Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Well we finally took the plunge and I don't know why we waited so long. This 45 Watt system is basically a solar battery charger. I had to purchase a 12 Volt deep cycle battery to go with the system. Basically a marine or RV battery. This system came with a regulator and two DC 5 Watt compact fluorescent light fixtures.
One of the biggest challenges of being off the grid is lighting. As soon as the sun goes down things become difficult especially if it is overcast and no moonlight. We have used propane lanterns, tiki torches and rechargeable lights as well as oil lamps.
I was somewhat skeptical, but I have to tell you it works great. This system is an inexpensive set up made for campers or a remote cabin like ours and clearly has limitations. We will eventually have to purchase an inverter if we wish to operate AC appliances, but for now I am just happy to have the lighting.
As an experiment I ran both lights all night long, which normally I wouldn't do. The two lights only drew down the battery to 12.3 from 12.8 on the regulator.
The solar panels connected brought the battery back to a 13 on the regulator in just a little over a half hour. I am impressed.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last week we harvested the garlic planted last fall. The tops of the plants began to turn yellow and brown and dry out. This is a signal that the plants are done and it's time to pull the plants and let them dry out. Leaving them in the ground too long invites rotting or fungus especially in a wet year like this has been.
Once the plants are pulled we bundle them together in bunches of 8-10 bulbs and hang them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. They will hang for about two weeks roughly and then they will be brushed off and trimmed.
Washing the bulbs is not recommended. In the interest of a long shelf life they need to dry. Just brush off any dirt. You will peel them anyway before using.
This year we harvested around 50 bulbs of New York White, a hard neck variety. Most years we grow several varieties. This fall we plan to plant three to four varieties and closer to 100 seeds.