We moved onto our property just as winter hit and before we could set up our water catchment system; consequently we had to haul our water. Here are the 3 types/brands of jugs we used and how we rated them.
*Note: these are our honest reviews and opinions. We were in no way compensated.
||Midwest Can Co.
||6 gals / 22.7 L
||6 gals / 22.7 L
||8 gals / 30 L
|Place of Purchase
||Sporting goods store
||Big box store
||Twist n’ lock
||Screw on with eyelets
||n/a part of spout
||Hole in container body
||Hole in container body
||Made in the USA
||Made in the USA
||Made in Canada
||Food Grade Polyethylene
||Wheels and pull-behind handle
Read more to see Rubric Rating charts on each of these and which one was #1
The long-time locals told us that our first winter on the off-grid homestead was the worst winter for snow accumulation and temperatures in 21+ years in our area. We posted our TOP 5 Reasons this was the best season to start our homestead but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have challenges. TWO big challenges to be exact.
Score 2 for our beautiful treacherous road.
#1 Living on a back road
The most inherent aspect of living on a back road is road maintenance. We knew this when we bought our property and were prepared for the fact that along the way it was going to be an issue. We had not experienced a North Idaho winter and were not entirely sure of the severity. However, as we are both raised Ohioans having experienced “Lake effect” snow storms from Lake Erie; we were confident we could handle it. Additionally, we planned our relocation by studying microclimates, therefore we knew our property was well situated in altitude and weather to our needs and capabilities. However, seams of doubt cracked open as we heard more and more horror stories of N. Idaho winters. Only time would tell and it did. While we thrived in the winter, and maintained our long drive the challenge was our road. Maintained by neighbors, we learned to plan on hunkering down on the homestead 1-2 days after each snow storm until the road was cleared or other vehicles made enough tracks that made it passable. Twice we found ourselves digging out and the first time was our fault for not following our own rules. Our solar battery/inverter died and when the replacement arrived we had to venture out when our road was not cleared. We easily dug out of the soft snow bank. The second time however, proved more challenging. When warmer weather melted a half of our accumulated snow fall, followed by a deep freeze, we found our road to be a solid sheet of ice. A neighbor in a 4 x4 got stuck and we ventured to the post office anyway. On the way home our truck couldn’t make it up an icy hill and slid backward into a snow bank.
So, what did we do?
#5. It’s easier to stay warm than cool when you’re OFF-grid
Okay so this may be a matter of opinion. Tom and I are fortunate that we both feel it is easier to stay warm than cool when you are OFF-Grid. This is a double edge sword because one of the worst
Tom geared up for winter-time wood cutting.
things about starting an off-grid homestead in the winter is not having properly dried fire wood. This has been problematic for us. Nonetheless, we’ve maintained 70 and 80 degree temperatures in the cabin. It has been a matter of the fire staying lit throughout the night that has been the issue. We did come up with a semi-solution and are anxious to cut and season wood this summer! Regardless, having a nice warm cabin has been great for moral and productivity.
#4. Learning to Cook on a woodstove is easier in the Winter
Because we use a wood stove for heat, we had ample time to cook at our convenience as the stove was always hot. As spring is upon us and we have had warmer days; we are finding that is no longer true. Keeping the fire going on warmer days is a waste of fuel (wood) and leads to 90-Degree temps in our cabin. Therefore, our cooking on warmer days occurs during mornings and evenings. When we first started, we were trying to acclimate and it was super convenient to cook whenever we had the time or to slow cook something all day.
What to do with naysayers?
We have been discussing alternative housing and homesteading with our family and friends for years but when our offer on a property was accepted, our supporters suddenly turned into naysayers. We were not prepared for what would happen when our dreams became reality… to other people. Consequently, we found ourselves overwhelmingly in a bad mood about our decision to homestead and the property we were purchasing when a few days prior we were literally jumping for joy.
The Secret Ending (spoiler alert): A friend just asked me, “if you could do it over, would you buy the same place?” Another asked me, “so you guys still going to keep doing this off-grid homestead thing?”
To both I happily answered “YES!”
I (Charlie) can be moody but when Tom is in a funk it’s rare and therefore extremely apparent. He is the most even keeled unflappable person ever. The effects of sharing our good news with everyone was a resounding of our every micro doubt into a wave of fear and a shattering of our confidence. And to me this became obvious when Tom was upset.
Even our perception that “everyone” was against this was off because of the weight we gave that negative feedback. One supportive friend helped turn our perception around. We shared the feedback with him and he dismissed it reminding us that we have researched and made informed decisions, we have backup plans, etc. And if we didn’t do this we’d always wonder “what if?”
Suddenly we found our courage again. This just built as we talked to our RV neighbors; all of whom were also buying properties, and they dismissed our fears with logic. That went something like this, “what if we don’t have time to get our cistern water catchment system set up before it snows?” This was a fear that a well-meaning friend put in our heads. Our RV friend replied, “snow melts.” Snow for water. That simple and something we had already planned. However, letting all the doubt in our minds put up a zero-visibility cloud and suddenly we were not looking at our lives through our own researched and planned eyes. So here’s what we did to turn back into our homestead-lifestyle-seeking selves:
We found our dream off-grid homestead property. 10 acres and a 400 sq ft cabin in the woods.
2 hermit crabs
ONE precious life to live &
ONE big decision to live a natural minimalistic life!
May 2014 in a rented RV we drove away from a large house, large yard, community where everyone knew us, literally sold box truck sized loads of stuff, and for my husband he left a 21-yr high paying career with all the perks…Why? For a lifestyle we believed was best for our family. Presently, our RV journey took a U-turn and we’re now in a phase of life we call Homestead Happiness. I hope you will follow along as we journey through this life finally answering our question of, “RV There Yet?” and answering the call, the echoes we heard in our daily conversations, “Nonetheless, I just want to homestead.”