Living Mostly Off Grid Is Pretty Cool!

 

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.  As spring gets closer there is much to do.  The seedling room is loaded with tomatoes, peppers, herbs, eggplant, and are getting ready to be transplanted into the 2 gallon pots.  I have a friend coming out to be a farmhand this weekend and to help transplant, so it ought to go fairly quickly.

So I wanted to do a quick post to show you what incredible changes can happen out here on the plains.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week it was in the low 70’s.  I even got out and worked in and on the greenhouse and got color in my face from the sun.  Then today happened.

I woke up (I’m out here alone today) just as the power kicked off.  It is currently in the low 30’s, blowing 40 mph and ice is building up every where! What happened to spring!?  Oh ya, this is springtime in the west… along with a broken jet stream.

This is the first test of the solar panel/battery back up system.  The batteries are supposed to kick in automatically when the power goes out on the grid.  That part failed so we will be having the technician out to make sure it gets some troubleshooting.  It could be that there was a fairly large load on the circuits it’s supposed to supply so we will have to see what needs to be done.  However, I went downstairs and flipped the switches manually and they fired right up!  Genius!  We have however, decided that we need to hook in a generator to the system with an autostart function just in case.  Should I have not been here and the batteries hadn’t kicked in, the house could have frozen and the freezers could have thawed.  Both are the reasons we installed the batteries in the first place.

So as it seems that FEMA isn’t coming out here any time soon, I am thrilled with the off-grid progress we have made!  Even without it working perfectly, this was the RIGHT answer for farm self-sufficiency.  The batteries aren’t supposed to power the entire house but it is certainly supplying a lot of it!  The battery back up is wired to power the entire basement (lights and outlets as it is where the two big freezers are located), the upstairs refrigerator, well pump, and furnace.  I got a bonus in addition that I didn’t realize.  The outlet the refrigerator is on is also the one the coffee maker is plugged into!  So on a cold winter blizzard morning with the power out I still had hot liquids!  Yes its a power drain but the batteries recharge from the solar panels during the day.  The fridge is on and cool as are the two freezers.  The electric stove doesn’t work and I can’t use the outdoor kitchen because its covered with ice.  So how to cook?  Well, if there was no other choice I could go out to the fifth wheel camper and cook out there (but I didn’t want to trudge through this awful weather).  So I went downstairs and pulled out the propane stove I use at hunting camp and astronomy star parties.  Voila! Breakfast (with hot coffee!).

This off grid adventure has proven to be just amazing and awesome.  Now we know that if the power goes out, we need to make some minor adjustments but so far NONE of the comforts of home have been eliminated.  I simply ran an extension cord to the internet router and I am sitting here posting while the farms for miles around us are out of power (unless they have generators).  I know they don’t have solar.  There are only one or two other houses around here that I’ve seen that do.

As it seems that FEMA isn’t coming out here to rescue me, this is very very good news.  So the first minor OYO (On Your Own) event has happened and the farm is doing great!  The chickens and pigs are all hunkered down in their respective pens, coops and huts, and I am just sitting here watching the world ice over!  Pretty cool!  Very happy!  I’m glad that even with all the difficulties getting the solar built out in the first place that we did indeed get it done!  So now I have to watch the CDOT website to see when they might open the highway so I can get into the city to do appointments tomorrow.  But in the meantime… I think I’ll just go take a hot shower, enjoy some coffee, do some real work…. because.. well…… I can!

And in closing, should you think I am completely off my rocker…. read and watch this video post (punks with some explosives are bad but this will displace a half a billion people – sooner than later).  If you deny a chief NASA scientist you are simply a fool:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-james-hansen/

 

 

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2 comments on “Living Mostly Off Grid Is Pretty Cool!

  1. David Bennett says:

    Good to see that you’re doing well.

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