Irene Kightley

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since Apr 13, 2009
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chicken fiber arts food preservation forest garden fungi goat homestead rocket stoves sheep solar
South West France
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Recent posts by Irene Kightley

That's the Kiwai.
4 days ago
Shawn, last year I posted a video of the temperatures in different parts of our solar home when the temperature outside was 111°F / 44°C. I also included photos of some of the techniques I used when we built the house and how they affected the light and comfort inside. The link to that post is here :
1 week ago
This might help somebody looking for moody lighting with cheap and cheerful LEDs.

Being off-grid, I've a lot of old LEDs and some are horribly blue, so I painted them with nail varnish and as they don't give off a lot of heat, I thought, why not ?

The varnish has stayed on and makes the light much nicer. This one's 12 years old and still works just fine.

1 month ago
I love just watching interactions between our dogs and cats and our new cockerel and how he joins in with two hens working together to protect their new family of goslings on their first day outside. Just checking of course.

Didi and the cat pretend to be "busy"

Ninja just can't work this out

Jessie (Who is blond) gets in too close

The cockerel chased her and then the hen too!

Then the cockerel shouted obscenities at her...

1 month ago
I'd be careful buying cheap MPPT  solar controllers. Many of them are fake.

3 months ago
If you can get or make the spare parts, learn to fix them when they go wrong and keep them running, there's no reason why folk won't come running. I would !

Good luck with your idea !
3 months ago
That's almost the same as the machine I used for a few years which was great for smaller things and has really changed my life after hand washing and going to the laundromat for big stuff. (We're off-grid with a very modest amount of panels).

I've lent it to a friend since I managed to buy a bigger machine in a similar style which washes much bigger items and a lot more stuff. Yesterday, I washed two duvet covers, three sheets and lots of pillow cases, seven pairs of jeans, about eleven tee shirts, five shirts, 27 pairs of knickers and five bras, millions of socks and a few dog blankets - all with same soapy washing water. It was pretty grubby at the end.  

I used two only black rubbish bins of water for washing and rinsing, which I siphon off to water the garden.

3 months ago
I grow horseradish in three places in the garden where the earth is really rich and the big roots are worth harvesting. If it's not getting enough nutriments it wears itself out but it will stay alive and take up space without giving anything back. You don't need much to get enough sauce for a year.

Once your plants are really showing signs of enjoying life and have huge healthy leaves, then wait until the end of summer when they start to wither, then dig straight down around the plant with a spade, wiggle it a bit to get the whole complete root out. You can then decide to leave some in for next year or to take the whole lot out. It's only when you cut the root in little bits that it becomes invasive.

Here, it's growing next to Egyptian onions, Melissa, Rhubarb and some pink Lamium.

3 months ago
Hello Bob, just to add to the reply that Thomas gave about 12v batteries.

He is absolutely correct but there is another important consideration when choosing solar batteries.

Take the example of connecting four 12v 100ah batteries in parallel.

Correct wiring and connections are crucial to ensure that the current going through batteries is shared equally. Every battery must benefit from the absorption period to be fully charged.

Resistance paths in six cells x four batteries creates a high margin of error, the paths are not always the same and can change over time. That's why it's important to unhook everything and check the individual cells in your batteries periodically and change their order from time to time. (Eg. Moving the first and last batteries to the inside of the string.)

I've learned my lesson by experience. Just have a look at my Flickr solar photos, you'll see that I made that mistake often, being tempted to buy cheap and easily available 12v batteries that died after just four or five years.

Now, I'd never parallel more that 3 batteries and when I'm designing a system, I try to aim for two.

To get 400ah, it's best to buy 6v batteries - connected in series, they'll get the same charge and they'll last for years. Or, if you already have 12v batteries connect them in series and parallel to provide 24v, use a dropper if you really need to for some applications but most inverters, LEDs, frigos, telephone chargers etc. we can buy now now are 12v or 24v.

For a bigger system use high ah 2v batteries connected in series. They are really expensive but worth it in the long run, not only for your purse but for the environment too.
3 months ago
Ooops, sorry Jay.

I got that completely wrong didn't I ?
3 months ago