Low Power

By , January 17, 2018

We’re weathering a “perfect storm” of . . . calm weather.

In the middle of January, we can’t rely on the solar array to power our homestead as it does most of the rest of the year. Instead, we need the wind generator to cover the gap caused by seasonal darkness. But, if we hit a run of cloudy, calm days, we lose out.

That’s our current situation. We’ve had breezy days and nights, enough to spin the generator just below the 9 m.p.h. lower charging limit. Occasionally, we get a bit of charge. To make it all the more maddening, our local breezes trended the exact opposite of the forecast wind: while we were supposed to have northerly in the morning and southerly in the afternoon, our generator faced south all morning, then switched to north in the afternoon!

Currently, our battery bank registers 77% of charge. That’s well above our total shut down limit of 50%, but we try never to run down to 75%. So, in order to reserve remaining charge for emergencies, we’ve gone “primitive.”

cabin by oil lamp light

A low light morning. The room is better illuminated to the human eye than the camera’s eye. Since it’s morning, two lamps in this view are not lit (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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The Car Conundrum

By , January 14, 2018

Ironically, just when I’m thinking a lot about frugality, we’re buying cars (see Introducing “Rhubarbaru”).

One of the touchstones, if you will, of our frugality has always been how we dealt with big ticket items, like vehicles. We mostly focus on smaller savings, regarding cars or trucks as somewhere beyond the pale. We had “The One Car,” our Jeep, which is, and will likely be the only car we ever bought brand new. It was The Car, what we had, and hoped to drive until it died. Which, I suppose it did. That left us in a tight spot, which we likely would still be working around, had Aly not moved the purchase of a family car along so precipitously.

traffic jam

All of these Americans expressing their individuality together… (Photo: Autoguide.com)

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