Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunshine on my Shoulder

19 solar panels for electricity generation, 2 on extreme right for hot water 

I am way, way excited!  Never before have I ever experienced such elation at receiving a power bill!!    The last one was $80, but did not reflect a full month of our solar system in action so we were curious to see a full month's solar power gathering.  Our solar system is humming along quite nicely - thanks to all the wonderful sunshine hours the Land of the Long White Cloud is blowing our way.  Our bill for the month of January is (drum-roll please....drrrrrrrrr) a total of (minus) -$136.75!  Yes, you read right!  We are in credit for that amount.  Which means not only did we generate ALL the power we used for the month, but we generated extra energy to run other homes (okay, maybe just an average or small sized home).  That is so freakishly amazing!!!!  Come on people, this is obviously the way to go!!     Invest in your own power company!

Now I eat a little humble pie here.  Since, during the building and set up of the solarium and solar system, I declared that this was Mike's project, so I would not accept the responsibility that came along with it!!  My plate was full and as it was his project, he needed to sort all the nitty gritties - builder mess-ups, challenges and financial payments etc.  Unfair I hear you mutter?  Yep!  At the time I became a little negative as I was not sure the system would actually work!!  After all, we had already had to replace our hot water solar panels not once, not twice but three times in 7 years!!  So I was  enormously sceptical of the whole thing!  Wahell, now tis me with egg on mah face!  It really works!   I am fully excited, I feel like doing a little jig!  Singing a little song "Summertime, and the livin' is easy!"  I can see we'll pay that $16 000.00 off in no time at all (definitely in my lifetime!).  Should apparently take 5-7 years.  

A little holiday project I completed in 2 days was fitting out a tricky little cupboard space underneath our stairwell.  It became the dumping ground for a multitude of unwanted or uncertain destination goods.  In other words - it was a mess!!  Real scarey!  So I set about rummaging in our garden shed for wood that would do the job, leftovers from building projects, measured up and designed a system that would store goods effectively and visibly.  It challenged my meagre woodworking skills to the MAX!  And then the challenge to get the shelving system into a confined little space was even a greater trick!!   A few strong expletives later.......
Dead space...
becomes a functional, good looking storage place!

On the creative front, we had a family contribution effort to making our son's 20th birthday present.  The first he sort of helped to achieve by washing the raw ingredients - I made him 6 litres of home-brew nettle beer.  Not sure what it will taste like and he was given strict instructions to wait at least 2 weeks till uncorking it.  Nasty prickly thing, nettle.  Luckily someone else did the deed for me (thanks Rex!).  I figured that even though Mike and I are tea-totallers, if our son is to drink alcohol (what young guy can resist), then it may as well be healthy stuff!  Nettle has a high iron content - wonder if the home-brew preserves the iron?  Anyway, time will tell if we were successful or not.  The other gift was a monetary contribution to a music programme he needed for his laptop to compose music - not very personal but we work on needs rather than wants.  So  to acompany his somewhat rather impersonal monetary gift, we (my husband, daughter and self) all worked to recycle 2 bits of wooden boards that had once been part of our wood store (dismantled), into a multi-use piece of furniture.

 He took one look at it and said "Random!", which in teenadult-speak means "I don't quite know what to make of it".  I pointed out it could be a bedside table - "But I already have one!",.... or a little coffee table - "We already have a big coffee table", or a foot-stool when playing guitar - "Hmmmm..." (said while deep in thought), or it could even be a laptop table if you didn't want to put your laptop on your lap  (he snorted).  A few hours later, I spied him using it as a laptop table!!  He's since declared that it quite useful in his flat.

Bits of old dismantled wood store ready for a new life

Multi-functional stool starting to take shape

Tools of the trade, along with imprint footprints

Top gets screwed onto base and cut smaller

Sanding crew

A few stamps cut out of old kitchen sponges and a coat of stain
completes the look

Home-brew Nettle Beer
Perhaps our son is sitting at his little multi-function table this very minute, sipping at his healthy nettle brew.....

4.03.13  Post Script:  A recent catchup with my son has confirmed that the homebrew is definitely worth repeating.  He is keen to make more, and may try to experiment with Kale beer.  We could call it Kale Ale!

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