Fixin' A Solar-System
Animals in Transition
Lovarchist Farming Chronicles

A Third Disaster--a.k.a. Shock to the System!
neither the declaration nor the faces--it's the flower that's in focus
As you see depicted here some of the first signers of the Declaration, neither the Declaration nor the people are in focus, it's the flower grown on the Catholic Worker Farm that's the focal point of the group today! Little did we expect that LIGHTNING would cancel out our capacity for electrical power in less than an hour. That loss of power would go on for weeks until we could get a functioning solar powered inverter back on the Farm.

At first, it seemed like a BIG BUMMER, to lose the inverter, and therefore access to standard household (AC) electricity, and then, the realization of Coyote Trixter God at work hit us like--you guessed it--a bolt of lightning! You can read more below--after the next three paragraphs--for details of the disaster that day, but first, since this is a blog by Pegasus, here's the interpretation/analysis in the next three paragraphs...

Peter Maurin co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement 83 years ago, with the idea that farming communes like ours would be the way to overthrow what his co-founder Dorothy Day called the rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering..." for humanity. The big idea of the overthrow is to "create the new society within the shell of the old," which means cottage industry replace industrial factory systems of production. I don't think Peter Maurin considered the high-tech off-grid solar-electric system was in the plan, since that kind of equipment depends upon the huge industrial growth society of the past 100 years. I don't imagine photo-voltaic systems being produced by on-site resources at our CW Farm as a cottage industry being completely self-sufficient from the 80-acre land base we have. Nor do i imagine a cottage industry for the modern electric car or Veg-O car being part of the plan for a post-industrial, post-violence society. Becoming post-modern in that way is a desire for some of us in the Catholic Worker Movement--it seems to me that's the big hope--to follow the original idea of Peter and save civilization like the Irish did at the end of the Roman Empire. As the US Empire faces imminent collapse (we pray it'll be nonviolent), it seems like a good idea to be post-propane, but probably also post-solar-electric too.

Humans need to consume food and other resources in order to live, but OVER-consumption is the problem when it destroys the environment and creates suffering among people and other creatures. At the Catholic Worker Farm we don't just use wood-burning stoves for heat (for domestic water, for cooking, and good health in the winter), but we use electricity for lighting and cooking, refrigeration, laundry, computers and entertainment, plus propane for refrigeration, cooking and heating. We've been trying to wean ourselves off the propane teat at four domiciles on the property, switching to solar-generated power (including an enormous lead-acid battery), and keeping propane--for now--at Catherine's House for comfort/reliability for the HIV+ and writer's retreats. We've been consuming typical levels of energy, and we've enjoyed great blessings in the past year, some of which were the responses of supporters to the losses we encountered last year.

Regarding bummers: we faced the Butte Fire last year, the killing of two alpacas, Chelsea's hiking disappearance last month, the loss of solar-battery power, and now another blow to the solar-system this month, so i'm grateful for the wake up call from the Almighty: "Dear Pegasus, wouldn't it be nice to live like your ancestors, on a daily solar diet, rather than on fossil fuels and toxic energy?" Like so many other choices in this world, energy is a miracle. Whether i'm hiking up a hill, biking up it, riding in a car up it, or flying in a rocket up it, resources are consumed in the process. In a car or rocket, i don't FEEL the cost of the work/power in my bones, so it's important that i get a chance to feel the energy consumption directly, in terms of calories and wear-n-tear on the human body. Sometimes I struggle when i have to fix a bike or car to make it do the miracle-work of moving our bodies faster than non-mechanized transport. Currently i'm feeling the BUMMER of piecing together industrial components, and paying money for them, so that the propane-stove and solar electric system can function again, but to paraphrase my friend Kevin, "all our cars are trying to get reunited with the earth, it's the humans getting in the way of that blessed entropy that makes the car function, TEMPORARILY," yes temporarily...
Jedediah signs the Declaration for 2017: Year of Our Universe Story
Baby Jedediah was the first child to sign the Declaration.

On Friday April 22nd at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, a medium-sized storm sent hail to our land in Calaveras County, at the end of Armstrong Rd (4 miles as the crow flies and the hiker hikes from Arnold, CA). The shock was alien to all of us (especially the baby Jedediah, since he hasn't been around the sun even once yet--the rest of us adults were all at least 25 years old). A bolt of lightning hit the neighbor's ground, and maybe ours too. The flash lit up Catherine's House where we had just finished signing a Declaration for the Year of the Universe Story. The huge electricity surge wiped our at least our neighbor's inverter and ours, both were rendered useless for the time being. The destruction of both inverters killed both solar systems for our two properties. Oddly enough, Catherine's House was spared (the inverter is a square-wave device, and separate from the rest of the farm), but the light-speed destruction makes a big rumble [known as thunder] shaking the whole building and rupturing the propane line to Catherine's House stove/oven (that's how we discovered it had been wearing down over 15 years of dance-parties upstairs---Friday's big house rumble was the straw breaking the camel's back, finishing off the slow hole-boring situation underneath the kitchen), which we were able to fix with $200 worth of parts within a few days--no big deal compared to the loss of electricity to the rest of the farm.

The photo above is what we were able to purchase on May 3RD, 2016.
Maybe the "ground" wire was suddenly a conductor of thousands of volts of energy (instead of being a safety wire)?
Maybe all that plasma flying around the air was enough to destroy inverters? Our NOW DEAD inverter a key component of our complete solar system--worth $3,300 for a new one, and $6,000 a decade ago. We are lucky that the lightning arrestors and breakers in our solar system saved our new battery and new charge controller and new solar panels--hallelujah! They just are worthless without an inverter to change DC to AC electricity, thus the need for a new one [or to give it all up and go anarcho-primativist with the wealth of wood/trees on the property to keep heating and cooking for the next few hundred years. That's a good idea, right? No need to replace inverters, batteries, panels and charge controllers every 30 to 50 years, just let enough trees keep growing, like our ancestors did, right?]

I guess we're not that radical yet, so, confessionally,
we are trying to get a NEW INVERTER, and you can help!

An INVERTER is... ...a device which changes solar-battery power (DC, or direct current like a 9V battery in a smoke detector or AA battery in a flashlight) into alternating current (AC) used for common electricity in homes across the nation. The nation is a thing run by a Congress, a Judiciary, and a President (who's job it is to kill human beings), and the country's faith in that system (also known as the people's failure to revolt effectively against the system). I think it might be better to place one's faith in a solar system of one sort or another, than in a government system hell-bent on killing individual humans and sometimes killing larger groups of people. Who knows the cost of life for harvesting raw materials to create an inverter? How many people are killed by lightning vs. how many are killed by electrical accidents vs. how many are killed by government terrorism vs. how many are killed by non-governmental terrorism? Who works for death anyway? God help us to serve LIFE!

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{ Click for upcoming 40th Anniversary events }
Tom teaches Nick Y Lana how to double-dig in the biointensive way, while Montesanos & Whatfords pose near the soon-to-be-gone caboose.

Above is a photograph of volunteers working near the bed of kale, which was the base of many a good meal this Summer. The other photo was taken in preparation for the dismantlement of our old red caboose, a former home of founders at the Catholic Worker Farm. I guess it's a symbol of a passing era, the first generation of CW Farmers here into the next generation, if each generation lasts 20 to 40 years. (Those numbers are the same digits as our percentages of food consumed from the land here.)
See the main Earth Abides catch-all web-site info, including upcoming 40th Anniversary events at