Simple Solar Homesteading

Off-Grid Cabin and Tiny House Designs and Supplies
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Winterizing Your Homesteads!

Posted on November 27, 2016 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Winterizing Your Homesteads!

Well the temperature at my cabin has dropped to below freezing at night but the days are still sunny and around 45 degrees so I have been busy the last few weeks getting my cabin winterized.

I am at about 4800 elevation and we can get snow 3 foot deep and -20 winters here so I have to be prepared for being snowed in for a few days until they get the roads clear.

Here is my check list:

1- Check my propane furnace and give it a cleaning. Check and tighten propane lines if needed and get my tanks refilled. I use four 20 pound tanks and I refill 3 at a time once a month. One tank lasts me a week for heating and cooking. Propane is around $1.50 a gallon so not too expensive this winter.

2- Bring in my winter hoses and check my free flow lines and empty and clean the stock tanks. I have a free flowing well with water always running in a stock tank fr the animals. It gets pretty dirty over a year so I drain it in fall and give it a scrub. I keep one hose on my covered porch handy for refilling my inside tank as needed.

3- Plastic sheeting installed over my porch. This creates a greenhouse and air lock over my porch and front door that adds heat to the cabin on sunny winter days and keeps cold breezes from rushing in when I open the door. Also creates a nice area to work on the porch for small winter projects.

4- Refill my gas cans. I use a 1500 watt Genny to run a microwve and power tools. The Genny is kept on the enclosd porch so it stays warmer and it will start on even cold days with just a couple of pulls. I have two 3 gallon gas cans I keep full and that will last me a few months generally. Refill the Genny oil and a quart of oil on hand.

6- Put the draft busters in front of the doors. High winds will cause cold leaks around old doors so I use draft busters and I made my own out of old towels and tape. You can also buy them on Amazon.

7- Sealed the chicken coop run in clear plastic. This turns the run into a mini greenhouse to keep the chickens warmer so they lay all winter. I free range my hens and they have access to the stock tank for water. Cold and drafts will kill your birds so get them into a good shelter.

8- Added straw to the dog house. My dogs are outside in he daytime but sleep inside the cabin so I put a bale of fresh dry straw in their doghouse. Good bedding and insulation and it get's composted in to the garden in spring.

9- Gather up my tools. I put away the summer tools and oiled the blades with a sprau of WD 40 so they don't rust. Got out the snow shovels and ice scraper. I have a sled for hauling wood and stuff around so the wheelbarrow goes in storage.

10- Backup vehicle gassed up and tires aired up in case my regular vehicle breaks down. I keep my tanks full in winter and I have an Inverter in my truck in case I need to use it as a power generator.

11- Food supplies stocked up. A few cases of different veggies and staples like sugar, salt, coffee etc. Enough on hand that I can go a month without going to town if needed.

12- Solar panels cleaned and wiring checked. I use AGM sealed batts so no maintenance. Installed a few new lights and DC plugs so I can get power where I need it.

13- Winter clothes brought out. Snow boots, gloves, coat, hoodies, hats and thermal long johns.  I keep extra winter clothes in my truck if I get wet and need a change and also a 12 volt blanket and emergency supplies if I get stranded somewhere.

14- Animal food. I keep a extra bag of chicken and dog food on backup in case I can't get to town that will last a month. Also have some animal anti-biotics and medicines in case they get sick. Fat animals will survive winter better than hungry animals.

OK well I think I am about ready for winter and going to hunker down and work on some inside projects and new cabin designs and videos.

You all have a happy, healthy and safe winter!


5 Watt Solar LED Lights and Phone Charger

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I needed a couple of LED lights for my cabin and I came across this unit on Amazon that has two LED pendulum lights and it's own 5 watt solar panel, lithium battery and phone charger for $75. I decided to give it a try since that would give me a back-up system in the event my regular system broke down and it is small and mobile so I can take it with me camping or in a bug out situation.

I am very impressed with the quality of the equipment. The solar panel is well made and comes with brackets if you want to permanently attach it. The lights are bright enough for my kitchen and dining area and they will last about 18 hours with a full charge. The phone charger comes with a dozen different phone style connectors and will recharge a phone in about 8 hours of good sunshine.


This would be an inexpensive way to get started with an off-grid emergency solar power system or could be used for camping or even in your cabins or as lights for a shed or animal housing. I have been using this product over 6 months and very pleased.



Here is the link: 5 Watt LED Solar Lights and Phone Charger

Simple Solar Homesteading Amazon Store

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (3)

Hi folks, I have been busy working on some new projects and vids and helping with an online course for MIT on sustainable living. Just wanted to let you know I now have an Amazon store on the website with all the products I use and recommend for off-grid living and homesteading so take a minute and have a look.


400 Watt Ground Mount Solar

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (6)

After many years of shinnying out my window to push the snow off my solar panels I decided to put them on a ground mount to make things easier and safer. Now I can keep the snow off and clean the panels and do maintenance if necessary.

The mount is using my old horse hitching post and some recycled cinder blocks. I ran a 2x4 through the blocks for support and the panles are attached to the hitching post and the 2x4 support with high tensile aluminum wire.

The system is four 100 watt Renogy moncrystaline panels which charges 4 AGM 12 volt deep cycles (storeed in the cabin) to power my laptop, TV, water pump, ARB fridge, chest freezer and LED lights. That is all the power I need for my cabin.

Made a good trade today!

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (3)

I have a neighbor that does small engine repair. That is a god neighbor to have.

Anyway he had a 230 Suzuki ATV and snow plow that he got in a trade and he wanted my old Sonoma pickup which hasn't run in years. He got the truck and I won't have to shovel snow and will save my back and come spring I will go jump some sagebrush.

Horse Trough Planter

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (9)

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This is a fun, simple and inexpensive project to build a Horse Trough Planter.

It can be built for under $20 from new materials or free from recycled materials. Enjoy!


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