e-Trike

Took awhile to get this sorted due to a bad controller and a bad throttle. but now it gets me where I need to go.  Did take it down to the creek, part of why I purchased this, and was pleasantly surprised that the road down was not as steep as I thought it would be, nor as long.  But in much worse shape!  Made it down and back with ease, although that was without carrying 100 lbs of water with me

It can be charged off one of my Goal Zero’s with no problem.

Right now, I’m using it to go to the farmer’s market and some recreational riding around the area.  Plus, that recreational riding is helping me build my own endurance and get used to the gearing and such necessary to ride up and down hills with a load.monday2

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how much is enough

first a little background

I was born at the end of the Truman era, before “I Like Ike”.   Grew up with duck and cover drills in school as the city where I lived was just on the other side of the NYC line.  Sometimes we filed into the hall and stood facing the wall, sometimes it was true duck under our desk.  Later, we were digging holes in our back yards to build bomb shelters – places to hide with our families with enough supplies for  maybe up to 3 months and then what?  And no air filters so we would be bringing in radioactivity anyway!

When I was still a young teen, first read Earth Abides and was awakened to the idea of Pandemic.  By that time the cold war was fading, nuclear limitation treaties were being talked about, and there was definitely a change in the cold war.  Soon after that we moved to Vietnam protests as I saw the older brothers of my school friends being sent off to die.  And then it became my peers who were dying.

and at this same time we began moving into the “environmental movement”;  awakening to the damage being done to the environment by industry.

the bottom line being, most of my “developmental” years were spent being made aware of the limitations of the human species – both naturally and through our own foolishness.

And I began learning basic skills. Sewing, canning, growing, making.

Lived in NYC at the time and wondered about surviving any one of all the possible things that could happen to mankind, as well as how I would survive simple things like unemployment.

Then I met the man with whom I’d be spending the next 33 years (as of this weekend) and moved to a more rural area where I began expanding on my skills with a real garden, preserving, learning, plus having more room to store some extra canned goods, water, etc.

And now we are living in a small city, with a bit of land, in the desert southwest. and have the room to do a bit more prepping.  Plus we are older, less able to do some things.

So, how do we prep?  As we get into serious prepping, we make lists – mental or written – based on reality.

Where we live, the terrain will not allow tornadoes to form.  We live far enough from the ocean that hurricanes are wind and rain; High winds and maybe a lot of rain, but just wind and rain.  We live on high ground.  The most snow I’ve seen here is about 18″ and the coldest we’ve experienced here is 17F.  The longest we’ve been without power was about 12 hours when the main electrical supply from the street box to the house shorted out.  We are on the edge of an earthquake zone, but so far they have been small and few.  There are extinct volcanos in the neighborhood, but its been MILLENIA since they’ve been active.

So what SHTF scenario am I prepping for?  Our one real threat is forest fire.  So yes, I have a bug out bag, some money, a little dehydrated food and camp equipment to grab and go.  And if we have a real fire, we will lose all other preps.

What are my next level possibilities?  Grid failure (of any type), civil unrest,  pandemic, economic collapse – not in an particular order.

and that’s where I stall.

Right now I have 3000 gallons of water storage, but if it doesn’t rain – as it hasn’t – those tanks stand empty.  We’ve had two rainstorms of any amount so far in 2018 and its nearing the end of May.

Have an electric Trike, small portable power pack, pump, and some empty containers so I can go to the creek and get water.

Composters

Garden beds, Ollas, drip irrigation systems.

Goal Zero Yeti’s – 1000 and 1250 – plus 2 x 100w solar panels.  So maybe one or more solar panels.

5 gallon water storage containers for about 30 gallons of water.

food.  Dried food, canned food, commercial dehydrated and home dehydrated.  Commercial canned and home canned.

First aid supplies – yes, they could be expanded.

books.

oil lamps, rocket stove, greenhouse, camping equipment.

So where do I go from here? What do I keep doing?  Pretty much, its still about food!

Any other suggestions???

question??

Does anyone know, or has anyone tried, using Yucca root for cleaning / laundry.

Just reading about “soap nuts” and have ordered some to try.  Then it occurred to me, that we have our own plant with natural saponofins (or however it is spelled) for cleaning.  native Americans use Yucca root for hair and body cleaning, so why not laundry and general household work?

Or do I have to be the one to try it out??

practice makes perfect

While the DH just bought an electric powered Traeger pellet smoker, I’m still working with my “alternatives”.  And just ordered a 400w Goal Zero so I have a portable unit for keeping my Trike charged on the road, and for other portable needs.

Earlier this year we had to change the bib on our 1100 gallon water tank as it was leaking badly.  The bib on the 1000 gallon tank is leaking as is the bib on the 350 gallon tank.  Now, we see one leg on the 650 gallon horizontal leg tank is buckling and cracking as the earth has shifted under it.  So this morning we are emptying it with deep garden watering and the rest will be pumped into one of the other tanks.

and that leads back to the Yeti 400.  Right now, we have no rain.  Have only had two rains this year so far; the first one filled the tanks, the second one added about 100 gallons to them, but they were already 1/2 empty by then.  So what would we do if we had to refill the tanks?  Ride down to the creek, fill up bottles and bring them home and transfer them.  the yeti 400 will allow me to use a pump leaving the bottles in the back of the Trike (or car if we have fuel) and transfer that water into the tanks rather than having to lift and haul.  Still a lot of trips to fill 3000 gallons of tank!!

Of course, SHasn’tHTF, and we can just turn on the house hose bib.

PLUS, the Trike has an electrical problem and I’m discovering that I can barely peddle myself up a hill, much less the Trike with a load!!

While out on the Trike yesterday (practicing going up hill on human power alone), stopped at a garage sale and picked up a new Coleman two burner stove, with 2 medium (about quart sized) gas cans for $20.  We already have a couple of older ones, this will go into my Westy – if we ever get it back on the road.  That is going to be set up as a bug out vehicle. With forest fires raging around us, am constantly reminded how necessary that may be one day and not every place will take the dog . . .nor does she want to be just any place; she is a barker!

but before I put it away, want to make sure I know how to use it. Its been years since I’ve done so.

cause practice makes perfect.

hard work

Did some work in the garden today – transplanting, feeding, watering, trimming, dealing with problems, etc.

Then set up the solar oven to cook chicken breasts for lunch.

with more than 2 hours spent all together, it occurred to me how much harder this would all be if I were going for full self-reliance; feeding us for a year from our land, rather than just supplementing what we are able to buy.  How hard it would be to bring in water if we couldn’t just turn on the taps and the water tanks were empty due to drought.

How the single boysenberry plant, the single blackberry plant, the two grape plants are not really enough for more than  a special treat once a year.  how many potatoes I’d have to plant to have enough for a year.  How already I’ve lost two plants to what I think is Verticillium wilt – was it from the manure/compost I added to the pot or were they contaminated seed potatoes?  At least, being an isolated grow bag, I can dump that. No isolating a section of my limited grow space for 7 years!  Meanwhile have planted a salvia in that bag, don’t know if it will succumb, but if it does, may help me better diagnose what has gone wrong!

Last year we put in a new raised (as in standing counter height) bed next to the kitchen, but I keep forgetting to water it.  Had set aside a small section of the main garden for beans, think I’ll put some pole beans in there and use the new bed for bush beans.  There is already a crop coming up in the greenhouse, along with some zucchini and tomatoes.  Matter of fact, we picked and ate a zucchini after a 34F cold night!

But our ancestors had to use other methods to extend their seasons and they had to work long and hard, day in and day out.  No putting the watering lines of a timer while they went on vacation.  and this doesn’t even begin to take into consideration the long time consuming process of house cleaning!

No wonder as the years went by they were ready to embrace the time freeing miracle appliances of refrigerators, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners!

and demonstrates to me, once again, while I need alternate power around here, because at my age, and I’m not getting younger!, I will want to be able to keep that vacuum, that refrigerator, those lightbulbs, going no matter what happens in the future!

goal zero

Unfortunately, my Yeti 1250 deal was not such a deal.  Something is wrong with it, and while service is saying bad battery, I think its something else.

Neither here nor there, as they are going to replace the unit – supposedly.  Said they would send a label, but its not happened yet. Being a heavy unit, I’ll have UPS pick it up here.

hmmmm, maybe they meant they would have UPS pick it up with the label in hand?  Guess I should get it packed up either way, huh?

another goal zero

Know there are all kinds of opinions about alternate power sources, and I’m not going to get into that conversation other than to say have considered my capabilities and have gone with the Goal Zero.

Not too long ago bought their Yeti 1000 Lithium at Costco – where it is just $999.99 vs the $1250 Goal Zero sells it for.

Meanwhile, my old Goal Zero with the lead acid battery, the battery had died. Gave it to a friend, who only has to replace the battery, which gives him a short term power option for his very limited needs.

Keep the Yeti1000 in a cooler to help keep its temperature moderated, cause I’m not too keen about having the big lithium battery in the house.

And have been thinking of getting another and had been debating between another 400, or just going for another 1000.  Then thought about replacing the 400 with the lead acid one, as it can be chained, unlike the Lithium.  And then there is the question of disposal of Lithium batteries . . .

So, Goal Zero has “open box” items discounted.  new items but not in the original packing; like used for displays at shows, etc.   Had been looking for the Yeti400 in the open box (almost 1/2 the full retail!) but they didn’t have any.

So today, bit the bullet and bought a yeti 1250, lead acid, open box for less than $1000.  Heavy thing, comes with a roller cart.  Went with the lead acid because it is chainable, which means I can increase the total power by just adding in a battery of the appropriate strength – or two!  The max draw remains the same, the ohms and amp remain the same, but the total wattage is increased.

Sometimes it seems like a total waste to spend so much money on this stuff, but then again, if you start adding up the money you spent on water storage, food stocks, etc. it comes to a lot of money, doesn’t it?  and actually, I’m hoping to start switching over some of the household electric needs to these goal zero’s before we get to a “have to” situation!!