A Walk To The Creek

In preparation for going off-grid, we’ve refused to run our central Air Conditioning unit at all this year. When we switch over to solar power, we won’t generate enough to run the A/C, so we need to figure out how to live without it now. By making this one change, we’ve cut our electricity bill in half. Literally.

It’s gotten pretty darned hot in the house already… 90* a few times… and it isn’t even the hottest part of the year yet. We’ve been running box fans in the windows, as well as the ceiling fans, trying to circulate air throughout the house. I feel like we’re getting adjusted to the heat, though it can be physically draining at times. When it’s ninety in the house, we’ve learned that it feels so much better laying on a blanket in the shade of the trees outdoors. We’ve also learned that the creek is a fantastic place to go hang out when we need a reprieve.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Our property has three creeks running across it, but there’s one spot in particular that we like to play at the most. It’s just a little hike from the house.

driveway
The kids put some old play clothes and water shoes on, I grab my camera and a book (usually a foraging book or something homesteading related- always informational), and we trek down the gravel driveway.

forest
We dip into the woods where the big fallen tree is. Lightening struck it last year, and Jerry has been working on cutting it up for firewood.

box turtle
Jada found an Eastern Box Turtle during our hike yesterday. She heard a rustling in the leaves, and thought it was a snake. Relieved to see the hard shell creeping through the forest floor, she picked it up to carry with us to the creek.

creek
A few paces into the woods, then we slide down a steep bank to get to the creek below.

A Walk to the Creek
The kids spend their time searching for “gold” (Mica), catching crayfish and turtles, throwing little rocks into the water and splashing in the deepest parts. I sit on the bank taking photos and reading a book, or exploring the plant life around us.

I love this creek. It’s so peaceful down there. I love the rocks. I walk along them and wonder how many feet in the past have tread the same ground. Who were these people and what were their lives like? We’ve found arrowheads around the land and in another part of the creek, as well as broken pottery and other odds and ends. Makes me wonder what life was like here worlds ago.

The kids love the creek, too. Maybe one day we’ll build a little camping cabin down there just for fun. Or a zipline from the top of the hill to the bottom. That would be awesome.

I imagine with the hottest days of summer still ahead of us, we’ll spend a lot more time playing in the cool trickling water of the creek.

 

Kendra
About Kendra 1117 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

17 Comments

  1. Kendra,
    We have also chosen not to use our AC at all this year. Last year we turned it on a few times when we had out of town guests…I’m not sure they could have handled it. We also used fans at night last year. I think it was a good transitional year for us.

    This year we have not used any fans either. We open all windows at night and then mid morning we close up the south side of the house and pull the curtains closed…this helps so much to keep the house cooler (by cooler I mean in the mid to high eighties). We have adjusted quite well. We also love sitting out on the shaded porch or under our sycamore trees. I have been amazed how cool it feels under the shade of a tree when it is close to 100 degrees outside.

  2. Do you know HUD (Us department of Housing) considers a house without an AC unit uninhabitable? How crazy is that! We once tried to purchase a fixer upper in the country and the bank will not finance it because it didn’t pass HUD standards since it didn’t have an AC unit. I was so shocked. I told the banker, “seriously! I come from the desert (Israel), it is much hotter there and we don’t have AC in most homes! What if I don’t want AC in my house?” Nothing helped, they won’t finance it.
    My only problem those days with spending most of our time outdoors in the woods (we also have a creek on the property) are the mosquitoes and the ticks. They are eating us alive even with bug spray on. I hate them!

  3. We have no air conditioning and no creek to go to for a break. I know this week has been in the 90’s and everyone ask how we can stand it. If you don’t have it you make due. One trick with the box fans and we only do this for night to sleep. I freeze a container with water. Then I stand it up in front of the box fan having a container a wee bit bigger under it for the melting water. It is a poor mans air conditioning. It does help. I would be afraid to see what our electic bill would be if we had the real thing. You are blessed and I hope soon to be able to buy land and do the same. It has been a long road and so far not God’s plans but we haven’t given up.

  4. Since you use fans, there’s also a diy ac idea online I’ve been seeing lately. It uses a cooler, fan, ice, and cut holes to act as an ac. I bet you could find that if you typed in redneck a.c. It seems to me that it’d really work! Maybe not an everyday thing due to using ice, but for the hottest days.

  5. I love your way of life in the country. It must be so peaceful. I have always wanted to move to the country on about 20 acres but there seems to always be something in the way. I hope I can finally do it one day. Like the person said above, Im in the city and I have to drive 15 minutes to a park to take a walk in nature.

  6. I’m lucky enough to go to my own little piece of Heaven (my creek) and not only watch in amazement of its beauty but the freshness & relief from the heat but to venture up its windy banks to pry up a slippery cold rock to catch crawdads for my lazy, relaxing days of fishing! I relive the old old days ! Love to keep it free & simple!

  7. Isn’t that a coincidence? We, too, are living without our A/C this year. Our old home doesn’t have central air, so we have to install window units and room units each summer – and the subsequent electricity bills cost a fortune! We have not installed any units this summer, however, and are simply adapting as we go. We find that our east-facing covered front porch is a lovely place to spend an afternoon, and that lots of cold drinks and ice are much more helpful than one would expect. In addition to the savings on the electric bill, health-wise we’re all feeling better. The A/C makes me slightly ill each year, and adapting to the weather makes me much less miserable when I go out into it regularly. We’re actually spending more time than ever outside this summer so far, and I wonder how many lovely mornings and days I’ve missed in the past because they didn’t feel like the artificial environment (cool and dry) in the house. It’s been educational, and even though it’s tempting during this hot and humid spell this week to tote those units up from the basement, this girl’s frugality will win the day. 😉

  8. I’ve often wondered how people survived pre-a/c; here in the Deep South, and being a severe asthmatic, I don’t know how long I would manage without it. But we may all need to learn one day. Back in “the day” those who had money fled to cooler regions, usually near the ocean; those who had no money or could not leave because of their station in life simply remained behind and suffered through. People did not live as long back then, either. I’m quite certain there IS a correlation.

    One thing that was common at the time pre-a/c was the screen door; lots of doors were left open with only the screen door in place, to move air and keep critters out, at the same time. Not sure the world we live in today would support a return to screen doors on every home. Also, homes were designed differently. The “dog trot” pattern was common; half the house on either side of a long, narrow hallway, screen doors front and rear.

    And trees, of course. People kept large trees near the house to shade it from the sun.

    Wrap-around porches evolved to keep sun off the windows. This design is still common in the South.

    Summer kitchens were built; separate one-room buildings far enough away from the “main house” to avoid the likelihood of setting the house on fire in the summer, and also to prevent heating up of the house. Some people simply built covered areas and used those as kitchens – no walls (because that far back, there was no “screening” available). Summer kitchens are still a good idea, IMHO.

    We humans have the ability to adapt; we just need to see the need. “Necessity: the mother of invention”! It’s all good.

  9. Kendra, we are working to live without AC too this year. It’s tough, b/c my nearly 47-year-old body really struggles in intense heat, but we’ll use tips like these and push on through, making sure to do our work when the weather is bearable. As we consider looking for more land, though, we are definitely looking for something with a creek on the property too. You guys are doing great. 🙂

  10. What a lovely little creek! You are very lucky to have something like that close to your home.

    As far as the central air conditioning, I understand you guys are going off grid, but here in north Texas, we simply could not live without it. It can be 105-110 here for days on end in the summer, and only get into the 80s at night. One thing I have found that really helps is to open the windows & run fans (bringing the cool outdoor air into the house) early in the morning & late at night when the sun is down. Then seal the house up during the day so the hot outdoor air stays outdoors. Also room darkening/blackout curtains work wonders to keep the sun from heating up a room.

    • Pam,

      Yes, there are lots of little things that we are working on to keep the house cooler. I’d love to build awnings over the windows, with climbing vines to help create shade until the fruit trees in our front yard get a little bigger and can help with that. We have absolutely no shade on our house, so that’s something we need to work on. Blackout curtains are also on our list of things to save for. Great advice!

  11. We never had any A/C when I was a kid and I remind my kids that we survived :). KUDOS to you and your family for making the decision to go off the grid. You inspire me to make small changes to use less power. And, personally, I hate turning on the central air. There’s nothing better than throwing open the windows and letting a nice breeze blow in – when there IS one! 🙂

  12. How nice to have a creek to play in within walking distance from your house. We love to play in the creek, but have to drive 15 minutes and pay to park to do so.

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