Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lots of progress, despite dropping a tree on the house

Remember a couple days ago I said I did not think I would have enough to write about to blog every day? Well I already have a backlog of things from the past couple days.  How about a quick synopsis and then I will add some details:

Mounted one solar array (three panels) to the side of the house and wired it into the batteries so we put our first power INTO the batteries. 
Watched each other sweat

Turned case fans made for computers into small 12V window fans which were a nice addition to the bedroom. You can buy ready made 12 volt fans, but those draw about 42 watts from the batteries, and after much searching Alan found these case fans that only draw 0.2 watts! We attached about 12 feet of wire to the fans and a cigarette lighter adapter so that they can plug into the little case of gel cell batteries that we brought down on the last trip. We thought they were starting to fail but Alan has them working again.
Watched each other sweat

Re-purposed computer case fans
make sleeping 'a breeze'.
I know there were a lot of other odds and ends like unpacking boxes but I guess I need to start writing notes to myself throughout the day to remember everything. We also took some time out to work on client projects and I needed to pack and ship some eBay items.
And yes we were still sweating while sitting at our computers.

Went into town for another set of solar panels. We also stopped at Lowe's for a change from Home Depot but they didn't even know us there, well at least not for the first hour  that we were walking around. I have a new treasure hunt in hardware stores - the 'oops' paint section. You can get great deals on paints that were mixed  incorrectly. I got a quart of light grey Glidden paint for $2. Not enough for a room, but maybe for trim or an accent wall. We also picked up two USB fans that are powered by our computers and a screen curtain we can hang at the open French door at night so we can keep the door open without bugs coming in. So...
We were not sweating as much.

Alan with his USB fan attached to his computer.
AND a floor lamp running off our 12V system!
We also stopped at the grocery store, came home put things in our fridge and cooked a real dinner for the first time. By the way, when we woke up this morning Alan checked the temperature in the fridge with his infra-red temperature probe and most areas were below freezing so we have been bumping the temperature control up little by little. Looks like it will work great even in the hottest temperatures. I was worried it would only lower the temperature a certain amount below ambient (ie., 40 degrees, so if it were 80 degrees it would be 40 in the fridge but if it were 100 degrees it would only take it down to 60) but that is not the case. We could actually use it as a freezer in these 100+ temps if we wanted to.

Assembled second solar panel array on the deck and wired it into the batteries, We want to experiment on panel locations for best sun exposure.

Alan sawing the tree to move it off the house.
The directional cellular antenna is still in place in this shot.
Cut down two trees that were near the deck and caused shadows on the solar panels at times during the day.

Removed the 40 foot tree that fell onto the house.

Repaired and remounted the directional antenna that we installed on Tuesday because the tree rolled as we were removing it and sheared the antenna mounts off the roof and snapped the wiring going to the antenna.

Installed the utility/laundry sink and plumbed the drain so I can now do a load of laundry which is good because Alan is going through at least three shirts a day.

I had broken my keen-style sandals and needed to replace them or wear my work boots all day long, so we decided we could use a break after all that and went to lunch at a Chinese buffet we have been wanting to try. Yes, we managed to do all that before lunch time! I mention this because I want to share Alan's insert in his cookie: "Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." How apropos after he dropped a tree on the house this morning!

We also stopped at Home Depot for some staples for the staple gun because we bought the wrong size on our last trip. I had just checked their 'oops' paint a couple days ago, but figured it would only take a minute to run over to the paint department to see if I could snag another treasure. Score! a gallon of Behr paint in a slightly darker shade than the quart I got for only $7 (normally about $27). I told Alan I need to find a store whose paint mixing employee has poor short term memory and a high 'oops' rating.

When we got back home, I did a bit of puttering around while Alan took a short nap thanks to our new fans in the bedroom. Then we needed to make a trip to the spring to fill up our non-potable water bottles. Driving down our road we saw our first live armadillo, I wanted to bring him home. We also saw 7 deer along our road including a momma with two spotted babies. Heading out the road to the spring, I commented that we probably wouldn't see as many deer as it is a pave road. As soon as I said that we came across a field with about 20 deer at one end and another 10 or so in the back corner. There  were a few more spotted on the way home but we lost count. It was well over 35 deer spotted in about 15 miles.But that still doesn't beat the 1 live armadillo!

Well, I better head off to bed as we have more projects planned for tomorrow and need to get up early to put some time in on a work project and eBay 'stuff'. Alan may need to work on his own some more, but there are no trees to be cut down tomorrow, at least none we are planning on...


  1. So how are the steps up to the deck? I know you had purchased stringers. Picture please!

    1. Alan finished the front stairs this morning while I was building some shelves for the work room. The stairs look great, I will include a picture on my next post. That project went much smoother than yesterday's project of taking down the trees :-)