Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Year's Plan

After some thought, I have decided to focus this year's blog entries on the practical living experiences off the grid and up the inlet. Our house is on face value much the same as anyone's. We have electric lighting, switches on the walls, tv, computers, etc. This seems to surprise many of our visitors. Because we live by boat access and  in such a remote area, people expect to see an outhouse and candles or oil lamps. We do have all of those but they are our back-up. We live a fairly normal daily existence as long as we watch our power consumption, maintain the batteries and keep the water flowing!
In many ways, that is what is missing from an urban existence. There is no accountability for your energy consumption that is as definitive as your battery going low and your electricity going out. Except for maybe a huge hydro bill when you consume a lot of electricity in a month. It would be an interesting experiment to have homes put on a metered system that shut off when you went over your allotment for the day or week. Sure makes you consider how much you are using when that happens.
We have been working on repairs and upgrades here and there this month. The dock has more buoys to shield the boat from ramming against the dock in high winds and waves. Our boat, the Expat is being repaired again. Another section of rubber railing has come off. The only solution so far has been to put the very large buoys off the wooden dock for protection. The drawback is that it makes for a very large step from boat to dock!
We almost lost a friend this summer as she tried to step on the boat and fell part way. No harm but her leg could have gotten crushed between boat and dock. Still working on this one.
Another project has been to shore up a corner of the back porch and add new steps and add a covered roof for that part of the porch. I plan on moving the recycling to that area so the immediate back porch off the kitchen is cleaner.
Still looking for a good place for the compost bin. It has been moved many times. I have one of the enclosed  plastic bins that rolls on a stand to stir the compost. It should be in the sun for maximum heat and composting, but that is difficult with all the trees. And it would also make it inconvenient to carry the compost from the kitchen. I had open compost bins originally, but found that attracted too many critters in the wilderness. So the enclosed bins are the way to go. Now I find I need to purchase another one, so I have one composting and another filling.
While we have had some lovely sunny days, it is still winter. Today the strong, northern outflow winds are blowing. It is cold and expected to go below freezing tonight. Sure glad we purchased a new and larger wood stove this fall!