Monday, July 16, 2012

We can flush without carrying water!

Well, it's been almost a week since my last post and that can only mean one thing - we are back up North. We left the property last Thursday and will be not be going back to it until about the second week of August. When to do head back down, we should be able to stay there several months, until almost Thanksgiving. We arrived back up North in time to celebrate our grandson's first birthday and we will be staying here until after our granddaughter is born.

Back Up North
Celebrating Zeke's
First Birthday

Looks like Zeke will feel right at home
when he comes to visit.
He sure enjoyed the sticks and dirt at the park.

We did have a flurry of projects before we left the property, which seems to be the norm as we consider what we want to have in place while we are gone. Our biggest accomplishments included adding more lighting inside the house and some plumbing.

Alan braved a trip up into the attic and discovered he could maneuver over to various ceiling light fixtures without too much difficulty. Over several mornings he ran wiring to the laundry room (work room) ceiling light and then the kitchen and one of the living room ceiling fixtures. He only worked on these in the morning because by 11 AM it was much to hot up there to work, as it was he would change he shirt about four times each morning he worked up there as they would be dripping wet each time he came down the ladder to work on the fixtures. We used some of the existing fixtures but we replaced the ones that enclosed the light bulbs because the 12V LED bulbs we are using, while designed to fit normal light sockets, are sensitive to heat and should not be enclosed.

We can now use light switches to turn on lights in the laundry room, kitchen, living room and our bedroom. There is also a wall lamp in the living room that switches on at the lamp and also lights on either side of the bathroom mirror that operate by pull chain. I was a bit worried that with the ability to use all these lights we could also easily exhaust our batteries. But so far, we have been able to use them every night and also charge phones, e-readers and computers without having the charge controller cut off the power, as will happen if the battery charge gets too low. I still occasionally forget to turn off a light as a leave the room, but I am working on it.

We also now have 'running water' to the toilet, well maybe more like 'jogging water'. We were so pleased by how much water we caught during our brief rain storm simply by setting plastic storage containers under the eaves on the deck, that we decided to set up a water catch basin outside the bathroom window and pipe it into the toilet. We bought a 100 gallon plastic trough at a local farm store, covered it with screening to keep out twigs, leaves, etc. and ran pipe from the trough up into the bathroom next to the toilet.

Inside the bathroom we mounted one of our Guzzler hand pumps onto the wall, connected the piping to it and extended piping from the other end of the pump into the toilet tank and voilĂ  no more carrying bottles of water to the toilet. We used the water we had caught in the containers to partially fill the trough and we were set. 

You may recall we built steps up to the deck at the start of this trip. That and the fact that we had also repaired the sliding glass door (and screen) led to one other project we completed before we left. One night, several days before we were leaving, I was laying in bed, dozing off, when a heard a very loud "mrrooww". A very throaty cat sound that had to be bigger than a house cat. My first thought was 'That's cool". My second thought was "There are now steps up to the deck that animals could climb up, including whatever I just heard" and my third thought was "...and it is so hot tonight we left the sliding glass door open so there is only a screen door between the deck and the office next to our bedroom". The next day we went out and got a chain link gate that we could install at the top of the deck stairs.

Besides all the work projects we were trying to cross off our list on this past trip, we also tried to have some time for relaxation as well. At night, before darkness set in we would sit on our deck and watch a little 'TV'. Here are some of the channels we flip through every night:
The Hummingbird Channel

The Squirrel Channel

The 'Who's Coming Up the Road' Channel

The 'Who's Coming Down the Road' Channel

The Taz Channel - insects like
to go for ferris wheel rides.
(Yes, we named the pinwheel)

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