Its now Spring and I have successfully and officially made it through a New England winter. Living off the grid on a .3KWH system, I was wary of how I’d survive the low sun winter season but I’m happy to report I only ran out of power twice and that was due to being power greedy and trying to watch a DVD on my laptop with the house lit up like a christmas tree – lesson learnt. My solar hot water provided good hot showers every other night which was fine by me. My wood store tank was full in April and now has about enough wood to last a couple of weeks – good to know how much volume I need to have on hand to get through the cold months and using the wood oven top to cook on saved gas.
My vegetable garden survived some below zero temps and I am amazed at the hardiness of many of the herbs, veg and flowers that endured the cold. I am now a huge fan of Calendular – what a trooper! My garden is now a glow with glorious orange flowers all self sown by 6 original plants I put in back in December 2012. Broccoli has kept me fed with organic goodness and is now gone to flower attracting the local bees by the hundreds – native and European. Parsley, silverbeet, thyme, leek all came through winter too.
The grand old stringy Bark tree was milled into about 60 lengths of timber all approx’ 5.5m in length. Sizes ranged from 100x100mm posts, 5×4″ planks, 3×3″, 2×4″ and garden stakes from the not so useful outer edge of the tree trunk. Plenty of saw dust too for composting. The base section I plan to make into a 3m long out door table. A fine way to honor a 95 year old tree don’t you think?
I built a dry stone retaining wall using many of the several hundred rocks I have laying on the property. I also built a pedal powered blender – details will be posted soon – and I have been practicing the art of the do-it-yourself haircut because the local barber refused to cut my hair! I’d pay me for my last haircut – seriously.
I planted 24 Hazelnuts at the end of July that are now all sprouting new leaf. I also planted 4 dwarf Apple trees just last week. Nectarines, Jostaberry, Pomegranate and Figs all to go in soon. Cutting and splitting wood is a full time job here and my wood stacks are becoming treasured works of art. More natives are on order for October planting so I have been busy through winter prepping the new area with cardboard and woodchip.
Oh and my neighbour gave me an old base to a caravan – so a little visitors cabin on wheels is on the cards for summer.
Waiting for much needed rain.