Monday, January 26, 2015

Solar Panel Update

As promised, here are the photos of the solar panels installed.  What you see at the bottom (although not the greatest picture) is a trailer axle.  Our original plans, to allow us to move the panels east to west throughout the day, may not come to fruition.  The panels when installed together are extremely heavy.  But we are learning as we go. So at this point, they are tied down in a fixed position.  Eventually we’ll be able to put a jack underneath the axle and lift the panels into a more flat position when the sun shifts its location more northward during the summer months. 


We were also able to repurpose more of those free pallets to use as a structure to support the panels.  Those pallets have sure come in handy!  Some of them are even 16’ long.  They contain 16’ 2x4’s, which we can easily take apart.  I’m not even sure I’d call it a drawback; we have to remove the nails on occasion.

The panels also made more energy than we could store again.  Even with a refrigerator, freezer, and multiple tools in operation.  It’s a such fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekend Happenings Part 2 (1/17/15)

We’ve acquired another couple of acres right next to ours so we now have a spread of about 5 total acres.  It has a small pond, which we are considering adding some of our Tilapia.  We are also working on a small building.  Some of the materials were purchased, but we have been able to use some the free windows and doors that The Moose has been acquiring.  I’d guess the cost so far is roughly $800.00.  It will have a wrap around deck and an observation set up on the roof, along with the containers of water for the shower.  



The guys also continued to build shelving in the container.   Again, all materials, except for the nails are from the free pallets.  

I was able to get the chickens, turkeys and rabbits taken care of.  All are doing very well. 
The blueberries are starting to blossom, so I gave them a light dusting of fertilizer.  I’m hoping we’ll get a nice yield of berries, but since they were just planted a few months ago, this may be a slower year.

R&B, part of The Compound group are raising our goats in their back yard, since they need care a couple times a day.  We’ve been blessed with the birth of 4 new baby goats in the last month or so.  They are cute little devils!  They don’t run, they hop all four feet the same time, bounce off of the trees or the backs of their Moms and can stop on a dime!  We’ll eventually be milking them, but for now they’re just getting spoiled.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekend Happenings Part 1 (1/17/15)

Things are really starting to come together at The Compound.  We have quite a few projects in the works, and all are progressing at a great pace.  The solar panels are up and running, and actually producing more power than we can store at this time!  We went without generator power all weekend, which not only saves us the cost of gas, but you could hear yourself think!  The guys used all their power tools, and on occasion it would pop a circuit when too many tools were being used.  Over time we’ll all know what the system can and cannot handle at one time.  But the work does get done and the smiles on their faces, is priceless.
These still need to be installed in framing.
We used solar to build the new nesting boxes for the turkeys.  They can start laying as early as February and I wanted them in place so they got used to them being in their living space and the hens could start “playing house”.  I put a golf ball in each one to help give them the idea.  Whether this actually works or not, who knows..


Three are 18”wide, 18” deep, 18”high at the front and 30” high at the back and the fourth box which is considered communal is 30”wide. It has a big slope so they don’t decide to take up residence on top and create something else for me to clean up.  They are bottomless.  I can lift them up to rake out the old straw bedding and replace with new.  This will be there set up until after they are done sitting on eggs.  We have plans to build them their own coop, but as with everything, we have to do 10 other things first.

The cost for the boxes, other than some nails and screws, very little.  The wood came from the free pallets we keep getting, and we did pick up some wood stain so they’ll last longer.  It cost us $20 for the stain, and we only used about 1/3 of the container so about $7.00.  My kind of repurpose project.

We’re really enjoying the turkeys.  They are great fun to watch and getting easier and easier to round up.  They actually enjoy going home, and I think they really like stealing chicken feed and scratch from the chicken feeders on the way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Is Alive!

Our solar panels are up and running.  Fully charged batteries are all set up and we have lights, and as I write this a saw is operating off of the system.  Soon to be hooked up refrigeration in our outdoor kitchen!  This is a game changer for us.  Looking long term, or short term depending on what you read these days, the ability to keep food cold, make ice for drinks for the occasional spranged ankle or fever is nothing short of a miracle.  Besides being able to charge batteries for flashlights, run lighting in our campers at night, all without an ounce of gasoline!

It has been a long time coming.  A few bumps in the road, but like most things God puts in our paths, we are challenged to pay attention and the reward at the end is outstanding. 
We have a few minor adjustments to make, and then we're running electrical to where it will be needed most.

It was a $6K investment;  $3500.00 for the battery set, $1500 for the solar panels (we got them for half of their going price) and another $1K for the charging station.

It's a bit misty out today, but as soon as they finish welding the frame for the solar panels, I'll share.

I can not express just how happy we all are!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gardening on My Mind

Well the pigs have done their job.  They have completely removed any bit of weed or grass from anywhere in the garden, and it's not growing back.  Wonderful little tillers, and fertilizers.

Now the true test will be, will the weeds come back and if so how quickly?   Considering the property is completely surrounded by weeds, it'll be interesting to see how well they did and/or how long it is before the weeds to take over.  I pray they don't.  Weeds are a big pain in any garden, but out at The Compound, totally impossible to get any control over by hand.

So we'll start on seedlings this weekend, along with the initial tilling of an area in the garden.  We're also interested in seeing how well the garden does, considering all the fertilizer that has been added along the way.

That's at least what's on my agenda.  The Moose has other plans, stay tuned....

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stupendous! (picture heavy)

It was a stupendous holiday season!  Way too much food, and just the right amount of laughter to make your cheeks and stomach hurt! 

We celebrated Gene's 84th birthday!  He was quite the card shark too!

We watched the Moose's Mom catch dinner.  It was over 50 years since she went fishing, and she caught 10 pan fish which we grilled over an open fire.  Yummo!

We celebrated Christmas with great family and friends.  There's 5 generations in this photo, all first born daughters to boot.  We just love these ladies!  They all have a way to make you feel welcomed and loved.

We went camping at KARS Park, and got a bit washed out for a few days, but somehow we managed to stay busy.  The views from the park are always great.

 The guys took the boat out and went fishing, and caught this cooler full of mullet and red tailed tilapia.  These are salt water fish, caught in the Banana River.

They cleaned all 59 fish, and smoked about half for dinner Saturday night.  They were so happy with their big catch!  Dinner was delish!

 I even got the chance to tag along on Sunday morning.  Yep, those are my muddy boots in the photo.  It was picture perfect!

Here's one of the boys throwing the cast net.  Let me tell you, that is no easy feat.  It was pretty heavy, and it really needed a big heave-ho to get it out into the water.  But I think they loved every minute of it.

We saw lots of dolphins, and a manatee or two.  I also had a close encounter with an alligator sunning itself on  the shoreline.

But, my favorite picture of the day was this old tree along the barge canal.  I'm not sure why, but it just captured my attention.

The Moose and I are looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2015.  We hope you'll keep checking in to see what we're up to!