Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Nine Months of 2010

Nine months without an entry! Shame, shame, shame … How many of our faithful followers long since gave up and figured that this, like many other blogs, was set to die for lack of interest? You would have been justified to think that. Intentions were good, but things kept coming up.
But, here we are, back again. We will try to do a little catch up.
In January, I retired from Penn State after working as an academic librarian at the Schuylkill Campus for over 26 years. At the time we planned to put our old house on the market and spend a good part of this year finishing the lodge and moving over. But sometimes Fate has other plans. A chance meeting with old acquaintances from our children’s high school days led to the selling of our old home a week before it was to go on the market.
Suddenly we had to move, and move quickly. I spent all of February driving truck loads of “stuff” to the lodge. We tried to sort, and we did get rid of a lot of stuff, but when we moved in, the new house was full of boxes, and we still had no electricity or appliances. For over a month we made do with ice chests and the side burner on the grill while we worked on unpacking and finishing.
For appliances, we bought a Unique (Brand name) Off-grid propane cooking stove at Lapp Gas in Intercourse, PA. It uses little gas, is well insulated and has performed beautifully for us. For our refrigerator, we bought a Sun Frost. Six weeks in the making and a week in the shipping, it arrived in April just as Evergreen Systems finished installing our off-grid, photovoltaic power system. The Sun Frost is truly impressive—all 350 pounds of it. Even with a serious appliance cart, getting it up our steps was a challenge. Sun Frost refrigerators are not cheap, but they are efficient, and with refrigeration our largest power user, that efficiency allowed us to cut back on the size of our system.

So, what is the summation of all we have set out to do? We wanted a retirement home that would require little or no maintenance, would heat and cool itself naturally and would have little or no utility bills. Now, six months after moving in full time, how close have we come?
We think we have gotten pretty close to our goals. We cut some grass occasionally. We cut and store fire wood for the masonry heater. We used less than half a cord last winter. We take off and put on window screens and open and close curtains. Our only utility bill is our monthly internet fee. Other than that, this home is working out for us.
More to follow:

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