But no, that’s not my reason for the lack of blogging lately. Been busy. Also time-traveling again. Fun times, not easily translated to a computer venue.
So. When you make your own power with the help of a few high-tech panels and sensitive little generator, coming home to a dark house has a very different meaning. It’s not about “Oh, call the power company!” or “Hmmm, let’s get out the candles and wait and see…” It’s more like “Oh, sh*t, what’s happening? And how can we fix it?” It’s nice to be independent of the Big Power and their polluting ways, but it also means we’re literally on our own… with limited technical skills and luckily a friend with great skills and willingness to come out at odd times to help. This is the first time we’ve come home to NO power since I’ve been at this house, and it was a bit disconcerting.
The batteries can normally keep the house going for a while, even when the sun’s not been out. But now that the big melt is here, our silly septic system is filling with water. The pump runs constantly, draining the batteries completely. The system shut itself down to prevent damage to the batteries when the draw got too bad. This is good. My less-favorite piece is that the solution is to shut off the septic pump and not send any water down the drain for a week or so. No showers, laundry, etc, unless we can catch the water in a basin (which we can do with fairly little trouble, but still). The toilet question is actually no problem, since we do mostly humanure anyway.
People sometimes look at me like I’m crazy when I say “Yes, but…” when they tell me how lucky we are to live off the grid. It IS nice to be independent, but see above. There’s no big support system behind you when something breaks. When your house is built to “normal” power-hungry grid standards instead of simple off-grid standards, that can be a bit stinky. Literally, no-shower-laundry-dishwashing stinky.
I also know it’s a matter of expectations and outside-world “requirements”; who says I need to shower most days? I’ve lived with no plumbing before and survived, but maybe I’m getting too old and wimpy for this. Hmmm...