Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bring On The Rain

Over the last year there are not too many times I have been thankful for rain. While I know it is inevitable here in Beautiful Dundee, Oregon it was a part of the landscape that I would rather not embrace. But now that I have my catchment system complete and I finished my plumbing today, all I need is RAIN. So bring on the sweet rain, it is too funny that I was fretting earlier in the day as I was missing a minor downpour, thinking "I gotta get this done". Well structurally it is done I still have some cosmetic items I plan on completing but in the mean time, BRING ON THE RAIN.

So here is the start of the Water Tower. I really did not have a plan when I started other then I knew I had this 205 gallon tank. Well after doing a little math I realized that is  1,640 lbs. Yikes. I had this vision in my mind of being able to use gavity to assist in this process of getting all this water into the Cottage. I had my nephew Jordan jump in and help in the build project. Jordan who built the battery box (that could also probably hold 1,640 lbs) does not built "lightly".

 So after constructing the frame and then moving in it place, we put a little cedar siding on it, which will be fully wrapped when done. Add a little roofing and BAM you got yourself a Water Tower. I really can't wait till I have to move this....
 Guess who has gutters! Since I am not a gutter guy and really wanted to do this right I worked with an outfit called Portland Purple Water. These folks are Catchment specialists and have been great to work with. That big tank below, the gutters and the filter systems are all from Portland Purple Water. They did a great job with the gutters and the Leafguard system. I will get some better shots from above to show the quality work. Jason and the Purple Water team were sharp, informative and very responsive, they get it. Excellent customer service, they were a joy to work with.
Add a little plumbing and all that rain water is mine to use.

Okay before you all freak out, I am going to build a planter in cedar and run the pipe through the bottom of the planter and you will never see it. I am all about function over form but even I get this. I will build a planter I promise.

Other great events of the weekend include finishing the plumbing, once I have water I can test her out. The filter you see in the picture (stainless steel tube) is a Doulton Ceramic Filter. If nothing else it looks cool, if you ever want to look under my sink.

I also have the Propane 95% ready to go. Should be done next weekend. But the really fun part of the weekend is all the electrical outlets on the east side of cottage work and are ready to go. I had to take a picture of the boom box happily humming way running off the solar system. Batteries got a full charge this weekend. Sweet. Okay so here is the milestone moment of the weekend. Lights. Yup, I have lights on a dimmer switch and that really pumps me up. This is definitely a step closer to moving in.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Milestones Keep Coming

A year and a half ago I had this idea of what I wanted for a power solution. It consisted of both AC and DC, being able to take advantage of the Grid when available but allowing for a completely off grid solution with Solar and ample Battery supply.

What I decided on was 400 amp hours of batteries tied to a sophisticated inverter to power plugs and lights (all LED). I was really keen on being able to mix and match each of the plug strings or light strings so that I can either run them off the Inverter or run them off the grid.
 So here is what I designed way back when. I put them in a couple of months ago but never tested it. Hooking up to the grid today and then adding in both batteries and solar and guess what. It worked as advertised, WOW, I was amazed I guess it pays to read the manuals.
You can see the Blue Sky Solar Boost is bringing in a whopping 3.7 amps. I have the panels on the ground for testing but hey they work!
These are two Kyocera 135 Watt panels, tied to my smart inverter Samlex Inverter TN-1500. It both charges the batteries and inverts the solar and manages the grid input and chooses between the two when needed.
I will be keeping my batteries in check with the TriMetric 2025. It is a great status check on how things are working.
As you can see I mounted this in the kitchen so that I can see it every day in my daily activities. I also did a couple of other little projects over the weekend in adding a BBQ and installing my loft window. I am really pleased the way it came out. I got it from Stayton Wood Windows. I noticed Mackenzie now has a blog, you can see it here: Mackenzie Strawn. Good stuff and really appreciate his work.

Oh yea and the BBQ for the deck!
This week I should see my gutters installed and will be finishing up the plumbing. I tripped the pump breaker on the DC panel and heard it hum away, sweet.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Good Weekend Of Progress

I am getting ready to get connected to the grid next weekend. This means I not only need the AC connected but I need to get the DC system up and running. A battery box is the next must have to get built. I had my nephew Jordan build it and it came out excellent even while being a bit heavy. Good thing is it will only live on the front of the house while stationary, it can be picked up and put into the back of a truck to move.

The next project was to use the last remaining T&G Beetle Kill Pine to do the ceiling. It really came out well. I used a cedar 2x2 as a break between the wall (Horizontal) and the ceiling (vertical). I like the look.

One little project I wanted to get done was to get the ledge on my dutch door. It amazed me what that little detail adds to the door. Pretty cool.

Last part of the weekend project was to get the deck rail in place. I looked at some pictures of deck rails and came up with a design that worked for me. I am a little wonky on some of my uprights but it still came out okay. It certainly will work for what I was looking for.

Maybe just maybe I will have some AC next weekend, making progress.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Next Big Milestone

I had this vision for a deck, it went from the "wimpy" Tumbleweed deck, to a respectable 6 foot deck with a roof, to the final version a 10ft deck with a lowered but similar roof to the house. See it rains a lot in Oregon, okay that is not a fair statement. It only rains from October 1st through July 5th it is sunny and nice the rest of time. Well guess what it is October and I knew I had to get this deck roof done. Well since it was both bigger and heaver then I expected (go figure) it took a bit of muscle to get it into place (Thanks Bob, Mike, and Jordan).

Another part of the complexity is this needs to break down so that I can move it so I built the deck itself in two 5 foot sections and I did the same thing with the roof. What I envisioned in my mind actually came to be. I am still not sure how it happened with no drawings but it is sturdy and looks okay. While I still have some finish work to do here are some pictures to show you what I ended up with.

I seperated out the decks to make it easier to get the roof's on.

I had the two sections done and then put on the legs and added all sort of braces so that in moving them they would not crumble.

If you notice the ground is WET. The picture out the door is what it is all about.
I was able to get a little more done on Sunday afternoon and got the rest of the Window trim up. I took some of the Beetle kill pine and stained with some outdoor cedar stain which made them turn a funky yellow green. I have come to really like the color. I think these came out okay. Now on to the deck rails and then to focus on the indoor finish work.