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Airing Dirty Laundry

Quick update to the previous post about the safety of off-grid life & answering a couple questions we’ve gotten since…

I am now of the belief that the child welfare referral was someone who knew or should have known that their allegations were patently false & that it was an attempt to find something to use to provide an advantage in a potential custody hearing. Of course, this did not work as we have all necessities & the children are safe & cared for.

To provide some level of reassurance to those that have considered a similar living situation, the investigator informed me directly that they saw no safety issues and that there is absolutely nothing mod concern from not having running water in the house as long as there is a plan & an ability to haul clean water into the home.

As mentioned in a previous post about water, we have water containers that allow us to haul a sufficient amount of water as needed. We have 2 sinks that are operated by foot pump, the gray water from which runs into the tank of the toilet for flushing.

The photo is from the ad we purchased from. Because Blue doesn’t have a room divided off that the unit could fit in, they are set up with the toilet enclosed by a pop up privacy tent that is sold to be used as a changing room or shower enclosure for camping.

That said, Blue was built with a bathroom. It’s just not fully functional due to the current lack of running water. However, the plumbing is in tact & suitable for gray water discharge (No septic, so unable to use for black water.). This allows us to shower in the shower stall, using camp shower unit.

The shower unit has a rechargeable battery, so we can plug it into the solar generator during the day. Then it’s literally as easy as dropping the pump into a bucket of water & turning it on. Then water comes out the shower head, just like in any other shower.

The bucket provided is enough water to for approximately 3 minutes of shower time, which is plenty if you’re turning off the water while washing instead of just letting it run down the drain. However, it’s easy enough to simply use a larger container of water when necessary.

In addition to questions about the shower, I’ve been asked repeatedly about the laundry situation, since I mentioned rain water collection in the water post. There’s a multi-part answer to this.

First, the kids do a lot of their own laundry using a hand crank washing machine.

I prefer hand washing, personally, because I can get my clothes cleaner that way (I’ll make a future post about that, since it gets a lot more questions); but this allows the kids to take responsibility for their own clothes in a way that helps them get them clean when they may not do so if I had them just washing in a bucket due to their lack of understanding the process or just not caring to use proper technique.

As you can see, the youngest (9) is perfectly capable of using the machine, so it certainly no problem for any of the older kids.

They developed a routing of simply washing & hanging their clothes each evening when they shower & brush their teeth.

In case you’re wondering, water is poured into the machine from the top & drains from a hose attached to the bottom. We simply drain the grey water into the sink since the plumbing already exists in the structure.

I have watched several online videos about similar washing machines & notice that many of them show themselves washing in the soapy water, then draining & hanging to dry. Doing this leaves detergent in your fabrics. You should be pouring another round of water in & rinsing. I also use vinegar in the rinse water to ensure that all the detergent washes clean. But I would Never advise simply washing without rinsing.

Another note, in the background of the photo, you can see a clothes rack in the shower. We occasionally put clothes in there when it’s raining but mostly our laundry is dried on a clothesline outside.

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