Sunday, December 30, 2012

Closing the Door on 2012

Closing the door on 2012, while I haven't really even opened it here this year! My original plans were to concentrate on off the grid living. I have been negligent, so here is a year-end up-date.

POWER -A big concern for us living up the Jervis Inlet is power. We are off-grid and have an inverter system that is powered by a pelton wheel and a propane generator. We have water rights to the creek near our property. From this we run a pipe through a pelton wheel to generate electricity. When the wheel is clogged with debris or the water is low or we are using a large amount of electricity, we have a propane generator.

Propane costs have doubled since we moved here. Therefore, generating our own power is paramount. This summer all has gone well with the hydro system, until August, when the water level was very low. We had to use our generator much more that we wanted. Also we realized that our batteries were getting old and were not holding a charge as long as they should.

So we called Gary of Solar Plus to the rescue. Gary brought us new batteries and gave our inverter system a thorough going over. The four new batteries have the capacity of 6 of the original batteries. Not cheap either, $400 each but still we could have spent more. We know others off-grid who have spent $1000 each. Anyway, we now have no problem running our house daily, lights, radio, phone, including the occasional microwave, without ever turning on the generator, I usually turn it on to top-up the batteries while I wash clothes at the same time.

DECK AND GARDEN -  Another project this year was to replace structural lumber and decking on our lower deck. Actually all decks are on the list, but the lower deck was first. New stairs from the upper to lower deck was installed earlier.

Ran into a carpenter at the docks this summer who did a superb job for us. We now have a new lower deck. Plans are to extend it this spring so I will be able to have a container and raised bed garden. We will double the deck size. This is where all the sun is, so that is where the garden is too.

UPCOMING CHANGES - Soon to be enacted plans include changing from a propane refrigerator to an electric one. We run a small chest freezer now with no problem. The energy star appliances are so much more efficient that we are sure we can add an electric refrigerator to our system. I chose a bottom freezer style and now need to arrange pickup and delivery to our place.
Also on the list: upper deck will also be redone this summer. Jim's workshop will be finished. We will get extra wood into the wood shed next summer! Better stop, that is enough on the list for now.