Is winter supposed to be a time to slow down? I think it is! That said, though we seem to be as busy as ever. We have a couple projects that have been on the to-do list for quite some time. Like years. We were able to get started on two of them last fall.
The first was a really big one for us. Being independent people, we have wanted to switch from grid power to solar power for a long time. Originally we had planned to go off-grid, but after quite a bit of thought we have decided to stay on-grid. It takes quite a bit of power to run our farm, especially with the commercial food production facility. By staying connected to the grid, this will allow us to draw any extra needed power from the grid if our system can’t keep up with the energy demand being placed on it at a particular time. Also at this time we do not have a battery backup so once the sun goes down we will draw from the grid.
We were able to get started on this project way back in August. After weeks of dealing with various government agencies we finally had all the permits in hand that we needed to start the actual physical construction. We are so thankful that it has been a mild winter. This allowed us to put the foundation in for the solar arrays and trench the wire in without dealing with a lot of in-ground frost. A lot of years we will have three to four feet of frost by December. By the end of 2018 the solar panels were installed and most of the wiring was completed. Now we are waiting for all the inspections that have to take place before we can actually turn the system on. Hopefully by mid February everything with get the go-ahead.
The other super exciting project that we have been thinking about for a long time has started. The driving force behind this project is our third son. After completing high school he decided that he wanted to farm with us. So for the past year he has been designing the layout for a new barn. Finally in the fall he put the design down on paper for us all to see. He has many interests that he wants to pursue and they all require some time of building to pursue them. This new barn will be able to house animals when needed, harness the work horses out of the weather, give him an area to fix vehicles and farm equipment in and do his blacksmithing to name a few uses.
So, the same day that the screw-pile foundation went in for the solar arrays the pipe foundation for the new barn/shop went into the ground. Then working when the weather was warm enough he welded brackets to the pipes that would receive the 10” x 10” timbers that the building is being constructed from. On the days when he can work with only light gloves he spends a lot of time putting the walls together. His next older brother recently moved back to the area. So, while he is looking for a job he has been helping on the barn. Slowly but surely we are seeing progress.
As you all know we have launched the newest addition to our farm products; our sauerkraut and fermented veggies. This venture has led us back to the Grande Prairie Farmers Market where we are selling them. It has been over six years since we last attended the market as vendors. I have had to be more focused on my daily activities so that everything that needs to be done gets completed. It has been an adjustment for the whole family. My daughter and husband sometimes accompany me to the market. It is nice to have the company on the hour drive back and forth and to have an extra hand at the market.
We have one more product we are excited to introduce to our offerings. We are aiming for a mid-February date to launch our new kombucha. We will be posting more about this in the upcoming weeks.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit. What kinds of projects do you all have on the go this time of year? We would love to hear about them. Tell us about them in the comment section.
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