How on earth do I live here?!


I get my drinking water from a well.

For the washing and drinking water that I use inside the house, I carry water in a bucket. I usually use one or two buckets a day.

For washing myself, I have a solar shower. I haven’t used it yet, so it’s only in theory so far. :op But it will probably be quite useful as it gets warmer and sunnier.

I normally use cold water for everything, but if I should need hot water, I can heat it either in the solar shower or on the stove.

In the toilet, there is a nice faucet system: a canister of water on a shelf, from where a pipe leads the water into a little faucet over the sink.

For part of the garden water, I collect rain water from the roof.

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Waste and sewage:

The waste water from the kitchen and toilet sinks go into big containers like this, which are filled with gravel and sand that filters the water and eventually lets it into the ground.

All compostable waste, including the contents of the compost toilet, go into the compost heap. There, it is allowed to rot into compost for at least one year before I grow food in it.

When I buy groceries I take care not to buy products with too much packaging, unless I can use it (like glass and some plastic containers). The little waste I do produce (mainly plastics) I bring to the appropriate place for recycling. Waste paper goes into the stove or the compost.

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Heat and cooking:

This wood/coal burning stove is what heats my home. I also cook on it. (I find it terribly wasteful to build wood stoves that you can’t cook on!)

As burning material I use dry waste wood that is lying around here (not least the old boards from the wall that I replaced). When it runs out I’ll get wood briquets.

Now it’s still chilly at night, so it’s nice to heat it up in the evening and cook a warm meal on it. When it will get too hot to heat the stove, I will either use my alcohol cooker or a solar cooker (I’ll make something like this, but a bit bigger).
There is a gas cooker here already, but since I don’t have a car, there is just no way I can haul around the canister to refill it.

* * *


The only thing I really need electricity for is my computer. It’s a 90 Watt beast of a laptop, so I needed a big solar panel for it.

This is a portable 130 W solar panel that you can fold up and carry around in a bag (yeah right, since it weighs about 16 kg). In the evening or when I go away I fold it up and bring it inside.

There is some stupid law that you can’t install a solar system bigger than 100 W on a garden/weekend house in Germany, but 100 W wouldn’t be quite enough for my computer. I hope this portable solution is okay.

When I moved in, there was already a small solar panel that powered the inside lights. I wasn’t sure if I could have both panels connected to the car battery at the same time, so to be safe I only have one connected at a time.

Edit: Okay, now I connected them both at the same time, and nothing exploded. So now I have electricity for both my computer and the interior lights. Wheee …

I should note that the battery’s capacity is a bit low, and it can’t support my computer running all day. Only for a couple of hours.

The portable solar panel has a regulator in it, and from there a cable is connected with alligator clips onto a car battery. The car battery has a cigarette lighter, where I put a cigarette lighter adapter which goes into my computer.

I have mobile Internet, and it works quite well for smaller things. But when I need to upload or download big files I need to go to an Internet cafe or a friend’s place. :o/

Luckily the city is only by average one hour away. When I get my next paycheck I’ll buy a better bike, so maybe it will be even closer …

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When I go to a city apartment after spending some time here, I am usually shocked by how comfortable it is to just open a faucet and get hot water just like that, or turn a knob and voilà, your apartment is warm. Not to mention that one of my big weaknesses (besides doggies, piggies, hairy men and cucumbers) is warm showers.

Still, I like to be self-sufficient and to have more control over all the things I use. When it takes some effort to get things like water and heat, I value it more. And so, I get joy from really stupidly simple things like when my home or my food is warm, or when I drink water.

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Bonus greenhouse photos:

Strawberries with beans and peas (waiting to move onto the wall of the trailer once it’s a bit warmer), Chinese cabbage, radishes, ruccola and spinach, all sprouting.

Lavender, pumpkin and Tatar bread plant waiting to sprout:

Cucumbers already sprouting:

* * *

The next entry will actually have something to do with comics …

In the meantime, enjoy the theme song of my home:

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2 Responses to “How on earth do I live here?!”
  1. Valentin says:

    Ah, but that solar panel looks really handy. How much does one cost in Germanland?

    I have to admit, if I ever get my house in the woods, I’d try to find one that has the well connected to the indoors via piping… Heating is one thing, carrying water another…

  2. Tinet says:

    I got the panel for about 380 € (shipping included) on eBay from a Chinese company that sadly was shut off eBay for some reason. :o(

    Heh, I don’t think carrying water is the hardest part of living here. :o) Maybe sawing firewood is the most annoying thing. But anyway, both of those chores make me use my muscles, so I don’t atrophy completely at my desk jobs …