Now that we are into December with the temperatures dropping, and the sun not shining quite as intensely as in the warmer months-- our not-very-fancy-but works-great-up-until-now- hot water system isn't as effective. You can't just leave a hose in the sun for a few hours and have scalding hot water. Nor can we leave our solar shower bag in the sun and have piping hot water.
Its the time of the year that "off grid" folk without backup hot water systems hate. When I describe our plight to other "off grid folk" around here, they look with understanding in their eyes. They become nostalgic. "Oh yes, I remember when we first moved up here"...usually followed by some description of washing up in the stream before going to work or building a fire to heat water.
We do have a tiny propane stove. Pit baths have become a staple. Washing hair in the sink seems luxurious. At work yesterday I told our Creative Therapist about this challenge. She just smiled dreamily and said: "that sounds like so much fun!"
And it is!
(Although Joni told me last night that she was cursing me while she filled the tub with hot water from the stove; wishing she had a hot water heater and that I was carrying the pots of hot water. This from a woman who lived in the Rocky Mountains, in the winter, in a teepee?)
Boiling gallons of water on the stove so that the girls can take a bath needs to be done with the attitude of FUN! We all are reasonably clean. The effort involved is part of the adventure. If it was good enough for my Grandparents, it is good enough for me.
So why not just go out and buy a hot water heater? Well, there are other big ticket items we need to buy first (and money is becoming tighter). We would rather get through these few months with a wood coil hot water system from the wood stove. The problem is that we have neither. And the addition needs to be done before we get the wood stove.
So for now it is pit baths and boiling water time. Chores. You have to love doing chores! And appreciate the fact that we have the time to partake in such. Glory in it! Revel in it! Be content with less.
A Homestead isn't built in a day...or a month...or a year. We have other benefits that more than make up for turning a knob and having hot water pour out of the spigot.