Tuesday, 19 February 2008


We did our time as nomads in a couple Winnies. We still have a Tioga
and a Chinook. We raised two welps without death or major crime.

In our experience the real problem with a baby is heat. If you have
good heat you can make do while you deal with the rest.

We have found no small scale solar anywhere near effective for space
heating up here above the 40th parallel. The woman who does will be
the one Bill Gates goes to for a loan.

We have 3 Toyo heaters in our trailer and would strongly advise you
not to use them in the same air space as your child. We use them only
in emergencies. In an emergency we evacuate the child ASAP.

We used to flip an old cast iron skillet over a burner to heat up in
the morning but again that is not good for baby.

If you can put in the fireboard and do a safe job the wood stoves
built for wall tents work great but they are scary as hell. Don't put
one between you and the door.

We have slept in tents with a box of hot rocks and been very
comfortable and safe. Not real eco friendly but if you have a back for
it we recommend it. It works and is safe for baby if hard on Dad.
Don't use river rock.

Our Winnies had combo heater/reefer units made by Electrolux and were
very safe and function-able so you might be willing to pay for the fuel
if you don't want to adapt. There is a small danger to baby but
nothing near Toyo's and the rest.

A propane fridge is an oxymoron as far as we are concerned. We
frequently go over a hundred F.
We use to this day coolers and ice in an adaptation cycle.
If you do the maths you will be able to decide if it is worth it to
you. For us solar powered cold creation is not cost effective at small
scales any where it gets hot.
We used/use the fridge for mouse proof storage.

We have and still use semi daily a "turkey" cooker propane stove. It
boils up a big pot of water in less time than a cup of tea. You will
want more hot water now. We paid $28 for it at a hardware store and a
propane tank gives us baths and wash water for about 40 days. With a
baby probably about 30.

We use the sawdust bucket method from the Humanure guy. We didn't mean
to. We were just using it while we built our composting toilet. It
works so well we just kept using it. It is by far the best way to go.

Diapers will be a problem. Washing them in the woods is no more eco
friendly than composting disposables. You can save a lot of time
composting. We gave up and used disposables and froze them in bags in
the winter and dumpstered them when we went to town. We composted them
and even tried to burn them. There just wasn't an easy way to deal
with it.

Grandpa used to say
"The surest way to get rid of your wife is to move her to the woods".

In our experience if you want to keep sane and married you need to
make sure you have SPARE rain shelter, heat, something hot to drink, a
hot wash up and clean underwear. In that order.
Everything else is extra and negotiable.

Make your man get you a REALLY comfortable chair that rocks and one of
the soft tummy carriers so you can free up your hands.
Make him deal with the diaper disposal.
If he loves you he will buy you a big wash tub and care for baby while
you have a hot soak twice a week.
Get a good tent you can stand in, a tarp big enough to cover the tent,
a 100' nylon cord, a good stout knife, a cot to keep you and baby off
the ground, a cold weather bag and a space blanket. Practice putting
the tent up with baby on your tummy. You need to know you can do it alone.
Get a double burner propane stove and lantern and a case of those
little propane bottles.
Get a half dozen NEW five gallon buckets with proper lids and put
clean dry SPARE underwear and baby clothes/towels/blankets/diapers in.
Fill one with paper plates and disposable forks and the like and
another with instant drinks and tinned food.
Don't leave out stuff, don't cheap out because you think you will
never use it.
Put the stove, lantern, tarp, tent, propane, line, knife and a roll of
trash bags in a big plastic tote box.

This is all EXTRA. You don't use it except in emergencies.
It is a $250 insurance policy for your domestic tranquillity. If you
never need it good on you. If like us you find the woods throw you a
few unexpected parties you will be happier. As in less unhappy.

After all these years we still have our bucket full of plastic forks
and such. We have raided it once or twice. We still have the stove(s)
and lantern and tent. We added an air mattress two years ago. We
switch out the propane canisters every year when we go camping
elsewhere and we have changed out the food but we still keep our
"Spares". We have only had to use the stuff a few times in all these
years but they have made the difference between living in the woods
and visiting.

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