My typical M.O. is to not really post much in the summer. I’d prefer being out enjoying nature than inside banging away at keys. So I have been absent from these pages for some time, but I have not been dormant, as you will see. I would normally have written a catch up post earlier in the winter, but I have been busy recording music (check that out here if you want). This year has some potentially large changes in store, so I hope to write about them as they happen. I use a laptop now, so I could conceivably write posts in a tree if I so desired.
The latest and greatest news is… SOLAR PANELS!! They are not installed yet, except to test them out. There will be a post dedicated to this project, so I will not get into a lot of detail here. I have 2 panels totaling 200 Watts, and battery rated at 100 Amp Hours. The battery is an AGM deep cycle variety. It’s considerably more money than a marine battery, but I’m aiming to do this correctly from the start and avoid the pitfalls many others have endured. I have 30 Amp charge controller as well. All of these components are made by Renogy. I also picked up an additional monitor that I’m hoping will help me keep a close eye on the condition of the battery.
I finally picked up an auto-changeover dual propane regulator. So many nights I wondered if the tank would last until morning. Sometimes it didn’t, forcing me to change it at 2AM by headlamp in 20 below temps. It ran out once when I was doing an overnight shift at work, and I returned home to a frozen water system. Now, when one tank empties, the lack of pressure will force the regulator to switch to the full tank! I have my tanks filled rather than exchange them, so I could have simply swapped my tanks when I knew they were close to empty. I just prefer to let them tap out, especially since the odor additive is settled at the bottom. In theory, a tank that is always filled before it’s empty could accumulate a higher percentage of additive. I could be wrong about the implications of that.
New furnace! This was not planned. Two weeks ago, my furnace started acting up. The motor and/or blower were struggling to remain in motion. I hoped it would hold on for the season, but alas it was not to be. I had to break down and replace it. The furnace was the only appliance in this 1977 camper that was original. So that thing was as old as me. I replaced it with the modern equivalent of the same model, so it was an easy swap. The new unit heats up faster and has a much stronger blower. I guess thats one less headache for next year.
I got to meet The Minimalists! On their last tour, they stopped in Portland, Maine to record an episode of their podcast. I ventured down for a great show, and even ended up on the podcast. Check out Episode 75 Here. They were super gracious, humble, and big huggers. Look how “minimal” I look next to these fellas!
I didn’t do much gardening this year. I got too late of a start. I managed to get a good load of organic Napoli carrots. This year, I may begin to develop some new land with a bee friendly cover crop that will also replenish nitrogen and CO2. My gardening plan for this year aims to be 100% organic, no till, and much broader in selection. I will certainly return to hydroponics someday, but right now the budget and logistics make that much lower on the priority list.
I have ventured deeper into the realm of natural and holistic approaches to life in all aspects. I picked up an encyclopedia of herbal remedies, invested in a large selection of teas, herbs, spices, and collected a pretty impressive array of essential oils and related accoutrements. So far, I have treated a number of ailments with pleasing results. I have been blending concoctions for household cleaning, skin care, deodorant, well being, inflammation, etc… I am going to dedicate a section of this site to these practices and share some recipes.
Lots of other things took place. I fixed all of my screens. I got a new porta potti (the valve started to leak on the old one, not a situation you let linger). I hung some Tibetan prayer flags. Despite being a loner (maybe even a “recluse”?), I learned what its like to navigate this small space for an extended time with another being. I found it to be not only possible, but pleasant. It takes a sort of graceful dance of body and mind to make it work, but it works. This applies to a relationship of an intimate nature, mind you. I don’t think I could tolerate an extended guest otherwise. It also helps if the person is on the same lifestyle wavelengths as you. Though that experiment has drawn to a close, it held many profoundly important and worthwhile lessons.
So the future? After I verify my solar abilities, I plan to move the camper off grid. I’ve got access to a many acre plot where two brooks connect. With solar for power, and a natural source of water, it’s time to cut my umbilical and fly. I think there will be much farming on this land in the years to come, and maybe even some bee hives. Of course, I never plan that much in advance, I let the universe guide me. I’m pretty terrified what a winter off grid will be like. I’ll have to snow shoe in/out. All of my processes will have to change. There are many potential hardships, and I may find it’s not possible (yet) with my current setup. But thats the path I’m walking down at the moment, and there is a jaunt in my step. More will be revealed…