Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter good, Winter bad.

Actually I think I'll go for the bad first. Weather induced bad. Just before Christmas we had our annual freeze and the temperature dropped to minus 4 overnight (I know it's not that cold, but remember, this is sunny, warm Valencia in Spain). All the animals' water buckets froze solid and there was a hard frost which did away with the more delicate outdoor plants. Our hot water system is on the roof, it is one of those solar heaters with a tank and a panel, and at about 2pm on the day of the freeze it started gushing water out of all the wrong places. The inner tubes had burst - apparently the installers didn't remember the anti-freeze - and there ended our hot water for three weeks. The company were very good, they replaced everything under guarantee but unfortunately it hasn't been sunny since and we still don't have hot water. Our back up system is the old bathroom which means quick dashes through the garden and a return to the days of no electricity. Oh well.
But wait! There's more. Last Thursday we were absolutely battered by the wildest winds I have ever experienced. This is what the street leading to our house looked like. We were lucky in that none of the trees on our block fell over. One lost a big branch and that's it. Oscar's parents' place was one of the worst. This is one of the five big trees that they lost.

I guess the bright side is that we now have firewood for the next 30 years, which leads me conveniently into the Winter good bit...
Nice huh? We love it. The earthship is not cold at all. In fact this winter the temperature in the coolest part of the house has not dropped below 16.5ÂșC. But, who doesn't love a fire? And the oven on top has been put to very good use already. Makes everything cozy despite the no hot water and crazy winds. The other good thing is the photovoltaic system. We have had enough electricity to see us through almost three weeks of grey. Four days autonomy has stretched into many more with careful use and the odd glimpse of sun. Very pleased with the whole system.