Solar connections, minestrone, and desert rain

Solar Project Update!

Yesterday, despite the rain and cold that swept through Elephant Butte, Bill and Kathy complete the wiring for the charge controller and the circuit breaker, both mounted on the battery box next to the inverter.

Connecting wires to the inverter is difficult.

Whoever mounted the inverter on the wall of the PTV put it in a vertical position, rather than horizontally, like it was designed.  This means the front of the inverter is now the top, and the back of the inverter is now the bottom.  The wires need to be connected to the “bottom” of the inverter which is about 6 inches off the floor and impossible to see.

Bill gets the bright idea of taking a photo.

The photo shows an allen wrench is needed.  After a few tries, Kathy finds the right size allen wrench and Bill sets to work loosening the screws in order to connect the wires.  Uh oh.  The last screw is giving Bill trouble.  He can’t budge it with the allen wrench.  Hmmm.  Weird.

To add to our frustration, the rain comes and goes all day, sending us into our trailers for cover.

At last, Bill solves the mystery.  The last screw requires a star wrench, a very tiny one.  Kathy finds the right one and Bill completes the wiring.  Whew! 

All the connections to the batteries have been made.  The batteries are securely strapped down.  Kathy puts the lid on the box and seals it shut with the six screws.

“Well, we’ve just turned a corner, ” says Bill. 

Soup pot

We smile at each other and decide to call it a day.

Kathy tells me her minestrone soup has been simmering for several hours.  She’s going to add the pasta, and it’ll be ready in less than a half-hour.

“Would you like to have some?”

I give her one of my soup bowls and before long Kathy’s knocking at my door with my supper.

I turn on the tv, cozy up in the corner of the bed with the crew, and slurp down some of the best minestrone soup I’ve every tasted.   It’s been a good day.  And the desert got rain!


1 can beef broth

1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 can kidney beans

1 can butter beans or garbanzo beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced or 1 can sliced carrots

1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped

Green chilies (optional, to taste)

Put ingredients in pot and cover with water.  Boil until vegetables are soft.  Reduce heat and simmer to “stew.”  About 1/2 hour before eating, add 1 cup small shell or elbow macaroni and cook until macaroni is soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Solar update . . . to be continued.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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21 Responses to Solar connections, minestrone, and desert rain

  1. Carol says:

    What a charmed life you are leading. I can’t wait for your future reports on using your solar power. “To be contnued”, for sure!

  2. cathieok says:

    I know your really can’t complain about the rain, even if it was at an inconvenient time! I can just see you all huddled in the PTV trying to get this all hooked up.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cathie!

      New Mexico is full of surprises. I’ve never seen weather like this. A dark cloud comes along and drops some rain while half the sky is a brilliant blue with huge cumulus clouds, bright white. It rains, then the sun comes out, a fat rainbow appears, then it rains again for a few minutes, then the sun comes out . . .

      Yesterday was cold and bone-chilling damp. Today . . . . a beautiful, sunshiny day!

  3. Nita says:

    Get the minestrone soup recipe. I’ve been looking for a good one.

  4. Minnesota gal says:

    Ho Hum…………..Just listening to the wind howl camped on a Padre Island, TX beach and nearing the end of a good book….light powered by my deep cycle batteries which were charged by my solar panels today.

    Life is good ! (Just takes some planning and work….then it all pays off.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Minnesota gal!

      Oh, Padre Island, how nice . . .I can almost hear the waves and smell the salt air.

      Sounds like you’ve got everything you need. Enjoy your pay-off!

  5. Laura says:

    Hey Sue!
    Al and his beautiful wife & 2 dogs — the Bayfield Bunch — are staying in the same campground with you. 🙂 Look for the big Class A with Canadian plates towing a jeep. I think you’d enjoy meeting them.

    Thanks for sharing your solar install with us. Sure makes it tempting to think of doing the same for my little trailer. Maybe when I get ready to be on the road more than I can be right now. Just think of how many people you’re teaching through your blog & pictures with the whole process!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Laura!

      Al and Kelly and their two dogs are at Elephant Butte on the other side of the dam, camped by the river. I am so jealous! If I had my solar, I’d be parked over there right now! I left a comment on the Travels with the Bayfield Bunch blog to let them know about the HUGE ENVY I’m dealing with right now. They are zipping around, seeing all this great stuff, and here I am tied to this electric hook-up!

      Just joking …. I’m so lucky to have all this free labor for my solar set-up from good friends, Kathy and Bill. Plus free food!

      You made me stop and think about how many people might be learning what I’m learning as I bumble along . . .

  6. Rubbertramp says:

    Hi Sue, any thoughts on how many servings that soup produces? Guess it could be doubled since there is a left over half head of cabbage (and then frozen!) Enough for a couple days eh! Good going on the solar, tioga george is getting his solars rehabed too. Something must be in the air!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know how much soup it makes. Kathy used a big pot like you use to boil a lot of spaghetti noodles . .. 5 quarts at least. If you double the recipe, to paraphrase the famous line from Jaws . . . “You’re gonna need a bigger pot.”

      Kayjulia had solar installed recently, too! Sunshine is in the air!

  7. Reine says:

    Speaking of recipes, there’s one listed on the Casita Forum for Crockpot Chicken with Black Beans and Cream Cheese that sounds EASY and good. Prep time – 3 minutes. See post #24
    Anything I can dump in the Crock pot and forget is great.

    The Minestrone sounds great too.

  8. Bob says:

    Bill was clever to think of taking a picture.

    You make me hungry when you describe your meals. I think I’ll go dig out my crockpot.

  9. rvsueandcrew says:

    Yeah, Bill is clever. Every problem has a solution.

  10. Dave says:

    “New Mexico is full of surprises.”
    Isn’t it, tho! We moved here five and a half years ago and are still being surprised by this beautiful state!

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