Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Homestead Reboot

Home Sweet Home (with Solar!)
Now that the house fire is behind us and we've moved into a new home, things are slowly returning to normal. The house (and two storage sheds) are still full of trash bags and boxes that need to be sorted into the KEEP and DON'T KEEP piles. Then the KEEP piles need to be organized and put away so that they can be found again in a reasonable amount of time.

One of the most frustrating things about starting over like we are doing is that we can't find most of the things we need without going on an all-out manhunt. Think about it. Where do you put your car keys when you get home? On a wall hook? A special dish or bowl? I haven't picked a "special key place" yet and have already lost dozens of minutes looking for my keys after laying them down somewhere.

With my attention no longer focused on "where are we sleeping tonight" or " what are we wearing tomorrow," Wifey and I have began to reorganize everything and realize that we are starting over on just about everything. I now have the opportunity to REBOOT my HOMESTEAD from the ground up.

I have to reboot my bills:

  • How can I tweak my electric bill to get it as low as possible? Water, propane?
  • I'll be able to capture WAY more rainwater up here than in the Phoenix desert. That should help keep the water bill lower.
  • I've learned how to use my unlimited data plan on my cell phone to provide internet throughout the house. No more internet bill.
  • My rent now is $100 per month less than it was at the last house.
I have to reboot my food supply:

  • We now have a greenhouse, left by the landlord, and intend on attempting aquaponics year-round with the help of solar power water pumps and thermal mass for heat distribution.
  • We have to completely start our gardens over from scratch. The ground needs tilling, manure added and we inherited a nice composter just itching to be filled with organics.  Our growing season has been greatly reduced by moving up north.
  • Our food storage took a big hit. First from a field mouse that got through our cardboard boxes AND mylar bags. Second hit from the fire.
I have to reboot my weaponry:

  • Many weapons and ammunitions were lost in the fire but a few survived. I will have to replace my big game rifle and handguns.
  • Ammo is still on the expensive side so restocking it will take some time.
  • I've been reduced to a few knives.
  • I'd love to finally learn to reload. Now might be a good time.
  • Bow hunting is HUGE is this neck of the woods. I'll need to study up on bows before making a purchase.
I have to reboot my transportation:

  • Both our 2001 Suburban (paid cash) and 2006 Orange Jeep Wrangler ($300/mo payment) were totaled in the fire by our insurance company. As of right now, we have NO car payment. 
  • Do we want to pay cash for some low end beaters? Can we get by with one car?
  • Lots of people up here walk and ride bicycles. Could we adapt to that culture?

You get the idea. Starting with a clean slate and mixing that with the years of experience of which equipment/clothing/tools work best for the job means I can minimize mistakes made by purchasing cheap/subpar/inadequate supplies. Having ordered so many things from Amazon since 2006, I can easily peruse my purchase history and reorder the items that will be long lasting and provide the most use while skipping over the shoddy craftsmanship of some things I THOUGHT would be good purchases.

Haven't seen the chicks in almost a month.
So this will be my new mantra on this blog. Rebooting a homestead from the ground up and sharing my experience/knowledge with all of you. I'll do product reviews on the items I add back into our inventory and tell you why I purchased it. This should prove, over time, to be a great resource to revert back to should you or I ever need to reboot  again. Everyone reboots at some point. It's my turn...and I'll share the experience with you.


Upcoming reboots:

  • Our baby chicks (one week old at the time of the fire) have been cared for by a neighbor. My landlord donated her chicken coop to us but it only holds up to four chickens. I will use my Havahart electric fence, some t-posts and horse wire to expand a larger run for them.
  • Our ten 55 gallon water barrels are all empty from the move. One side of the house has rain gutters and I can easily divert rain water into the barrels. But first, I want to build a rack system, plumb the barrels together with pvc and then began capturing water. Eventually I will run drip lines from the barrels to the gardens.


  1. Good luck man I'll be watching the progress.

  2. Thanks for sharing - you made lemonades out of lemons (or "orange juice out of kumquats!") What will you use for a now for a symbol of your monikor "orange jeep dad"?

    I'm looking forward to the Amazon reviews - I too love Amazon. Yes, not too happy about "you know who" having all our personal information but love being able to access my purchase history.

    How's your new job? (I started reading your blog partly because you're a respiratory therapist - I'm an OB nurse who has worked a lot with RTs and love having them show up to a resus! Yeah, you can take over bagging - hehehehe......)

  3. @Anonymous

    Ahhh but Orange Jeep Dad is an RTR... a Registered Radiology Technician!

  4. OJD, you are an inspiration! You and yours will stay in our prayers, of course.

  5. It is SO NICE to see you are still writing and fighting the good fight... Rebooting is the new term we're going to use in our household, as well... No royalties included, sorry.... lol.... Keep the faith, brother... You are an inspiriation to persistance and dedication to your family..... You posts are #1 on my "what's new today?" list of blogs.... :-)

  6. The new house looks charming and with solar panels to boot. I use a hook on the wall next to the door for my keys. It makes it handy to always put the keys in the same place. Aquaponics seems to be very big in the prepper community, and if I had a greenhouse, I'd want to try that too. It seems to be a big help in growing food year round. Hope all goes well in the unboxing and organizing.

  7. OJD, Glad to see things are returning to a new normal for you and the ladies! You have found a wonderful community, obviously! I look forward to your Rebooting posts...I think it will come in handy for everyone here! Best of luck going forward, we have been praying for you and your family!

  8. Thanks to everyone for such inspiring words. There's so many things that I feel like I learn on my own and wish someone had taught me that I figure, the more I share, the more it will help others. That is what I like doing...sharing/teaching. I like to learn from others too (beats spending precious time figuring it out yourself) ;-)


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