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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

Another Winter Arrives.

Good Morning Everyone,

Another winter is upon us, we have already had snow, but a warm front came and gave us rain and melting temperatures.  But as is normal here in the North East, cold temperatures have returned and another 6 inches of snow has fallen. The tractor is warming up right now in preparation of plowing the yard and my son is getting ready to go and feed the cows and chickens. Yes that's it just cows and chickens for now, the pigs have been slaughtered, processed and are in the freezer.  The kitchen range is boiling water so we can add the steel cut oats and have a good warm breakfast this morning, we will need the horse power it provides.

Winter in some ways makes doing chores a little more difficult, it isn't like having the cows out to pasture where they pretty much tend to their own needs. Our bull is away breeding a friends heard and I have no doubt he is a happy boy right now. So winter chores brings cleaning out the stalls and the coop, all the manures and bedding makes it's way to the garden until there is enough in it, we have learned over the years if we don't watch that well we will have a garden that is near impossible to work in the spring, so 6 inches is the rule and then the rest is put in a pile to decompose for a few years and be used later.


As some of you know our house has been a hybrid running our outlets on grid power while running our lights on solar. I have run solar lights now for 35 years and have been pleased with the savings the system has given us. But like anything else they need to be maintained. Our 9 year old battery pack has reached it limit and no longer will run the lights more than a night, it used to be 2 or 3 days but it is time to replace them. I have a huge deep cycle battery coming and will replace it this weekend. The charge control stopped working a month ago and has been replaced, now our inverter is sounding a little weird and we have a replacement coming for that.  Yes sometimes several things can go wrong in a home power system. But I can't complain, the small system has saved us more money than we have ever invested into it. The solar panels are 35 years old this year and I have given some thought with replacing them. Today they are much cheaper than when I first bought the ones I have. So I figure I will make the system larger by at-least double. This is so we can run some lights during the day where we need to when we are busy and need to see better than the window will give us. I'll post more on that when it happens. 


I am also looking at making some other changes in the power guzzlers, I never liked a power bill and always felt they were robbing us with in them. I do plan on building an ice refrigerator I would call it an ice box but too many folks think of the new store bought ice coolers. But this one will stand like a normal appliance and be operated by blocks of ice. Also more to come on that, it is close to the top of my to do list come spring. I know we can get  a much smaller freezer now that most of the children have grow and are on their own. Yes any of you that know me know that when I'm stuck on something I go after it, the light bill is my next I would love to dump it project , yes I will find a way. But not at the expense that my wife could never just make the call and have it hooked back up in the event I pass on. Since having cancer that thought is always in the back of our minds. And the good news last month is cancer free for 2 and a half years now. Glory to God! So for now I am working out some ways to take care of some of the pleasures we like to do, after all I do enjoy a few National geographic shows and my wife like some of her own.  I'm think very small generator that is super fuel efficient just for that. Our large gen set only needs to run a couple hours a day for wash. Winter is the best time to make this change as the freezer doesn't need to run more than a couple hours to maintain. it's the refrigerator that brings the problem. I do know the way around that, but we don't have enough snow to build my outdoor fridge. when that happens watch out GMP because I can now generate what I need cheaper than you can sell it to me for. 


Oh yes, the true nature of the homesteader, figuring out a way to do it yourself. In future articles I will discuss some other ideas I have to making power, once I get the solar back up and running i'm considering a little water power.


The water is boiling the tractor is warm and it's time for this homesteader to get his day in full swing. 


I would also like to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Dear Lord, don't let us miss You this Christmas season. Help us to simplify our activities and traditions so we can focus our celebration on Your birth and the reason you came. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, and I ask You for that inner peace that only you can give to hearts. Thank You for the simple but life-changing message of Your love for us. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Please have a blessed and merry Christmas,

Luke, Kelly and the gang







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