I learned that wind power, unlike solar, must always be doing something. Wind is Type A. So, there is a small inline heater that uses the excess power once the batteries are full.
One couple uses a SunMar, non-electric toilet. I asked about "things," and they explained that the urine is separated, and is diverted into their graywater system.
The other uses what they called an "indoor outhouse." They have three bins going: active, used-to-be-active, and looks-like-dirt-to-me. I ran my hand through bin #3 (which is also #2); it's at least one year old. They rotate these bins every six months.
Those things are most excellent, but the part that caught my attention was the catchment-only water supply. That means there were no wells, and no septic systems. [Both homes were built with graywater systems for disposal.] Imagine how inexpensively you could set up your homestead without needing to 1) bring the conventional power supply to your home, 2) dig a well (an uncertain endeavor that you'll pay for regardless of success), or 3) plant a septic system. Wow! Haul me in a Tuff Shed and let's get started!
Both couples were friends of my friend (hi Betty!), and they were very generous with their time and explanations. The homes were beautiful. Different in styles and sensibilities, but both extremely appealing, and built in soul-soothing places. Best of all, I talked poop to my heart's content. Discuss urine separation? Not a problem! Can I see your composted dookie? Right this way! It's the kind of afternoon Judy would have loved.
I got all excited by the catchment system, because this is high desert. Monsoon is when they gather most of their water (winter snows are good, too, when they happen).
I asked Chuck what happens when it's still raining and all his cisterns are full. He got a pained look and told me he opens the cap and lets it run. We observed a moment of silence. They use metal roofs for the cleanest water; you can use whatever you have, but asphalt shingles will need more filtration, he said.
One couple purifies their water with a UV light. The other just filters out sediment and drinks it like it fell from the sky. Everyone looks healthy. This is an area far from industry, and at a fairly high elevation.
ETA: For every 1000 square feet of space you have a roof over, 1" of rainfall will deliver 623 gallons of water.
You might expect these homes to be shacks or rough cabins, but that wasn't at all true. They are modern, fully-equipped, beautiful homes that you wouldn't suspect of being so radically conservative unless you started asking.
While I was in that area, I met Peggy and Eric at the campground. They own a beautiful conventional home on the river in Washington State, not far from Portland, Oregon. They are both ready for a change and so they're in the market for just such an off-grid home. I hope one day they'll stop in here to let me know they found it.
Now I'm in Flagstaff, soaking in kind, gentle energy and babies. Two of the cats (the bonded pair) are here. They're sticking closely to me and each other right now, but they're enjoying the other people. They got to meet the neighbor's dog this morning, and have now declared themselves indoor cats.
|Gargoyle with salt water.|
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