Changing The Landscape

Reader Contribution by Robyn Dolan
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In our ongoing green mobile homesteading adventure we are hitting the inevitable bumps. For some reason, though our “house” batteries last quite a long time (3 to 4 days running just lights and water pump), they don’t seem to charge up at all while we are driving. My first piece of knowledge, gleaned from a Google search of “why won’t my trailer batteries charge while I’m driving,” is to get a multi-meter and check the connections – at the trailer and at the truck. If all lights light up, then apparently it is a case of the truck just not providing enough charge to top up the batteries. In that case, I am looking at different options. I also have the spare battery to consider, for running the inverter so we can charge our gadgets and computers.

This leads to several choices: generator, alternator, solar panels or wind system to name the most common. I am first going to investigate the less expensive options of running a separate alternator to charge the batteries before I resign myself to the more expensive generator or solar/wind options.

In other parts of the country, our urban homestead in California is under severe water restrictions due to the ongoing drought in that state. We had already pulled nearly everything out of the flower beds in preparation for a whole new landscape look. I want edibles, the grown children who are living there want trendy, good-looking stuff. For now we are putting in red mulch, to keep down the dust, help keep the water from evaporating and add some attractive color.

Now the grass I had worked so hard on last fall, watering, fertilizing and seeding, is all brown. Apparently Pops doesn’t like to water it. After much discussion and some preliminary research, we are going to interview landscape contractors and greywater specialists about costs of installing a greywater and/or timer controlled sprinkler system. We plan to install all new gutters and rain barrels and pave over the grass in the tiny back yard to create a barbecue, fire pit and sitting area.

I hope to have some real how-to hands-on info for you next time, as right now we are still in the planning and info gathering stages. Much of the past few months have been taken up with taking one grandpa on a road trip and making RV repairs and truck repairs. The mobile garden (below right) is doing very little right now. Peppermint is taking off, strawberries stagnating and flowers coming to the end of their season. With the major issues at bay, perhaps some new planting and projects can now take place.

Until next time … I hope you will visit my website, Mrs. D’s Traveling Homestead, for more updates on our mobile homesteading, roadschooling and simple living adventures. Please also check out my book: The Working Parent’s Guide To Homeschooling.

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