After the Thanksgiving Holiday, my wife and I were beginning to look at the muddy ground and wondered if purchasing a snow plow truck was a wise decision. It wasn’t until December 19th that I began to realize the extent that I would use our snow plow. By the twenty-first, I was plowing the driveway, easement, and lower portion of our road at least once each day until Christmas Eve. It was a beautiful white Christmas. The snow weighed down the bows of each tree, like a Currier and Ives Christmas card. The full moon on Christmas lit the forest in a white reflective light so bright I thought the solar panels may wake from their sleep mode, sadly they didn’t.
Even though the days were filled with snow plowing, we also took the time to enjoy sledding the hill on the freshly plowed road, had a few snow ball fights, and warmed up in the house to the warm flame of the wood cook stove while having Apple Cider, Tom and Jerry’s with coffee, and watching the Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we Skyped our parents and families. We also went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at our church. During our in between moments, we took some time and enjoyed the Christmas music from the iPod on a new Vivitar battery powered speaker system we purchased from Staples.
On Christmas Day, we invited our neighbors over for homemade split pea soup, bread, salad, and some fellowship. Our neighbors proceeded to tell us they were without power for several hours earlier, being off grid this was news to us. Also, a special thanks to our neighbor for teaching me how to even operate my snow plow truck. It takes quite a bit ingenuity and forethought than just pushing snow into a pile, and my neighbor provided a few lessons to get me started.
This New Year’s Eve morning we pull-started a stubborn generator to life for the last charge of the year 2015. The generator had to be coaxed with starting fluid sprayed directly into the carburetor. It was 17 degrees Fahrenheit outside and a slow start for any motor. The generator has been used a dozen times this year, the most it has ever been needed since the installation of the solar panels. I would credit the extra usage to several factors. First, our small business, Pauper’s Candle Company has received many orders for the Holidays and many candles had to be made. Second, our well pump is fully automated and is turned on by a float switch. I no longer have to open the cistern and look directly in to see how much water is available and when it needs to be filled. The cistern is filled when the float switch drops to a certain level in the cistern; this means the well pump turns on more often than desired during a solar shortage. Lastly, we are now a family of three. More demands are made upon the electrical system to accommodate us all. When reviewing the increase use of the generator; it is not very sustainable. However, all the reasons for an increase in power usage this year brings joy to my heart, so a few extra gallons of gas were used this year. Next year, we may have to invest in a few more panels or wind turbine to off set the increase usage, or purchase a more efficient generator, but until then, it is a happy new year.