Solar? Wind? 

What about rainwater collection?

I've got a a rain barrel in place this year. 

We are on city power, water and gas. I also have a wood burning stove that hasn't got any use this year. The cord we ordered last winter was delivered wet. It was such a horrible experience, we didn't bother this time around. 

Tips, tricks or suggestions? 

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Been there, do that.  I think my avatar is me and the wife standing in front of some of our house solar panels.  1kw wind turbine, 2.1kw solar panels, solar domestic hot water, wood heat.

The cord of wood you got wet should be ready to burn now (if you kept it from the elements).  Wood needs to season for a year before burning.  You need to see checking on the wood ends, and it should be grey in colour.  Here we cut almost 5 cords for a winter, and the cutting in 2013 will be used in 2014-15 season.

10 - 11 months of the year we use rainwater for everything but drinking (3000 gallon underground tank as reservoir).  New 3 litre per flush (3/4 us gallon) toilet really reduces water use too.

Don't give up.


The wood molded and was burned last year. It was supposedly seasoned, but then got wet in a downpour. 

Our horrible experience was the two hours it took to get the stove going every morning. 

This year we just used the climate control. :/

what about lightning collection.  Where the hell are we on that one?

Um.. is that legal in the 'burbs?

Cus if so, I'm in!

We plan on doing solar if/when we buy this place. 

Solar panels I understand. I have thought about those myself, but at the moment it's just not worth it.

I don't really get the wood burning thing, though. Is that just because it is cheaper? Environmentally it is just about the worst thing you can do to generate heat. Wood is an inefficient fuel and burning wood is in no way "carbon neutral." (Natural) gas is much cleaner. Then there's the soot, which might not be all that bad if you hate your own and other people's lungs and is also a major contributor to climate change on top of the extra carbondioxide you emit by burning wood compared to gas.

If you live in a cabin in the woods your contribution might not be all that catastrophic but if everyone would stop using gas and burn wood in the usually colder climates of the (more) developed world that would be suicidal.

I am so glad you joined this group. 

I will admit outright, I'm a complete newb to living efficiently. 

My experience living in Thailand showed me just how much I don't need. 

I've still got a long way to go, when it comes to self sufficiency, though. 

Portland winters are mild in comparison to most places. We run our very inefficient climate control from about late October to late March. I never run the air conditioner unless I'm scared for my animals well-being. That accounts for maybe seven days total out of the year. 

Our house is larger than our needs, but since we are a multi-cultural family, we have a whole lot of visitors. We have a spare room (That's currently a poultry brooder and a beer fermentation room) and I have an office that can also be turned into a spare room when needed. 

Ideally, we'd like more out buildings instead of in-house rooms, but that will be far in the future. 

I'd love to buy this place, remodel it and then sell it. Use the money from the sale to buy a little place out in farm country, maybe. 

Until then, we are a bit limited, as we aren't the property owners. 

The actual owners give zero fucks about what we do here, though. We are great tenants and um.. not crackheads like the last family. They are cool with us doing pretty much whatever, as long as we can tear it down when/if we move. 

Our single rain barrel is more for Mr. Baytheist's homebrewing. We use it as a storage tank for the cooling waters, then move that into the poultry pond. (By 'pond' I mean small kiddy pool that my asshole ducks take turns in, as it can only really fit two at a time. Luckily the Muscovies don't care much for water...unless I'm the one in it.) 

I'd love to put in four more rain barrels and solar in the immediate future, but that's going to depend if we buy or not. Again, any guidance would be deeply appreciated.

I've heard stories like yours. Didn't Myth Busters do something on the wine explosions? I'm pretty sure they can be legitimately dangerous.

My husband is a mechanical engineer. He works for an industrial/medical gas company..high pressure we are both mixed gas blenders. (We are both rebreather and mixed gas divers.)That's a lot of potential for blowing shit up, right there. :) One wrong curve in an 02 whip, -even if it's just a microscopic flaw...and you're dead. Do not pass go. 

Don't get me wrong, we've had our share of messes. A shelf collapsed in one of the fermentation containers last year. A whole lot of product wasted on the floor. My dog thought he died and went to heaven! 

'Homebrewing might be a little misleading. We have six taps in our living room bar that are fed through glycol cooling lines. Besides the five C02 lines, we also run a nitro tap for proper stouts and porters.  His set up is fully electric, controlled by a custom made panel that he designed, himself. Like I said. We need more out buildings. He does 15 gallon batches at a time. Perfect for us.

His mate is the brewmaster for a very well known place, and he's been inquiring about this set up for his brewery for test batching. Bwahahahahahah! 

Oh, it is a religion for us :) 

We moved to Portland just for the beer. That was it. We got sick of the bay area and picked this location solely based on our favorite pastimes. The great outdoors and BEER! 

Then I discovered the wine country.....Muahahahahah!

My husband is Scottish. Drinking is very much a part of  our family life. Hell, it MAKES life. His parents are in their seventies and I honestly can't keep up with them. His mum will still be sipping a nice glass of chardonnay when I've tapped out for fear of a hangover.  The funny thing is, when it's a product you genuinely enjoy, you're not drinking to get drunk-hell, quite the opposite, most times. We have session beers with low alcohol content so you can sip and talk without getting shitfaced. 

Don't get me wrong, I was a party girl back in the day. Now? Well, I prefer a more.....mellow approach to life. 

Hey Halo.. have you tried Beano? :) 

It could be that masonry wood stoves are better than other wood stoves, but I do have to find that according to NESCAUM from the 10 million or so wood stoves used in the U.S. more than 3 out of 4 aren't even EPA certified. But even EPA certified stoves do emit plenty particulates and carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons even inside the homes. It is not for nothing that certain cities in the northern parts and Canada have burn bans or other rules in place to limit the use of wood stoves.

I live in a small, yet densely populated village and I know exactly which houses have wood stoves and how to adapt my route to work and cycle around the stink. I am kind of counting on the others to be more sensible because this shit is going to cost me too much time and these long winters are wearing down my tires.

I must admit you do sound persuasive, you almost got me looking for a place to build one.

I was thinking the same thing.

Granted there is a lag time but the reabsorption of released co2 does occur within existing forests and woodlands. The key is that the forests must remain sustainable and healthy. It would be an absolute waste  (I burn 7-8 cord a winter for my home and woodshop w/ radiant floor heating) to not harvest the plethora of standing dead timber on my property. The red oak borer has decimated my oak population and felling and burning these trees is actually on the side of being considered a responsible resource manager. 


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