First: we cut back on how much power we use. That means when Scott watches his cartoons he uses his portable DVD player instead of the television and Blue Ray player. It means we use only two, lower watt, lights at night. We use one in the living area and one in Scott's room (where his porta- pottie resides). We spend less time on computers and more time reading, playing cards or board games or doing other, non-electric things. This includes more play time with Scott using his blocks, Legos and other non-electric toys. We are normally pretty frugal in our electricity usage anyway but we cut out all non-essentials on cloudy days. We've even been known to light up the kerosene lamps on extended spells of cloudy days.
Second: we run the generator if the batteries get too low. It's not good for the batteries to be drawn down too deeply or to remain in a discharged state for long. We'll use the generator to recharge the battery bank when it's low and the extended forecast is for more cloudy days. If we can hit three hours of good sunlight during the day it's enough to completely recharge our battery bank. Some days (especially in the spring and fall) we just don't get three hours of sunlight! One gallon of gasoline gives us around five hours run time on the small (4000 watt) generator. That's long enough to recharge the battery bank using the fast charger.
Third, we go to bed earlier and get up later!
Some of the things we really enjoy on low power nights are the hours Susan plays the piano (or her guitar or violin or my banjo). This time she's playing Christmas hymns and songs. It was great listening to her.
While she was doing that I had been doing some repairs on my camouflage hunting overalls. I used my old Singer treadle sewing machine then when I finished with that Scott got to play with it. I do the same with him that my grandmother used to do for us. I removed the needle and all the thread and let him have fun. We used to play with her machine for hours and he does the same with mine. While he was doing that I had some buttons to sew on.
We had a bear come to visit early in the morning. The dog heard it knock over the trash can then ran the bear off. I had to clean up the mess!
Susan canned up some apple pie (the six jars on the left). The details are in her Poverty Prepping blog. They taste great. The crust is like the crust on the bottom of the pie pan on a regular pie.
She also canned up some Baby Lima beans for me.
This is apple cobbler that she canned. The canned deserts are for use when we travel or just want a fast snack. It's a lot easier to just open a can than to bake a pie or cobbler from scratch.
Scott was hamming it up for the camera.
He hasn't been feeling too well the last couple of days. It appears that he has a cold. Susan and I had been outside working and when we came in to check on him he was sound asleep in his carefully arranged bed in a plastic crate near the wood stove.
The newest addition to our clan. This is Scott's little brother, Benjamin. Mom and baby are both doing fine.
For dinner Susan made buns to go with the canned hamburger patties.
I'm near completion on my next book, The Prepper's Guide to Alternative Weapons (One). It will cover muzzle loading firearms, air guns, crossbows, and handheld bows and arrows. The second book will cover the lesser known things like slings, boomerangs/throwing sticks, atlatls, etc.
This and the rest of the photos and drawings are sneak previews of what's in it.
Replica Remington 1858 revolver with target sights.
Close up view of the cylinder with safety notches.
Crosman Model 1322 pump type pellet pistol with shoulder stock.
Illustration of arrow angles on a non-center shot riser compared to a center shot riser.
Different angles of the arrow at different draw lengths with a non-center shot riser.
Photo showing how a center shot bow is designed.
Split tip on an aluminum arrow.
Arrow shortened, de-burred and ready for insert to make this into a crossbow bolt.
Modification to a broadhead insert in order to make it fit a nock made for a traditional arrow. (In preparation to fletch the shaft.)
Nock glued to modified broadhead insert.
Modifying broken wood arrows for use in a crossbow.
The book is going to cover the four types of weapons listed with evaluations of each from a prepper's standpoint. After months of working on it, it should be finished an less than two weeks.