Arkhaven Shipping Container Update by the Inhabitant

I want to start off by thanking everyone that responded to my post asking for another writer. The response was far better than I would have imagined. There were some very strong applicants, people with English degrees, advance degrees, crisis management experience, you name it. In the end I think we’ve found someone that will work out. SHE will start posting on Tuesday, July 5th so watch for SHTF Blog’s new homegirl. Thank you to all that responded to the post.

Prior to that “looking for another writer” post I wrote about the Maine couple living in shipping containers. We corresponded over email and following is a guest post, a first hand account of what they’re up to.

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Week 12 here at Arkhaven and there is much to report!

A few days ago we talked to one of our neighbors about batteries and they had made a profound observation that is very important to us regarding our “off-grid” electrical system here. The house batteries had been wired up in parallel and this has resulted in one battery hogging all the juice while the other has languished. He suggested we wire them in series creating a 24 volt array instead. Unfortunately our primary inverter does not accept 24V input and so we’ll have to figure out a way to rectify that.

While on the subject of batteries we came across this handy dandy battery bank design tool the other night. In the meantime I have just the one battery wired to the two containers. The car has been our sole source for charging the homestead as the solar panels are still packed up under the bed but soon we will be getting them back in action on a new frame. A wind turbine is also on the “To-Do” list.

Tonight we met with a few other neighbors and discussed the construction of the greenhouse which will have an integrated solar hot water system. We also really want to build a solar dehydrator like what can be seen in this video:

Our interns from the College of the Atlantic will be starting soon and I think one of the first orders of business will be to assist in the building of a new battery box to house not just the batteries but the 1250 watt inverter, some sort of rectifier to switch from 12 to 24 volts and the extra wiring necessary to bring the inverter’s 120V power into at least the one container. Its been hooked up directly to the car but this set up is getting old fast as it has to be disconnected and packed up whenever we need to drive anywhere.

For the last few weeks my 1971 M109A3 was sunk partially into a peat bog near the top of our property after I thought it’d be interesting to see how far up the logging trails I could drive her. Well finally myself and two friends of ours hiked up there yesterday and with a little digging and a pair of railroad jacks, the truck eventually popped herself up and out of the mud. We will be looking to trade the truck for something that is ready to go for winter, i.e. has a plow, heat, defrost. Not sure what yet, most likely another “Deuce” but I would like to exchange the work shop on the back for the standard cargo variant with the bows and cover. A winch would be nice too. But the plow is a must. Our driveway is a half mile gravel road that will be very interesting when the snow falls.

We’re also keeping an eye out for a simple small wood stove to put in the “Mud Room” we plan to build to connect the containers together so we can go from one to the other without being exposed to the elements. That will be a major upgrade in general, having this common room and to also reduce our dependency on propane for heat.

Work at the farm has been busy, pigs just arrived yesterday. They’re cute little devils now but they’ll get big fast. One of the hens managed to get herself into the greenhouse and trampled over some lettuce and mustard greens. One of the sheep got tangled in the electric fence today while we were moving them from one pasture to another, thankfully the fence was turned off so it was not a big deal. Lots of planting still going on, cucumbers, melons, lettuce and mustards just in the last few days.

I think tomorrow the hound and I will go for a hike up to the ridge due west from here on the other side of the stream, I’m curious if we could see the clearing with the containers and foundation.

– Trevor