The Weekly Digs #149

by Becky

We spent quite a bit of time this week preparing for a winter storm. We have been on a waiting list for a generator for almost 8 months now. Since we still don’t have one, I wanted to make sure we were prepared for a power outage. 

We are on a well and our well pump runs on electricity. So, I refreshed our stored water by dumping out the old stuff and refilling it. I also filled several half gallon jars with water since they are just sitting empty in the pantry after we eat the food in them. 

The other thing that I’m glad I had the foresight to prepare in advance was lighting. Several months ago, I bought some indoor kerosene lamps. If the electricity was out at night we would be able to light up whole rooms! Flashlights just aren’t enough sometimes. 

As far as heat goes, Cam had plenty of wood ready. Our boiler runs on electricity to pump the water to the house. If the electricity went out we would use our indoor fireplace. Our fireplace does have a fan, but it would still heat our living room enough without it, albeit not very efficiently. 

Ironically, on Tuesday the aquastat on the wood boiler stopped working. I had no idea what that was but Cameron explained it to me.

The aquastat turns on a fan inside the boiler to get the fire burning hot and heats up the water so it can heat the house. It kicks on when the water reaches a certain temperature. Otherwise the water starts to cool and it doesn’t heat anything. 

Cam troubleshooted the problem and found out he needed to order a new part for it. He ordered the part but it wasn’t going to get here until Friday and the storm was set to start on Wednesday. 

He was able to manually turn it on and off at the boiler but figured out a unique way to do so from his phone. 

He hooked up an alexa smart plug and rigged up the camera on an old phone so he could look at the temperature and then turn it on when the temperature was low and off when it got into the right temperature range. He is smart, which is part of the reason why I like him so much 🙂

The storm came and as predicted we got about 10 inches of snow. The wind was intense and it made for some deep snow drifts in places around our house. Luckily, the power stayed on! 

The part for the wood boiler was delayed due to weather but came today (Saturday). Cam got it hooked up and it’s working great. 

Another ironic thing is the generator that we had been waiting on for months, made it to the supply store. Our friend in construction ordered it for us because he gets a contractor discount and Cam went and paid for it today. 

They will deliver it sometime next week, as long as our driveway is passable, haha!

Freshly planted mulberry tree!

Oh and I forgot to mention that on Monday I planted a bunch of fruit trees! Actually, all my kids helped me on this one. We planted Illinois Everbearing Mulberry, Early Jiro Asian Persimmon Fruit Tree, All-In-One Almond Tree, and Hall’s Hardy Almond Tree. I’m not sure how the almond trees will do here.

Even though I’m in the right zone, from what I’ve read they are in the peach family and are subject to similar diseases. I figure it’s worth a shot because I we eat so many almonds.

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Wendy February 6, 2022 - 6:59 am

It is nice to have a husband you can rely on, just like he can rely on you, doing your part. We, in the Netherands, have all the electric cables and gas pipes underground so we are never without electricity or heat because of weatherconditions. So I consider us lucky on that part. On the other hand you have so much more space/land to live, There is allways something , is not it? The snow looks great! We just have rain and rain and wind (living very close to the coast ).. Have a great week. Kindest regards, Wendy

theseasonalhomestead February 13, 2022 - 3:18 am

Thanks Wendy! That is so cool that the power is buried so it doesn’t go out. Yes, always trade offs. I do love living on a lot of land. It’s a blessing,

Amy February 7, 2022 - 5:34 pm

🙂 Love that part about Cameron. He’s a good one. We just got a generator but haven’t needed it yet. It would be mostly for the well pump and freezers. I have thought about getting a hand pump for the well some day — as a backup just in case. Apparently the price of that varies wildly depending on how deep your well is.

theseasonalhomestead February 7, 2022 - 11:33 pm

Yes that’s true about the hand pumps. I looked into them too, but our well is 650 ft deep and standing water level around 275ft. So we would need a very expensive one! I imagine I would need some serious muscles to get that to work too, haha!

Hannah Huddleston February 7, 2022 - 7:41 pm

Hi there,
Sounds like a lot of histle and hard work! You will be all set next storm. We live in NW Arkansas also and my kids absolutely loved the snow. We are new to winter weather…luckily our power stayed on, and we got to enjoy the snow and ice from a toasty heated indoors. Judging by that adorable and TALL snowman looks like you guys had a fun time in the snow as well . I always enjoy your weekly updates!! Thank you for leaving such great info!
All the Best,

theseasonalhomestead February 7, 2022 - 11:34 pm

Thanks Hannah!

Susan February 8, 2022 - 4:00 am

I really look forward to your posts and your family never ceases to amaze me. Last time, it was the jackets you made for your poor hens. This week, Cam’s solution for your heating issues was genius. I retired two years ago (Medical Laboratory Scientist) and trouble shooting big expensive analyzers was a huge part of my job. I’m always impressed with people who have that ability to figure things out. The way you both share your knowledge with your children and patiently teach them how to do so many things around your homestead warms my heart. I loved how Cam really allowed your little girl to help him with the wood shed last week. Stay warm!

Darlene February 8, 2022 - 7:42 pm

We tried to fire up the generator for the big storm that was coming here in Ohio, and it did not start! Thankfully our power never went out. It sure did show us where our weakness lies! I love the picture of the snow-covered garden it looks so peaceful.

theseasonalhomestead February 13, 2022 - 2:45 am

Wow! I’m glad your power didn’t go out!


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