Tag: eco lifestyle

Homesteader’s Guide to COVID-19 Social Distancing

No doubt, you’ve been hearing about the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus with flu-like symptoms that are currently sweeping the world. At this point in the infection’s progress, no location is considered safe. However, millions of people are not yet infected and may never get infected. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to practice a procedure coined “Social Distancing”. Read on for the Homesteader’s Guide to COVID-19 Social Distancing.

Social distancing means limiting your physical contact with other people and avoiding places where many other people have been. Fortunately for us, this is something homesteaders are ready to handle. After all, widespread illness is one of the many things worth preparing for when building a self-sufficient home.

As a homesteader, here’s a complete run-down of how your whole family safely practice social distancing to limit the spread of infection into your home.

Avoid Highly Populated Areas and Buildings

Anywhere that people gather like transport stations, stores, and schools have become infection hubs. Stay away from them whenever possible. Travel alone or only with members of your household, with whom you already share most immunities and illnesses by default. Avoid grocery stores, markets, schools, community centers, and even busy intersections where people pass close enough to potentially brush shoulders. This is the overarching concept for the Guide to COVID-19 Social Distancing.

Cancel or Postpone Social Events

Unfortunately, community and team events will need to be canceled until the epidemic passes. Talk to your whole family about canceling and not attending events. If you are a host or part of a planning committee, it’s your responsibility to protect everyone else by sending out cancellation messages. If hosts of an event you know about haven’t canceled yet, get in touch to help everyone keep a safe distance for now.

Organize No-Contact Grocery and Supply Deliveries

Of course, you still need groceries and other supplies, and so do your neighbors. It is no longer safe for people to come to stores and markets to stock up. But no-contact deliveries are safe. If someone comes to your gate and leaves a crate of groceries, you can retrieve that crate after they have gone. If both of you use gloves and/or disinfectant, you will be safe. Even families in quarantine can receive supplies this way.

To organize a network of no-contact supply deliveries. Use plastic crates at some distance on your porch or by the front gate and arrange for digital payments, whether you’re buying from neighbors or local shops. Anyone healthy and available can take first-responder contributions by in-store order shopping and driving deliveries, wearing masks and gloves to limit contact.

Disinfect Shared Surfaces Before (& After) Use

Any shared surface, at home or out in public, should be constantly disinfected between uses. It is important to limit even indirect contact between two people. Even in your household, if one person brings it in but the strain is weak, limited contact can keep the rest of the family safe. And, of course, disinfecting before touching anything outside the home will prevent you from picking up COVID-19 and bringing it into the family.

Consider wearing a mask and gloves if you need to visit a place where there are many shared surfaces or people must gather during this pandemic.

Keep All Your Animals On-Property and Do Not Accept Outside Animals

On rare occasions, coronavirus can spread to animals, and animals can give it to people. So as a homesteader, it’s important to also keep your animals isolated from those on other properties. Because the transfer is rare, it is unlikely your animals have already been infected. However, if an animal has recently visited another property, you may want to isolate it and limit contact for 14 days. Do not allow your animals to leave the property intentionally or unintentionally, and do not allow outside animals to enter your property.

Secure Your Fences and Post Property Warnings

Speaking of unintentional property wandering, secure your fences. Make sure every fence and gate is doing its job properly and is secured shut. If you haven’t already, place signs letting any human wanderers know that they have reached your property line and to turn back. This will help maintain the mild quarantine that is currently limiting the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Stand 3+ Feet Away from Others

Finally, when you do have to meet others and at home with family, stand at least three feet apart. This is the range that the virus can travel in small particles off of the body. Limit physical contact, if possible, especially with at-risk family members like the young, elderly, or immuno-suppressed.

Here at House & Homestead, we know that keeping your family safe is a top priority. Social distancing is currently the best way to do that, by completely limiting your family’s physical contact with others who might be infected. Fortunately, the internet provides us with ways to organize and stay connected, though we cannot currently meet in person. Get in touch with your community and make sure everyone is getting supplies and knows how to social-distance safely to limit the spread of this infection. Thank you for reading this Guide to COVID-19 Social Distancing, if you found it valuable please share with your friends, family, and loved ones.

How to Choose the Right Wood-Burning Stove

The idea of curling up next to a roaring fire is very appealing. So is the notion of being able to heat your home or cook during a power outage. Wood stoves heat very efficiently, and can also make your home feel cozier. What factors should you consider when buying one? Check out how to choose the right wood-burning stove for your homestead for all you need to get started.

1. Choose a Size and Rating

The size of the wood stove is very important. The U.S. Department of Energy states that a stove rated at 60,000 BTUs is capable of heating up to 2,000 square feet, but one that is rated at 42,000 BTU will only heat a 1,300 square foot area.

To heat a 2,000 square foot home, you’ll need a firebox that’s between 2.0 and 2.5 cubic feet. One that is only 1.5 cubic feet might be better for heating a smaller home or even a cabin.

2. Consider your Floor Plan and Layout

A wood stove can better heat open spaces because there are fewer partitions blocking the warm air. Even so, you can often heat a two-story home just as efficiently as you can a single-story residence, since warm air rises.

Consider whether you will use your appliance as a primary source of heat or only for supplemental warmth. You should also decide if the stove will be used to heat only one or two rooms or your entire home. Only then will you be able to choose the right size appliance to fit your needs.

3. Decide between a Fireplace Insert and Wood Stove

There are basically two types of stoves: a fireplace insert and a freestanding wood stove. A fireplace insert is designed to fit inside an existing fireplace box. A freestanding stove, on the other hand, can be placed nearly anywhere.

Choose a fireplace insert if you would like to increase the functionality of your fireplace and reduce the amount of heat loss through your chimney. Go with a wood stove if you do not have an existing fireplace or want more flexibility as to where you can place it.

4. Compare Catalytic vs. Non-Catalytic Stoves

A catalytic stove contains a device similar to that of the catalytic converter found in your car. Accordingly, catalytic stoves produce fewer emissions than their non-catalytic cousins.

The Department of Energy also reports that a catalytic stove or insert can have a Higher Heating Value (HHV) of up to 83%. At the same time, they work most efficiently when they have a fire burning at “full throttle.” This means you may not achieve the same efficiency if you only burn small fires. A catalytic stove will also contain more mechanical parts that will eventually need to be replaced.

5. Compare Pellet Fuel vs. Wood

Stoves may burn either firewood or wood pellets. Some pellet stoves may even burn other types of organic waste such as corn or cherry pits.

Both pellets and firewood will provide you with amazing warmth. Nonetheless, a pellet stove is often less expensive than a wood-burning appliance, and can sometimes be directly vented when there is no chimney or flue. Consequently, you could save quite a bit of money on installation.

With a pellet stove, you will need to purchase bags of pellets at a farm or hardware store. During a winter storm, stores often run out of wood pellets, making them extremely difficult to find. So you may need to lay in a supply of them ahead of time if you decide to go this route.

Another option would be to install a wood stove but purchase an optional pellet basket. In this way, you can switch between burning regular firewood and wood pellets as needed.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider when purchasing a wood stove that will ensure you are well prepared for anything. Keep the above tips for how to choose the right wood-burning stove for your homestead in mind in order to simplify the process.

Don’t miss these tips to keep your wood fire burning longer.