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Wilderness living in the great north, its that time of year again!

Wilderness living in the great north, its that time of year again!

This year's food acquisition is already under way. The pressure canner is jiggling away, releasing steam as the contents process.  It's the time of year when food is abundant on a wilderness living homestead. Fruit on the trees is ripe, the vegetable garden has reached maturity, the seeds are ripening. The necessity of food preservation spurs the homesteader to can at a maddening rate. Staying up late waiting for the pressuring time to be up before going to bed often at 3 am. Time between is spent washing jars and lids, slicing and dicing, peeling, separating and other preparations before putting the food in jars.

This year there are bear licenses, so bear meat is on the menu. Fat to be rendered, and hide to tan. The same for deer, meat to be canned, tallow to be rendered, and a hide to tan.

There are peaches to can, and apple sauce to be made. There are berries wanting to be jam. There isn't a moment to spare while wilderness living on a homestead.

The salmon run this time of year, in the autumn, and wait in line to be canned. Canned salmon is a delicious snack, one you don't want to miss!

So it is when you reach the end of the day and wipe your hands on your apron, there isno better feeling than putting your feet up. Feet that have stood for 16 hours in a hot kitchen, bearing our load at the counter, that at last can rest.  What a Glorious feeling! Going to catch a wink before it's up at 6 am to wash more jars! ...and what about that wine?

Off Grid, Off-Grid Living, what does this mean?

Off Grid, Off-grid living, what does this mean?

Many modern urbanites struggle to understand the meaning of "off grid". To some it means being self-sufficient, to others, it means living off the land, yet to next it means living without social contact. It's true that many folks who are off grid have many of these things in common, yet we miss the true meaning of off the grid.

The grid is a network of electric lines that carry electricity from power stations to each of our homes. The grid is formed by these interconnecting power lines throughout the city and countryside. Many times we see a power pole near our house connecting the grid to our home to deliver energy for which we are billed, most often on a monthly basis.

If a person lives off this grid or "off grid" it means that their home is not connected by lines to the public electric grid in their city, town, county, or state.

People who live off grid often times supply their home with energy from alternative sources such as solar, wind, or hydro power using batteries and 12 volt systems or inverters. These alternative power sources come from off grid independent sources. These alternative energies allow off grid families and individuals the ability to have electric lights, cell phones, computers, water pounds and other conveniences of modern life.  It does not mean that they live without power, although some choose to do this. 

I hope that this explanation helps to eliminate some of the confusion surrounding this term. 

Make Clothing from Wilderness Materials

It is possible to make clothing from wilderness from materials.  The easiest clothing is from animal hide. In far northern regions, such as the northern parts of Alaska, Canada, Siberia etc the hide is simply scraped, dried and used. In warmer climates however the hide must be preserved to prevent it from rotting.

There are many ways to do this which has various outcomes.

The first I will mention is braintanning. It is the most convenient method because every animal comes with enough brains to tan its own hide. Brain tan is essentially an oil tan and the fatty matter in the brain is the oil in which the hide is tanned. After butchering the animal the brains are put in a container large enough to contain the hide. Water is added and the brains are squished and mixed into the water. The hide is soaked and stirred in this mixture for several days. It's a very pungent odor. After tanning has penetrated entirely through the hide, you check this by cutting a small piece to see if it has penetrated all the way through. If it has, then the hide is rinsed in water until it comes out clean. Next you will smoke the hide, but be careful not to cook it. Put it in a tent or other small area with the smoke blowing in and around it in a concentrated manner. This will give the hide some extra protection. Each time you wear this hide and wash it, it will become stiff when it dried. It is therefore necessary to pull the hide over the corner of a board or other fairly sharp corner or edge to soften it. If it is an article of clothing it can be worn wet until it dries and will become soft as you move around in it while it is drying.  If you wish not to use brains a vegetable lecithin can be used instead. The odor will still be pungent as lecithin, although vegetable matter,  is still very similar to brain matter.

Make clothing from wilderness materials without using brain, is a vegetable tan using oak and other similar plant matter that contains tannin. The vegetable matter is soaked to leach out the tannin into the water. It must be very concentrated so many batches may be needed to soak i. Order to acquire enough tannin. When a sufficient amount of tannin has been acquired the hide is soaked in the solution until it penetrates completely through the hide.  It may take several days. This products a very nice leather. 

You can also use alum, which is a salt tan and becomes very stiff when finished. It is more suitable for rugs. The alum is added to water and brushed onto the hide.

If you wish for the fur to be removed from your hide, while it is fresh you must soak it in wood ashes and water, which makes lye, to loosen the hair. After a couple days, when the hair easily pulls out when tugged on, it is time to scrape the hide. The hide must be laid over a smooth log or barrel etc fur side facing up and using the back edge of the large knife, not the cutting edge, scrape semi hard toward  yourself. You will be removing the fur and the top layer of skin. The part of skin you are removing will show coursness and as it is removed it will leave behind the next layer which is somewhat shiny. That is the part of the hide you will be tanning.

After you have made a sufficient amount of leather, 4 deer hides to make a shirt , 5 deer hides for pants, etc then it is time to cut a pattern.

You can buy a pattern to use over and over, or you can use an old piece of clothing laid out cutting one full inch larger than the article of clothing so that you have enough area for sewing.  You will need two sides to most pieces. Fringe is made by leaving extra material where the seems will go which is later cut into strips almost to the seem.

Needles can be made easily from bone, scrap metal or wire etc. The tenderloin area of a deer, caribou, moose, goat, sheep etc with have long strips ofmeat along the top done area. The nest can be cut out and will have a shiny sinewy layer on it. The nest can be scrapped off of this and the sinew can be washed then dried a couple days.  Then using your thumb and forefinger  You can rub it firmly and it will separate into threads. These threads can be used to sew your hides together into clothing. Thin tree roots or plant fibers can also be used for sewing as well. Antler and bone as well as sticks can be used for buttons.

You can make clothing from wilderness material as some plants are fiberous and can be used as clothing; such as large leaves, barks, reeds etc which can be crocheted, woven, or sewed to make garments. Although these are coarse and itchy to the touch.

If you have harvested a sheep or long wooled animal the wool can be cut and spun slowly feeding the wool pieces while using a twirling piece of wood. This"yarn" can then be knitted, crocheted, or woven into cloth or articles of clothing.

You can make clothing from wilderness materials from large fish, like salmon, which can be skinned and the the skins sewn into clothing.  Dried these make a very good rain jacket material. This can help protect you from the elements such as wind, rain, and dew in the summer time.

Rabbit skins fur on can be sewn together after tanning to make a very warm blanket. They make nice socks and slippers. Caribou leg skin left uncut can be used to make suitable socks by sewing just the narrow end. 

Moose hide makes excellent material for footwear such as moccasins and boots.

Many furs are good for coats. Fox, wolf, buffalo, caribou, wolverine (this fur does not collect moisture like frost and moisturefrom your breath making it a good choice for hoods, collars, ruffs.), coyote, beaver, muskrat et

Polar bear, grizzly and black bears make excellent bedding and rugs. 

How to find food - DONT STARVE In the Wilderness or remote homestead

How to find food - Dont starve in the wilderness or remote homestead....

One of the most important things a person needs to know when living in the wilderness is how to find food. I will explain some methods for collecting and preserving food without refrigeration. I will cover some basic knowledge that will help to acquire some food.

Don't starve in the wilderness! Wild plant edibles are many. Many mushrooms are poisonous. I recommend not eating them unless you have been trained in picking them. However there are many edibles available to you. You can acquire vitamin c in wintery areas by drinking pine needle tea which will prevent scurvy. Please take the time to read a book on wild edible plants and berries. There are hundreds of them and they can help sustain you preventing starvation. The layer of wood just beneath the bark on a tree can be eaten in pines, maples, and others.

Another method of how to find food and not starve in the wilderness is fishing: this method should not be overlooked as it is a year round food source. Fish offer some very healthful benefits. Some fish contain fats such as salmon. This fish carries large 600 lb bears through long winters and it can carry you through too.  Another benefit is that it can easily be preserved both pressure canned in jars, as well as soaked in brine (sugar and salt solution) then smoked, or just smoked and air dried.  Salmon are a migratory and seasonal fish, so must be harvested when they arrive. You must not wait! They can be caught with hook and line, nets, weirs and fish wheels. Please see the laws in your area. Fish traps can be made with sticks in a river or stream stabbed into the ground  that is wide at the opening and narrows down stream so that the fish swim in and become trapped. Fish such as pike, whitefish and others can be caught through the ice using line and hook and also nets put under the ice using two holes.  When fishing in the warmer months try fishing near trees that have fallen in the water, log jams, and on the quiet water side of bends in the river. Line can be made from strands of fabric pulled from clothing, vines, fine trees roots etc. Good can be carved from bone, sticks, and found wire or metal a simple tiny stick about the length of your thumbnail can be sharpened atboth ends and the line tied just off center. Baited. When pulled it will catch in the fishes throat and the fish can then be pulled in.

Don't starve in the wilderness, consider Trapping:  The advantage of traps vs. Hunting is that a trap is hunting for you even when you sleep. Having snare wire is essential in aiding in not starving in the wilderness. It is made into slip loops and placed where animal trails can be seen in the grass and snow. It can be hung from low bushes and should be about 2 to 3 inches from the ground. Traps must be checked every day. You can not survive only on rabbits as they do not have enough fat, making them supplemental meals only. Deadfall traps can be used for any animal size depending on the size of the dead fall trap. A trap like this is built by balancing a heavy object such as a log or rock on a stick so that the animal bumps the stick or pulls on a string tied to the stick activating the heavy object to fall with gravity. You can acquire larger or smaller animals this way. These animals will have fat and the bones can be boiled to extract the high calorie marrow.  Another relatively easy trap is digging a deep hole that animals fall into and can not escape.

Hunting:  hunting with spears, bows and arrows, and guns is most successful in the early mornings and in the evenings when wild animals move about the most. Finding a water source, an area of cover, or a feed source will give you the most opportunities to see animals. Being still and quiet, without fidgeting, will allow animals to behave normally and allow them to come closest to you without being alarmed. This gives you the best advantage for success in acquiring some major nutrients.  You will find it helpful to conceal yourself behind bushes, rocks, downed trees or other natural features which can conceal you from view.  It is also helpful to hunt with the breeze blowing into your face instead of your back. Having the wind in your face ensures that your own scent is being  blown away from the game you are hunting preventing them from being aware of your presence. The farther animals are from you the higher you must aim. Nest can be preserved in a cold stream, by air dying in the wind, by smoking, or pressure canning. During the winter months is can be hung from a branch out of reach ofpredators and left frozen until use.

How to find food in the wilderness requires knowledge about things like, Birds rarely fly at night. They become easy to grab by hand in the dark. If you see abird go to roost, in the dark you can often reach up or climb up and grab it. Same with Water fowl on the nest. The eggs can also be eaten. Again please know the laws in your area.

If you are near the ocean, freshwater can be found by digging a hole on the beach about ten feet from the high tide mark. The hole should fill with less salty water. In the forest you can acquire fresher water which from snowmelt, is healthier, versus rivers or lakes than can contain bacterias and protazoans.

Foods that are often overlooked by the average person are: white grubs from dead trees or wood, these taste kind of nutty. Porcupines which make a very nice stew and are relatively easy to catch. Crawdads along a creek edge are miniature lobster looking creatures. Earth worms, grasshoppers, which can be fried. Mice, snakes, frogs legs, Pine cone seeds, cattail roots (are similar to potatoes and are a carbohydrate.) Seaweed Sea urchin eggs, clams if you are near the sea.

These are just basic suggestions and should be studied through reading material, licensed teachers, etc. Always follow the laws in your area. 


  It was 7:30 am, the drive started at 2:30 pm the day before. I had been called away from my cabin weeks earlier to tend to funeral arrangements of a close friend. I was very tired from my long drive returning to my cabin. After 12 hours of driving I had stopped near a campground 5 hours ago, but not finding a suitable tent spot and with a steady rain coming down
I made the decision to continue on the last 5 hours of the journey to the cabin.
The drive was long, hard, it was dark, no lights to look at, hardly any towns along the way. I was tired and fatigued and just wanted to "GET THERE" and flop into my bed and SLEEP. As Fatigue sets in and I become tired, I drive slower and slower and slower, the trip gets longer and longer and longer!
  When I finally arrived, my driveway was missing! It was gone!
It had been swallowed up by 4 ft undergrowth and could not be deciphered from the 6 ft deep ditch on either side of my narrow passageway in to my cabin. The entire roadside was just a jungle mass of wildflowers, shrubs and willows that literally grew overnight.  I told my friend, this is where my drive is suppose to be. The light shade of a gray dawn were just a haze and we squinted our eyes trying to see any hint of a passage way. The rain beat down on the windshield and the steady rhythm of the wipers gave us intermittent views of clarity, but it was no use. I had to get out to feel with my feet and find terre ferme.  That was the moment when I was revived....The barrage of mosquitoes descended on me like a dust storm.
I couldn't breath, I couldn't see, and I was dancing and scratching and swatting and squashing the buggars by the millions! UGH! I jumped quickly back in the car having located the edge of the drive with my foot having felt through the vegetation. A quick prayer and some gas and I was past the car eating crevasse.
 I hate that driveway!  Quickly the cabin came into sight. Whew! Made it! So I thought...
I made up my mind to make a 1.3 second Olympic style sprint and entrance to the cabin which in my assessment should only let in about 450,000 mosquitoes.
A substantially smaller amount than what would be gathering in a horde outside the door. So, I grabbed the keys tightly in my hand and made the lightning dash to the door. I quickly and with great efficiency unlocked the padlock and.........
didn't open the door. I was being eaten alive,
I could feel myself going anemic and the sting of a million biting bloodsucking insects made me rethink our decision made so many months ago to screw the
heavy plank door shut with 5 inch lag screws. We were "securing" the cabin against the arrival of uninvited guests of both the 2 legged and 4 legged varieties. People and bears. Well, it obviously can keep people out my voice shouted in my head. My hands and face were swelling with gigantic welts. There were so many that I no longer itched, it was just the all encompassing hum of pain. I couldn't feel the new mosquitoes biting anymore as the bit areas of exposed skin was already swollen.  I could through my fatigue vaguely feel the shape of my face changing shape as I struggled through a sleepy mental fog trying to decide what to do about my predicament... How to get into the cabin.
    The cabin had been built with the idea of protecting it from the bears, so all the screws used in construction were large and long and required generator power and a power drill to remove them from the wood board and batten plank and plywood walls. The windows were small to conserve heat and high to make access for the bears more difficult. Since I didn't have a generator or a power drill outside the cabin at this point, the door was no longer an option for entrance, so I turned my attention to the lowest window.  The bottom of the window was about 6 feet up as the cabin was built up above the snowline on tall pilings. I had gone around the corner of the cabin and been out of sight of the vehicle for quite a while and I was now joined by my teenage son and my friend who were both wondering what I was doing that was taking so long.  What I was doing was assessing the best way to break into a cabin that had been designed to thwart just such endeavors!
     I determined that I could climb up on top of our wood pile and if I can stretch my legs far apart I might be able to reach the edge of the windowsill with a foot.  My teenage son suggested since he was taller and had longer arms and legs he might be able to reach the plywood that was screwed over the window and might be able to unscrew the smaller screws that fastened it to the frame. I handed him the screwdriver and in moments the board was off. However, the window was still shut and locked. It was an older window and had become worn out over the decades and was already vintage when we bought it to use on the cabin. We shimmied it back and forth in its track until it came out of its track and we were able to push it open and my son climbed in and made it look quite easy.
As I mentioned before, it is a very small window and a very high window and it was quite a stretch from the top of the wood pile to the window sill.  After a series of twists, bends, and stretching that would have impressed a contortionist, I was in!
 Now it was my friends turn. This might be a good time to mention that she is 71 years old (going on 19!)
and she was looking skeptically at her choices but in the end the mosquitoes were a very motivating factor.
She quickly made the decision to join us in the cabin and get some reprieve from in incessant buzz and biting of the demonic insects. Little did we know....

    We walked from the bedroom to the kitchen....Um, it used to be a kitchen.  It was a vision of some surreal paper mache piece of rogue art.
There was 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, 25 pounds of salt, several bottles of maple syrup...opened and now empty, 5 pounds of oatmeal, teabags, coffee, various canned goods, and bear poop all pasted in a sick concoction in a thick layer over everything.  The cabinets and cupboards had been torn from the walls and lay in unrecognizable splinters on the floor amongst the rubble. The shelves were knocked down and disheveled dumping their contents onto the heap.  Even in my sleepy fog it was not lost on me that had I walked around just one more corner of the cabin I would have been able to just "walk right in" where the wall was missing! It was completely open to the sky, the woods, and the fiendish mosquitoes. I was really starting to whine in my head to myself... "I just want to go to bed!!!" I was just this side of having a temper tantrum and bursting into tears similar to those of a typical toddler at nap time, except I wanted to go to bed!

 Well, there was nothing to do about that, sleep was to be hours away! First there was the firearm to be loaded. Then there was the piece of plywood that had been taken off the window that was used to hastily put over the hole in the wall. This involved getting the generator out of storage that had just a tiny amount of gasoline in it, with some quick tuning it soon roared to life and powered the drill to secure the patch to the wall with screws. It was an agonizing task with the concern of the bear at our back, and the flesh eating insects as thick as fog all around, penetrating all the openings of our bodies, our eyes, nose, ears and mouth and the ever present desire for sleep. (I had now been awake for 30 hours making my dexterity equal to that of about a 4 yr old). When that task was complete we turned our attention to a murderous spree of annihilating the droves of blood thirsty insects
that were plotting against us. We felt some measure of success when we would find less than 5 mosquitoes at a time on any given part of exposed flesh.  It was still just before dawn when we entered the cabin and so were unaware of the scope of destruction that was revealed as the dawn lightened the cabin. I have to admit that the catastrophe was impressive even by candlelight.  As we made headway in the extermination of the skeeters, the beds were starting to whisper my name  ever more loudly and persistently. Finally I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and flopped down. I laid there for about 4 seconds before I heard the first slight whining sound near my ear, then two, then three, soon the buzzing pitch was rising in measurable decibels. The sun was fully over the horizon now and the heat was building, it was humid from the rain and yet I pulled a fur blanket completely over me, over my head and face leaving just a small breathing hole.
It was a hot but safe refuge from the cloud of insects hovering over my now snoring carcass.  An earthquake could not have awakened me! I never want to make cabin repairs in the spring again! Going bear huntin', going bear huntin', going bear huntin', Got a score to settle and food to replace!


How a modern mountain man can earn real money while living in the wilderness....

There are SO MANY scams out there that target the stay at home person with "easy ways to make money" and they really are scams!!! ... But let me share a few not so easy, but successful, ways we and others produced income even while living in the wilderness. If you have a vehicle and access to a road system it improves your opportunities for earning cash but is not necessary.

When you live a wilderness or homesteading lifestyle you yourself are an item in demand in and of yourself. You possess something that is already in demand by others...knowledge, experience and information. You have already succeeded at something they wish to dream of or pursue. They will pay you for that information. Many folks homesteading remote areas of Alaska (Alaska has several publishing companies just for writers in alaska about alaska) writing books is an option.
   A.   - Poetry Fiction Non-Fict
   B.                          - Literature & Art
   C.                    - Non-Fiction
   D.  -Childrens books
   E.      - Poetry

You don't have to be a professional writer, many journal style books are very popular because of the content rather than the style. Many Wilderness Living diaries have been published with great success over the decades. It is the experiences themselves that are entertaining, informative, and interesting.  Alot like soda pop, its not the container it comes in thats so appealing, its whats in the bottle that is interesting.

We also use a lot of firewood for "projects" that pay by piece a whole lot more than firewood does.  We found there is a big available niche for simple hand made rustic furniture. No not log beds either. Not legs and post made with electric tools. Simple legs made from a hunk of log rounded to peg ends with a hatchet. Put into a slab of wood and called a garden bench, end table, patio tea tables and other stools and the like. Something you can not buy in a store. (See our homesteading pics) Farmers markets, Fairs, tourist stores etc are good places to sell these items. We happen to have internet at our homestead (we generate our own electricity and have satellite internet), so we have had good luck marketing these things on . Ps. That big 'ol stump will make nice wide table tops when slabbed, or as itself. The quality and longevity of usefulness of hand made solid wood furniture is not available in stores dealing in cheap imports. So your hand made items are in demand with little competition for quality. The public is hungry for "real" and "genuine" wood furniture. They are sick of plywood, chipboard and laminates.

We also make money from our food sources....
We make maple syrup and sugar for ourselves, but have been offered money many times for the syrup. Check out the maple syrup guys

Honey & comb, raised or from natural wild hives can also be sold. Although Wild hives are getting hard to find and bees are becoming endangered in many ares due to diseases brought into our country. Great care should be taken in not over harvesting the honey or too late into the season toward fall when the bees need the honey to survive the winter.

Jams sell at the farmers markets, and the fruits & berries are free for the taking along boat landings, public forests, along ditches etc. This includes; blueberries, huckleberries, black berries, red raspberries, blackberries, wild grapes, currants, cherries, dewberries, mulberries, elderberries, strawberries, autumn olive berries, apple & crabapple, rose hips and plums. Check local laws in your locale.

From our meat harvest we make money selling unedible parts like antler carvings, antler buttons, antler knife handles, antler coat hooks, antler knobs and cupboard handles, antler lamps, antler gun racks etc. We also sell the tanned hides, use the leather to make clothing, boots, gun sleeves, gloves & mittens etc. The fur from rabbit, fox, mink, skunk, coyote can be used to decorate many leather items, and as insulation for slippers, boots, gloves, etc. or the pelts can be sold on the internet ( , ) or to local fur buyers. The skulls, teeth, claws, feathers, hooves and bones are also sellable.

We also enjoy auctions, book sales, flea markets, second hand stores where we often find resellable items for resale on ebay for profit. At book sales we have bought books for 50 cents that we sold on ebay for $260 or at yard sales we've picked up book sets for $15 that sold on ebay for $150. Popular name brand items purchased second hand almost always resell for a profit on ebay from companies like Cabelas, Ambercrombie, and USA MADE tool companies such as Stanley and Snap-on. Some folks still dont like or use the internet so garage sales are still great areas to find resale items.

We get paid for sawdust and wood chips -sold for gardening, animal pens and pathways (a left over by-product of our wood working and cutting wood for our wood stoves)

Boards and lumber can be sold that are cut with an Alaskan chainsaw mill (one can be purchased for about $165 at Baileys online) and all things buildable with lumber like dog houses, rabbit hutches, bird houses, butterfly houses, bat houses, porch furniture, trellises, arbors, fences, gates and more. 

Animals surplus offspring can be sold to purchase food for the animals you keep, such as selling the chicks to buy feed for your egg layers. It is nearly impossible at todays feed prices to make a profit on a homestead animal farm. You are privileged to "break even" when it comes to animals. Manure can sometimes be sold in the spring to organic gardeners if you are near a populous.

There are side jobs that are of a handy man/woman variety that can be done NOT on a regular basis that folks will pay you for such as; rototilling gardens for others in the spring, plowing snow from drives in winter, selling firewood, mowing lawns, housecleaning, farrier work on goats and horses. Leaf raking in the fall etc. Dont be shy, charge a fair price. ($30/hr) is what we generally make. If they wanted to do it themselves they wouldnt be asking you, and when a person does not want to do something they are willing to pay to not do it!  (equipment upkeep gas & oil etc come out of that $30/hr)

Never throw away anything metal! A truckload of old metal stuff...washing machines, dryers, grills, car parts, lawn mowers, refrigerators, wheel rims, old rakes and shovels, old rusty barrels, kitchen food tin cans, broken bikes, pots and pans, hangers,wire, door handles, coffee cans, anything metal, rusted or not... doesnt matter...about $250 a truck load right now. (prices vary due to season and locale)

Internet re-marketing, buying cheap in bulk or wholesale from one site and reselling individually on other sites like and

Gunsmithing during the hunting season to hunters who are far away from home. Getting a license for this is not difficult. Word of mouth spreads quickly if you are honest and do good work. Guys that specialize in muzzle loaders have gotten overflow work from local gun shops during the seasonal rush.

There are traditionally feminine talents (and a few famous and not so famous men) who are talented in knitting and crocheting, pottery, weaving, spinning yarn, quilting, and painting that also pay well in specialty niches/markets. 

Gardening. Many small town and innercity groceries will pay for fresh produce organic or not. Usually you are paid by the pound and can find grocers who buy from you by making a simple phone call to the market or just showing up at their door with your produce. Cherry tomatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, green peppers, okra, melons, peaches, raspberries and blueberries are almost always sure sales. Expect $ per pound on small item, or by the piece for large items. The price is usually good since there is no middleman being paid.

Many of these activities involve "outings" which we also consider our "family entertainment", that produces money, rather than outings like movies,restaurants etc that "consume" money. These are the main ways we've known homesteaders to have made money through the years. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and be helpful in some way to you.

I'd love suggestions if any of you have had sure successes with other ideas, I'd love to hear about it!



     How to get a hot shower when living in the        wilderness or remote homestead.....


If you have always wanted to try homesteading off the grid, you will find some easy ideas here that will help you get started with minimal costs.  Many of these ideas you can try right where you live, RIGHT NOW!

OFF GRID Hot Water Showers ...

We have tried a few different ideas here, and there are definitely a lot of good ideas out there to be tried.  Since winter is the time that wood stoves are burning day and night for the most part, the wood burning stove is looked to for the main source of providing hot water.  Any large pot or pan works well for heating water. (Do not use aluminum pans as heated aluminum can produce carbon monoxide).  You should use stainless steel, enamel ware, cast iron etc.  We use a large turkey roasting pan and some exceptionally large coffee pots for heating water on the top of the wood stove.  Once the water is heated (about 30-40 minutes) it can be transferred to a camp shower (these can be purchased for about $10 at hardware stores, Wal-mart, K-mart, Cabela's or other similar stores which carry camping supplies.
This shower works on gravity feed so the lowest end of the bag and the tube and nozzle must be above your head for it to function properly.  This might not be a problem in the forest when you can find a high limb to hang it from but you may discover that your ceiling is not high enough to accommodate  the length of the bag & tube w/shower head. Another draw back of the camp shower idea is that the bag is vinyl so is difficult to handle when it is full because it is not rigid. It is difficult to lift high enough above your head to hang on a hook when it is full (5 gal.= 35+ pounds)

Another method we have used very successfully is a simple hand pump pressurized tree sprayer about 3 gallons.  You simply add the hot water, pump the handle several times and use the spray wand for showering. This is still our favorite method in our wilderness traveling and hunting camps where electricity of any major kind is not possible due to the carry weight of batteries.
The pump sprayer is very effective, offers high pressure spray from a stream to a mist at your own discretion by turning the nozzle. Its nearly fool proof and also provides a container for carrying water.

A better home-made set up can be made with a (36"L x 24"D)shelf about head high on the bathroom wall over your tub. On the shelf (a wide wire closet shelf or wooden if you have planks handy) place a ($5)plastic tote (cut down to about 12" deep) on the shelf. Place a tabletop submersible fountain pump in the tote with the tube and shower head from the camp shower.  Cut the tube to just 16" (usually the maximum height a cheap ($15) tabletop fountain pump can handle.) The pump comes with an electric on/off switch that goes from the pump, up and over the edge of the tote and hangs down outside the tote.  Once you have filled the tote with comfortably warm water, you simply turn on the little pump and you have a decent 10-15 gallon shower. When the water runs out you immediately flick the little switch and turn the little pump off.  The advantage to this set up is that the tote is stationary and you fill it from a smaller vessel such as a coffee pot or pitcher or similar container. So no heavy lifting is required.  Also, it can be set up much lower than your existing ceiling because it is not gravity fed, it is fed by the electric pump.  The pump also provides light pressure, it makes your shower feel much more like the showers you are accustomed to.  The pump is very tiny and uses very little energy easily run by very small solar panels or light wind power, or your outlet.  Because you are heating the water on your wood stove you have saved much cost by not running your electric/gas water heater day and night.  
 Some folks place copper tubing around the stove pipe either inside or outside the pipe and connect a garden hose to one end and run the other end into a regular hot water tank (disconnected from electric or propane, this is just for storing hot water produced by the wood stove)  
The tank should be located behind or off the the side area of the wood stove. Then they run a garden hose from the tank to the shower and this works on a draw system.  We opted out of this method due to the cost of the copper tubing. This set up offers a very permanent set-up for cold climates where the wood stove is often in use on a daily basis.

If you live in a very hot climate you can acquire some black garden hose, 300-500 ft and weave it back and forth across your roof or even on the ground where it gets full sun all day and run this series of end to end hoses to your hot water pipe with an on/off T pipe to your faucet at your shower, where it can be mixed with the water coming from your cold faucet to a comfortable temperature,
(the water in these hoses can get extremely hot) and sent up to the shower head via the normal plumbing path.   If you wish to be able to use both your new solar hot water and your conventional hot water from your electric or gas water tank then simply install another on/off T pipe between your conventional hot water pipe and the T for your solar hot water so that you can shut off or turn on your conventional hot water at will.  

Easy solar power ...

Solar power is an easy to use alternative energy.  With all the costs coming down on components as more companies enter the production market.  Small inverters to convert your Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current -used in automobiles, to (AC)-used in houses are very affordable and can even be purchased at low end stores like Wal-mart for $50-$80. The inverter goes between your charging device like your car battery or solar panel and the cord you will be using to run your household items.  Inverters can be purchased up to about 3000 watts at common tool type stores or off line.  As the wattage capacity goes up, so does the price.  We use a 5 watt solar panel and a 400 watt inverter to run all of our lights and a radio at our deer camp.  The car battery charges during the day from our solar panel and we run the inverter, lights and radio off the battery during the evening and night.