Homesteading with Off-grid Solar and Wind Power

Off-Grid Solar and Wind-Generated Power

Springfield Motion Sensors of Ohio

This is a photo of the workhorse (the tractor, not my mom).

Mom on Kubota Tractor

However the tractor is by the Grace of MOM.

So I let her drive every now and then...

vroom vroom, look at her go!



It's not actually running.

Okay, my turn.

Look Ma, No hands! vroom vrooom.

Do-it-all Tractor

Do-it-all Tractor

The tractor sure has made work easier around here.

Broken wheelbarrows and broken riding lawn mowers were wearing me out.

Do-it-all Tractor


As for cooking, except during special occasions (such as the availability of another source of fuel), the firewood stove is the preferred means. The unit is incredible because it utilizes the thermal mass of the concrete pad that lies beneath the stove, and the concrete lies above an even greater thermal mass (the earth).

The benefit from not having legs on the stove has proven to be beneficial in so many regards that I wouldn't even consider going back to stoves with legs. It's just no contest whether for heat or cooking.

Heat transfers to the pad offering a different experience in perfect outdoor comfort. The concrete is not cold anywhere within the 3 car building due to the stove never turning off in the colder months of the year. If you haven't tried this, do. Simply find an old fireplace insert, the type that is actually a box in a box (the type that usually has fans blowing the cool air of the room under the firebox, up the back, and over the top of the firebox where it's now hot air).

The previous stoves had legs, cooking was more of a challenge, if you can call it that.

The benefit of a box in a box fireplace insert stove set directly on the concrete floor worked out perfectly. My old stove (with legs) was only an inch higher than the present stove, but the area above this steel monstrosity allows for more cooking space.

Neighborhood Jimmy dropped off Sterno's.

off-grid cooking alternative

Recently there was a bad month with virtually no sun here in Ohio.

Ohio, where the sun doesn't shine, most of the time.

Dark and rainy, and not enough wind, has left the battery banks with some rather deep sighs (low voltage draws, my present panic-zone is 12.2volts).

Aside from turning off everything that is not entirely essential, there's little else you can do other than relax and wait for the sun to come back into vogue and count the pennies saved toward another battery or solar panel.

During this time though, one of the battery banks was drawn exceptionally low. I couldn't figure out why since almost everything other than the server, modem/router, the security system, and a few lights were all that remained, everything else had been disconnected pending sunnier days for that particular battery bank. The other battery banks were still functioning as expected so I knew it was not a solar issue. I checked each battery's cells for specific gravity, and all looked fine. Yet it appeared that the bank was not taking a full charge as it did normally. It appeared to be expending the incomplete charge prematurely. When all the electrical comforts operate off your own power station, you tend to become familiar with the predictable nature and condition of the batteries. It was decided that one-by-one the remaining items would be removed to another battery bank to enable troubleshooting of the problem.

AS IT TURNED OUT, the batteries were NOT the problem.

One of the pure sine-wave inverters appeared to be sucking power. Following its removal from the batteries, the batteries almost instantly sprung back to life.

THIS IS WHY I SAY: just keep it simple. If you have a 12v battery bank, buy 12v appliances. Having an inverter is just another thing that could go wrong, since the inverter contains a slew of components, and each one of them just itching to fail.

Motion Switches. Automation is key to preserving power, and using your best abilities to focus on more pressing areas of life. Motion Switches coupled with Photo-sensors help save your sanity and battery bank by automatically turning your appliances on and off without your manual efforts.

If you're planning on going off-grid, plan on getting a few of these babies.

Springfield Motion Sensors of Ohio

With the advantage of modern-day weather-forecasts, planning which days to make bread or do the laundry is easy. When it's not sunny, do something else.

It is May 2018 and Raspberries aren't near ready yet.

Rasberry Bush in Springfield Ohio

Springfield Rasberry Bush

However, the Strawberries are starting to produce already.

Springfield Strawberries

Now let's talk bugs.

Firstly, the Bible says that Fear is Not of God.

Correction. I apparently have internalized my own version of what I didn't read in the bible, I couldn't find that "fear is not of god" anywhere. Wow, misprogrammed again.

Secondly, the Bible says that Thou Shalt Not Kill (no specification indicates that humans were the only items not to kill).

Omigod I can't believe this. It's not in there! Where the hell did I get this stuff from? The bible is killing my whole page here.

Yes, there's plenty of bugs out here. At first it was nerve wracking trying to relocate them back outside,

I'm well over that now (there's more important things to be consumed about).

Spookily, it appears that it is intrinsic in the bug-mind that humans are worth staying away from. It's almost as if the bugs know to either run away upon the sight of us, or freeze-frame hoping we don't notice them.

The flies and mosquitoes are an exception to the rule.

I totally ignore the flies these days. My mind has been conditioned that they are nothing more than God's little ticklers, and no fly will be distracting me from whatever is being focused on. Mosquitoes are dead just on G.P. **UpDAte, Flies must die.

One bug I really get a kick out of is the "stink bug" which I'm not certain why that bug would earn that name. How close does a nose have to be to smell it? But really, just watch one of those things. It can barely function. It's not much at flight and even worse at walking. If you see one, put your finger in front of it. Invariably it will stop at your finger for a moment, turn completely around, and amble away.

Like flies, stink bugs, and crickets, I don't kill the spiders either. We have a relatively understood territory. I know where they predominantly are, and as luck would have it, their areas of domain are of little interest to me.

Only one time in all the time I've been in Ohio have I been bit by a spider (when I first moved to the great outdoors), so it can't constitute as being an epidemic worthy of blowing the minutes God allows me to live here.

In fact, when I first moved out here, there was an EXTREME flying ant emergence. Luckily, any creature that wills can walk right past or over the doors and into the garage, and in marched the spiders (and these other ant, fly, and mosquito killers that I don't know the name of). The mysterious huge beetle/ant/rhino/crab thing only comes out at night. This is a strange bug. It ambles when it walks because it's ill-proportioned, and will for no apparent reason freeze-frame for minutes before seemingly waking up, only to continue ambling forgetting its original path. Sadly it prefers the undersides of shoes as a pit-stop. Only on one occasion did one venture higher up (and even nipped me lightly). That bug is so large that its explainable why they stay with all 6 or 8's on the floor (after 4 legs, who's really counting anyway?).

Anybody will quickly learn the mating seasons, the birthing habits, the seasons in which the various species become most intolerable, and invariably learn how to properly protect food. Don't get me wrong, it is not needful to OVER protect the food generally, for instance most fruits, eggs, and fresh vegetables are left right on the concrete (or placed in the freezer if not expected to be consumed readily).

As luck would have it, not having a preponderance of store-bought food allows for the natural food (that usually comes with it's own protective packaging. i.e.: eggs have shells, apples and potatoes have skins, etc.).

Besides, how much can a bug actually eat anyway? I certainly cannot be deemed as anal about "my" food. Most of what I eat either fell out of a hen's multi-purpose hole or straight off the ground.

*Disclaimer: I usually wash the stuff before consuming it.

As a final note of the day, I'm going for no-till gardening starting yesterday! Rye and wheat will be planted as a cover-crop and that only the tops will be harvested leaving the rest to decay naturally for the most part. The tops of the rye and wheat cover-crops will produce the home-grown flours replacing the store-bought flours for the breads. I'm saving up to buy another solar panel, wind generator, a bigger battery, a 48volt inverter, and a legitimate government that can turn our around.

Wikipedia has something to say about this wrong direction also: Wiki

Well, time to go (jack's calling me again).

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