Mosquito Mountain Montana HomesteadOne of our major goals when moving to our homestead was to be as self-sufficient as possible. We want to be able to live comfortably without outside resources or dependence upon anything that cannot be produced locally.

This doesn't mean we shun everything that is "modern," nor do we reject modern technology. We have solar-powered electricity to power our electric refrigerator, computers, television, Blue Ray player, electric lights, fans, grain mill, and dozens of other modern appliances, tools and vehicles. However, we have back-up systems to provide for our every need that have no dependence on any modern power source.

We haul all of our drinking water and utilize captured and stored rain water for the rest of our needs. Therefore, even though we have an automatic washer, we use it only when water is plentiful. Even when recycling the rinse water for the wash cycle, it uses prodigious amounts of water, normally requiring 80 gallons of water for three loads of clothing. Plus it requires electricity to run.

Despite the water waste and convenience, it doesn't get clothes clean unless you also use a dryer. During the spin cycle on an automatic washer, your clothes act as a filter to trap lint and dirt. A dryer will tumble the clothes, shaking off the lint from the wash and trapping it in the dryer filter. If you hang your clothes to dry like we do that lint is dried into the fabric. So even though we have an automatic washer, we use it only occasionally.

We've entertained the idea of purchasing a wringer washer, but new ones are pricey and often cheaply made, and used ones tend to be well-used with a short life expectancy. The other thing is that a wringer washer still needs electricity to operate. So even if we had one we'd still want something else for a self-sufficient back-up.

You can peruse the Lehman's catalog and do some searching on the web, but human-powered versions of wringer washers are spendy and not much better than our method. There are those that operate using small gas engines, but then we're back at square one regarding self-sufficiency.

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