Category: Off-the-Grid Power

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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Slow Season

By , June 29, 2017

The summer tourist season is in full swing. Since Michelle works for a local tour company, you can imagine how the hectic pace bleeds into our homestead. It seems everyone has her cell number, so calls and texts usually begin as soon as she turns her phone on in the morning, and don’t end till evening. Her only respite comes during her hike commute, when she has no coverage on the trail. Add to this her need to process her work day, and Aly’s similar need after dealing with tourists at the museum all day, and the hustle and bustle of a tourist town comes home to the forest.

Ironically, I consider this a slow season. That’s because my jobs involve Internet connectivity.

A cruise ship heads south on Lynn Canal a few summers ago (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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