Since we move tomorrow...and I will essentially be on the "dark side of the moon" for I don't know how long, I thought I'd post my journal entry from my "First Night at the Solar Compound". May 30th, 2007, or thereabouts. A version of this found it's way into Homepower Magazine last fall. My thanks to Ian of Homepower for that. He called it "Solar Pride".
And this blog will be dormant for awhile. I have to find some sort of high speed service up at the Cabin. That means my e-mail will change too. I'm not sure how long the ATandT one will be good.
Spent my first night at the solar compound. I drove up to Concow, California last Thursday to take the last walk through with the former owner and my realtor. I got a primer on the solar system and managed to get the solar well pump working without too much trouble. Greg, the former owner, was gracious enough to let me spend the night in the cabin (and gave me the keys), despite the property not closing until the next day.
So I spent the afternoon playing with the solar system. Turned the lights on. Then off. Then on again. I peeked into the water tank maniacally...watching the slow dribble of water into the tank. I watched with satisfaction as the solar battery display said "Good" even with the lights on and the solar pump running.
After an afternoon of playing with the solar system (can't tell you how much joy it gave me to see it running so perfectly), I then drove down to Oroville to get some provisions (Ritz crackers, Cheese and a bottle of wine--topped off with a couple mini-airline sized bottles of Johnny Walker Red Scotch)--called Joni (my wife) to brag about the solar actually working...then drove back up the bumpity 2.2 mile gravel road to the three acre Compound.
Got out my sleeping bag and placed it on the deck. Ate the crackers. Watched the moon rise (A Blue Moon--as it was the second Full Moon of the month). I took it as a good omen that the property was to close on the day of a Blue Moon. I toasted the moon. Gave a wine offering to the property.
Neighbors drove by in their pickup trucks. All of them waved. The neighbor's chickens were quite busy with their clucking. Dogs barked. And generators ran. Sound travels well out here.
It's a little spooky in the Sierra Foothills, as night descended. The night before I had googled "Concow" and ran across a "BigFoot" sighting that happened in Concow in 2005. Tried not to think about that...and if the Big Hairy Monster decided to drop by, I decided I'd just offer him a bite of cheese, a Ritz cracker---and a mini-bottle of Scotch. Gotta be neighborly with the Fauna.
Slept like a baby on the deck. Woke up to a Jackrabbit nibbling on my weeds. "Have at it Fellah"...keeps the fire danger down and I won't have to weed whack it.
Again I played with the solar system. Filled the tank halfway full. Battery still said "Good" on the solar display. Got a drink out of the spigot and washed up with my own Solar Generated water. Kept giggling at my good fortune. Simple pleasure.
Old Bill dropped by.
Bill has lived up here for fifteen years. Off the grid with 24 solar panels and a 2500 gallon water tank. A former Ford factory worker...he launched into how the Democrats are all responsible for the fact that people have to work so hard to support their families. He proudly stated he raised a family. Had a car. A wife. Children. All supported on his good union job. He sold his house and now is an "off the grid", Solar Libertarian-Republican.
I quickly learned that up here in this "off the grid" community, your wealth is measured by the number of solar panels you have multiplied by the size/flow of your water tank. My manhood deflated; his was much bigger than mine.
Bill told me that the area is populated by RN's. My neighbors to the left and the right of me. And another one further down. All of them live there year-round. I'd be the fifth RN on the Ridge. Must be the safest place to choke on your beans (other than a hospital cafeteria) in the lower 48 states.
"You are on your own out here---everyone keeps to themselves" he said (yet he stopped to chat?). Bill left.
Pick up trucks kept passing by. Most of them new and shiny. Rush hour. Must have been at least one pickup truck passing by per hour. Most had dogs riding shotgun. All the people waved. The dogs kept quiet. Redneck Central. Mental note: buy a Pickup. And a gun.
On my way back to Calistoga (in the Napa Valley), my Realtor had left a message on my cell phone (which doesn't work at the property). "Congratulations...you now own the property". Called Joni and left a message that all was well. The solar cabin is ours.