Testing the Limits

By , November 11, 2018

Our homestead’s resources seem to have suddenly reduced to the lower limits too many fronts.

Our battery has drawn down close to 40%. In many ways, this is good. The company we bought the Ni-Fe cells from claims that the battery works best if capacity draws down to 20%. Ideally, the battery should cycle several times, drawing down to minimum capacity, then charging back to 100%, before it reaches full capacity. This is the first time we’ve come anywhere close to minimum charge.

However, this does little for our peace of mind! We’re in the middle of a low sun, calm period. I can’t look at the weather forecast and confidently expect a full recharge anytime soon. I may know we’re doing fine, but I feel like we’re in danger.

Low solar ceiling

This weather, at this time of day in November, brings in about an amp of solar power, just enough to cover minimum operations on the homestead (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Until we gain that confidence, much remains on hold: this blog (I wrote the first draft of this post with pen and paper!), other writing projects, rechargeable device recharging, even soap making.

Our hot water situation seemed hopeful just recently, but went downhill in a hurry.

Just when we needed it most, an Agua Heater like ours appeared on a local sale Website. We found out about it from a friend. I quickly messaged the seller, and learned that someone had gotten there ahead of us. Shortly, we learned that the friend who told us about the heater was the person ahead of us! His family is looking for the same type of heater for a housing project they’re working on, but they stood ready to let us have the one that was for sale, as our need seemed pressing.

As this all played out online, Michelle and I tested our latest repairs to our water heater, only to discover a handful of new leaks so big they threatened to extinguish the fire in the chamber! We had to face facts: That was the last hot water we’d get from that heater. Ever.

Our friend bought the heater, and Michelle looked it over the next day. After these last few weeks of repairs to ours (my arms are too big to reach the places needing patches) Michelle might be Haines’s current Agua Heater expert!

They found leaks in the heater; hopefully, our friends got their money back!

Meanwhile, we’ll heat water on the stove and bathe with ewer and basin till our water heating issues get resolved (See Bath from the Past: Using an Ewer and Basin).

"dead" Agua Heater

This old Agua Heater’s down for the count (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Our firewood resource isn’t up to par these days, either. Thanks to a push before the Ireland trip, we have enough fuel at the moment. Unfortunately, the damper, greener wood lies atop the drier, more seasoned wood. The weather’s been too wet to gather more dry wood these last weeks. It’s been a bit difficult keeping the house warm without tearing the pile apart completely. We have more wood drying over the stove than waiting in the wood box!

Perhaps worst of all, we continue to battle lack of momentum, as described in the recent post, Anarchy. The lower limits of all these resources make it far too easy to do nothing at all.

Something must shake loose soon. We’ll “snap out of it” before too much time passes. As I’ve indicated above, much of our “problem” stems from attitude, which we can change.

At least we’re not testing the limits of all homestead resources. Thanks to my efforts, our stock of Russian tea mix, fireside coffee mix, and pumpkin soup have all increased to appropriate seasonal levels!

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