If for no other reason than to mark the minutiae of our off-grid life for the history books, I will summarize our summer.
Those of you who have read the blog for a while know that we have a weather station here which measures the winds, temperatures and rainfall on our cliff. The water measurements on the weather station for the last five months are grim. We have had record high temperatures accompanied by relatively non existent rain fall. On many days, here in our multi windowed house, if it weren’t for the seaside winds, we surely would have melted. The days of rainy BC are over.
Despite the best efforts of the hordes of rabbits who now live on our driveway, and the posse of voles living in the garden, and the multitude of squirrels climbing my pear tree, all of whom are looking for food, we have managed to grow a few vegetables. In combination with the drought-like weather conditions, though, the garden couldn’t produce all that I had hoped for. It did however give us all that we need to live here this winter with a well supplied pantry.
We have canned:
11 pints Salsa
8 cups of red wine jelly
16 pints Dill Pickles
18 quarts of tomato sauce
- 130 Ring of Fire hot peppers More than a lifetime supply for E and I.
- 18 figs
The fig tree came from a cutting from my brother and sister-in-law. It was the first time we harvested any figs from it at all. There appears to be a second crop coming, maybe in September. We were able to take a cutting and give a baby fig to a different brother and sister-in-law who live here on the island.
- 6 Cinderella pumpkins
Pumpkins need a lot of water so all six were pretty small but they weigh a total of 15 pounds. Plenty of roasted pumpkin for our winter pie and muffin needs.
- One 6 pound watermelon
- Three 1 pound cantaloupes
- 71 pounds of tomatoes
I absolutely loved the two main types of tomatoes I grew this summer but lack of water really did hinder the harvest.
- 10 pounds of green peppers
The green peppers are still producing and I am wondering if I move them into the greenhouse how long I can keep them going.
We had plenty of spinach and lettuce in the early part of the summer. The onions I grew from seed are delicious and the potatoes were good. My garlic was sad so I will try a different method next year.
But enough about the vegetables and the garden. Let’s talk about what you really want to hear about.
We have, as you all know, the capacity of 8000 gallons water storage. On January 3rd we were full. We had 8000 gallons saved in the tanks. On February 1st we still had 8000 gallons.
In our efforts to use up all of the construction materials hanging around the property, we had used old piping we found behind the studio when we plumbed the bunkie. In the spring we opened up the water to the garden and bunkie. The bunkie bathroom pipe then burst. We didn’t notice, cause it is under the aforesaid bunkie. On May 22nd, we were down to 2600 gallons.
The rainfall we would have received since April 1st had the potential of replacing 1600 gallons of water in the tanks. In May we can also pump about 100 gallons a day from our well. We tried to build up the cache again. By June 25th we had 4100 gallons. Not great but pretty good. I could work with that. Then I screwed up big time. Twice, I left the hose on in the garden. Yada yada yada and August 18th we sat with 900 gallons.
At this time of year we can get maybe 25 gallons from our well a day. I have pretty much packed up the garden and harvested all I am going to harvest of the vegetables. We are still at 900 gallons. Hopefully the rains will come soon. I have a lot of dying plants and it is all my fault. We wasted probably 4000 gallons of water. Sigh, fortunately bathing is overrated. Clean clothes are a distant memory.
In the spring I was getting fairly melancholy. Missing my kids, missing my friends. I know that I was not alone in those thoughts. We have had the most wonderful summer, though, with endless visits from vaccinated, careful family. Their efforts to stay safe enabled them to visit us with limited risk to their Dad. The bunkie was integral to their comfort. In a time when E and I haven’t really been able to leave our property we have had 71 nights this year with one or more of our children visiting. Incredible.
But now it is the fall and the Delta variant is upon us. E’s daily immune suppression drugs leave him basically unvaccinated. Even though he has had two doses of the Moderna. He will need a third to be protected. He is at high risk. With people out there unwilling to vaccinate, it has allowed the virus to continue to mutate. It is a matter of time before everyone will get the Delta variant and those most at risk and the unvaccinated will be the ones in the hospital. His life is at risk.
We are realistic. We plan to spend the winter again, holed up on our property, together. We have one last trip this week to get gas and the Post Office sorted out and that will be it for us for a good long while. Until everyone realizes that the vaccine isn’t for just themselves but humanity, the pandemic won’t be over for anyone, least of
all the vulnerable