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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
A very exciting trip to Alpine today. We were just 15 miles or so away from town when the clutch gave out on the little Ranger. Truthfully, we knew it was due to quit but wanted to eke out every last mile before replacing it.
But on the way to Alpine, with a bed full of trash and recycling, was a very inconvenient time to die!
We are very lucky, though. After a few cars passed us by, our friend and neighbor Kevin Elmore (of Green Scene land restoration demo fame) stopped to help. We managed to get a tow back to the Ranch, and we'll be ordering up all the necessary parts soon.
Looks like we'll be in the shop this weekend.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
April 6th was the 5th annual Green Scene, and we got to power the event for the third year running. We built a SunStation just for the job, our smallest and most cost-effective model ever. Version 3.0 has 570 rated watts of PV modules, four deep-cycle flooded batteries, a digital PWM charge controller, and a 2300W 24V modified sine wave inverter.
We always have so much fun, and this year was the best ever. We gave a demonstration explaining the basic principles of solar power and living Off Grid. Our friends and neighbors Tim McKenna and Kevin Elmore teamed up on a very informative demonstration on reclaiming the desert land using simple techniques and proven principles.
There was so much else, I can't even begin to cover everything. Between the stand-up comedy and belly-dancing, there were lots of great demonstrations and educational materials. And as always, tons of great, fresh food.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
A few days ago we traded some solar equipment for a used plasma cutter and finally got around to trying it out last night. Can't wait to put this thing to work!
We also helped out a neighbor this morning and she was kind enough to give us this small dog pen. We don't know exactly what we will do with it yet, but it is very nice and in excellent condition. We sure have some kind and generous folk out here.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Spring has officially sprung! And thanks to all that glorious winter precipitation, the vernal flowers seem to be exploding! Almost every yucca is blooming or about to bloom, there are bluebonnets up and down the roads, ocotillo are putting out red buds, and the whole desert is starting to green.
There is still a lot of dead foliage about thanks to the drought, but plants that did survive seem to be recovering very well, now that we have had some precipitation. Another rain would do us all some good, though, as the roads are getting pretty dusty again.
And while the flowers are very confident that it is now Spring, the thermometer is less certain. The weather keeps bouncing between balmy 70-80 degree days and 60 degree nights, to cold and windy days with near-freezing temperatures at night.
And of course the turistas know that it is Spring, because they have flooded into the Big Bend for Spring Break vacations. It is good to see the shops and hotels and restaurants bustling with activity, but I think we'll just keep working on Solar and avoid town for a while. Although it may be hard to stay away from the National Park with all these gorgeous flowers blooming...