After enduring three pretty harsh winters with no solar power to speak of we have succumbed.
Just last week we brought some armoured cable across the field and with it the wonder of energy.
With this modern marvel we are able to have a small oil radiator, we can charge up a radio and our phones and best of all we can have two small lamps on.
I don’t think we will ever take electricity for granted, particularly now we have lived without mains for so long. As this is our last winter in the yurt and as the last three have been so tough we don’t feel in any way guilty for this indulgence.
Why mains? We had considered alternatives however the only real alternative was wind. We had considered this carefully but positioning a wind turbine on our land is hard as there are so many hedges. There is one spot in the centre of our meadow, but we felt there could be issues with planning here so we opted out (for now).
In the future there is the possibility of hydro, at the moment it’s so prohibitively expensive we just cannot afford it (sadly). We are trying to do something at a community level but these things do always take time.
we are now entering our fourth winter in the yurt, I think if we’d known that we would be in it still we would have run away. The reality, however, is that the yurt is lovely to live in, though we do face far more challenges than in a house.
It’s funny, everyone worries about us being cold in winter, the true difficulty though is frozen water; whilst we remain cosy in our toasty yurt our water pipes solidify. If we’d known just how long we’d been here we would have sorted out something more permanent and buried the pipe in the ground.
The other difficulty in the depths of winter is the darkness. Our solar panel, which is great spring through to autumn, fails us on the short dark winter days. Even when we get a bright day we barely get enough energy to keep a single bulb lit. We have again failed to sort anything out permanently simply because the future has been so uncertain. We have talked about wind turbines or wires across the field. All solutions present their difficulties however and we still haven’t come up with an answer.
Now winter is peering over the horizon again and we won’t be out of the yurt for it. But don’t worry about us being cold in here, we’ll be down to our teeshirts when it’s ~16 outside. We will be bemoaning the fact we can’t see and we have no water however.
is a common refrain from family and friends. After three and a half years of waiting I may have become a tad dismissive of giving any dates.
In true building project style we have faced some serious adversities. After the serious planning concerns that dogged us for a couple of years (see old posts) we now face all those nightly little problems that I suspect any build project faces. Now there is simply a sense of relief that we are moving forward, but it is slow.
We do get frustrated when the builder doesn’t turn up, or when silly mistakes happen. We are adjusting to having these noisy messy men on site as they are real characters, one of our favourites is Martin. A solid giant of a man, Martin has many characteristics that we have come to associate with a man who spends much of his life dry stone walling on mountain sides. He doesn’t have music blaring out, he thinks about everything and is a real pleasure to have on site. He is responsible for much of the new stone wall work. Sadly the other builders are less quiet, but they are entertaining
This last week has seen the block work go up inside the old part of the building. The builders have also sand blasted the old stonework and to our delight we have discovered some really wonderful stonework. We are starting to see the house take shape.
Whilst digging out the foundations in the older part of the building we discovered an interesting stone. Beautifully carved it is made of limestone and it looks like it was once part of a grander building. The number 56 is carved into the side. This will now be a fantastic feature in one of our internal walls.
So we progress slowly and we still don’t set dates for being in. When people ask when we will be in we shrug, smile and talk about preparations for being in the yurt another winter.