I posted more indepth on my sister blog http://www.solidityofrainbows.blogspot.com/ and I apologize for those following that I didn't do it here. I forget that some things are actually farm/homestead related more than my general BS I put on the other site. I'll try and sumarize best I can and add more than what I posted there.
We've been contemplating going off grid, if it's do-able and the benefits/cons on it all. I think I definately want some solar power, possibly convert some appliances to propane and definately have a wood burning source of heat. We're just not sure if that's all we'll have. Remember, we're in FL. It's hot, AC is a must.
I bought a Kill A Watt meter yesterday off Amazon so we can go around and figure out what is being a major energy drain both on and off. We can then decide about keeping the item, limiting the use or replacing with something more efficient. If we find things that have high drains during standby there's a nifty little thing called Bye Bye Standby which is a remote "switch" that you plug in and it'll turn off/on your stuff. Brilliant. And cheap.
In other news we bought our house plans! http://www.countryplans.com/ has very nice, practical, inexpensive plans that have actually been built by actual people. Not contractors or builders. On weekends. With no mortgage. Seeing the progress of the homes done sometimes by people that have no building skill at all is amazingly inspiring. We chose the 20x34 Universal and will lengthen it to 38' with a living attic. We're still working on the floor plans right now. I have a 3D home design software coming too so we can work out the interior layout more specifically.
We're also planning on the shipping container delivered and land to be cleared later this month. What's holding us back is figuring out how we're going to get up there to do this. It's a three hour drive one way. It will most likely be a 2 day project. Do we rent a hotel and then one of us just hang out with the kids there or do we possibly buy a used RV trailer and bring that up with us. Problem with the RV trailer is that anything large enough to sleep all of us is too large to be pulled by either of our vehicles. Going with a self propelled model gives us another motor to worry about. We were going to go with converting a used school bus but the cheap buses you could find years ago have apparently disappeared, finding anything in the 40' range below or around $2k is almost impossible. Then there's the work on converting it. Something that won't happen by the time we want to get the container delivered.
But we've come this far and something will fall into our laps that will be the perfect solution to what we need to get this done. If it takes a few extra weeks, that should be okay but we have materials that are sitting that we'd like to get moved over that way.
Cross your fingers for us and if anyone is in Florida and has a trailer, shipping container or school bus for sale send us a shout!