It was the start of the long weekend and as I drove onto the barge to head over to the island it was apparent that it was going to be a wet one. So much for the weather forecast which predicted a sunny Saturday and Sunday.
At least when it rains it forces me to focus on work that needs doing inside. It’s also a good opportunity to give some thought to planning and other projects that need to be done.
Despite the constant rain, not everything was dreary. The sunflowers made the most of a brief glimpse of sunshine before the rain set in again.
Since I couldn’t do much outside this weekend I spent some time working on the guest cottage. When I bought the cottage about a year ago it was in a bad state, having been neglected by tenants and a previous owner who lived overseas and didn’t take any interest in it. I had to replace a fair amount of the frame under the bathroom and laundry due to water rot from previous tenants allowing a washing machine to overflow. There were a list of issues that needed rectifying including damaged walls, random paint on the exterior and rotted wood everywhere. I’ve progressively been fixing each of the issues and I’m happy with the way it’s come together. I think in another month or two it will be ready for guests. I put some furniture in a couple of weeks ago.
The kitchen is small but practical. I just put a new fridge in and will put a new gas stove/oven in shortly. My goal is to take the guest cottage completely off grid by running the house on solar. At this stage I’m thinking 24 volts to a battery bank, then through a 240v inverter. That will save me having to rewire everything and should be fairly cost effective. I’ll also have a generator backup, but I can’t see ever needing it since there is a lot of space on the roof for panels and I’ve already converted all the lighting to LED.
Unlike the city, there is no infrastructure on the island for sewerage or waste water. Everything that exits the cottage must be dealt with on the property. Sewerage is catered for by a septic system and general waste water runs through a grease trap and then into underground trenches. It all works well if managed properly. This kind of lifestyle requires people to give some consideration to what they are actually putting down the drain and its effect on the environment. That expression is so often used in a nebulous way. But “the environment” in this instance is literally my immediate environment. For example, if any cleaning product containing bleach is used in a septic system, it immediately kills all of the good bacteria which is working to break down the waste. The result is not something I want to think about. Self sufficient living is a great teacher of environmental principles and always makes me consider my impact on the environment. After all, “the environment” is literally my backyard.