All Settled In

We are now living off grid and loving the new adventure that it has become for our family.  Each day we learn more and more as we live.  There is just so much to be thankful for.  Working hand in hand with the children each day has become such a joy.  When work fills the days and idleness is a thing of the past, you begin to evaluate life a whole new way.  We stay so busy with day to day living that there seems to be less time for leisure.  We wake up to the sound of the rooster crowing which is similar to what we were used to all except, in the Amish community, you can hear the clip clop of horse hoofs on the road nearby as the men get busy tending their farm work.  At the crack of dawn you may hear a generator going for the milking the Amish do.  We have a similar generator in our shop that will power all the machinery for my husband’s wooden rack business.  It is a diesel engine.  Most of the Amish in this community use them for powering their machines as well.  We actually live in an Amish home and have the same lifestyle as they do except for our use of computers or automobiles.  We are excited about helping drive our Amish neighbors around when they need things.  I am actually planning to use a horse and carriage.  I already had a lesson from my Amish neighbors after we spent the day butchering 38 chickens.  I canned all my meat this time since I do not own a deep freezer.  It is just so handy to open a jar.  I put all my chicken thighs, wings and legs into quart sized jars with a teaspoon of salt and pressure canned them for 1.5 hours.  All the breasts we cut into chunks and pressure canned them the same.  Yesterday, I dumped out two jars of legs and thighs, added some seasoning and it tasted just as good as my roasted chicken meal.  And boy was it fast.  That is what I call fast food!!!!

 


We have wash days about ever four or five days and it is so fun.  In the photo above, you can see Mikey waiting for the agitator to finish washing the next batch.  The girls are wringing out the first cold rinse.  This is the machine that was with the house and runs on the generator or gas engine.  We sure enjoy the experiences we are getting living off grid.  What is neat is that you can get about 10 loads done and hung out on the line or rack in the time you would normally have to wait for a regular washer to spin out.  We also enjoy using our washboards and handwringer for fun, too.  Someday Mark wants to try building us a hand dasher washer.  That would be really neat.

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This is one of the ways we light our home.  They are called mantle lamps which are piped in from the propane gas tank.  They are very bright, almost too bright to look without harming your eyes.  Other than that, we use a lot of beeswax candles and LED flashlights.  The kids have LED lanterns that they can carry up and down the stairs to light their way to the bathroom.  Yes we do have plumbing.  We have a shower, sink and toilet.  The mantle lamps give off a lot of heat so, we use them only when we really need to.

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Early in the morning, you can see the sun rise into our windows, it is just heavenly.  This is one of my treadle sewing machines that we will be using.  Right now they are in need of some minor repair, so I patiently wait for the moment I can sew again.  With the kids growing as fast as they do, we have plenty of clothes to make before long.

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This is our “new” old fashioned standing pilot stove.  You know, I just love these kind.  They bake the best bread, such an even heat.  Standing pilot stoves are also really handy for dehydrating nuts, herbs, and incubating yogurt or kefir.  The girls have been busy baking tons of spelt bread.

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In a corner of our kitchen, I set up all my baking essentials and spices. It really makes it so handy to find what you need when preparing a meal or baking goods.  I found some cute labels and poured all my spices into glass jars.  It looks nice and is so practical.

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Another view of the kitchen and our new propane refrigerator.  I love the layout of our home, it flows really nice and is easier to keep up because it is a little smaller.  We stay plenty busy, that’s for sure.

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This is the most glorious view out our back door!!!  We can see the most gorgeous sunsets each night and the breeze feels really good.  Life is good in our new rental, we have much to be thankful for.  Being debt free is so good.  No more heavy financial burdens like we used to have.  We are excited about being a blessing to others.

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12 thoughts on “All Settled In”

  1. Kendra at New Life on a Homestead

    I absolutely LOVED reading this. I was fascinated to read how things are set up in your off grid home. My husband and I are desperate to get off grid, but living in a modern home makes it hard to do so without expensive modifications. I look forward to watching your adventures in an Amish community. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I pray the Lord blesses your family abundantly.

  2. Thank you for sharing – your home is beautiful! Your pictures share so much. I wanted to ask you if your spice labels are from Ball. I have used some similar looking Ball canning labels that wash off with water and after a handful of months they are deteriorating from the smallest amount of humidity. They do wash off easily though! So now I am switching to some address label stickers I had instead. I wish I had a hutch like yours though – the spices just look so cozy there!
    I love your washer too. You say that you can do quite a few loads in short time and that had me wondering – how long does the agitator run for per wash? Or do you control the timing?
    This week alone we have lost our fridge (only 2 yrs old) and the dryer is making terrible sounds. It has really opened my eyes to our reliance on these things and how fleeting they can be. I know that there are better, time-tested ways. Ahhh, if only I could convince my husband…
    Do you have any experience with root cellaring/ice houses? I’ve been toying with the idea of one space used for both.

    1. Yes, my labels are all from ball, I really like them. I do not think I will wipe the writing off unless I have to switch out a spice or something. Yes, address labels work great, too. I have always just used them, but thought I would try the ball labels for something a little fancier. I will see how they hold up and let you all know.
      With the washer, it all depends. I have a presoak bin, and that gets anything really soiled and loose off. That sure helps. I think it agitates for 5 minutes a load. After I run the load into the rinse tub, I fill the new batch and agitate while I wring the rest through the 2nd rinse tub and wring into the basket for hangin out. It all is so so so much fun! I control the time, yes, You have to decide how long you want to leave it go.
      Yes, we have had some experience with root cellaring but not an ice house. We use our root cellar for things like canned goods that were home processed, carrots, potatoes, squashes, onions, garlic, apples ect. We also like to use old enclosed porches for a sub fridge. That means we can put milk, eggs, leftovers, what not on shelves of a porch that stay above freezing but not warm as the house. That really comes in handy when butchering too. Hope this helps you Katie! ~Erin

  3. Hi Erin, Where are you living now? What state? I’m still trying to live on this 7 acre weed patch!!!!! I can’t do this by myself at 58 yrs. old I can walk away and leave it behind or pray for someone to help!! I’m praying!

    1. Deborah, I am ten years older than you and in the same situation. I pray constantly for help or for an answer. It will come.
      I live vicariously thru Erin and her family and thank God for her blog and videos. It gives me hope and dreams. Erin, I am so glad that you and your family are now debt free…it is a blessing indeed.

  4. A very happy hello :> to you; Erin and family. I FINALLY was able to make ricotta cheese and lasagna from your recipe. MMM good. I’m so glad that you did a 4th DVD. I’ll be looking forward to it in the mail. We’ve enjoyed the other ones and your recipes are wonderful. The weather has brought the most bountiful garden yet. I’ve been canning up a storm and appreciating other woman like yourselves homesteading. We can only pray that others will be touched by God’s hands. What a joy to eat all of our hard work when it’s January and freeeezing. I grew up in the city and value our way of life. Thanks for all you do. Your a blessing. Your children are great.

  5. Erin, your home is beautiful! I agree with the above, “if anyone can live off grid it is you”! Where do you purchase your seasonings and spices? We have a mennonite dry goods store in our area, that I purchase mine from, but you appear to buy in bulk, and I would love to know from where.

  6. Love seeing your beautiful country home. If anyone can live off the grid, it is you guys! Can’t wait to come and visit.
    Blessings,
    Anne

  7. I love seeing your new home! What a peaceful home. I love your spices in the jars. I might do the same thing! Very cute!
    I noticed the girls wearing headcoverings. Is this something you do as well?
    In Christ,
    Janet

    1. Yes, I do wear one most of the time in the Amish community because it is the custom here and we do not want to be an offense. We are making clothing and caps and all sorts of fun stuff. LOVE IT. Thanks for the warm response and we would love to see you sometime soon. God bless you!

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