Friday, January 27, 2017

Winter Has Been Rough

Before I moved off grid a lot of people told me to barely ever snows out here. Well, since then I've learned that Murphy's Law is alive and well in my life.  Around about this time last year I almost died of pneumonia. As far as my health goes this year I feel great (tired, but great--I haven't been sick from viral/bacterial infection once), but other than that this has been the most challenging winter of my life. Honestly I'm surprised I'm handling it as well as I am. 
Me and the snow drift

So, it snowed a lot.  This is a picture of a 3ft high snow drift right on the edge of the hole I've been digging for my walipini.  For those of you who don't know a walipini is an underground greenhouse used for year-round growing.
This is a picture of the giant 700ft barrier of snow between the highway and my home.
There was so much snow that the road to my home has been blocked off and I've had to park just off the highway and walk 700 feet in now up to my knees in some spots.
I used some wood from some old shelves I tore out of my trailer and a couple of cinder blocks to build a place to keep my firewood. The panels keep the snow off of it. I'm eventually going to attach a piece of plastic between them to stop the snow from falling through that part, but for the most part it keeps my wood dry and snow free.

It gets really dark out here sometimes. I needed some low wattage outdoor lighting and I realized it was Christmas and I had some extra LED white Christmas lights. They light up the area around my RV pretty well.
I've been mixing the briquettes I've been making with my firewood and they work quite well. They'll burn red hot for about 40 minutes. The only drawback is the leave quite a bit more ash than wood does, but the ash is completely white.

I've been amazed at how well my little rocket mass heater works. I have to knock the soot out of the pipe about every week and a half, but other than that it's great.  I also use a Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater to warm the place until I get the fire going or on those cold -20 F nights.
Unfortunately, all the systems I designed to recirculate shower water failed when it started freezing. The worked great when the water didn't freeze. So, I had to come up with a way that recirculated the water but didn't let it sit in any pipes and was easy to drain all the water out. The pump I was using also used way too much current and the water pressure wasn't great.  I found the solution on Amazon for less than $20.
Image result for 12 volt camp shower
It's a simple 12 volt pump that connects directly to a shower head.  I just put a plug in my drain and the pump head fits right into my drain to collect the water. The pressure is surprisingly good and it uses way less power. Now that I have a third 100 amp hour battery installed I can run everything except for the occasional power tool off of solar power.  I showered for over 30 minutes on 1 gallon of water. The plus side of using this system is keeping all the tubing inside the shower keeps the water temperature warm longer.
The pump ships from China. It works great but the quality doesn't look the best. So, I ordered another one in case this one burns out.

I put up a few shower curtains and a U-haul blanket between the cab and the rest of the house and it got so cold the inside of the cab was covered in ice. I frosted it off then covered the entire thing with bubble wrap and that solved the problem.

After a long hard day I snuggle up with Ed my sock monkey and fall asleep.

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