Posts in category "sustainable-living"


  • An Unexpected Encounter

    It was January 2020 when we made an unexpected trip to Thirthahalli, a beautiful remote village in Karnataka. One of our newly made friends was born and brought up in Thirthahalli and they are planning to purchase a farmland near there. They invited us to visit their house for a fun trip and join them in their search for a farm. At this point in time, we were not even prepared to purchase a farm. We tagged along because our friends were on the search and we thought we can get some experience of the process if we ever want to go that route. But how did we meet these folks and what led us to believe we could do farming?

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  • Our First Step Towards True Retirement - Part 2

    Happy new year everyone! I want to continue where I left off in my previous post, so if you haven’t read that, I suggest you head over there first to get some context. The year was 2022, and like I mentioned in the previous post, we were thinking about farm life and were not sure if we can adapt to it after living in the city for such a long time. Since a few of our unschooling friends were living on farms far away from the city we thought it would be a good idea to visit their farm and see how they live and take care of their daily activities in such remote places. It will help us answer some long standing questions.

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  • Our First Step Towards True Retirement - Part 1

    If you have been paying attention to the last few posts, you know that we are cutting down our sustainability efforts here at home. We first stopped rain water harvesting. Then slowly started to reduce our organic gardening footprint. None of these decisions were taken on a whim. They were deliberate and well thought out. While I mentioned some of the reasons for slowing down the projects, one reason which I did not mention was that we were not finding enough time. Yes I know, it sounds strange coming from a person who (and his better half) have completely retired and have not worked for money for more than 5 years. Yet, here we are. We finally realized our long-held dream of becoming owners of a farm and that kept us busy.

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  • Terrace Gardening Update

    There are three places where we have been doing organic gardening. One on either sides of the house, two on the terrace and three outside of our compound wall. I already gave an update on the garden on either sides of the house. Since I’d like to keep you guys up to date, in this post I am giving an update on the terrace garden and the garden that is outside. Now for the bad news. We recently stopped doing the terrace gardening. There are a few reasons which I will get to in a minute. Meanwhile, our outside garden is still doing fine, but not to the level we want.

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  • Rain Water Harvesting Update

    A long time ago, soon after I retired we build a DIY rain water harvesting at our place. We even made some upgrades along the way. Since it rains a lot here in Bangalore (or I should say used to rain a lot), we enjoyed a few good years of rain water harvest. For those of you who don’t know, there is huge water shortage here in Bangalore and any water we can save is extremely helpful. We generally use about 22 tankers of water in a year. But since setting up the rain water harvesting, it has reduced to almost half. Thus not only saving money but also water.

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  • Organic Gardening Update

    As we progress in life, things come and go. We start out with a plan and later it may fail or we stop executing it for some reason. Take the most common failed plans that most people complain about – exercise. When the new year rolls in some of us plan to exercise routinely and stay fit. Eventually, due to various reasons, some stop doing it. There were several plans I made after retirement, and some of them have either failed or we stopped them intentionally. One such plan was organic gardening. Just after retiring, we started to grow a small vegetable garden in the open space on the sides of our house inside our compound. I even built and programmed an automated drip irrigation system so we don’t have to worry about watering. But we stopped growing vegetables on the sides. So what happened?

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  • Solar System Comparison with MKBHD

    Some of you may already know MKBHD, a popular youtuber in the tech world. He recently posted a video about the going completely solar and not having to pay an electricity bill for a whole year. It is a very well made video which explains how the solar panel system works with batteries (off grid) and with net metering (on grid). Although I don’t have net metering and I am not completely off grid, so mine is a hybrid approach. Still, if you watch the video it will help you understand how my setup works (sort of). My setup is closer to the hybrid system explained in another video. Anyway, I wanted to compare my puny setup with MKBHD’s setup and see how I compare. So here goes.

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  • How Much Money Did My Solar Panels Save? - 2023 Edition

    A long time ago I wrote a post on how much money my solar panel was saving me. In the post I promised to write another post in November 2022 with updates. Well, lots of things happened and I completely forgot about it until one reader reminded me requesting for an update. So here it goes. It has been more than 2 years since I installed a 320W solar panel and I have been diligently collecting data from my panel, our consumption and how much we are pulling from the grid. Very recently I finally finished my code to fetch the data, massage it and used some nice libraries to draw the graphs so I can analyze the data.

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  • How I Waste My Time

    You know, in a typical year after retirement, I noticed that I have been working on some repair or pet project at the rate of 1 or 2 per month. I don’t like to explain all of them, otherwise this blog will be just that – my repair/project blog. But once in a while I feel like I should write about these small projects. Otherwise many keep wondering what I do after retirement and how I am able to spend time. Generally I just tell these folks that I am busy with my family especially my daughter since she does not attend school (unschooled). After hearing this, most stop asking any more questions. It is not that I am working on any top secret projects. Just that these small project don’t qualify as something to write or talk about them.

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  • Savings Due To Solar Panel

    Last year, around this time, I wrote a post on how much money my solar panel was saving us. I was supposed to write a follow up to it after one year, but I completely forgot about it. Thankfully, a reader reminded me to give an update and here I am. Unfortunately even after one year I still did not finish the software that was supposed to instantly tell me how much I am saving each month. I should be able to get that information because I have a bunch of sensors monitoring my solar panel system. They measure the power generated by the panel, the amount of power we are using at home and how much power we are drawing from grid. All that data is stored in the cloud in Firebase. Yet I did not finish that part of the software. And to think I am actually retired. Wonder where all my free time goes. Anyway, in this post I will give a guesstimate using our electricity bills as a proxy.

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