October 2006

By Example - The Quest for Sustainable Living Newsletter
October 2006

Updates from our Homesteading Adventure

Greetings family & friends,

Our summer was very productive and we are thrilled to have had so many wonderful visitors from afar. We've not only begun making arrangements to officially move onto our property, but we've been able to make improvements in our current living situation as well.

As our more recent guests may have noticed, our outdoor living space has been modified quite a bit. The inspiration and manpower that we needed to get this project rolling were a contribution of Mel's mom, Joan, and her partner Rich. Before their arrival we realized that our tiny kitchen would barely seat us all, and that a picnic table would make dining a much more enjoyable experience. And that's how it began. Soon after the extra long picnic table, Rich and Joan helped us to fashion our beautiful outdoor shower space, as well. After their departure, we kept busy installing an outdoor sink and finishing up our outdoor bathroom. We also increased our outdoor shade space with a creative solution hand fashioned by Patrick.

We've continued our experiments with solar hot water and it seems that we have finally stabilized our system's performance. In the summer's heat, our batch collector was actually too efficient and the plastic hoses that we used could not withstand the high water temperatures. After many failures we replaced the plastic hoses with copper pipes, and installed a tempering valve between the hot water system and our home to moderate the water's temperature. Now our water temperature is perfect for dish washing and showering.

In addition, renovations to our office/studio/travel trailer are complete and Mel recently began working at home. The space is shared between our office desk, jewelry studio, workbench, and guest bedroom, allowing for much creativity. This past August we also participated in our first local arts and crafts festival, and had a great time vending jewelry, paintings, wind chimes, and scarves.

Our summer fun culminated in our homespun event Solar Fire. We invited our friends from across the country to visit us for the weekend to experience the joys of alternative living. Everyone had a great time, and the off-grid lifestyle seemed to appeal to many of our friends, who have promised to undoubtedly return.

This winter we will focus our efforts towards our future homestead. We are currently arranging to have an official survey of our land prepared in order to finalize the title. Also, we're planning to have a well drilled by the end of the year, and a septic system soon after that.

Our list of future projects is long and we look forward to keeping you posted!

In peace,

Mel & Patrick

Projects with Joan and Rich

Read about our guests Joan and Rich and their visit to our homestead. Or view pictures of the numerous projects that we tackled while they were here.

Solar Fire Gathering

A Celebration of the Solar Lifestyle - Many folks joined us for a weekend of off-grid living, which focused on identifying personal possibilities for radical self reliance.

Alternative Energy Club - First Solar Panel Project Complete

The alternative energy club met to construct a solar panel kit. The project was a success and once assembled the club tested the panel by using it to illuminate an led light bulb.

Concho Arts and Crafts Festival

On Saturday, August 19 Concho, Arizona held its first Arts and Crafts Festival. We gladly took the opportunity to vend our crafts locally.

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