Archive for March, 2011

Going Solar Progress

March 7, 2011

We achieved another milestone in our progress towards going off grid this last week.  Kim wired up the solar controller, which regulates the power coming from the solar panels and going into the batteries, and also the inverter which changes the 12 volts from the batteries into 240 volts.  It all sits in a corner of our kitchen, keeping warm and dry.  It includes a residual current device and two circuit breakers for safety.  I am glad that Kim knows what he is doing as it is all quite complex, but it looks very neat and expertly done to me.

We also mounted the solar panels onto the roof.  Just in time for Summer to end.  🙂

These panels will give us 1 kilowatt hour of electricity per day over the year.  We will be adding more panels as we can afford it, but for now the batteries are charging and the system is working.  The next stage is to finish wiring up the LED lights in the house.

We are becoming more proficient in the use of the slow combustion stove, and are using much less wood now.  If we light the stove for tea and let it simmer away it for the evening then we have plenty of hot water for showers and still have hot water in the morning.  The other day when it was chilly we had the stove on all day, and the hot water tank was boiling in the evening.  🙂

It has been a very mild summer here this year, not many hot days at all but lots of rain, 524 mm over the three months.  Our western lake, which we usually graze the horse and cow on in in the dry season, has been pretty constantly a lake this year.  It is almost drying out again now, which must mean another large rainfall is coming soon to refill it.  🙂  I wonder what winter will be like with the ground water level so high already, it will be interesting to see.

There is not much other news to report.  Kim and the older boys are still struggling health wise but they do what they can, Lydia has been working casually at the Mole Creek Guest House but that work is drying up now with the tourist season over.  Josiah is going well and still homeschooling.  Our few young turkeys for the year are living near the house and being carefully shut up each night to keep them safe. The horse is mildly lame and if he would not career around the paddock whenever his leg starts to improve he might actually get better permanently.  We have 11 piglets at the moment, and there are 3 grown pigs due to go into the freezer as soon as time and health permits.  The three sooky calves are spending a few weeks in the paddock behind the church to mow it down for us.  Our original cow with her new calf are going fine, although they escaped yesterday – my fault, I thought I could move their temporary fence while they were eating hay without them noticing – consider that lesson learned!  Lyd, Joe and I had to run down the road after them, get them turned around, then run back up the road after them again, before herding them back in where they belonged without letting the horse escape in the process.  Thankfully our road is pretty quiet, especially on Sundays, and the direction they went is a dead end anyway.  Lydia’s chooks are going well, many of the up and coming young ones like to wander off through the bush every day before returning behind the safety of the electric fence at night which is just the system we want for Lydia’s prospective organic egg business.  We hope to press on with getting that started this year and were thinking of names for the business recently.  The family favourite was “Bush Rangers” – “Some hens still fight against the system” LOL.  Sadly I think Bushrangers is the name of a 4WD accessory store so it is probably unavailable for us to use.  😦  Anyway, I best be off now.