Saturday, December 10, 2011

Looking For Some Blue Holes

We've had our fair share of rain here. I don't mind it at all, other than the fact that my laundry set up is not under cover and it makes drying the clothes a longer. I just add extra vinegar in the rinse water and it seems to help keep the mustiness at bay. So, with all the rain Stella and I usually search the sky for "blue holes"
The parts of the sky you can see the beautiful blue peaking through the white and often grey clouds. Hasn't been a lot of blue holes lately, but we saw some this morning. Stella was so excited, "Oh! There's a blue hole Mama! There it is!"
The ducks are quite cute these days and follow us everywhere. Have you ever had a troop of ducks following you around?

(above: Calvin, Jemima, Alice, and Mr. Drake)
I need to weed...really, really, really need to weed, but I just haven't seemed to have found the time between shuttling the kids to and from school, helping Tommy with the business, cooking/cleaning, and all the time involved with raising 3 of whom is 2.5 and quite a joyful time/energy drain. That being said, you'll forgive me the weedy pineapple picture below.
Two cute little pineapples growing despite the weeds.
Below is Reeve doing his laundry this morning. Good thing he got it done (2 loads) when he did because now it is raining.
Reeve using the wringer. I'm starting to update our business blog/website. It's hard keeping everything up to date. I love my washer and wringer so much that I'm selling them and you can read about it here:
So we'll keep our eyes peeled for those blue holes. Now, back to my Holiday card project...I can't believe how the end of the year is so quickly approaching!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Move to the Cabin with Power

We're very fortunate in the fact that the property we have has two cabins. When we moved here in June the folks we bought the property from were renting the back cabin. They moved out in August, and because we like to take things took us until December (4 months) to move to the back cabin. The back cabin has the power, and actual bedrooms, running water, and our new refrigerator, so we're all digging our new digs.
The picture above is Reeve in the living room/office. Kyle and Stella are in the picture too, but they're behind Reeve.
In the above picture you can see what it looks like after we've had some rain.
See how big the ducks are getting! They've been loving all this rain.
Stella loves to feed them. Stella and Tommy feeding the ducks. See the hard black stuff? Yes folks, that's LAVA...about 450 years old (so we've been told).

Stella loves to feed her "Minah" or Jemima (the pretty white duck).
Roosevelt (the one looking at the food Jemima's getting) now lets me pet him (or her??).
Below is our battery coffin. It houses 8 Six Volt batteries that store the sun's energy for our electricity use. Pretty cool, huh? We were really bare bones on the electricity usage from June to Octoberish...we didn't use any! Only fired up the gas generator a couple of times to run Tom's power tools. That's it. How'd we do it, you might ask? We hauled all our water in 5 gallon containers set up on blocks in the bathroom and kitchen. These containers have spigots, so it was very much like running water. We had found an old chest freezer that we put a small cooler inside of it that held our ice to keep the chest "cold" and acted as our refrigerator. We bought about $3.00 worth of ice every week...a hassle which I'm glad I no longer have to remember to get. At night we burned candles...lots of candles...and a few oil lamps. It made for romantic dinners and fun nighttime reading. We had a wind up radio for entertainment. I wash all of our clothes in a 5 gallon bucket and have a handy hand wringer.
Now, we feel like we're spoiled! We have lights at night, a refrigerator, and running more saving all the laundry water to flush the toilet! The other advantage is that we switched our internet setup (again!) and now use a mi-fi device through our cell phone company...yes we broke down and got one cell phone...a necessity (apparently) if you are trying to run a business. It's also nice to have an oven again. It's small, but I was able to make some bread. Now our stove is in the house, so we don't have to worry about windy weather wasting the propane...the stove at the front cabin is on the deck.
The above picture is of our inverter and battery monitoring screen. It's pretty cool to look at it and see what the "State of Charge" is on the batteries. I've never seen it go below 96%. We have six 190 watt solar panels and we're running one kitchen light (at night), the refrigerator (during the day only...we shut it off at night for a defrost cycle), and our laptop, mi-fi, cell phone charger, and Bose CD/Radio...sooooo nice to have music (our old school cd's) in the house again.
The above is a random picture...Stella sewing a dress for her doll Mary. Mary is the doll I made for Stella's 1st birthday. Stella is on the deck at the front cabin. See the school bus in the background? That's our neighbor's school bus.
Above is my laundry machine before I start my load...about 6" of water.
Then I add my "load" which is about 1/3 of a large washer load. I scrub out the stains with my old school washboard, then add 1 TEASPOON of detergent.
Tommy modified my pressurized plunger washer to have a handle that is easier to plunge. So easy, in fact, that Reeve and Kyle now do 100% of their own laundry.
Then I run them through the wringer, do a rinse load, and then run them through the wringer a couple more times before handing them out on our covered porch laundry line (covered because it can rain even when you think it's going to be a nice sunny day). I love doing my laundry this way. I love it so much that I don't even want an electric all that energy for keeping my food cold and listening to my music. Hopefully I won't be so long in posting again. I get into a funk sometimes and then we had major internet connection issues, which I'm hopeful are now solved.