Continuing with the seasonal scheduling on our little homestead I am moving on to summertime. Summers are pretty hot and miserable here in the deep south and we spend most of our time running from the mosquitoes that threaten to carry us off to another state. However, we do manage to get a few things done. Usually our chores and projects outside are best done in the mornings. We head outside shortly after daylight so that we can be someplace cool during the hottest part of the day. We spend every afternoon swimming to stay cool. Since we are really conscience about our energy usage we go for as long as possible without air condition and this is the main driving force in how our days go around here. We cook outside as much as possible to keep from heating up the house. We do have a lot of shade around the house so that helps us to go as long as possible without AC. Last year we made it to July before having to turn on the air. By then it was so hot and muggy we couldn't stand it. September starting cooling a bit and the AC went off and the windows opened back up. Anyway I am rambling now so here is a look at what summertime will look like, hopefully, around here.
Canning: This year we plan to do more canning since our garden is bigger. Especially of homemade jams and jellies. This is the kind of work that we do early in the morning before the heat of the day because we still use our stove inside for this and it can really heat up a home.
Firewood: We spend time in the summer and fall getting in firewood for the winter. We harvest most of it from already fallen wood. We have had two very large very old oak trees come down within the past year or so and are still cutting those things up for firewood. We also gather wood that people in town need to get rid of so we have an abundance of firewood that just needs cutting and splitting. That is a project that goes all year but gets special attention in the summer.
Build new worm beds: We will be officially harvesting our worms for bait. Having already talked to some bait shop owners who would be interested in a local supply of fishing worms it would be a good source of a little bit of income. So we will be building a few boxes to contain our bait that currently has free run of the farm.
Outdoor oven: We are looking into building an outdoor oven because we cook outside most of the summer. We just don't have oven capabilities outside and using the oven inside for bread baking and such is really tough in our heat. So we have figured out the cost by using reclaimed materials once again on our farm and for about 30.00 we will be able to use an oven outdoors. This is exciting for us because not only will it help keep the house cooler, it will reduce our energy needs even further. We have managed to shave off 1400kW per month from our power bill and are looking to cut that even further.
Build a solar panel: Ok, I am real excited about this. I have found plans on the internet to build your own solar panel for about 30.00. Compared to the price of buying a panel that is awesome. Why are we building just one panel? Well, because this panel will be used to power a fan for the rabbits in the summer and a heat lamp for the chickens in the winter. That is all. We are starting with those two because there is already electrical wiring and outlets in those two buildings. They used to be connected to the house, but were long ago disconnected. So we figure if we get the wiring wrong and blow something up at least it won't be the house. We will remove the livestock from harms way when first hooking up and turning on this experiment so at the worst we will lose a building and not the animals. Of course that is not exactly in our plans, but as we are not really electricians and this is an experiment we plan for the worst. We will let you know how it goes when we get to that point.
Swimming, swimming and more swimming. We spend the afternoons swimming in the summer. It is good excercise and loads of family fun when it is too hot to do anything else.
I think that is about it for this summer. The rest of the time we spend just maintaining what we have and trying to stay out of the heat. By July down here we are all looking forward to fall and cooler temps.