Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

What a busy summer, which has now come to an end for us as my husband has gone back to his teaching job.  I am still doing my job as a financial consultant, but am tailoring down my hours.  Our life here at the farm has been symbolized by this humble passion flower that has been growing here since before we came.  We are very passionate about this farm and becoming self-sufficient in our lives.  This summer's project has been all about putting in our solar power and we are not quite finished.  It is our hope to be off the grid one day.  We have built our tractor shed with a slanted roof to accommodate our solar panels, and have mounted 70 of the 72 panels that we intend to have there.  The final few will have to be repaired first as they were not showing the voltage that they should.  To that end, we purchased some wire glue from  We needed some adhesive that would conduct electricity, so we will let you know how that comes out.  My husband has done a great job with the wiring (and I helped).  We have built the battery shed, and this last weekend, we connected the wiring and dug to lay the conduit 18" below ground between the tractor shed and the barn (where the charge controller is housed.) All the while, we have continued to can and freeze.  Our pantry shelves are getting full as you can see by the picture.  We have also put many items in the freezer, including some additional spaghetti sauce as well as some condensed tomato soup (new this year.)  In addition, we are planning a large family Thanksgiving, so I am getting the house ready with a little bit of an update.  The downstairs will be a consistent olive green and aubergine throughout.  Currently, I am working on some slipcovers for the chairs.  I have complete the sofa pillows and a throw for the cold winter weather. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015

What a busy summer!  With the tractor shed finished, we set to work adding our solar panels in our ongoing quest to get more self-sufficient.  We are almost finished, but every time we think we are almost there, something else crops up.  This is when we were getting started.  We bought a bunch of used solar panels with the intention of putting up 72 of them.  We bought a prewired box that came with the circuit breaker boxes.  We are trying to put in a 48 watt system.  Our son who is an electrical engineer, is giving us advice and help to set up the system safely. As they were used panels, the first thing we had to do was clean them so the panel could see as much light as possible.  Then we brought them out into the light to test the voltage.  All except for a few, we were getting from 18 - 20 volts from.  We currently have up 17 four panel sets (they are 12 volts and we had to connect them in a set of four for 48 volts.)  All the while we were doing this, we moved our youngest into her new apartment and we have been putting up vegetables from the garden.  Leah Apartment on my pinterest page that you can access from the pinterest button on this page has picture's of my daughter's apartment.  We have put up 33 quarts of corn, 6 gallons of sliced bell peppers, a couple of assorted other sliced peppers and some blueberries in the freezer.  We have made about 16 quarts of spaghetti sauce, about 23 quarts of green beans, 6 quarts of squash, about 8 quarts of bread and butter pickles, and about 10 pints of okra pickle.