Archive for the ‘Off Grid Living’ Category

Slowdown Post #15: Almond Harvest!

10/09/2020

During lockdown we had time to pick almonds. You don’t actually pick them, you use long sticks or PVC pipe, and wack them off the branches so they land on a tarp. Just don’t get hit as they fall. It hurts! Then the work of taking off the skin and cracking the shells begins. We’re still looking a good for a good almond cracker, so if anyone knows of one, let us know. Right now, we’re doing the cro-magnum technique of smashing them with a river rock. After they’re out of the shell, we’re ready to make almond butter, almond milk or even eat nuts! We have about 6 almond trees here at Mountain Spirit, and since the nuts keep well, unlike the sweet chestnuts we have, we’re able to enjoy them throughout the winter. @purenewzealand

Slowdown Post #14: Wood Chopping and Stackin

09/09/2020

Stoking up for the winter, Conner splits and Jess stacks, nearing the end of a few day’s farm workout plan. Poplar dries quickly, and is quick to light, but its only good for a fire starter. Hardwoods are best for the slow burn. WE debated whether to hire a mechanical splitter, but Conner was happy to have the workout, and since poplar splits so easily, it went fairly quickly. Nevertheless, as you can see, there was quite a bit to split and stack. Living off the grid has its advantages and having warm fires to heat the house is a big one, not to mention the cost savings! purenewzealand#newzealand#wanaka#lovewanaka#mountainspirit

Slowdown Post #11: Working with Micro Hydro Power

10/08/2020

Conner at Intake

Our micro hydro intake with the first layer of cement anchoring in place. Notice the newly installed anchor points for the next layer of anchoring material. This intake still has no water passing over the stream bed yet, which makes it easy to work in the stream bed. Otherwise one would have to divert the water while pouring cement.  We’ll just have to wait on Mother Nature.  This is 60 meters above the the turbine back at our house, and we’re about 600 meters away, so it’s quite a bit of pipe to lay down.We have  also use masonry bolts and chain to anchor the cement better into the stream bed. The chain runs through the hardened cement, leading to the bolts which are place on the large rocks in the stream bed. Hopefully that will keep the intake in place for years to come.   @purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #mountainspirit

Lockdown/Slowdown Post #8: Micro Hydro Install

05/08/2020

 Drilling holes into a perfectly good micro-hydro intake box! Conner, our helper and wonderful person during lockdown helps me add anchor points which will help hold the micro hydro intake to the stream bed. It will take two pours of concrete to hold the intake in place, not to mention some bolts and chains anchored from big rocks in the stream bed, going under the cement. Only a 100 yr flood event will take this out.. if that we hope!

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Lockdown/Slowdown Post #7: Micro Hydro

05/08/2020

The Powerspout micro-hydro in action last spring during its initial trial run, when we had a running stream. During Lockdown, it was Conner’s and my job to build a more permanent footing and structure for this gizmo, and to secure the intake. More on that later…stay tuned. We’ll show you images and text of this hydro system, called the Powerspout, how we set it up, how the company configured the system to our water flow and drop, (called head) and how it works now that we’ve got water flowing in our stream. It’s the perfect dovetail to our solar. Tons of sun in the summer and tons of water in the stream in the winters.

 

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Lockdown/Slowdown Post #5: Micro Hydro Trench Begins

30/07/2020

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A very long trench through glacial moraine deposits! Arggh. But for a good cause! Our Micro hydro electrical feed to the house.

One of our first projects during lockdown: We were able to pick up an excavator before the restrictions took place, Here is a very long electrical trench from the new micro-hydro unit to the house which now needed to be filled in. With the help of the excavator and our “Woofrs” (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), Jess and Conner, from the states. the backfill went well. Since this picture was taken, we’ve had the hydro system running for 4 weeks now, and it sure is rewarding! It’s the perfect dovetail to our solar panels which crank in the summer months. Since there’s a lack of sun during our winter months, the secure feeling that we’re generating electricity from the stream is a wonderful feeling. It cost a bit to get it running, but as they say, “It can be complicated living simply” Ah, not really, but there is some planning involved. It’s more than just flipping a switch and paying an electrical bill.  I don’t miss the latter though! More on the hydro system in later posts.