88 Days

I haven’t posted in a while because not much has changed.  I’ve settled into a routine until spring when construction projects can start in earnest.  Here are a few things I’ve learned, though.

If you’re planning on solar PV for power, expect a lot more cloudy days than forecast and plan accordingly.  Even here in Arizona, it has been cloudy a lot more than I expected, and I’ve had to run the generator more than I planned.  Even so, in 88 days I’ve burned less than five gallons of gas, so I’m not unhappy.  I do conserve electricity as much as possible and shut down the inverter at night.

40 miles each way to go for potato chips and dip,  or a pizza, is a LONG trip.  If you’re far from a town, then think hard about the snack foods you like and what might replace them.  It’s easy to say that you can live without them, but try it for a month.

Plan for medicines!  Headaches, diarrhea, sniffles, coughs, etc. are magnified 100 fold when you can’t run to Walgreens.  Also, have a GOOD first aid kit.  I haven’t needed one yet, but being able to deal with cuts, bites, sprains, and other minor injuries should be a high priority.

Plan for and test communications.  If you’re away from the cabin, how are you going to call for help if you need it?  A lot of places have spotty or no cell service, so plan on using local communications if at all possible.  I am a ham radio operator and I always carry a handi-talkie with me.  The ranch I live on has a number of people who use GMRS radios for their ranch duties, so I make sure that my HT can talk to them in an emergency.  There are lots of ways to accomplish this, so pick a few.

That’s it for now.  I look forward to your comments and suggestions.


5 thoughts on “88 Days

  1. It has been a tough winter. There have been times when I could not get off the property because the roads were so bad that even 4WD wouldn’t help. Happily, I am stocked up on food and have lots of electricity and propane for heat. It’s still uncomfortable being cooped up in a tiny trailer.

    The weather has also kept me from doing anything of value outside. I can’t wait for spring!


  2. And here I thought you were losing weight because you weren’t snacking as much. Here’s a tip. Keep pad & pencil handy and when you get a snack/munchie mood that demands something you don’t have, jot it down for your next shopping trip. I can usually convince myself I don’t really *need* some nibble food while at the store. Only to find I wish I had it 2 days later at home. I stocked up on soups, chili and Dinty Moore stew for cold winter nights with a good book or movie. Don’t forget some crackers for the soups.

    I was under the impression the specs most solar panel companies provide are “optimistic” as are the calculations for electric storage. Whaddya think – add 20% capacity to get closer? Save the generator for those long, dreary weeks with little sun?

    For your medicinal products, don’t overlook a toothache remedy with temporary filling material. Fracturing a tooth on a late Saturday afternoon means a long uncomfortable wait for a dentist. Don’t ask how I know that.


  3. Weight loss was becoming concerning. I dropped from 275 to 164 in the last year, with most of that in the last seven months. The problem was that I wasn’t really trying to lose weight. I think diet change and some bad water along the way caused most of it. I’ve consciously started eating more bunny food and flushed the entire water system and I feel a lot better. I got the chest freezer hooked up, so now I can have some frozen veggies on hand instead of canned.

    Solar panel specs are derived from “standard conditions”, which means “perfect conditions.” Getting 85% of rated values is REALLY good, and only happened a couple of times. There’s another consideration, too. As the batteries become charged, the charge controller reduces the current going into them. So, even though the panels could be generating 800 or so watts, the meter shows around 250 watts because it’s monitoring on the battery side of the controller, not the panel side.

    I’ve not needed the generator very much, and have probably run it more than necessary just to keep the batteries at or above 85% state of charge. The batteries are rated for deeper discharge than that, but life expectancy drops if they’re taken below 75% very often.

    I keep a pretty well stocked trauma kit on hand as well as some basic meds like Anbesol, vitamins, Aleve, Pepto-Bismol and the like. I’m not that far away from medical facilities for any BAD events. I do find myself taking more precautions than I normally would when I’m working, just to avoid stupid accidents. I can’t remember the last time I said, “Y’all watch this.”


    1. I figured the more active lifestyle would burn lots more calories and you’d lose weight. After seeing your photo I assumed some of that weight came off while you were in the apartment and busying yourself with future plans.

      A doctor’s exam may be warranted to ensure you haven’t picked up some kind of critter in your system from bad water. Some of those things get nasty if they take hold in your body. You can probably find water purification & sanitation agents at a supply shop locally. Or just use bleach and get used to the taste. If nothing else a filter for the trailer’s tap water.

      I figured the solar panel ratings were likely the best conditions. So if 85% is rated figure realistic output at 50% and work from there. The charge controller is something I didn’t know about. Like filling a bottle of water it reduces flow as it gets close to topping off so it won’t overcharge the battery. That makes sense, in a way, but sucks if you’re afternoon gets cloudy a lot because you may not get a full charge.

      I think you said you got your laptop fixed. If not, there’s an Acer laptop with an Intel I3 dual-core processor, 8GB, 1TB, DVD, 802.11ac and more on Amazon for $389. I’m using a similar unit with a 2.0Ghz i3 and it’s plenty swift for most applications.

      Glad to hear that you’re being cautious before doing stuff. If you obtain an ATV it’d be good to mount a basic kit on it too. Safety glasses are cheap too. After once having a corner of a hatchet break off an embed in my offhand thumb, I’m a believer in protective eye wear.


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