Category Archives: energy

Upgrading Solar on the Vome

So the time has come to show some more of the VOME build out.  SO, here’s another “how did” video and a little introduction.

I wanted to increase the ability to charge my house batteries in lower light levels, without unpacking the folding  panel and just the overall redundancy the extra panel would provide.  Spending time in all kind of places presents challenges for using solar.  Out west in the desert areas it’s a sure thing you can find the sunshine you need.  The shade of a forest is a different story, no different book.

I mounted the panel from my old van on top of the VOME near the rear since the rooftop real estate was a bit crowded.  My plan was to leave room for expansion, and now we expand.  Let’s look at what I did and “how did” when it came to mounting these on a fiberglass roof.  But first consider the roof is actually two “skins” an outer one and an inner one.  The problem this presents is I can’t get to the outer skin from inside to install a backing plate.  That’s why I’ll be using a fastener called a well nut.IMG_20160813_100404.jpgHere’s a video that explains how these fasteners work… Kayak Fishing – Hardware Installation Options, Rivets and Well Nuts.  Now that you’ve seen how they work let me also point out they work to provide a certain amount on isolation from vibration.  IMG_20160813_100415.jpgThe one I’m using here is for a 1/4″-20 bolt and required a hole that was 1/2″ in diameter to allow it to be inserted.IMG_20160813_100512.jpgUsing stainless steel bolts and washers to anchor the brackets on the panel to the roof.IMG_20160813_113348.jpgNotice how as you tighten the bolt it not only expands in the hole to grip it also seals against the roof.  Because there is only rubber in contact with the fiberglass it will not try to wear it’s way out.IMG_20160813_113457.jpgThe outcome???

Well I’m satisfied.  The electrical outcome???

Well turning on everything I could and with the sun playing hide and seek behind clouds the buss voltage bounced happily between 13.1 and 14.2 volts.

This allows us to be more independent in our travels and adventures.

“Get out, Be safe, Go adventure.”


Just Shut Up and Grow It!



On the first leg of our July adventure Layla and I checked out an intentional community called “Shut Up and Grow iT”.

This was different than I had expected.  Having some experience with “community” groups years ago I thought what could be so different about this one?

This one is working!

(I’m going to try and tell the story of the place without invading the private lives of those that live here.)



Talking with Patrick about this place has been very easy since he’s so laid back in conversation even though he’s a ball of constant motion.  As I am writing this Patrick and others have gone to an auction to replace some of the chickens that were eaten by a dog.

This was the destiny of the land when it was purchased a few years ago. He says that the idea for a community was in the original purchase decision.  That vision and the journey to fulfill its’ destiny has kept Patrick busy and happy.  The idea of community with minimal “structure” is what attracts people here.  It’s the feeling of belonging without being hampered by all sorts of rules is what makes it work.  The few existing rules are just common sense things to allow for the freedom, privacy and safety of the community.  There are at this time somewhere between 12-15 adults living on the farm with what looks like about the same number of children.


Counting the children was like counting rabbits. Because this is a family group the kids are free to roam about play with the other kids and interact with everyone.



I was first struck by the gardens and the fact they are really building up community places.







There are two domes that are being built, one of which will be the teaching center.   Obviously the children will be educated here together.DSCN2026






The kitchen is where there are community meals prepared daily and shared at a large table together.  DSCN2022



The evening meal I joined them for was great and helping (a little bit) in that kitchen was fun and easy.  The cooking pit was very solid, check out the logs on the side!

DSCN2012 The “shower house” is fed from a large container up the hill that uses solar energy to heat water. The location up the hill provides enough “head pressure” to be a good working shower.  Simple is better, no pumps to fool with only gravity and the sun which always works.

After the meal folks gathered around and it was time to relax.  Someone commented how much it felt like a big family. I have to agree that was the same thing I was thinking.  This is a place that it will be what you want it to be, family or community.  There were those that stayed more to themselves, and then those that were more community minded.

At the start of this post I wrote a great deal about Patrick.  However, this truly is a result of everyone’s efforts.  It’s just that I learned so many names in such a short time,  I’m struggling to keep them all straight.  I’m going to have to be leaving soon to continue our travels,but you can bet this is a place I will be returning to in the future.  I want to take the time thank all the others for making me feel welcome, you guys would be a great family.

Having things….

“To have much in life, waste nothing.”

Not your’ resources,  whatever they may be large or small.

Not your’ time,  there is a season for all things and you need to do all things in their season.

Not your creativity,  mind-numbing activities such as watching other peoples imagination played out on a screen doesn’t challenge your’ own, at least read a book for escape.

Not your faith,  I didn’t say religion that’s a whole different topic, believe and act even though it may appear not to be true at that moment.

Not your’ energy, remember just like your time you have life energy that must periodically be renewed. If you use it in a way that does not bring reward you may exceed the level that can be regenerated.

Remember it’s all those little things that add up to create the whole or the hole.
It’s your choice of adding or subtracting the little things that decides hole or whole.
So be safe, get out and go explore the world you live in.