If you are not a golfer, you may be wondering what this has to do with my post today. In golf, there is a term for a shot that you want to 'do-over', it is called a Mulligan. We have been living off-grid for over a year now and I had been floundering about what my next blog post topic would be. Usually, within a couple weeks of posting a new blog entry, several events have taken place that seem to tie together nicely to create the next post, but the past few weeks have been a mish-mash of activities that seemed to have no cohesiveness. And then I was was reminded of the word 'mulligan', and that gave me the idea that it was time for a 'do-over'. I decided to page back through some of my posts over the past year and, based on their titles, see if they could be expanded upon to reflect our more recent off-grid activities. So here goes....
From July 3, 2012: We are in 2G Territory
This original post focused on various upgrades we had made from our initial few days of surviving on the property to all the comforts of home we had been adding during our first stay. Here is a list of some of our further upgrades we have made this summer:
|Alan's Home Built Combiner Box|
(He will be posting a detailed article soon)
|Our Newest Water Tank |
Bungee cords from the cage frame to the
downspout align the gutter. The elevated
bathroom tank can bee seen behind it.
3. Automatic watering system. When we were last up north, Alan went to one of our favorite stores, American Science Surplus, while I helped our daughter with the grandbabies. He went there just to browse for any sciency stuff that might be useful on the property. American Science Surplus has lots of science related items, electronics, etc. One of the treasures he picked up was a timer he could connect into our water system. That, plus a drip hose created an automatic waterer for our pallet and container gardens while we were in Kentucky for about a week.We were able to set the timer so that the drip system watered the plants for 15 minutes twice a day while we were gone.
|The Drip Line Along the Pallet Bed, Through the Containers and Across the Barrel Planters|
(Carrots &Pepper ---- Tomatoes ----Sweet Potatoes & Potatoes)
|Alan Tests the Spring Water|
From July 31, 2012: No Internet for Over 4 Days
|Hanna Helps Stock the Booth|
From September 11, 2012: Never Ending Projects and Distractions
|... And Veggies|
|I Opened Up Another Puzzle...|
That's OK, Just This One
It's Only 350 Pieces
|OK, Just One More...|
And Then I'll Stop
From September 28, 2012: It's Just a Phase
Unfortunately, one of least favorite phases has been greatly extended this year - the tick phase. Fortunately, the tick control we used this year in the yard is working very well, but stray outside that zone and you are virtually guaranteed to find the little buggers on you soon after. Alan walked about 50 feet into the woods south of our deck to place a shooting target and that evening we discovered four ticks had become attached to him in that short trip out of the tick free zone.
While the tick phase is lasting much longer this year, end of July and still going strong, one of our favorite phases was much shorter this year. The skink phase. You may recall last year we discovered these cute little lizards with bright blue tails liked to sun bathe on our deck.With our wetter spring, I thought we may even see more skinks than last year, however I forgot to take into consideration one of the additions we made to the household this winter - our cats.We did see one of the cats walking along the deck with a bright blue tail sticking out of it's mouth.
From October 8, 2012: Wait, That's Not Quite Right
This summer, I once again found myself thinking this at one point. In fact, it was the first title from last year that popped into my head for this post. As summer was approaching, the sun was higher in the sky and the power being generated by our solar panels decreased. I did not expect that. As you may recall, last fall as the sun was dipping lower and lower in the western sky, we took down a few trees to open up our southern vista to accommodate our solar array. With spring, the days became longer, and our batteries were being well fed, and then as summer approached, we noticed the incoming power levels were slowly dropping off. The problem was, while the sun was higher in the sky, the trees were leafing out and causing shadows on parts the solar array both in the morning and late afternoon. The amount of time each day where we had full sun on all the panels was actually decreasing as we approached the summer months.
The combiner box I talked about earlier helped us retrieve a greater percentage of the power being generated, but we now know that, overall, we generate less power in the summer than in the winter. Go figure!
From October 20, 2012: The Goldilock Zone
|Yummy Baked Beans|
From December 5, 2012: This is Only a Test
The test referred to in that post was our jumping back on the grid and into a more luxurious setting for our annual Turkey Palooza celebration with our family. We have just made reservations for this annual event this week, but I am actually switching up the meaning of this do-over title to let you know some projects/testing we have coming down the pike as funds are available. Topping our list of things we want to work on are:
1. Grape Solar Panels. This is a new brand of solar panel that has recently hit the market. They will provide more power than those we currently have. So, rather than kicking a long established member out of our solar system (no Plutos here), we will be adding to our solar system. This will involve some testing as we will now be mixing two brands of solar panels and will be working to make sure they play well together. We are not in need of additional power right now, but that leads us to the next two items on the drawing board...
2. A High Efficiency Ceiling Fan. We have found a company that manufactures highly efficient 12v ceiling fans that use brushless motors. According to the specifications, this should be able to be integrated into our off-grid power grid without being a power hog. This will help with climate control both in the summer and winter.
3. A 12v Solar Powered Refrigerator. There are now 12v refrigerators that also use efficient brushless motors, and thus, can be powered using a solar electric system such as the one we have set up. While we are very please with how our propane fridge is working out, we would like to expand our self sufficiency in this area by eliminating the need to periodically purchase propane for refrigeration.
Well, this blog post has certainly re-visted a lot of topics from the past year, but I do have one more Mulligan. You may recall a sad post last year when we had to put our very old dog to sleep because she was becoming too ill to have any quality of life. At that time, Alan and I made the decision to not get another dog. Well, meet Mulligan, she came walking up our driveway one day and apparently had not received the memo in regards to this decision. The fact that I fed her because she was skin and bones probably did not help persuade her to continue on her way.