When the season turned, the clouds rolled in, and the hours of daylight dwindled. We were finding our 2 KW solar system was NOT enough for a fridge, washing machine, and hot water heater, especially on a day with NO sunlight shining through the clouds. There was enough for basic charging of computers, our router, and lights, but not for those large appliances 24/7. I have been programmed already to take hot showers on sunny days. Or, get a raging fire going in the woodstove to warm up after a cold shower! The laundry had to wait or we had to choose one thing per day, but not anymore! As usual, Grant figured it out. He got us a couple more batteries. The four batteries we had weren’t keeping up with the energy generated from the panels. He also hooked up the wind turbine. Between those two improvements we have seen a tremendous difference! We call that a win! Also, against our sustainable mission, but solely as a backup plan, we purchased a 3500 watt gas powered generator for emergency situations. We do not plan to use this unless the situation is dire. The generator may come in handy when we are building the earthship since there is no power on the other side of our property. We do not anticipate using many power tools on the build. For the most part it will be a hammer, a shovel, and a trowel. But, I’m sure we will need it from time to time. One thing we need to figure out is if we need a cement mixer and how much power that would use. I’m hoping we can make an adobe mix that we can mix by hand (or feet). We recently started searching for recycled tires (the main building material for an earthship) and reading the earthship building books to begin preparations. The books we purchased are written by Michael Reynolds and provide detailed instructions and imagery on how to build your own earthship from start to finish! The second volume discusses the systems integrated in the earthship and how the components of a self-sufficient home will come together. We found a tire business in Spokane interested in delivering a trailer load full of tires to us for free! They are begging to get rid of them! FREE WALLS! All we have to do is pack them full with dirt. We have been hoarding bottles for wall spacing materials between the concrete to allow light to shine through similar to stained glass and uses a fraction of the cement since the bottles fill empty space, but still hold the structural integrity. We have a large pile of glass pieces to use for windows on the south side of the earthship, which will make up the greenhouse. We found those free on Craigslist in Spokane a few months ago. Hopefully that will be enough windows for the job! I will probably keep on the look out anyway, because it never hurts to have extra glass for spare projects! Grant built a tiny rough model of the earthship. Pictures are below. The milk jug represents the glass dome facing the southern sky. The area between the glass and the building will be greenhouse and aquaponics grow space. The home will be two stories. On the first floor will be the bathroom, kitchen, and office/ living area. The second floor “loft” will be the bedroom and relaxation area. The loft will have its own view of the valley to the south and the stairs to the loft will be in the greenhouse so they can double for picking fruit off of tall established trees. We have a vision, can you tell?? I just want an avocado tree!
Things are looking up here on at Green Journey Farm. A lot of fun new projects are starting! Grant is continuing work on the yurt so we have somewhere to store supplies while building the earthship.
We are all settled in for winter. The goats and sheep are getting into a routine and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes our bully new adult Nubian doe, Cinnamon, bites wool out of our sheep, which we are not happy about. She gets jealous if we are feeding the sheep and not her. Muffin the 7 month old Nubian goat doe gives hugs and kisses. She is so sweet. Sputnik, our Nigerian Dwarf buck, has got to be my favorite, most adorable character on the farm yet. The way he twitches and randomly leaps or skips is just hilarious. Everyday is another gift. We are recharged and excited about our sustainable journey.