Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Surprises Are Awesome

"It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop." -Confucius

Those are words I need to repeat over and over these days. Life is a whirlwind as we count down to the big day, and of course, the weather is turning, which adds another level of urgency to our house projects. Another quick post today- just to keep everyone updated!

This past weekend held a couple of wonderful surprises. First, a surprise bridal shower! If not for a little toddler explaining to me that "the bridal shower is supposed to be a secret", I would have been completely bowled over--but even knowing it was going to happen didn't prepare me for the event. I wasn't expecting the sheer number of ladies that came together to celebrate with me. I am truly humbled,  and over-whelmed with gratitude, warmth, and love. I have a wonderful family, and soon I will be joining one just as lovely. Judy, Beth, and Julia- thank you so much for all the work you put in! It was evident that this day was thought over time and again. There were so many little details that truly made it a day unique to me- including cute little quiz poems and a gluten free cake! YUM! To everyone who came- THANK YOU, THANK YOU! The support and love I felt in that room was amazing. I will cherish that day forever. :)

SO many ladies! :) Thank you!!

The second surprise was actually getting some work done on the solar panels. HA! On Saturday, about mid-morning I said, "I'd be happy if we just got the grass cut back and one row of panels taken off the racking." Setting us up for a small, non-intimidating goal seems to be the key to our success lately. After we ran a few errands in town, and grabbed a few supplies- including the large guage wire and conduit we need for our solar, then we came back and got started.

Don't let it fool you- that thing is evil.

Dan whacked back all the grass growing in front of our first row, and then also cleared a path for where our conduit will be put in the ground. Meanwhile, I faced one of my fears and did some poison ivy clean up. Nightmarish visions of me covered in blisters coming down the aisle kept my eyes sharp. I wore latex gloves over work gloves and had long pants and sleeves to help too. I plucked quite a pile and managed to clear out most of the ivy that had grown into the space of our panels. There is still some under the row we need to continue working on, but I wasn't about to work in an area that required crawling. NO THANK YOU. I will wait until the panels are out of my way!

 We then removed the first set of panels. It went pretty quick, so we decided to make the cuts we needed to the racking. We made our marks on each side of each post, double checking to make sure they lined up on either side, and then Dan carefully cut the lines using a skill saw. 

On Sunday, after my wonderful shower, I was feeling pretty amped and decided I wanted to keep going with what we started Saturday. I quickly changed into pants and headed back out. We cut the pieces we needed to mount on the new angle, and then replaced the lengthwise boards that were there to begin with. After securing all that, we put our panels back up. It felt SO GOOD to see one row finally fixed. We decided to take the panels off the second row too.

Dan took the length wise boards off and now, we just need to mark and cut the posts and both sets will have the right angle! Woohoo! Also- as for the solar parts saga, I got sick of waiting for someone else to do their job basically, so I called the corporate headquarters of the company that made specific said part. It was a breath of fresh air to hear someone say, "Oh, I'm sorry that this happened! It should not have taken so long for that. What is your address, I will mail it out today." They didn't ask for any proof of purchase, any account number, they just HELPED ME. That part arrived today and now we can put the whole thing together.

One of Dan's friends has a brother who is an electrical engineer, and the two might be coming over to help us next weekend! I was beginning to think that sun power wasn't going to happen until after the wedding, but now it's looking like there might be a shot!! WOOO!

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That angle looks better!




  1. that Confucius quote is perfect for building tiny houses... lol
    Congrats on making progress on those solar panels? What kind did you guys get? We aren't quite to that point yet, but will hopefully be there in the next 6-8 months :)

  2. Hi Hannah,

    I couldn't agree more on the quote! When I saw it I immediately thought, "oh that is so spot on right now". haha
    We have a setup of 8 250 watt panels made by solar world. We did the math (you can find a lot of great power load calculators online that even tell you what various devices typically use for power) and came up with a 4079 watt/hour system. That allows us to run a couple laptops for about 6 hours a day, a small heater for a few hours a day, and of course lights and small charging appliances. A tip I can offer is this: the size of your battery bank will drastically change your price. We got quotes for a 3 day bank and quotes for a 1.5 day bank. (Meaning how long you can go with no sun) The cost was cut in half! Nowadays, the panels are getting cheaper but the battery banks are where the bucks are. We hope that even if we go more than about 2 days with no sun that we will be okay. Being vigilant about hours of sunlight, power usage, and monitoring the battery bank levels should help us get through any sunless streaks. Good luck to you!!

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  4. Get a goat to take care of the poison ivy! Apparently they love eating it and it doesn't affect them. Glad to see you didn't weed-whack it - bad idea! Same with burning - terrible idea! Reading from the beginning and just catching up - having so much fun following along!

    1. Hi Janis! We learned from our Farmer landlords that goats eat the stuff with no issue. We also have the pleasure of getting fresh goats milk in the summer, and I swear that helped me get through my first flare up and lessened future exposures. Turns out- the goats will eat it, but it's not their top choice. They will mow down everything else that they find tastier before they will eat it. oh well!

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