"A Little About Us"
Jim is a former professional psychologist (Ph.D. in clinical psychology). Mindy has a background in nursing (Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health). There have been several years of careful research and planning and learning from others that have gone into our renewable energy systems before we moved to Arizona. We had installed our first solar electric system 18 years earlier in a small travel trailer we lived in out in the Anzo-Borrego Desert in California -- learning a lot about what to do, and also what not to do.
Our goal at Solar Haven has been to keep our land as natural as possible and a haven for wildlife and to provide a model for others in the community who are interested in renewable energy, natural building methods, and living simply without the usual utility costs and a big mortgage. The ideals of Henry David Thoreau have been very much in our minds -- Solar Haven is our "Walden Pond".
Solar Haven has been featured for four years on the National Tour of Solar Homes which is held in October. Through our web site there is considerable technical information available about our systems. This is not a financial venture in any way, just an opportunity to share with others and promote a more simple and sustainable way of living.
Mindy's personal passion is solar cooking. Those are oatmeal cookies coming out of the sun oven at the left. Jim's personal passions are writing and playing the recorder (Renaissance music and folk music) and recently synthesizing accompaniments on the computer. They both have had personal home pages for several years and have had many visitors and the opportunity to meet special new friends with whom to share their passions.
We love to bird watch. Our first dates over 20 years ago were often spent hiking, bird books in hand.
We love cats, too, but this is just a "bit" incompatible at times with attracting our feathered friends to the yard.
Mindy loves gardening -- the greenhouse has produced tomatoes, green peppers, and New Zealand spinachr. She has had plenty of "help" from Ghost Cat.
Ghost Cat (aka "Commander Ghost" of the Solar Haven Pack Rat Patrol) has his own web page now. Check it out.
Life in the country is just great.... Jim and Mindy
PS - Since Jim is partially disabled (peripheral neuropathy) and can not get around very well, he does the planning and designing work, ordering of materials and finding the best prices in town, hiring workmen, fielding troubles, checking and rechecking technical parts of the work, corresponding, and documenting our efforts (photography and this web site). Mindy does the WORK work - carrying and lifting, drilling and putting in screws (no nails have been used to build Solar Haven), plumbing, wiring, digging, roofing, and lots of painting. In our humble opinion we think we make a great team. :)
Several construction workshops have been held at Solar Haven -- students get free instruction in straw bale construction, adobe earthen plastering, and renewable energy systems and learn through direct, hands-on experiece. We have receive much needed and appreciated help getting our house built!
A MAJOR CHANGE IN DIRECTION:
For reasons primarily related to Jim's health but also for financial reasons, Jim and Mindy Phypers have moved to Veracruz, Mexico. Solar Haven in Arizona has been sold. Jim's health has improved and plans are underway to purchase raw land without utilities again and live as sustainably as possible with solar power. Solar Haven 2 is starting to take shape...
We have made several videos of our life in the small town in rural Mexico where we live now. We are the first Amercians to have lived here. We have adopted five dogs (or rather they adopted us). Learning a new culture and language has been a big undertaking but very rich and exciting with a photo-op everywhere we turn. Have a look at several videos of what life is like for us here...
Before starting to make videos we maintained a blog of our life in Mexico...