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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

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Jackie Clay

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our extended BHM family!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I hope the holiday brings joy and plenty of good homestead eats. Thanksgiving should also inspire us to count our many blessings. And even those of you who are having a difficult time right now always have plenty of things to be thankful for. I’ve found that simply starting to count them up when I’m struggling sure cheers me up!

I’m sure some of you were wondering what Will was doing while Bill, David, and I were cutting up Bill’s deer and canning it. He was putting up the windcharger that his son, Don, had found curbside in Alaska. Don worked it over, electrically, and found it did, indeed, charge. So Will built a pipe tower, and got a set of new blades and $160 worth of wire to wire it to our charge controller in the basement. David helped him get the mast up through the brackets Will had made and through the roof. On Sunday, with some help, Will went up on the roof of the storage barn (with a safety harness on!) and wired the charger and bolted it onto the mast. Then later, David helped him raise the mast so it was 40 feet above ground. We all waited for it to turn in the 15 mph breeze. No turning! Then the wind blew harder. No turning! Can you hear us sigh?

So yesterday, the mast was lowered and Will went up on the roof again, disconnected the charger, and lowered it by rope to the ground. Last night he took it apart and found that the bearings did go around but bound when shifted downward as would happen when the blades tried to turn.

Today, I was in Virginia and ordered the two necessary bearings from Motion Industries. They’ll be here Monday or Tuesday, so we’ll again give it a whirl. (No pun intended!)

You see, things don’t always go perfectly for us, just like it doesn’t for you. But we keep on trying and usually we can make things work. We ARE trying to get more “free juice” to our battery bank so we can run our generator less and we don’t have the cash to buy the best — or new. So we make do with what we can get hold of.

Enjoy your family on Thanksgiving and be thankful we all have each other!

13 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving to all of our extended BHM family!”

  1. Judy Hiatt Says:

    Just want to wish your Family a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and thank you for all Your shared information and stories. I look daily for anything new you may have posted.

  2. Clare and Roger Says:

    Hi Jackie,
    We live in Wales and have a pelton turbine for our electricity, designed and built by my husband. It will put out 18kva(i think) with all four nozzles open. But being a land of hills and rain we are blessed that way. But his brother, who lives down the valley from us uses a waterwheel and solar. Although fairly pricey to start with even a slow turning wheel gives a better return that wind if you have a water source. My husband and his brother built the waterwheel themselves and it substantially reduced the cost.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all our American cousins

  3. katherine jordahl Says:

    Happy thanksgiving to you and yours, and like the other post, thanks for the information you provide. Its much appreciated!

  4. Miss Iris Says:

    Stay focused on the end result! Will is going to figure all this out and when he does it will be great!

  5. Kim Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I’m thankful for your generosity in sharing your life with us. It keeps me inspired and dreaming of the day where I will have my own acreage to work.

  6. Joanna Wilcox Says:

    Hi Jackie, I don’t comment often but always look for your posts first and I’m a subscriber to Backwoods Home. Wish my husband was as handy as Will :-). I’m certainly thankful for you, you’ll never know what a strong influence you have been in my life. Guess what family and friends are getting for Christmas gifts this year? heirloom seeds! with writeups and descriptions on when to plant and care. Inexpensive but yet meaningful gifts for me to give, don’t know that the receivers will “get it” but… :-)
    Take care Jackie, Joanna

  7. Sandy A. Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to visit with us on this special day. Your encouragement is always welcome. Blessings.

  8. Nancy Says:

    Will is a keeper for sure!!!

  9. anointedma Says:

    Thank you and Will for sharing your lives with all of us..Hope to meet you some day..God bless you and your family…MA

  10. jackie clay Says:

    Clare and Roger,

    We would like to use water power, but unfortunately, we only have a very slow moving stream quite a ways from the house and it freezes to the bottom in the winter (we get temps of -35 F every winter). So it’s wind and solar for us, a little at a time as we can afford it.


  11. jackie clay Says:


    I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. We did and are still snacking on goodies I baked. It started snowing hard Thanksgiving evening and we ended up with five inches and the temps dropped to five degrees! After fifty above, THAT’S cold to the bone! I guess winter’s here.


  12. Margie Buchwalter Says:

    What is your opinion of the pellet stoves? It’s not economical or practical for us to have a woodburning stove anymore. I am getting mixed reviews from people. We live in southwest Ohio and it doesn’t get super cold, but cold enough. It’s our first year in our new home and it is killing me listening to the propane furnace come on, even though we have it set around 65. We will ge through this year with the furnace, but need to decide what we can do for the future. Also looking at the room it will take inside the house, which is much smaller than we’ve had in the past. Moved and downsized. :) Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  13. jackie clay Says:


    Before buying and installing a pellet stove, I’d suggest talking to some local folks who do have one. Ask what their monthly heating season pellet costs run. These stoves are nice and can be economical, IF there are pellets available at a reasonable cost. Remember that there is some regular maintenence required for them (cleaning, etc.). Propane isn’t cheap but it’s cheaper than fuel oil. sometimes instead of installing a new stove, you can save a huge amount by investing on more insulation, newer windows, storm windows, calking, etc. I’d check this out first while you’re talking to folks about their pellet stoves.


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