Homestead Systems Update

Trailer Skirt

The trailer skirt is working out incredibly well! By mid-December we have had several cold snaps — nights below zero and days with highs in the low 30s — and have not yet had to put heat lamps under the travel trailer. We did get some sturdy Reflectix to go inside the trailer skirt, and I think that is the key.

A couple of hitches in the system so far:

The Velcro did not hold. I have turn buttons on order to screw into the trailer siding and fasten with grommets on the tarp. More pics and info when that is accomplished. For now, my 40-pound tent weights, Johnny tank, and bicycle are holding down the tarps. When the wind blows, I have to run around and re-position Reflectix and some of the tarp, but it’s pretty much staying put.

I also heat-taped the sewer valves. Even though our waste tanks are enclosed underneath, insulated, and heated by our central heating ducts, the valves are exposed, and even the skirting is not preventing freeze-up. The heat tapes are though, so no problem dumping the tanks so far, even in the cold snaps. I also charge the tanks with a 2-cup salt to 1-gallon water mixture in each tank after dumping. I use the water softener salt and try to get it mostly melted in hot water before dumping it in. Salt keeps the liquids slushy down into the 20s. So between that and the heat tapes, I’ve had no freezes so far.

Small Space Composting

The small-space compost system is still happening. My initial winter truck-bed garden/greenhouse did not survive the sub-zero dips, and I have not yet set up an indoor system. Still working on that plan.

Off-Grid Laundry

My 5-gallon bucket washer is real handy. I have made some upgrades, but it remains very labor-intensive. I look forward to the day when a small, Panda-type “spin dryer” works its way into the budget. It will fit just as nicely in the RV as in the house and relieve my back and shoulders of that extra burden. I’m cheating a lot when we driveway surf and use our hosts’ facilities.

That’s a quick update on systems. Hope you enjoy your holidays, and stay warm!

Escape the City and Thrive: Book 2 — Milking the Wild Goat or How to Set up your Homestead is finally available! Download the PDF for just $1.99 on the website, linked below. You may also purchase a PDF version of Escape the City and Thrive: Book 1 — How I Did It and How You Can, Too! for only $1.99. All proceeds will help me get the full, 3-book volume to print! Sign up for my weekly or so newsletter while you’re there.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep up with our adventures in mobile homesteading at Mrs. D’s Traveling Homestead, where we also offer soaps, lotions, books, and pet items for sale to support ourselves.

  • Published on Dec 15, 2016
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