Electricity and a Toaster

Waka waka light

As the weeks went by after I first moved in, I would wonder how I was making it without electricity.  One month went by and no electricity.  How is that possible?  I went over my list:  water from a well, heat from a wood stove, propane camping stove to cook, Waka Waka lights and candles for lighting, a cooler for my food, outhouse for waste, cabin for shelter . . . all good.  What do I need electricity for?  Life is fine without my toaster, blender, coffeemaker, blow dryer, TV, or computer.  I either substituted or did without.

TV?  I haven’t watched TV for over 10 years.  I was accustomed to watching a DVD occasionally, but hey, I didn’t miss them yet.  Music comes from my mp3 and some small speakers that can be recharged.  A few solar lights have a USB port to charge my cellphone and mp3.  Life is still good.

Well, there was a minor downside with the Waka Waka lights.  They have a solar panel on the back side and two LED lights on the front side.  They are approximately 4” x 6”.  I set them out each day to be recharged.  Even on cloudy days, they will gain some charge.  The charge may last a day, but if there is a cloudy day, they aren’t as bright.

One night it was particularly dim due to some cloudy days.  I hit a breaking point.  Could I just have some normal light so I can at least cook, eat, and do my dishes?  This is not asking for much.  Right?  Think about it.  Of all the conveniences I wanted, lights were it!  Forget a hot tub.  Give me lights.

There had to be a solution without having to install a massive amount of solar panels that would be very expensive.  So I searched online and found a solar system with 3 hanging dome lights by Solar King with a small solar panel approximately 8” x 12”.  It was $150.  Backwoods Solar also had some small systems that would have run about $500-$600 with a 12 volt battery and a solar panel that would run lights on AC with an inverter.  Running on DC would be a little cheaper.

I went with the Solar King dome lights.  It was a perfect solution.  We have had a good mixture of sunny and cloudy days, and the lights are always running and charged.  Eventually, I will get a small 12 volt battery and one solar panel system for lights in the living room.  But now, I can cook, eat, and do my dishes and see what I am doing.

I also caved a bit and bought a small generator, just in case we got the cloudy days we had last January.  They lasted all month.  The generator would ensure I had light.  There are a few downsides to the generator, like exhaust and a little noise, but I would be able to have light, charge my phone, watch a movie, use a drill, etc.  No items with heat would be used on this generator like a blow dryer, toaster, coffeemaker, etc. because it is not big enough.

This lifestyle is doable without electricity.  There is life without a toaster.

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