I couldn't resist posting this picture. My DW found this tractor for *E* a couple weeks ago on Craigslist. He's gotten to the point where he can sit up on it even though his feet don't touch the ground yet. He likes to be pushed all over the house but his favorite spot is right in front of the backdoor where he can look out into the backyard. I'm not sure if he's watching the bird feeders or if he's just checking out the woods. To me, it looked like he was waiting for Spring to go explore outside. It's so amazing watching the lights come on in this little man. I missed so much with *J*'s issues when he was growing up that it makes me feel like a first-time dad all over again.
I've been trying to crack the "hot water" nut all week long for the farm. I think I have the bugs worked out for the cold running water and the well. There are so many options for off grid water heating and all of them are incredibly expensive. Any electric water heater is completely out. There's no way I can generate the power to sustain the wattage needed to run the heating elements. I looked at "on demand" models but they don't play nice with preheated water, meaning that we couldn't expand with a secondary system and I hate not having a backup. I really thought I had the problem licked with the new heatpump water heaters. Unfortunately, they require 220VAC and our solar system is only wired for 110VAC. I did find a 110VAC model but it was $1600 and you still had to buy a standard heater to attach it to! I think I've resigned myself to having the house plumbed for propane and going with a bottle that I can take into town to get refilled. The nice thing about this set-up is that we can expand it with solar hot water collectors and possibly a heat exchanger in the wood cook stove's hot water reservoir in winter. We should really be able to stretch a bottle of propane with this and not have to worry about warm showers when it's a 30 below night! The one wrinkle in this plan is the ungodly price of solar hot water collectors.
Isn't everybody going green these days?!! Shouldn't an increase in production for this type of product bring the price down? I've been watching renewable energy items since I bought the farmstead seven years ago and I've seen an explosion in the number of companies and the products they offer. So what gives?!! As near as I can figure out, government subsidies (in the form of tax breaks) are keeping the prices artificially high. Why should a company try to competitively price there panels when there's so much of the taxpayers' money being doled out so freely by Mama government? This whole green thing is such a racket and everybody just keeps buying into it and slowly breaking this great nation of ours. For all of the equipment I've bought so far, I haven't claimed one nickle of it on my taxes. I think that if I really believe in my reasons for being off-grid, then I don't need to be thrown a biscuit for being a "Good Boy" in the eyes of our supposed masters. I went down this road once with the government already with the farm. Part of it was in CRP when I bought it. This essentially means that the government pays you to NOT grow anything on a certain acreage of your farm with the intention of providing undisturbed habitat for wildlife. You would have thought that an alien walked through the door of the government ag office when I told them that I wanted the land out of their program and didn't really care if I lost the tax break.
I have to be able to sleep at night knowing that I'm not part of the entitlement mentality that has so gripped our country...even if I'm not getting the same "sweet deal" as the next guy. It's just too easy to sell your soul to the devil these days.