Tuesday 30 April 2019

Chill Out

Yes, it has gotten a little chilly recently, but it is important to keep it all in perspective. After all, we all remember February and how brutally cold it was. 

So, as with all things in life, take it easy (cue The Eagles) and just carry on and make the best of it. 

Things will get cold and things will get warm, things will get good and things will get bad. The one thing that will remain constant is that you must deal with it.

So, I will just bundle up and soldier on, as I certainly can handle a bit of a chill in the air. I simply reserve the right to grumble a bit as I get going. 

Though it will not stop me, as no matter what comes my way, I will . . . 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 29 April 2019

Satellite Radio Worked Great!

So, as I said, I activated and connected up my Satellite Radio. I didn’t do anything permanent, I just strung it across the place and plugged what wires had to be plugged into what. 

The first afternoon, I had the antenna (that little black box thing) sitting on the roof, with its wire running out the window. 

The interesting thing is that I didn’t have to do that, just placing it up high inside the trailer worked fine.

That is the top of the slide-out, that stays inside because to slide it out, would put it, and my butt into traffic. 

Now, to power it (for now), I have to plug it into one of those round “12V power sockets.” 

Since I only have one, that is a problem, as most of my appliances plug either directly or indirectly into a 12V power socket. Indirectly, means that I plug my 120VAC stuff into an inverter which plugs into a 12V power socket.

So, I got this.

That is a Y-spliter for a 12V socket. Since my Satellite takes almost nothing for power, it is no problem having it and, say my laptop running on the same outlet, at the same time.

This way, I can listen to the Satellite Radio, as I work away on the laptop. It was fun and I was able to do it quite well. 

Despite how well it worked with the antenna inside, I will still get the radio properly installed for two reasons. 

One is that I hate seeing cables strung across the floor, not for something that is going to be a permanent fixture in my home. 

For the other, I want that antenna on the roof, so that it can get the strongest and best signal, no matter where I am. (As in, even if I am in some remote location).

Running the larger system was okay, but I am not sure how often I will run it, due to how much power it takes.

You see, when that all in one desktop is running, it takes 50Watts of power. Compare that with my laptop which, when fully charged takes around 10 Watts or less to run.

It was nice to run it and we shall see what will happen, but it seems like a bit of a power pig, to run. 

You see, this is an issue as if I am drawing more power than the solar panels are providing at any given time, then I am drawing power out of the batteries, even in the middle of the day. 

So, while I have a great deal of power, I still must be mindful and weary of what I am using at any given time. 

It is possible to get to the end of a sunny day with completely dead batteries, even with all that sunshine and all that electricity coming from my solar panels.

The Satellite radio worked great, and that was nice, as I plan to use it daily from now on. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 26 April 2019

Resurrecting My Desktop

I bought this PC about a year ago yet have not used it for the main reason that it does not have a battery in it. 

That means that it needs constant AC power in order to run. Now, I could use an inverter to run it, and I do, but that means draining Wanda’s batteries.

Yet, now with my solar charging system, I can use this PC as I have the power to spare. 

This one is nicer to use as it is an all-in-one, and is a larger monitor and has the ergonomic keyboard and mouse that I like. 

The laptop is easier to use as it is all contained, I can use it with or without power coming in. 

Yet it has the cramped keyboard that I don’t like, and unless I am only using it for writing or editing, it will drain its battery fast. (So, gaming is best done when plugged in).

I see myself only using this larger one on the weekends, or . . . you know . . . when I do finally get a larger place (without wheels under it).

At any rate, I will see how things go with using this larger PC this weekend. 

FYI, I brought it in to work to run all of the updates that it needs to run, since it has not been turned on in seven months.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Another Treat

Okay, so with the advent of the not having to worry about power . . . 

(as long as the sun shines, and if it doesn’t we all have larger problems than my lack of electricity) 

. . . I can allow myself to entertain the possibility of something that I have wanted for a while now . . .

. . . Satellite radio in Wanda.

So, for those of you who don’t know, here is a close-up of the stuff, and essentially what I got was the “Vehicle Kit.”

In the middle with the display is the radio itself, and it is a small thing. 

The black box below it is the shuttle dock that it slides into. That dock is supposed to be permanently mounted somewhere.

You can probably guess that the cord thing in the lower left is the power cord that plugs into a 12V power outlet (called a car’s cigarette lighter for us old folks).

In the upper left is the antenna itself, with the business end being that little square box that stick to the roof by way of a magnet on its base. 

The audio cord on the right (the 3.5m audio jack to dual male RCA) is what I bought to connect the satellite radio to Wanda’s Stereo.

Here is where I plan to install it . . .

Essentially I plan to install the satellite radio itself on the wall, above the TV. I will run the antenna wire inside that wall, up to the roof. 

The audio and power cables will run down that wall to the back of the stereo, which is in the bottom of the pic. I will hardwire the Satellite radio to steal power from Wanda’s radio (cutting off the power plug at the end of the power cable). 

I am not going to do this myself, the guy who installed the solar panels is going to come back (second weekend of May most likely) to install it for me.

I just don’t want to screw up putting holes in my roof. I may be brave, but I’m not stupid (at least not that stupid).

Until then, I will setup and use the radio by plugging it in from the front and running the antenna out the window. 

It will do, but not how I want it installed, as in permanently in the trailer.

I will connect it up and get it activated tomorrow after work, and so I will let you know how it went on Monday.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Cold Weather Test This Weekend

So, it will get cold this weekend. Again, it is nothing that I haven’t seen before, and nothing too drastic, but enough to remind me that summer has not arrived.

As with all things, I will take it in stride and deal with what comes as it comes.

It is looking to get down to (rumoured) 0C as a high for Saturday, with overnight lows below freezing for the next while with daytime highs in single digits. 

Again, all this is things that I have seen before, but not with my solar panels. So, it will be interesting to see how much of a difference that makes.

The one thing I do know is that I will be dumping Wanda’s tanks on Friday afternoon. 

As always: Keep your head up, keep your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Grand Savings Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That is 21.4% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 22.6% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 1.2% of my total Savings Target this payday. Yep . . . you read that right . . . 1.2% . . . despite buying the solar charging system this budget cycle.

How could this be you ask?

The answer is simple, a random stranger out there was sooo impressed with all that I’ve accomplished that they paid for the solar charging system for me . . . yep.

Really . . . 

Honestly . . . 

Hey . . . it could happen!

Okay, no, the answer is that I decided to simply carry a balance on my low interest credit card for 6 to 8 months as I continue to build my savings.

The interest shouldn’t be all that much and quite frankly I expect that to be paid by the fuel savings per month by not running a generator. 

I can work this into my current expenses without much pain, and I will pay it off before long. 

On a side note, I have gotten rid of my generator, mainly because I saw that I was not going to use it, or only rarely use it, and so it was literally dead weight that I was carrying around.

When I get to the property I can buy one again, or rig up a larger renewable energy system to provide my electricity needs. 

Who knows, but until then a generator, particularly of the size and weight that I had was literally dead weight.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 22 April 2019

Electricity To Spare!

Okay, so I was worried about how things would go with me using power as my solar panels were charging Wanda’s New Batteries.

I was amazed at how things worked out and in fact it was and is a huge stress relief.

Here is what happened on Saturday Morning:

6:23 AM : 71% (Twilight)
8:00 AM : 90%
8:30 AM : 95%
9:00 AM : 100%

After that, my batteries remained charged even though I was listening to the radio, using my laptop  . . . even while plugged in. (Something I never do, as it is a waste of power.)

On a side note, I have long since learned that laptops charge faster while powered off, than they do while plugged in.

Anyways, I was able to just use power and not worry about it, all day my batteries remained fully charged, no matter what I did. It was great! 

What’s more is that I have noticed that one statistic on my charge controller keeps creeping up: the battery capacity rating (I think.) It is now at 2.6 KWH (Killowatt Hours).

All I know is that so far, I can just use electricity and the sun will charge them up the next day. 

This also bodes well for winter, as it doesn’t take all that long to charge them back to a full charge. 

The thing to remember about winter is two-fold. One is that the storage capacity of my batteries will drop in winter (so they will store less energy). 

The other thing is that there are more hours of darkness and less hours of light. 

This is well known, but in regards to a solar charging system, it means that there are more hours when I will be drawing power out of those batteries and less hours when I will be putting power into those batteries. 

Again, with all things, I will deal with problems as they arise and most likely I will just run to a campground to give the batteries a good charging up. 

I will try to resist the urge of buying another generator, as it seems like a waste to do at this time of the year, as clearly I don’t need it. 

That, my friends is a great thing to say and know, for as it stands, I have electricity to spare . . . and I don’t have to do a thing to get it. (And it’s free.)

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 18 April 2019

The Odd Long Weekend

So, here it is the odd long weekend, as in this is the one long weekend where you get the Friday off and not the Monday (unless you work in government, which means you likely get both).

Anyways, this means that this is “Friday-Lite” as in it is the last workday before the long weekend.

So while this is nice it means that this short week feels both shorter and longer.

This is due to the fact that you know that it is a short week, so every day feels like Friday-Lite, yet it is also frustrating when you realize that it is not.

In any event, I will not be going anywhere, but I will be enjoying the nice weather by my “lake” in my Eastern Home.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Getting Used To Electricity

So, today is day three of having solar panels in my trailer. So far, things have been going well.

I use power in the evening and in the morning, then, during the day, my batteries charge back up to full. It’s great.

I am starting to get used to the concept that I can use electricity without the guilt. As in, wondering how much faster this particular usage of electricity will drain my batteries.

This is always worry because the only way I could charge those batteries is to either plug into a forlorn power outlet (at campsite or stealing power) or to run my generator.

Running the generator would cost me fuel.

As it is now, I don’t need to do that anymore, as in all I have to do is hope for a sunny day. Heck, even a partially cloudy day will still give me electricity. 

I was still getting power as twilight neared (okay, it was 0.2 Amps) . . . but I was still gaining power at around 7 PM last night. 

I have no idea what will happen come winter with the shorter days. Nor do I know how the cold will affect the performance of my batteries.

The unknown has not stopped me before, and like all problems and challenges, I shall solve them one by one, over the long course of the endeavour (as in life and/or this lifestyle).

I am just thankful that (so far) things are going well with my solar panels, but more specifically, that I can simply use electricity guilt free. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 16 April 2019

All Hail The Mighty Ra!

To be clear, all hail Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, not Ra the Goa’uld System Lord (Yes, that was a Stargate reference). Seriously, though, my solar system is working well.

So, I went to work yesterday with Wanda’s batteries at 71% charge and I was curious to know how the new solar charging system would fair.

What level of charge would be in the batteries when I got home? In essence, was this large expense a huge waste of money and hope?

Well, I came home to find that the charge was at . . .

Yep, that’s right 100% charge!

This means that I can actually enjoy electricity and have the sun charge Wanda’s batteries up while I am at work.

I know that there will be overcast and grey days, so there will be evenings and mornings of me using no power at all. 

Me conserving energy and using no power out of Wanda’s Batteries is not exactly a new concept to me. 

It is for this reason that I have not gotten rid of any of my battery powered devices. (Radio, flashlights, etc).

I am just thankful that I can use electricity and not have to worry about having to run my generator again. 

I also know that at some point I will buy another generator, as it is prudent to have one, just in case. For now, I am just enjoying not having one, and not having to run one.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 15 April 2019

Solar System Installed!

So, I have some big news to announce, I had a solar charging system installed in Wanda. 

We shall see how things go, but for now, I am relying on the sun to give me all the electricity that I need.

Let me say that this really a fiscally responsible thing to do, as it is cheaper to buy and run a generator to keep Wanda’s batteries charged.

How much did it cost? Well, let’s say that it cost me one month’s worth of savings (plus a bit).

Why did I do it? Well, to be honest, it was the fact that I was living in my trailer yet not using any electricity in it. 

I mean everything other than the logic circuits of the fridge was powered by battery or was charged at work.

The main reason why I did this was to give myself the luxury of using electricity. Like turning on a light, or listening to the radio, or yes, charging my laptop in Wanda.

All without feeling guilty or wondering how much sooner I will have to run my generator again and in so doing risk annoying my neighbours. 

Okay, so as to what I had installed, I had three 160 Watt solar panels installed 

There is enough roof space to have another smaller panel, perhaps a 100 Watt panel, up front there. Yet, if I did that I would have to upgrade the middle of the road Charge Controller that I got. 

I also had the batteries upgraded to ones that have the same footprint as my previous ones, yet were twice as tall, so as being effectively twice the battery as the previous ones.

This means that I now have 480 Watts of solar panels feeding twice the battery capacity that I had before. 

We shall see what happens and if this really does more than meet my electricity needs.

The one thing I know how to do is to conserve electricity, so there may be days or where I use no electricity other than the fridge, just to charge the batteries up. 

I don’t usually mention vendors or what have you but I was so impressed with not only the knowledge, experience and expertise of the installer, that I feel compelled to tell you who did it. 

I mean, look at the attention to detail that he went through when installing the panels. 

So, here is who did it, he came out in his van. . . 

Parked behind Wanda and set about installing the system all from where I was parked. His name is Chris and he has been working on RV’s and with solar systems for at thirteen years but been in business for himself for ten. 

Again, top notch work and if you are thinking of getting a solar system installed, drop him a line.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 12 April 2019

Faith in Uncertainty

Every so often Boss gets frustrated with this or that at work and lets out, in the midst of a rant, the musing of “shutting down the company.”

This, of course is not what an employee wants to hear, as you are left wondering how long you will have a job for. 

I understand that Boss is a person and so has frustrations and aggravations like the rest of us, yet as a leader, I don’t want to hear that from Boss.

Since I cannot force Boss to keep the company open, as it is Boss’s company and so, Boss can do whatever Boss wants to do with it. This include shutting down a (as far as I know) profitable company.

So what can I, as an average employee, and cog in the machinery that is the company that I work for? Have faith in myself and my skills and ability to survive and thrive, no matter what, that's what. 

In reality, all I can do is be as prudent and fiscally responsible with the funds that I do receive. As in put as much cash as I can into savings as possible, for as long as I do have a job.

So, that is what I will do, keep my head down, master my cash flow and keep working my Grand Savings Plan, all in the midst of corporate and global insecurity.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 11 April 2019

One Month Healthy

Okay, so it has been one month since my health scare, one month exactly today. I am doing fine, I am feeling good and I am getting into the swing of things.

I am finding ways to enjoy the warmer weather and looking for ways to keep myself in a good frame of mind and keep a positive attitude around me.

Again, this is easier in warmer weather than in the dead of winter. I will take it where I can get it, as I always like myself better when I am in a good mood.

But seriously, I am finding some success in looking for the little things, the little joys and happinesses are the key to a lasting good mood.

There are so many things in this world to be concerned about, so much uncertainty and unpredictability, both economically and politically. 

They can and will drag you down and stress you out if you let them. All you can do is keep doing what you are doing and hope for the best. 

So, I will continue to move myself forward and try to find ways to enjoy the process and they journey. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Embracing Peace

I am still working on finding the peace and happiness in the moment. 

It is a simple philosophy of taking a brief moment to look at your current situation (in the moment) and recognizing the good in where you are at in life.

For me it is taking the time to be thankful that I am employed and that I have the job that I have. Again, it could be better, but it could also be worse.

I also take the time to recognize that I am thankful for Wanda and all that she has given me and enabled me to do.

I am debt free and building my savings in a way and at a rate that few others can do.

I am working towards owning land and a house, but doing so without debt.

I also must take the time to be happy in the moment and be at peace with my current situation. 

During the warmer months this is relatively easy. It is during the cold winter months that this is more of a challenge. 

I hope to establish as a habit by then so that I can use the momentum of that well established habit to carry me through the cold winter.

For now, however, I will continue to make peace with my current place in life. For me, my own happiness and yes, my own peace of mind.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Moving Forward

Things are generally doing well and I am, for the most part, on my way and moving onwards and upwards.

I am much calmer these days and much less stressed. I will say that the warmer weather has a lot to do with that. 

The fact that I am over that mental barrier of 20% of my savings target is also helping. 

I am still committed to the Grand Savings Plan, as I know that no matter where I go or what the future holds for me, it will be helped and enhanced by working that plan.

I am still trying to be content with what I have and content in my simple lifestyle. 

I do not need fancy things, yet I do like fancy things. The occasional treat or trinket is no harm now and again, yet building my savings and my future reigns supreme. 

Yet there is something to be said for finding a way to enjoy the journey. Find the peace and the happiness in the now, in the moment.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 8 April 2019

Grand Savings Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That is 20.3% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 21.4% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 1.1% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Things are moving forward quite well and I am certainly enjoying the warmer weather. A few times this weekend I actually left the door open, an unusual, odd yet welcome experience, to be sure. 

I also had my first jug shower of the year this morning, and it was nice to be able to get back to something as simple as a shower in the morning. 

Again, it was a simple shower, as it is the one that I have while pouring warm water over me from a juice jug, but I got clean anyways.

This is the reoccurring theme in my life, to make do with less, live simply with crude imitations of what other people do.

Yet, this is not forever, and I do this to build a better future for not just myself but for others as well . . . again, all for that town.

Yet, I will work to bring in a few luxuries into my life, without breaking the bank or destroying the budget. 

That is the phase of this journey that I am in: finding the balance between savings and comfort.

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 5 April 2019

Enjoying The Nice Weather

The weather is warmer, and I am taking the time to pause and enjoy this time of year. 

I have found myself letting the door stay open, an altogether unnatural thing, I know. Yet the breeze is nice and it lets the warmth in during the middle of the day. 

Sure, the weather is a bit bi-polar, as it is still cold at night, yet warm during the day, but I can handle that. After winter with its -30C, I can handle just about anything.

It is nice to just spend a bit of time outside and reel in the non-cold weather. 

Who knows, while I don’t want to jinx anything, I may have to “cook outside” this weekend, simply because I can.

It is just another way that I am trying to find ways to enjoy and not just endure this lifestyle, after all, it looks like I will be doing this for 4 more years at least. 

So, why not enjoy living in Wanda?

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 4 April 2019

Balancing The Now, With The Yet To Be

One theme that has been ongoing in recent days is finding a way to somehow enjoy life now, yet still build my savings in a significant way.

That really is the key, and a conundrum that I haven’t really mastered yet. I am still figuring it out. 

It may be as simple as going for regular walks, or talking to friends more, or even going to the odd movie.

I don’t know.

The one thing I do know is that it won’t involve a huge outlay of cash, as I am still cheap and still focussed on building my savings.

Yet, I do know that I need to find a way to enjoy today, while building for tomorrow.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

My Path Need Not Be Walked Alone, But It Is

I have a clearly defined goal and I am working towards it constantly with everything that I have and everything that I do.

My life is drab, boring and dull, I know that, but this is because my life is in a holding pattern, and I know that. 

I do things to entertain myself, I play an old video game on my laptop that requires no internet connection to work. 

I write novels, and what have you, whatever strikes my mood.

I do all this, because I am focussed on getting that plot of land, and starting that Homesteading Process, something that I have wanted for quite some time now.

I do chat with friends either on line or on the phone. I have a small social life, just not a large or altogether active one. 

I don’t date, but mainly it comes back to my lifestyle as to why I haven’t bothered. Sooner or later it will come back to me saying to said prospective lady . . . 

“This is my life, and my path, you are welcome to jump into it and walk the path with me, but I will need you to embrace my goal as your own.”

I have dated and I have had relationships but mostly the ladies that I have been involved with have been . . . well . . . less than helpful, shall we say.

I refuse to have dead weight in my life, and I also refuse to alter my lifestyle just to attract someone.

This is what I have to do in order to minimize the time needed to raise the funds needed to start the Homesteading Process. (Crowd funding notwithstanding.)

I will try to enjoy my life a bit more (especially with the warm weather returning). I will consider a luxury or two, (I have been musing about getting solar panels).

I will not stop or pause what I am doing just to bring a lady into my life. 

As harsh as it sounds, if a woman does not want to/can’t embrace my goals and lifestyle, then I will wait until I have a house and land to try to attract her. 

This is my life, this is my path, this is my lifestyle, and this is my goal. I will not stop or alter them, but I welcome a lady, the right lady, to enter my life and walk this path with me.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

How Many Years?

So, now that I am back on track to building towards getting my land, I am left to wonder just how long I do plan on keep on doing what I am doing.

At my best guestimates I am currently expected to complete my Grand Savings Plan by the middle of summer 2022 (July 22, 2022, to be exact).

So, that puts me at 80 paydays or 40 months away. So, just over three years (3.33 years). 

Yet, if I decide that midsummer is the worst time to go start to search for land, then I would most likely stick it out until the beginning of April. 

That then means, lo and behold, I am 4 years out from starting that next part of my journey. Four years, and four more winters out.

That is a bit depressing, yet there is one thing to remember, I have already done four years in Wanda, so I can do four more.

That and there is no way to tell what will happen that far out, so I might as well not worry about it.

All I can do, is work on the now, as I work my plan and move myself towards that lofty goal. Any number of a thousand things can and will happen to move that completion date up or back.

I have control over the future, just the now, and what I do with what I have, here, today in the moment. 

While each step that I take each payday is a small one, it is a step towards my overall goal. All of those little steps add up until finally I am at my goal.

So, while I don’t know exactly how long it will take to reach my goal, I just know that I will continue to work towards it as best as I can.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 1 April 2019

Returning To My Chosen Path

These past few weeks, since my health scare, has caused me to reflect on things, including the direction of my life. Over this weekend I have come to a decision.

I have been tempted to go out and buy a place, in order to set down some roots. 

Yet, as tempting as that is, that would take my life in a different path, diverging from the path that I have set out for myself.

It would be nice to have a place, even a condo, perhaps somewhere near or close to a park, so I could go for a bike ride, and what have you. 

Yet, I know that my life, at this point in my life, is to live as cheaply as I can so I can put as much cash in my savings as I can. 

That’s it, that is the sum total of my life at this point. The reason for that is so that I can move on to the next phase of my life, the Homesteading Phase, as soon as possible.

So, if I were to get a place or otherwise incur any extra and unnecessary expenses, that would mean it would take me that much longer to complete my Grand Savings Plan.

That Grand Savings Plan, must be completed before I can move on to the Homesteading Phase. 

(As in go in search of land to turn into an off the grid house/town.)

So, for now, I will continue to do what I am doing, living as cheaply and simply as I can, in order to shorten this phase of my life as much as possible.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!