Monday, August 7, 2017

The down hill slide of summer

After the 1st of August we begin what we think of as the down hill slide of summer. Most of the festivals are over, and most of the company is about to move on to their winter haunts. The farmers markets are in full swing around here and the smell of roasting chilis fills the air in a delicious and soul warming kind of way. I'm thinking of picking up a bag or two to peel at home while Autum and Daniel are here. Chili peeling in our home is a tradition. We sit, put on a couple sets of plastic gloves, pour tequila, and work our way through the giant plastic bag full of summer goodness. We didn't get any last year as we hadn't used up the previous years bounty, but I think this year it would do us well to get some. We can send a bunch home with Dad and Daniel and Autum will get to hang with us and pour shots while we peel.

Crys and Daniel and Autum will be returning from their Summer trip to Tin Cup to see their mom/grandma. Cindy is the only grandma left now as Crys' Nana passed away on June 22. We had her memorial service and interred her ashes in Tin Cup last Saturday. It wasn't as full of family as we would have preferred but those things happen. We'll have another one later on with the rest of the gang. It'll be a good time. We poured a full bottle of Old Crow on Pappo and Nana's grave site, as they are already dancing and enjoying being together again, but we're sure they needed a drink.

Updates as conditions warrant!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Monsoon season



In late July and early August, our valley experiences its monsoon season. For the next month, it begins to resemble Ireland with green everywhere. (OK, it's the arid high mountain desert version of Ireland but we'll take it). Yesterday and last night there was the drumming kind of rain we only get this time of year. This morning the birds are singing, the land has water laying on it, and the clouds are hanging low, full of moisture just waiting on the right combination to let loose again. We love this, especially after the cuticle cracking dryness of winter. It's a great time to live where we do, kinda makes the bone chilling cold of winter and the wind tunnel of spring worth it. It's a great time to visit, if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ren Fest, Larkspur.



Here are the women, all ren fested up. :D It's been a good week or two and we're having fun. That is all.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Advanced Battery Based Systems: SEI

Last week I took a class. It was on advanced battery based solar electric systems and their connections. I also took a qualifying test for a solar certificate.

It was a good week and I enjoyed it. One interesting aspect is that when you've agonized over building two systems of your very own and lived with them? A class like this is, in large part, review and confirmation of having made the right decisions. I do like and appreciate that.

I'm reminded that I'm lucky enough to make enough money to afford these kind of flights of fancy.

We rented a loft over a barn for a place to stay. It was pretty nice. Had a little kitchen and a clawfoot tub, no shower. We enjoyed the tub thing. It was different, I grew up with a tub bath and only started showering later in life. It was nice to be reminded.

Paonia is farming country. We went out to eat a bit, I learned on the first day to not plan to quickly get in and out of anywhere in that town. They definitely move to the beat of their own drummer. And their drummer is S L O W.

I took the NABCEP Associates  (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) test at the end of the week. It's a certification, sometimes needed to do work on solar here in Colorado. It's a 70 question, multiple question test on safety, design, electrical principles and customer service in the solar electric industry. They give you 2 hours, I needed less than one and was the first one out. We'll see if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I figure you either know shit or you do not. Worrying over it does not good. As is usual, there were some groans when I got up and left at the end of my exam. I'll never get that. It takes what it takes, it just doesn't take me as long to either pass or fail. :D

I'm home today, having driven home after the test yesterday and arriving home at about 10 PM. I've put away my crap, built a dresser and mirror, cleaned up in the house, and fixed Crystal's bicycle with new shift/brake levers and cables and new tires and tubes.

It's time for a shower now, I've feeling sticky. And itchy. And tired. So I'll gently move Griffy (the kitty) to the side and go rinse off and grab another beer.

Life is good. Crys gets home tonight, so tomorrow will be even better.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Paonia

This week we are in Paonia. I'm taking a class from Solar Energy International. It's an advanced battery based solar electric class. The first 2 days are done and it's pretty fun. The rest of the week we'll be digging through learning the ins and outs of various larger system set ups with inverter/chargers and charge controllers along with proper programming for them. I'm pretty excited about that because one of those systems is exactly what we have at home. I feel like ours is set up pretty well, but I'm sure I'll learn a few things about how to get a bit more out of it.

Crystal is running around town, trying to get a little vacation rest, visiting a friend or two and scoping out good places for us to eat. Thus far she's been pretty successful.

Folks are watching the house and we hope that by the time we get back the parts we needed to finish the greenhouse will have arrived so we can get back to finishing that thing over the 4th of July.

Life is good, hope yours is too.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Row 4 is dedicated to Nana.


This is row #4 of 5 rows total that we're installing on the grow dome. We got a day to work on it that was extra when Crys' Nana passed away. 



The top row was 5 sections, and that took the first day. It took so long because it was 19' off the ground and we had to figure out how to cut and piece every single thing on the greenhouse. The way it figures out: row one is 5 sections, row 2 was 11 sections, row 3 was 26 sections, row 4 and row 5 are both 30 sections. Each row took a day. We had some good help on rows 1 through 3 and Crys and I wrestled row 4 by ourselves. Row 5 will probably be by our lonesome as well, and that's OK.


We have to wait to do row 5, the final row. We determined that we needed 3 more 4X12 sheets of polycarbonate along with a different system for attaching the bottom of the panels at the bottom of the grow dome. We got the last 3 panels from Gemplers, and the bottom brackets from FarmTek. We also needed a bunch more screws to finish up. We'll go to a local store and get some nice flashing to go from the bottom of the sheets down and over the knee wall on the outside. That should limit the ingress of critters and keep the rain/snow from ruining the wood. I'll also have to engineer an entry door into one section before it's all buttoned up. After that I'll install the temperature activated vents we bought to put in. Once that's all done we can start building the raised beds for planting. We hope to have it done by the end of summer. And at some point I'll put together a post that lists where we found all the "stuff" it took to put it together in case someone else wishes to duplicate our efforts along with the approximate costs in todays figures.

Alrighty, must be time to go murder some thistle.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Crystal is the BOSS

This weekend we started working on the green dome again. It's been nearly 2 years since I gifted this project to my girl for her birthday. I could fall back on: we've got a lot of projects going on; it was really involved with dirt work and material acquisition; every step of it was an engineering challenge.... but really? We (I) just let other stuff get in the way.

For what ever reason, Crys decided that we should start this last Saturday. I'm so glad she did. We've ended up with a bit of help that's much appreciated on the labor end of the project (Our friend Danielle and Travis, newlyweds from St. Louis that are visiting the valley) and it's making it all go so much faster.

Saturday it looked like this:





And at the end of work on Sunday it looked like this:



We had to take a break Sunday to go help our friend, Ross, with pulling his well pump. It didn't take long and it was nice to help our buddy that's always there for us. It did rather put most of Sunday's work into the long, hot, afternoon part of the day but we all stuck with it.

Doing jobs is fun at our house. Crys is the BOSS on this one because she got it going. She's doing all the measuring of the polycarbonate angles and channels that hold them. I do the chop sawing of the sheets, she saws the channels. We all work at pre-drilling holes in the channels. Travis and I are up hanging stuff and making final custom cuts (because no matter how hard you try there are variations). We'll sheet almost the whole thing, there'll be an 8 triangle plywood "back" wall, and we can't sheet the door opening yet, as I have to engineer that for the door to fit in.

It's going well in a time of the year that is often full, and we hope to have most of the sheeting done by Crys' birthday on Wednesday (though that's pushing it a bit).

We referred to the bit that was on the first day as the Green Dome Yarmulke. Now it's a bit bigger than that and we hope to have some of the next row on tonight.

Stay tuned. :D