Power to our elbow

“And God said, ‘let there be light’ and there was light but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.” Spike Milligan

In our case, we are still waiting for any sort of sign that we can even be allowed to be connected to the grid system, despite last year a pylon being put right next to us to service an (empty) new house behind our hill!

Cabin from side 21 Feb 14As we enter our 9th year of inhabiting our wooden home we are rather relishing our status as hillbillies, having permission for neither mains water nor electricity.  This is because we’ve found the best way to play this is to treat the whole thing as a ridiculous, illogical joke.  And the only way to be truly happy is to live for the day and enjoy each moment.

However, if you’ve read any of my earlier posts you will know that we’ve had a number of quite significant problems with generators and our solar system over the years.  But, since the addition of four extra panels a short while ago, our life has become less endurance test and more joy.

Electric kettle boiling 12 Jul 14This photo marks the special moment last week when we first used our electric kettle (in storage for eight years) using only solar power! While the sun shines we now have enough electricity to run more powerful gadgets like said kettle, hoover, iron, washing machine, hairdrier and even an electric hotplate.

Tiffany light 11 Jul 14We can’t put them all on at once and tend to juggle things around, but amazingly we can have the big fridge/freezer on all the time.  Yippeee!  It was switched off all of last year because our system couldn’t handle the consumption.  And it’s wonderful not to have to resort to noisy, expensive to run generators – one of which I can’t even get going!

23 Aug 10 (9)

But the most important thing by far is that we can, at the press of a switch, pump up water from our 150m well for up to an hour and a half each day.  That equates to around 1,500 litres each day, half of one depósito.  Our water situation had become a little dire due to our old system malfunctioning in so many ways and that, coupled with a particularly dry start to the year, means that we have lost a number of trees and bushes as we just couldn’t irrigate them as much as we would have liked.

Digger imposs angle 27 Feb 14 (3)We are now able to keep abreast of watering, and so minimise any more loss.  Judging by the huge terraces of avocados and mangos that have been planted in every spare nook and cranny from here to the coast, it may be that in time the water table lowers substantially because these trees need a heck of a lot of watering.  But, I remind myself that’s all in the future, and we’ve plenty of water for our needs now.

Our neighbour Horst had his (mains) water cut off for about three days last week which, we’re told, is happening more often these days.  When we went to our usual mountain spring to fill up our water bottles we found the water had been turned off there also. I wonder whether this is the start of diverting water elsewhere for short periods of time?

Getting water sierra pool 9 Jul 14 (2)Getting water sierra pool 9 Jul 14 (3)P1030562We then drove some way along the mountain track where spring water still cascaded down from the mountain.  A bit awkward to lug the bottles, but within half an hour we had filled up from the wide bore rubber pipe which fed sparkling water into this open, clear depósito full of oxygenated plants, lots of tadpoles and several ready-to-eat frogs.

Pruning cypress hedge 9 Jul 14 (1)JB throwing cypress top 10 Jul 14We couldn’t help but be affected by the forest fire near Cómpeta we witnessed some weeks back and Joe did some risk assessment around the land. There’s not a lot we can do about the encina (oak) grove on one side of the house, apart from cutting off the lower branches and brush-cutting the suckers, and this can’t be done in the dry season.  The cypress trees needed to be pruned as we saw at first hand that the taller the tree, the more the flames leapt and the further they could reach.  Here’s a few photos of cypress pruning, Joe style.

JB making rake 6 Jul 14 (1)JB strimming 9 Jul 14 (2)He’s strimmed the rest of the land which was a mammoth job, but it now looks well managed and represents less of a hazard.   It all had to be raked up but seconds in the Spanish rake broke and some heavy-duty welding was needed so it was even more fit for purpose than it had been to start with.  I can hardly lift the damn thing now.

End new track 17 Jul 14In the last photo (above) you can just glimpse our whiter-than-white, super-duper new road and here it is again. The men have now left but we haven’t quite come to the end of that saga yet: there are still a few more bits and pieces to share in my next post. Meanwhile, it’s goodnight from him and goodnight from me!

 

 

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