Common Sense Home Good News Letter 8/27/23

“Every project is an opportunity to learn, to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent.” – David Rockwell

We had a slight disruption last weekend when the power grid went down for a couple of hours, but thankfully it was just a tree on the line and the crews had power restored fairly quickly.

Our solar system worked as designed, cutting off our grid connection and powering essential systems. (You don’t want to stay connected to the grid during and outage and risk zapping a lineman.)

Our panels produce enough power over the course of a year to cover our load, but they don’t necessarily produce it when we need it. (The nights get pretty long, and smoke haze is not good for energy production.)

We have batteries, but they only hold so much power, so we have critical systems wired to a separate sub-panel. By isolating, things like the freezer, well pump, and septic pump will run for days without grid power. We can’t flip on random lights, but the most important stuff works.

I don’t have a full write up about our system on the site, but you can let me know if you’d like us to write one up.

Even if you don’t have solar, you should have a plan for power outages. Our power grid is old, and overloaded in many areas. With the push for more electric appliances and electric cars, the problem will only get worse. (​More power outage causes here.​)

I’ll talk more about power outage preps below.

Last week I mentioned making homemade tomato soup, and several people asked for the recipe, so I’m sharing that today, too.

A friend asked me this week about what I do for writing inspiration. At the time I started giving a rather dry explanation about tracking down the old articles that need updating. (Sorry, Dawn!) But, reflecting more about the “fun” aspect of writing, what we do here in our daily lives is my main inspiration, and questions from readers.

For instance, when we have a bumper crop of something (this year I think it’s going to be apples), I try new apple recipes. When an herb or wild plant has a good year, I do more research about how to use them.

When we run into projects or repairs or challenges around the homestead, those often get turned into articles. (Like the ​greenhouse foundation​ and ​chair repair​.) The biggest challenge is usually finding time to write while still getting done what needs doing.

Speaking of which, this morning’s harvest is still waiting in the kitchen, so I’d best sign off.

All our best to you and yours,

Laurie (and August IV, August V, and Duncan)

This week’s featured articles…

​Homemade tomato soup recipe for canning​ (can be frozen, too). This makes a concentrated soup so it takes up less space in the pantry.

​10 Things you Need to Prepare for a Power Outage​

Our wild apples are ripe, so it’s time to start apple processing. The apples are small enough to can whole, which makes an interesting side dish or dessert. This article has two recipes – ​spiced crabapples and honey cinnamon crabapples​.

Popular on Instagram – ​the loaded grape vines​ and ​snack time for so many duckies​!

This newsletter was also titled “Power Outages, Tomato Soup and Inspiration”.

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