Happiness is low kilowatt use and a spy reports in!

I’m not actually saving all that much money yet on the wood stove. I’m still making the payments on the loan as well as adding some hardwood. I sort of figured on those items as well as a bit of a learning curve on what wood to buy and how everything would work out in the long run. With that being said I have cut my electric use in half or more this winter so far and even with this early cold snap the wood stove is doing great!  One of my goals for 2014 is paying off the stove early and to keep adding hardwoods through the year so that my woodpile is ready and paid off before the winter heating season begins next year. A part of my planning consists of there will be things I don’t plan for and it will add anywhere from 10-30% to the cost of my plans.  It’s not perfect but usually the surprises are pleasant ones rather than those that leave you scrambling when you underestimate costs.

My spy reported in and one of my niece’s and family don’t have a grill. It’s probably silly that when I think of a grill or BBQ I think of family and friends getting together but to me that is sort of a cornerstone of family and community. Plus it gives the kids a way of cooking that is not grid dependent.  Anyway my spy pumped them for info and seems to think they would love a little gas grill. So I will hit up Dad and see if we can deliver the grill next week or sometime this month for an Xmas present to them.  It’s a very nice free standing Char Broil gas grill that I cleaned up and repainted so it looks almost new.  I’m still deciding if I want to give them a full propane tank to go with it. I will have to see if I can replace the tank in a reasonable amount of time even if they blow me off. I’m not so worried about the “adults” but they have a little one and making sure the kid gets a hot meal is important to me!

I tried out one of the Bear Creek soup mixes and I have to say it was pretty good. My Mom says if you can find the soup mix under two dollars each it is a bargain and I agree.  Two meals for a family four for under two dollars is a bargain and since most of the mixes only need water they would make a very simple and quick meal for almost anyone to prepare.  What I’m going to do is repackage the mix for single servings and add them to my GHB and BOB but a family could easily use half a package of mix if they needed to bug out. I don’t think you can overestimate just how much a hot meal can mean to you mental well being when things are tough. Since you have time to plan ahead I think you should try and make things as easy as possible because if bad times hit you need every advantage you can make for yourself.



8 Responses to Happiness is low kilowatt use and a spy reports in!

  1. LeeAnn says:

    Its nice of you to share/gift the grill to your relative. However, if they are not of a prepping mindset, they could easily not even think of using the grill in a shtf situation. Or they might not have food available. Still all you can do is what you can do and leave the rest to them.

    • Jamie says:

      LeeAnn you are so right. Many folks in the NE during Sandy let food rot in the fridge and never even considered putting the food outside in a cooler on the balcony or window. It simply never occured to them.

      They live near me so I can walk over a charity bucket I have setup that will last a week or two so that takes care of the food and I have a dolley for moving water along with a small indoor propane stove so it would not be to hard to get them through a minor emergency even in winter. Fuel is the bottle neck, at best the heat stove would last about 5-7 days depending on outside temps and how well the home is insulated.

      It’s tough enough to try and prepare yourself but when you add in other family members and their households it get’s really hard, really fast! All a person can do is the best they can and hope it is enough!

  2. Gill says:

    I really like that soup mix but it is so full of sodium that it makes me thirsty. I don’t know why they feel like they have to salt it down so much. If you can get it under 3 dollars around here it is a good deal.

    • Jamie says:

      Gill I didn’t notice the Chipolte soup being salty but then again I added some leftover beef from fajitas that were very spicy. I’m also a bit of a salt feind and would much rather have a salty snack than a sweet one.

  3. There are a few of those bear creek soup mixes I pick up whenever I see em on sale as well. I have noticed a few of them do need to be cooked a bit longer than suggested, especially the ones with potatoes in em.

    Saving is always good!!!

    • Jamie says:

      Pioneer; I haven’t gotten a lot of the freeze dried stuff so many get mostly because of the up front costs. I think these soups are going to get added into my sood storage as I find them on sale.

  4. I’ll say it’s a bargain when you can find Bear Creek that cheap. It is almost $5.00 a package at our Walmart. My mom gets it in California and sends it to me because she can get it for between 2 and 3 dollars a packet.

    I got my electric bill today. After all this sleet, snow, frost , ice and low temps, I was lucky to get off at just under $200.00. I have to heat the apartment and the enclosed portion of the barn, and the shop to protect the pipes and because I’m out there a lot, and most of the time I use electric oil heaters to do it. In the main house I use propane wall heaters, and that’s not cheap either. But using the fireplace and the wood stove full time is hard work The kind of work that never ends. 😦

    • Jamie says:

      Harry:I got lucky with this house as the pipes are in the ground and the ground stays warm year round. Lots of hot springs in this area.
      The wood stove is a bit more work though cutting up the mill ends is pretty easy compared to cutting trees and splitting logs. I really like using the fruit wood from the local orchards as they burn a long time and require very little cutting to fit my stove. I’m glad I splurged on getting a better wood stove because it heats better and I don’t have to feed it quite so often!

      In Jan. this year we had a cold snap similar to this one and after getting a huge power bill I decided I’d get the wood stove some way or another. While it is costing a bit more money and physical work up front I’m still very happy with my purchase.

      I figured that this year I would be learning how to use the stove and making a few mistakes along the way. But next winter I should have everything ready ahead of time and be much easier to use the stove and I will have everything paid off.

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