Shannons Rain

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Soap up. Their lifestyle has been a conscious evolution. His father worked for Shell Oil, so during the war the family was transferred to Texas, then near New York City, where Mike finished public schooling. Both graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts, where they studied outdoor education. They had two children, now grown.

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In , Mike was laid off from his job in Massachusetts when the Audubon Society was in a financial hole. Mike had nothing to do for a year, then got involved with the SAD 3 schools and, through them, met the chair of the environmental program at Unity College. Finding their house was fortuitous. Do you know Pam Bell?


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You and she are looking for the same place. We got out of the car, we looked at each other, we looked at this place. It was just the right place. An Efficient House. Their house, with its open floor plan and single bedroom upstairs, is just right for two people. It was built in by Chris and Dennis Harrington, with help from community members. The old beams in the ceiling, some tamarack, some hand-hewn, came from five old barns in the area. Six 3-foot-wide Kyocera solar panels on the roof, each 50 watts, create a watt array, and a watt AIR wind generator, purchased from the Green Store in Belfast, complements the solar panels.

Electricity from the panels and wind generator comes through a Heliotrope 60 amp charge controller, which prevents overcharging the lead-calcium battery bank and prevents the stored charge from leaking back to the panels at night. The electricity is stored in six 2-volt cells, so the house has a volt system. The house has both AC and DC wiring.

In case of excess wind, which could destroy the wind generator, a shut-off switch is in place. They also have a Winco rpm propane generator that powers their stove, refrigerator, freezer, vacuum, water pump, water heater, washing machine, iron and a little heater that they rarely use. Every third day they turn on the generator to pump a fresh supply of water into a gallon holding tank. Filling the gallon propane tank in the back yard is the only utility bill they have, other than the telephone bill.

We can store amp-hours of electricity in these batteries.

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The wind generator produces an equivalent amount on a windy day or night. Of course, we go to bed early. The batteries originally came from the Morrill Telephone Company and have been in the house for over 20 years. The only maintenance involves monitoring their sulfuric acid level. A large box of baking soda sits nearby in case of an acid spill.

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And we have a small trace inverter, which takes the direct current stored in the batteries and converts it to AC. So we have a regular color TV and a computer and a few AC lamp loads. See the red light flashing? If an AC load is on in the house, the red light stays on and hums. This says that at the moment the battery registers at Usually at night it says We made a list of how much power different things use. The kitchen lamp over the sink takes 1. The inverter [a Trace SB modified sine-wave inverter with battery charger] will handle most of the small things. We could have gotten a larger inverter, which would have handled the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine.

One wall of the room is lined with shelves of produce Margie has canned. You divide your laundry into about eight little loads.

Then a little spin basket gets them practically dry. When the Shannons first moved to their home, the generator and water pump were hooked into the electrical system together, so when the generator started, so did the water pump. They changed that, so the two are independent now. Their house is heated with wood, and their new, double pane, energy conserving windows help retain that heat. Open it if something happens to me. So I know he had a lot more than one hundred. The garden is even edged, thanks to Mike. The couple has fabricated various structures to support and cover their plants.

They buy concrete reinforcing wire Rebar and bend it to make low, hoop-like structures that they can cover with plastic, Reemay or shade cloth, depending on the crop and the season. The covering material is held on with clothes pins. They use the same structures, without coverings, to support beans and to keep deer from nibbling plants.

They also make tomato cages from Rebar, leaving spiky ends on the tall ones so that they can stick them in the ground. If the plants do grow out of these shorter cages, another cage is stacked atop the bottom one and held on with clothes pins. They dig the planting holes with a post-hole digger and put in manure, rock phosphate, azomite, greensand and soil.

They used to add rabbit manure, too, but no longer raise rabbits. They produce enough tomatoes for fresh consumption and to put up about 30 quarts each year. Their cucumber bed produces enough to make about 35 quarts of dill pickles. This is a thinner wire than Rebar, but the spaces are still large enough for hands to reach through.

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The 4- x 8-foot frames are tied together with rope at the top. Squashes and pole beans are grown on A-frames too, but the frames are turned so that the taller dimension is up. The Shannons were still harvesting peas in mid-August. In fact, they had just picked 12 pounds of peas and 5 pounds of beans on the same day. A Reliance peach tree near one corner of the garden suffered in , when the ice storm killed half of it, but this year, the Shannons harvested more peaches than ever.

They grow blueberries under the tree, but may move them and mulch around the tree with cardboard, because poison ivy is growing among the blueberries. Margie suspects that lime may kill the weed, too. A small, lush bed of flax grows at the top corner of the garden. So they gave me an ounce of seed. I overdo it, and it just falls apart. I just have to go and learn someplace. Margie scatters the seed and covers it with a little soil, then puts Reemay on top of it until it germinates.

They add pine needles and other organic matter to keep the soil acidic and minimize scab disease. All of their beds are covered with straw in the winter, as well as with leaves and grass collected by their mulching mower. The straw instead of hay and absence of horse manure have helped minimize weeds in the garden. He gets them behind the maintenance buildings on Congress Street in Belfast. Margie tends two kinds of Jerusalem artichokes in another corner of the garden. I saw a window for fishing last week and as John Collins and I waited for darkness to try our hand at streamer fishing, there were good numbers of both Light Cahills as well as Yellow Drakes on the water.

Don't be surprised to hear of some good fishing later this week as the rain abates. For those of you who are interested or just curious, we have a nice variety of Douglas DXF rods including the long ' nymphing rods in stock. Scott rods have been gaining considerable critical acclaim in recent years.

Models include the Radian and the new G series along with the Flex.


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  5. I would check out our newest edition to our reel offerings: Ross and Abel. I know it's a fishing post but you may not know the brands we carry if you're used to just checking the fishing reports. Besides, it's been hot in July and I want to sell a few rods! On a serious note: Good gear should be evaluated in person and rods should be compared and cast.


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    7. That's the proper way to purchase quality tackle. Ask questions and evaluate.

      Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche spp. Slate Drake aka. Note: This is the time of year to carry terrestrials.