The Weekly Digs #56

by Becky

Updates for the new farm: 

We went out to the land  to meet with our potential builder and make sure a cement truck could make it up the driveway. It is just a steep dirt path that has been cleared through the trees up to the land. He said the cement trucks could make it up. Whew!

We also handed over our plans for the house to get a bid on what it would cost. We’ve spent a ton of time looking at hundreds of plans and finally came back to one of the first ones we looked at! Funny how that works. I spent another 8 hours or so editing the plan and redrawing it to make it perfect for what I wanted. 

Being an artist can be both good and bad sometimes 🙂 I don’t have any photos of the plan edits right now but I’ll take some and put them on here next week!

Nanking Cherries in bloom! March 5 2020

Thinking about Geothermal Heating and Cooling

We have so many ideas for eventually going off grid with our house. Yes, the first few years we will still have power from the electrical company. Being hooked up to the grid initially will allow us to get a cheaper interest rate and easily get a loan. After doing some research we found that it is really difficult to get a loan from a bank for an off-grid home.

Because we plan on going off-grid, we’ve considered a lot of options for energy efficiency with climate control for the house. One was solar, the other idea was an outdoor wood boiler stove for winter heating, and the last idea was geothermal. 

Cameron was really interested in geothermal because it seemed like it had a very fast pay back time compared to solar. After watching a bunch of YouTube videos and guys saying their system cost around $20,000 and paid itself off in two years, it seemed like an awesome option.

But then we hit reality. We called some local companies to ask for a rough estimate as to what it would cost to install a system. Our house plans right now are about 3500 square feet and for every 500 square feet you need a one ton system. In geothermal the amount of heat a system can put out an hour is measured by the term “ton”.  

Hairy vetch cover crop is working its magic in the garden. March 5 2020

Our 3500 square foot house would need a 7 ton system. Our first quote was $75,000! We thought we would double check with a couple other places because according to the internet it should cost way less.

The second quote came in at $42,000. Absolutely insane, right? 

The real kicker was we had talked to our loan agent a few days earlier to ask about geothermal and how it would affect the assessed value of our home. She said since there are no comparable houses to measure against the value it would add to the home is $0. ZERO dollars!!

Between the high price to install and how it wouldn’t add any value to our home, we will NOT be doing geothermal. Now I understand why it isn’t very popular to install.

We still feel good about the outdoor wood boiler but we haven’t got any quote for pricing on that so we’ll see! 

We will definitely do solar and possibly wind power for all our other electrical needs in our home. Our new farm is incredibly windy and I think a wind power generator would be really effective.

Picking the last of the carrots. March 5 2020

In the garden:

  • I pruned my apple trees. I also learned to take off the white trunk protectors (they keep the trunk from getting burned by winter sun) before the trees get too big. Mine apple tree trunks grew into the shape of these spiral plastic protector things because they got too big. I feel really happy to learn that before I put in many more new fruit trees at the farm.
  • I chopped the leftover asparagus remnants and removed them.

There are lots of signs of Spring! My nanking cherry bushes are in bloom and the first daffodil opened. It doesn’t look so good because it is in the chicken area and I think they tested to see if it tasted good, then decided against it. 🙂

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