Solstice Blessings

I see those around me gearing up for Christmas, doing their best to meet the cultural and commercial expectations our mamas all raised us with. I’m not unaware of the change of the soundtrack as I shop for my daily dose of chocolate milk at the local King Soopers or stroll the aisles at Wally World restocking hobo essentials. Santa-branded candy is as overpriced as a class at the late Trump University which is slightly abated by the recent heavy discounts on Bronco-branded merch. You can also pick up some heavily discounted pumpkin-spiced croutons for your salad right now if you know the right aisles to shop.

The sounds of the season and the Xmas themed end-caps at the stores were in place long before Thanksgiving eve. This is the Christian holiday snatched from the pagans and assigned as the birthday of Baby Jeebus fully re-dedicated to the American God of Retail. O’Holy Night and all that and “get your grimey ass back to Mexico” says Tucker Carlson on God’s Chosen Channel. I’m eternally and daily thankful I’m free of the cognitive dissonance required to carry water for this imaginary monster. Hippie Jeebus I could stomach.

Now what to celebrate? Are we totally screwed? Maybe for those whose imaginations need to be filled by self-righteous holy pricks imaginatively interpreting The Goat Herders Guide to the Galaxy. Somebody give these people a science book ferchrissakes.

This Rambo Jeebus, this malignant Christian Nationalist Jeebus, this “FU dirty hippes!” version of Jeebus has soured the entirety of the American religious landscape and made many realize that the true history of Baby Jeebus is as nebulous as the the position and speed of an atomic particle. At least an atomic particle leaves a reliable footprint. Though we may sometimes tire in our attempt to hang onto that which is most precious to us it’s best to maintain a firm grip on the reliable atoms in the rope than to let go and pray for a miracle against gravity, and everybody dam well knows it.

As for me? The most blessed all of the hobo heretics the high mountain meadows can muster? I’ll continue to spread honesty, cheer and happiness around me in as eager and prolific a manner as the spirits of an aging hobo and his old hobo hound can muster, fully leveraging the utility of the companionship my cute publicity-loving-pup adds to the mix. There may be some weed involved, all legally obtained and distributed under the laws of my totally utopian state. I’ll always strive to maintain as much of a positive public image as can be had from such a minimalist perch as this poverty-tainted platform will allow.. Build new friendships and try to maintain the many acquired along the happy trails.

At this most blessed of holiday seasons, I’d be remiss not to note the most serendipitous of the many hobo blessings (that coincidentally happens to make a fundamentalist Pentecostal wince hardest) is that I am living as close to the purported lifestyle of the beloved Baby Jeebus as is humanly possible in the 21st Century. That noted, I’m not nearly as incommunicado, nor has my army of a dozen female apostles completely gelled, just yet. I’m less inclined to push against those wishing to form a religion around me the older I get. It’s a feature, not a bug. Hoocoodanode?

Chalk it up to the curiosity of my nature. It’s what my mama raised me with. That, and a round Earth.


Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 4

An ongoing series.  Part three here.

Gambling on Solar

Solar Gambles

Minimum and Maximum Wagers

Maximum: (600 WATT HOURS/DAY)  

Based on real world experience with a modern high-output 10 watt LED lightbulb, Tim’s Tiny Home’s total energy budget for LED lighting is being set at 100 watts energy draw per hour.   That seems weighted far enough into the “overkill zone” to cover even my most fanciful ambiance illumination ruminations. Running all 100 watts of LED lighting simultaneously for six hours requires 600 watt/hours of daily energy capacity.

Minimum: (100 WATT HOURS/DAY)

In a minimalist configuration, the light from my current 10 watt LED bulb is quite sufficient to adequately light my little corner of Europe.  Running that solitary, yet powerful high-output bulb (or a combination of smaller bulbs totaling ten watts) a full six hours every night would require a mere 60 watt/hours of daily energy generation and collection!  In an all-out survival mode I could switch from a single ten watt bulb to a five watt (or less!) bulb, cutting the total tiny home solar illumination budget to a mere 20 watt hours/day.  For expediency, I’m going to use the 60 watt hour per day minimalist figure and round that up to 100 watt/hours per day.  Adding “excess” capacity covers unavoidable innate system inefficiencies which I suspect might be more pronounced in a system design so close to the margin.

TV illumination

In addition to the dedicated 12V solar lighting system in Tim’s Tiny Home there will also be a parallel solar system of much larger capacity designed to run 110 volt electrical appliances that will be fleshed out in the near future.  One of those appliances will be an LED TV/monitor (or LED DLP projector!!) which will cast a good dose of light into the living room on it’s own accord.

Budgetary Considerations

Twelve Hundred Dollar Bargain

This light can be yours for just under $1200!

In order to keep my overall tiny home budget somewhat under the construction cost of the Taj Mahal, my target budget for lighting is 1000 dollars.  Setting a thousand dollars as a limit constrains possible system permutations to a manageable amount.

The various parts of any total system must work together in harmony no matter what budget you set for your solar design project.

There’s something internally satisfying about being able to say that my entire home lighting system, top to bottom, costs less than a good chandelier for the entry foyer of an average yuppie McMansion!
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Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 3

This is a continuing series.  Part two is here.

Tiny Home Infrastructure and Systems


The Future of Lighting

I’ve always been a huge fan of mood and indirect ambient lighting so I’d like to try and incorporate as much indirect and ambient lighting as I can in Tim’s Tiny Home. It would be really sweet to integrated the lighting directly into the building design whenever possible. Workspaces will make use of built-in LED spot and down lights . Space lighting will be provided by two or three 10 watt LED light bulbs. I’m paying less than ten euro for these types of bulbs now and they are the first bulbs I’ve seen that can match ‘normal’ incandescents in light quality.  I can’t imagine needing any more than two or three to brightly and cheerfully illuminate the interior of such a diminutive environment.
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Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 2

This is the second part of a continuing series.  Part one here.

Construction Issues

Stylized Tiny Home of Wheels

Many of the current tiny homes are built on trailers to avoid odious issues with building codes as well as to aid in their being more easily transported and relocated. While understandable, this imposes some serious limitations on the weight, size and height of the overall structure, as well as the type of building materials and construction details involved in the planning thereof. The smallest tiny homes are under a hundred square feet and the largest I’d consider ‘tiny’ would measure in at under twenty feet per side. Anything more than ten or twelve feet wide is going to be near impossible to relocate at any reasonable cost. Any way you slice it, portable or fixed location, a home with less of a footprint than four hundred square feet is definitely tiny by any normative American standard.
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Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes

tiny home on the lake

I’ve been bitten by the tiny Euro lifestyle here in Germany.  Having the first hand view of German’s commitment to environmental protection while maintaining industrial level Chinese production capacity is a once in a lifetime experience. If you’re buying a German produced good today there’s a huge likelihood that a significant part of the energy required to build it came from the wind or the sun!

I’ve definitely caught the ‘umwelt’ bug, which coincidentally overlaps with my tree hugging liberal proclivities.   Don’t even get me started on the ‘latte drinking’ part of the liberal equation!  There’s too many of my social media posts out there for me to deny that, but I pity the fool who thinks they’ll ever find a picture of me (or my shadow) within sight of a Volvo, or a soccer match.   I may be a caricature but I’m not a stereotype!
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