfilled as cheap as $50 or so.  Solar panels are only needed if you want TV and other electrical entertainment.  See you after the weekend.
END
*
My books available at
*
By the by, all my writing is copyrighted.  For the obtuse out there.
 

6 comments:

  1. I have a voltage regulator LM317 I got off ebay for 6 dollars, it's a small circuit board with two wires in, two out. I hook it up to a 12v battery and it can drop the voltage down to anything 10v and less, good for running 6v portable radio and LED lantern. Much better than small rechargeable batteries or inverters. I have wire leads on it with little alligator clips.

    Where do you get your water from? Do you fill up jugs someplace nearby like a gas station bathroom, from work, or do you buy water from a store?

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW dude, you really are cheap! My hat's off to ya cause I thought I might be the cheapest bastard on the planet. Takin the ole lady to a soup kitchen for a night on the town is one thing but makin her bath in only 2 1/2 gallons of water per week...well that's pretty damn cheap. YOU ARE A GOD!!!!!! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two quick questions.... 1) Would you live this way during a booming economy? 2) What do I tell my wife when she says to me "if you're so smart why are we poor?"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jeepers! I never really thought about how little water I would use if I had to haul every drop on a bicycle. Kudos for creative water frugality.

    I'm embarrassed by my water wealth. I live on a remote stretch of the Washington coast that averages about 70 inches of rain a year, and although well water is available, I seldom use it since it is so full of iron that I'm afraid I might set off airport metal detectors after taking a shower. Instead I collect rain water from a 400 square foot area of my roof. This provides an average of 10 gal/day during my driest month (July) and over 80 gal/day during the wet winter months. Fine for my wife and I plus two big dogs.

    Even though you live in a relatively dry area, you may still want to consider a small rainwater harvest system. I checked the average rainfall in Elko on weather.com, and I see that you average 0.37 inches per month during your driest months of July and August, and over an inch per month during the November through March "wet season". Even if you only collect rain from the roof of your trailer (I estimate about 250 square feet), you should average about 2 gallons a day in the summer and over 5 gallons/day in the wet season. This would sure cut down on water hauling, and of course you could collect rain from other areas as well to minimize water hauling and give yourself a bit more self sufficiency. As a bonus, rain water is a lot cleaner and better tasting than most municipal well water.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well said Nicus. Here in Australia, practically every one has a rain water tank colecting water of there roof. Virtually all I have ever drunk or bathed in all my life. Get the bigest tank you can aford or is practical, cause if Elko is like dryer areas in Australia you probably get the ocasional large heavy downpour in which you maybe able to catch 12mth water in one day. At the very least, I would imagine that you would be able to get your hands on a few 55gal food grade drum, if not food grade well at least you could use the water for washing or emergancy drinking.

    You seem to like diging holes, Large water storages can be made cheaply by lining a hole with builders plastic and concreat. You might evan be able to skip the concreat and jut use a plastic sheet.

    Really love your blog, the best i have found on the net(though i havent looked real hard). This is the first comment I have posted on your sight. Keep up the good work. You have at least one loyal minion from Australia.
    Chears from a Aussie farmer

    ReplyDelete