Live and learn electric

So living exclusively at the cabin has taught me some things.  I thought my two 100 watt solar panels and three 75 aH batteries were sufficient.  And I still do.  But I did run into a problem.  I had some problems with my jeep and ran my car battery down.  I used my solar charger to charge it but it was rainy for days and didn’t charge very well.  I used my deep cycle batteries to start it, then it took a while to recharge them.  So I decided with the sun lowering in the sky it was time to redesign my solar panel mounts.  So I ran an old dog run cable and hung the panels from it.

Now they are higher and easy to move along to track the sun.  In the photo the line isn’t completely tight yet, so they are actually higher now.  It works great!  I may design a motor to slowly move them through the day.  I did notice last winter that in the winter the reflecting white snow actually makes direct sunlight not as important to get charging voltage.  Also I am now shopping for a 12v well pump so I don’t need to use the generator for water.  I can then have water pressure maintained automatically.  The next step towards indoor plumbing.

The Budget

It’s time to finalize my budget.  For the past month I have kept track of what I need and what I forgot.  So now I think I can make a permanent budget list.  I am going to go for the $150 budget.  I can actually get by on less but there are times I like to splurge so I will stay with $150.  I have found that my favorite cabin food is hotcakes made with pancake batter mixed with oatmeal.  And ordering groceries and supplies online is working out great.  I save on gas money.

Here is my monthly grocery, supplies and costs list.  The prices will stay pretty much the same each month although I may substitute items for variety.

Update. I have decided to wait until the end of the month to list my budget and shopping list for October. This will be my basic budget for each month at the homestead.

Back to the Pond

I would still like to have a small pond here on the homestead.  I have been hoping to borrow or rent some heavy equipment to make it easier.  But that probably won’t happen. At least not before winter. That just leaves me, and my pick and shovel.  The land here is very rocky underneath, not to mention the gravel the previous owner brought in to drive their RV on.  So I looked over the land and realized a much better place is at the back of my property.  It is the lowest area and if I setup drainage from the cabin and deck area I think the pond with not only stay full, but will help get rid of the squishy areas around the cabin.  There is a lot of moisture in this area, as shown by the plentitude of mushrooms.
I also believe the best place for my garden is the grassy area next to the deck.  I’m sure this area was designed as an entertainment area, for parties and bonfires, but as a hermit I have no plans for using it this way.  The soil is less rocky, and more fertile.  Because of the gravel drive circling it it is a bit swampy.  But I can fix that with a little better drainage.  It is also the sunniest area on the acreage.
So I dug some test ditches at the bottom edge of the property.  It filled up immediately.  A good sign.  Lily drank some of the water and gave it her seal of approval.

There is quite a bit of rocks and old wooden timbers underground back there, probably from an old oil pumphouse or the saw mill that was once located there.  But overall it’s not too bad to dig by hand.  It is also very shady being basically in the middle of the woods.

I will need to remove some trees or the pond will just be a mosquito breeding ground.

It’s getting there, a shovel load at a time.

Life in the Woods

It’s been three weeks living solely in my cabin.  I haven’t updated here although I have been writing a lot of my fictional work.  My food is holding out nice.  I have realized a few things I’ve forgotten or would like and I ordered them from Amazon.  My $150 a month budget is looking very possible with no real sacrificing.  I have been completing laundry and am working on a water heater.  It will most likely be wood fired, but I might also make it capable of using propane.  The solar energy is working well.  I still would like to double it’s capacity just in case.  Been using candles at night.  They just seem to fit the woods better than the electric lights.

The Southern Window

I originally bought 4 windows 2 years ago for the cabin.  I installed the largest in the front,

2 medium size ones on the north side.

But I could never decide where to install the smallest one.

I finally decide and today I installed it on the south side.

Yes, it still needs some framing on the inside.  But it lets in more light and a nice cross breeze.

Some day it may be the bathroom window.  That’s why it is so small and high.

The last window I am considering is a half pie shaped sunrise window on the east side.

Something like this.

As the sun rises in the East to open and rule the day, so will stand my sunrise window in the East to open and rule my cabin