Tag Archives: sun

What would we do without the Sun?

Sun ~ {The star that is the source of light and heat for the planets in the solar system}

The sun is a miracle from God. ūüôā

It gives life and spreads its love across our globe. When I think of how much energy gets lost every day, without us harvesting it, I get a little sad.

We have tried our hand at some primal methods of harvesting the sun’s energy. In 2013 I tried some DIY methods to warm our water when our landlord at the time, refused to settle his municipal bill and the council cut our electricity supply. In hindsight, it was a learning curve.

Homemade shower

This was my homemade shower in 2013

We have a goal of building our container home totally off-grid and dependent on harvesting energy and water from nature. It has been said that:

“Enough sunlight reaches the Earth‚Äôs surface in one hour¬†to satisfy the whole world‚Äôs energy demands for an entire year.”

The problem is, we are not capturing or harvesting it. So in our little corner of the world, we are working on some DIY solutions for our home.

We currently do not have access to an electric geyser, so we do not have warm water readily available. Although cold showers are somewhat refreshing some days, other days you really need warm water to soothe your soul and for washing hair! Ashley came up with this idea to build our own solar geyser…please note it is still under construction:


Home-made solar geyser pitched on roof

The idea is that the black painted barrel on top will warm the water and relay it to the 2nd hand geyser at the bottom, which we will clothe in a geyser blanket. The bottom geyser will keep it warm, ready for use as we need it. The process will begin again, by filling up with cold water on top and repeating. It should work well as we have sun almost 9 months of the year in Jozi.

Until then, this is my system:

Plastic geyser

Catching the last bit of sun for the day!

Warming our water in a water dispenser, and using it as a shower! It works quite well. I fill it halfway with water and I place it in a warm sunny place for most of the day. By 16h00 the water is quite warm, and ready for use!

make shift shower

Make-shift shower

The showers are calculated and quick! We use between 7-10 liters per use, which makes it super efficient! As I said before, going off-grid is not easy, but super rewarding!

sun warms heart

What have you done to go green? Please share!

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On top of the world

Today was a beautiful day in Johannesburg.  Ashley and I had an appointment in Parkview with a potential client but we had some time to kill beforehand.  So we decided to get some takeaway lunch and hopefully find a place with a nice view to enjoy it at.

Now when we stayed in the Western Cape, we were totally spoiled for choice. ¬†Whenever we had time on our hands we could go to the beach, we could walk along a river or one of our favourite spots was Table Mountain. ¬†We would sit there and listen to the dulled hustle and bustle below…but felt quite far removed from it.

Ashley always bragged about the great view Northcliff ridge offered.  So today seemed like the perfect day to do it.  We meandered slowly up the hill and admired the great mansions.  We arrived at the public area of the ridge, an area of around 11 hectares which is controlled by City Parks and Johannesburg Water (JW).  It has a large water tower, a distinctive landmark, on the very top of the ridge, built in 1939.

72-year old water tower

I was not actually prepared for adventure as I was wearing smart (and slippery) pumps. ¬†So Ashley had to literally pull me up. ¬†It’s an easy climb to the viewpoint…and he wasn’t joking. ¬†It is breath-taking!

360¬ļ view of Johannesburg

Northcliff ridge is Johannesburg’s second highest koppie at¬†around 1 807 metres. ¬†The city consists of a number of ridges and one of the most northern ones is Northcliff ridge, the site of early 17th century Stone Age settlements. ¬†Here are more pics:


More views

Pathway in the sky

Shrike in the air

The tower has become a perfect nesting place for swifts but the ridge is also home to larks, kiewiets and shrikes.

Squatters also make the ridge their home when they get a chance. The result is that graffiti, broken bottles and occasional fires are a problem in the area. Although the gate is locked after sunset, people do gain access to the ridge and problems with alcohol and drugs have been reported.

But although the ridge is visible from most northern parts of Joburg, it is not as attractive as it used to be. Twenty years ago its soaring cliff faces and base was free of human habitation, and the tower stood tall. The ridge was originally called Aasvo√ęlkop, a reference to a time when its crevices were home to vultures, now long gone.

Unlike its counterpart, Melville Koppies, which was declared a nature reserve in 1959 and, when in 1963 an Iron Age furnace was uncovered, became a national monument, Northcliff ridge was never recognised despite the discovery of Stone Age artefacts on it. The artefacts have disappeared, as have the two Iron Age furnaces that were discovered on Hearn Drive, just below the ridge.

Read more here:

There is something captivating about being on top of hills, mountains and koppies.  Sometimes you literally just need to be on top of the world to feel on top the world.  It was perfect.  Great company, the sun on my face and a boerewors roll to chow on!

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