|Chinese trumpet - incarvillea|
Yesterday evening just before sunset we headed out on our bicycles to see the river and collect large amounts of sweat everywhere on our bodies. It was nice, the sky turned pink and everybody was down there, dipping their feet in (it's too dangerous to swim in it) and watching the boats go by. On our way home we tsk tsk tsk at the guys watering their front lawns because we felt smug. Back home I tipped a couple of buckets at the berries and a few select vegetables and flowering plants but told the trees to dig deeper with their roots because, tough.
When we bought this house 20+ years ago, we were basically broke but managed to persuade the mortgage bank to include finances to cover costs to install thermal and pv solar power on the roof and a rain water collection system.
The two slim thermal solar panels (6sqm) produce all our hot water from April to October and some of it for the rest of the year, the pv panels (12sqm) produce most to all our electricity when the sun is up (yes, even when it's cold and cloudy) and we feed the surplus into the grid and get paid for it. In the early days I would stand in front of the meter thinking what fools we had been waiting and dithering endlessly discussing costs while all the time the sun has been there providing free electricity.
Endless. Free. Electricity.
We collect all rain water from the roof of the house into a tank that sits below our lawn and that is connected to a small pump and filter system that feeds our toilets cisterns. If there isn't enough rain, the usual water supply takes over - you have no idea how many of our visitors are worried about that aspect.
That was a big headache with rules and regulations and water fees and we had to install meters which we regularly forget to read and I think we are in the bad books because of it but the city officially is all for sustainability so we have escape fines for now.
Next tasks - and believe me R is working on it because he basically will not shut up about it and serious guys with clipboards and tablets have been calling - include storage of the surplus energy for the night, feeding the radiators in winter with thermal solar energy and dancing for more rain.