Tuesday, January 3

Lion Creek

A few days ago, we went to our bank so I could change the PIN on my debit card, which had been re-issued because some bad person had hacked it. 

(As an aside, it’s so nice to walk into the bank and Shawn, the customer service guy, says “Hi Tom. Hi Karla.” Makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Nice bank.)

On the way back home, we drove up the hill from our house site to where we plan to put our water tank. We also wanted to see how much water was coming out of the main spring that feeds the creek that runs alongside the site. Oddly, even though this season has brought almost no rain and has actually tied a 138-year-old record for lack of rain in December, Lion Creek is running. Not a gusher, but flowing nonetheless. While the rest of the mountains for miles around are starting to look more like a desert, Lion Creek canyon is lush. Horse tracks all over the place attest to the canyon being an important source of their sustenance. I had only my cell phone with me, so the pictures aren’t the greatest.

We have been users of alternative energy for decades. The high ranch has been off the grid for its entire existence, depending on water to provide it with 60,000 watts of electricity when the creek is high. Here in the foothills we have depended for 20 years on solar power, giving us a much lower 2,400 watts. During the winter when the days are shorter and the sky could be dark with clouds, it would be nice to supplement with some hydro power.

Lion Creek could supply us with that at our new house site where we plan to install 6,000 watts of solar panels down the hill below the house, and another 2,000 watts by the well. Even if the creek gave us only 500 to 1,000 watts, that runs lots of LED light bulbs when the sky is dark. After our years of experience on solar power here at the foothill ranch, we know how to stretch energy budgets. It’s just the opposite of how you do it on the grid: Run the big power-hungry appliances during the daytime.


HHhorses said...

Do you think the spring is flowing well because the water demands of trees and brush in the canyon are dormant now? It might always "turn on" like that in the fall, we just can't tell because of the additional rainfall. Just a thought.

Tom Hurley said...

That’s a very good observation. Usually the creek is flowing at this time of year due to rainfall, masking its own ability to flow if the demand is reduced. Good thinking!