Living in our Katrina Cottage

February
13
2015

 

We finally made the move!  And this beautiful site – taken from my front porch – greeted us two days later!  An omen you say?  I think so.

An all out Full Rainbow!

An all out Full Rainbow!

It’s been a long road moving down to our beautiful “designing our retirement” property. We’ve owned the property eight years now, and have been building things little by little – the garage, the Crab Shack, (see the inside here),  the metal building, the bocce court, the wind turbine and let’s not forget the fence (more on this in a future post) -  till we culminate with the Dream House!

We needed to fix up our house, and it needed a lot more work than we realized!  When you live in a place for 22+ years, you don’t notice how dated things have become.  We actually worked on some part of the house for over a year!  One of the first things was cleaning out the attic.  While I was recuperating from knee surgery, John and Jackson brought down boxes, and I was able to go through them a few at a time. We cleaned it out and brought the bins down to Maryland.  That was “Truck Number One” as it’s called around here.  Just FYI, we went up to “Truck Number Four.” Then we started updating.  And updating.  And updating some more.  Here’s an example:

Before update

Before update

 

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a future post I’ll chronicle more of the work we did on the house and give you a few suggestions based on things we’ve learned.

 

But as I take a quick look back at last year – February 13, 2014 – here is what was outside my door:

snowstormsnow2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And thankfully, here is what is outside my door today:

Little Choptank 2015 B February 215      Little Choptank 2015 B February 216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, today it’s cold, and I won’t say we’ll never get snow.  But it’s always warmer than where we lived in NJ, and there will be less snow.  And that – for sure – is a good thing!

 

Wind Power

May
8
2014

 

Since our metal building has been built, we have made a little progress.  We’ve made room in the garage so we could bring down the bins and boxes we’ve already packed, and we’ve taken a truck load of those bins and boxes from our house in Jersey down to Maryland.

Little Choptank 2014 G May 2 - 6, 2014 084

I put Chrissy’s bins in plastic, just to make sure no little critters find their way in:

Little Choptank 2014 G May 2 - 6, 2014 082

Now we will start doing a few more fix-ups at the Jersey house, and also pack up more bins!  We’re finally back on track.  Target month to put this house up for sale is now July, so hopefully things will keep moving ahead.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d write about our wind turbine.  We’ve looked at it a lot lately, since the metal building is right next to it in the field that is right outside our gate.  To digress a bit, whoever cut up this property did a crazy job of it!  There are three properties down by the end of the peninsula, ours has the largest amount of land, but half of it is a field, then there’s our neighbor’s property, then the other half of ours is on the water.  We fenced in the area on the water where we are building the house (and where the garage and crab shack have already been built) but the field was just sitting there, really kind of wasted space. We decided to put the wind turbine there, mostly because it was out of our and our neighbors’ way.  So then, of course, we decided to put the metal building over there and eventually we hope to put some solar panels out there also.

This was when we first had it installed

This was when we first had it installed

Our windmill is a Bergey.  Bergey Windpower is the oldest and most experienced manufacturer of residential-sized wind turbines in the world.  John told me it makes about 1200 kw, which is more than we use right now down there.  Of course, after July, when we’re in the Crab Shack full-time we may use more, but paying a $20 electric bill is a lot better than a $200 electric bill! (and dare I say…a $400 electric bill!!)  And now, since we sometimes don’t use as much electricity as the windmill makes, we get a check back from the electric company!  This month they sent us $93!  Once the house is built, and the pool operational, our bill will be higher, but we’re expecting with the solar panels and the geo-thermal system, they will be quite reasonable.

We were getting the pad ready for the metal building

We were getting the pad ready for the metal building

The cost of the turbine is pretty high as you would imagine. They can run from $30K to $70K for a residential model.  We had a lot of cable to run since it was far from the transformer, which is in our garage.  And we put it up 100 feet, instead of 80, which is what a nearby family had.  So of course, that added to the cost.    You do get money back from the state, at least we did, and the federal government gives you tax breaks, so that helps to offset the cost.  John and I thought we would see a return on our investment in about six years, but it turns out it will be more like ten to twelve years.  But we’re still very happy with it.

The blades are 22 feet long each and weigh about 600 lbs. total!

The blades are 22 feet long each and weigh about 600 lbs. total!

One thing we were pretty happy about is that it is not really too loud!  It does hum when there are really strong winds, but of course the wind itself is noisy then.  Usually you don’t hear it at all, I guess because it’s so high up, and it turns kind of gently.  It turns itself towards the wind, and believe me, down there, the winds can come from every direction and turn rather quickly.  We’re very glad we decided to make the investment.  And being a little greener makes us happy too.

Little Choptank 2014 F April 27 - 28 021