Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Off-the-grid, or not to go off-the grid

That is the question. We were off the grid in NC with one 65 watt solar panel and 3 wall-mart deep-cycle batteries initially. We added two panels and two batteries. This was cheap: less than $2000. Here, we need a bigger system to power a refrigerator/freezer and a water pump for our well and a pressure pump. We need to buy a fridge and freezer, and a holding tank for water. And more batteries, and accessories. We budgeting 10K for this, but this isn't looking like it is enough. And now we're wondering, with a $38/month power bill, is this the best use for our money? Is this still worth it to us and a good idea?

I'll keep you posted. If you have any insights, we'd love to hear them! Sigh...

What do you do all day?!

People often ask me this - either when they find out that we don't have a TV, or when they learn that I only "work" part-time. I got fed up the other day and wrote it all down. It was a good one. I'll add it to this post later, but of course, here I am at the library with internet access, and remembered my notebook, but I must have written it elsewhere.

Let's see...
Homeschooling my son takes time - usually 3 hours 4 days per week. Thankfully that eases in the summer, but that is when weeding, harvesting, and preserving food really kicks in.

I'm up between 6:30-7:30. I cook breakfast and clean house a little. I may have to dump the composting toilet or fill the peat/sawdust bucket. I may have to clean and package eggs. Harvesting produce takes hours daily in peak season with cleaning included. Canning takes a long time. This afternoon I plan to make roasted red pepper sauce. This involves roasting the peppers, waiting for them to cool, peeling them, slicing, and cooking with onions, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar before canning. Sure is worth it, though.

Today I played chess with Calvin (two games) before breakfast. Then I pan-toasted cinnamon-raison bread (that I baked earlier in the week) and ate breakfast. I messed around with Calvin and Johnny's archery lesson - shooting a few arrows myself, before showering and going to work. I put in three hours. Now I'm at the library checking on a few things and posting my monthly blog. I'll go home, and maybe jog. Then canning. Then swimming in the pond. Then re-heat leftovers (venison shephard's pie with our own taters, carrots, and meat), saute summer squash and red bell peppers (also from the garden) and a watermelon (also ours). At 7:00 Calvin starts getting ready for bed, and Johnny or I read to him until 8pm. Then we usually take a walk around the property before finally sitting down to either read or watch a movie (we have a TV, just no TV reception - so maybe 1-2 movies per week).

Basically, I'm busy. I love doing everything I'm involved in, but there's not much lag time in my life. Trust me.