Saturday, 27 June 2015

07:15 – Things are a lot more pleasant around here now that the heat wave has broken. I had Barbara pick up a bottle of barbecue sauce at the supermarket yesterday because I wanted to try making barbecue sandwiches with the Keystone Meats canned pork. I could have made the sauce myself with stuff we stock, but I just wanted to try the pork without spending too much time in the kitchen. So we had barbecue sandwiches for dinner last night. Barbara is used to the Western North Carolina barbecue, which uses a thin, vinegary sauce, but I think she liked the Kansas City sauce just fine. KC sauce is, after all, just a derivative of Western North Carolina barbecue sauce. She’s still not crazy about any kind of canned meat. I agree that fresh meat is better, but the canned pork was certainly okay.

A lot of my time this week was devoted to working on science kit stuff, including development work on a new kit, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I spent a lot of time on relocation research issues, as well as figuring out what needs to be done to continue our kit business uninterrupted while we’re in the process of moving.
  • I spent more time researching solar power. As of now, we have what we need to keep a reasonable number of AA and AAA cells recharged using only the sun, but my goal eventually is get beyond that. It’ll be a long time, if ever, before we have a full off-grid solar installation, but I intend to make incremental progress over the coming months and years. Prices have fallen dramatically and will continue to fall, so I’m not in a hurry to buy solar panels, controllers, inverters, batteries, and related gear. Nor am I interested in a grid-connected system or selling back power to the utility company. We’ll eventually have an off-grid solar system, or perhaps a grid-connected system, but never a grid-linked system.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

16:33 – We just got back from a trip to West Jefferson, where we looked at seven houses. Five, we ruled out; two are possibles. Of those two, my favorite is a 2,500 square foot ranch with a full basement, sitting on a bit less than an acre. That’s 2500 SF of living area on the main floor, with an extra 1,800 SF of unfinished basement, with the remaining 700 SF being basement garage area. It was built in 1951, which means it was built without the shortcuts that builders started making in the 60’s and 70’s, such as eliminating a row or two of concrete block from the basement walls to yield a 7-foot ceiling rather than the previously standard 8 feet. All carpeted, but with hardwood floors under the carpet. Like the other house we liked, this one was listed as having two full baths, but both also had an extra bath with sink/toilet/shower in the basement. Both also had completely dry basements, in contrast to the five rejects, all of which had water problems.

One of the homes was obviously owned by preppers. It’s a dead giveaway when there are piles of cartons in the basement with labels like “Beans – 2012”. Several of the homes had shelves in the basement loaded with scores to hundreds of canning jars, but that’s par for the course in the mountains. The one we liked best also had a spare stove in the basement next to the laundry area, which tells me that a serious canner lived there.

There should be a lot more homes coming on the market in the next month or two, so we’ll schedule another trip to see what’s newly available. But I don’t think we’ll have any problem finding something that suits us and is within our budget.