Saturday, August 10, 2013

Today I am working around the homestead while Crys* is up at Tin Cup with her family. I would have loved to go along with but we've been doing so much this summer it's hard to get to the work we gotta get done before winter settles in.

It's also been raining its ass off around here so everything is REALLY soggy. Green too. It's a lot like living in Ireland at the present time.

Just finished pouring a concrete floor for the chicken house, to help keep it clean and critter free since they'll be laying soon. After this I'll go rewire some in the solar house and get ready to take out the generator panel. It isn't very useful for us and it's taking up space on the wall. We're going to see if a friend wants to buy the generator. If he does we'll get a bigger one that will run our electric kiln.

After that I have to prep for bottling my first batch of beer. I'll probably prep today and bottle tomorrow. Unless I blow up the power system........

one never knows

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We are home from vacation and enjoying being home.

Mom and Pop and we rode back in their giant 36' RV. It took about 3 days and we got home Sunday afternoon with enough time to get stuff put away and settle a little bit before showering and falling into bed. There's not much that's better than eating and sleeping and showering in your own home after a week or so away. We got to meet and oooh and aaah over the new Cria and the growth of our little chickens that we left after only having them here for a month. They grew a lot but are still friendly and fun.

The folks are camped across the bridge in their RV and are settled in nicely. They get up early and take care of themselves, we have coffee together and play a bit during the  day and they go crash out about 6 PM (the 2 hour time difference seems to factor in). Yesterday we went riding around the countryside close to our house, it was fun. Didn't even scare dad too much.

The barnyard is doing well, the fires are staying far enough away and while the smoke is a bother it isn't even as bad as years past when the fires were much further away.

We'll see what today holds. I'm not getting any work done on the place, but living is important too so we'll do that for a few days. Enjoying family.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today we will rest and play, or at least that is the plan and we'll see what we end up with. :D

A nice bit of internetting in bed with coffee while the chickens thump and chirp and kitties sprawl followed by perhaps a trip to the Taste of Creede. Somewhere in there we'll visit the goats and make a bit of a plan for finishing the Chicken Run. I've no idea why that should have capitals, perhaps from the movie of the same name several years ago. Really I guess I should call it the Chicken Stockade since it will withstand a tornado of epic proportions.

It sure is nice to relax.

That must mean the damned phone is gonna ring.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Here's the new framing for the chickens, they'll head out to their new home in a week or so. I'm hoping this will keep the goats out. :D

Monday, May 20, 2013

the new roof. Just a little more to go on the wwest side

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The kids got a professional haircut today.  They hate getting their hair cut but instead of having it take hours, today it took minutes.  I bet Stanley is in the yard strutting his little naked stuff.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The shed/studio work has begun again. Yesterday Crys* went to La Junta to granny sit and I decided to start on some roof framing that needed to be finished. The day ended with my body acquiring a unique temporary deformity in exchange for a bit of blood left on the building :D.

Late last Summer we started on expanding our utility building that houses the solar and water stuff. I nearly doubled the interior space and added a covered section for wood, cars, 4 wheelers.... you get the idea. Winter ended my work for longer than I'd planned. Somewhere in there I also discovered that I needed to re-do the wiring in the original section of the building because I got some not-quite-correct information.

At this point I have the drywall removed from part of the walls in the original building in prep for the wiring job that I am going to have to beat myself to finish because I really just don't want to tear out that beautiful spray in insulation.

SO, I'm working on the roof!

To frame yesterday I had to sink an anchored base for a 4X4 support in the concrete, then do some post and beam construction. All was going well until I managed to drop a treated 12 footer and it just HAD to go through my arm on its way to the ground. This left an odd deformity in my right forearm. Hurt like a bitch it did. So I kept going because this job needs to be done. :D I had to disconnect the fuel line from the generator to set the post so it's offline until I get a nice new exterior 3/4 inch flex connector. Easy stuff that.

I finally got the post and beam stuff up and started running roof joists. Yep, slammed a finger hard enough to shoot cottage cheese out the end. After I got past that I finished running enough roof joists to put up a sheet of OSB. That's where I left it yesterday. In the evening Crys* got home to find me in the tub with blueberry moonshine and soda.

recovery. Good.

We'll see what today brings.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Springtime at the resort

We've had 2 calm weekends at home in a row. It's nice.

We got snow on both weekends, but just enough to make it wet and happy outside. Sometimes we even get a little work done, trimmed the goats faces and "parts" along with their feet yesterday. We'd put that off for too long so we'll have to re-do them in 3 weeks or so and get them back to nice normal looking goat feets.

Our friend Pablo was out this weekend, so we go a nice weekend of fun. It'll probably be kids for the next couple weekends so it's nice to have the mix working out. Didn't get a bonfire going, maybe this coming weekend when Mason is out.

I gotta get back to working on our studio. It's almost warm enough to start roofing. Still gotta wire, insulate and drywall in there. Then I'll cut open a door between the sheds. After that? Pottery and glass!!!!!! And I'll start the final prep for our outside brick kiln. This will be a year of finishing up and settling in. And that's a good thing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ethopian beers on a Friday night in Denver. J J Dinner tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

new battery bank. Me likey

OK, just for the record here's the saga:

Early 2010, bought battery bank from . 400 amp hour bank of golf cart batteries that their web site touted as "what we use".  Slightly less than 4K. Used it for not even 3 years, bank wouldn't hold charge over night, supplemented with bank of batteries out of substation that worked for a while but not very long. Emailed for help. Was informed that even though I bought the batteries directly from them they wouldn't help me because I ordered the other equipment through a local electrician friend.

Bastards. Right nasty fucking no helping fucking bastards.

Did 5 days of solid research. Ended up contacting DC Battery in Colorado Springs. They referred me to in Pagosa Springs (One Mick Abrahamson). This all came about because in my research I discovered Rolls Surrette. They're a company out of Canada that have been making the premier bang for the buck solar batteries for years.

Can't say enough good about Mick and all his help. He was happy to trouble shoot my installation over the internet for a small fee, which I thought was the best money I ever spent. Then he got DC Battery driver Joe Worrell to meet me in Del Norte (9 miles from my house) to swap my old battery bank for the new one.

Joe was also wonderful, and did I mention Mike from DC Battery? He was great too.

Joe helped my unload my cores and load up the new batteries. He hauled ass to get to Del Norte so I could finish up as early as possible since he knew we had no power without the new batteries.

I had spent the weekend cleaning and prepping the battery room and getting my new rack built and every thing in place. The installation of the new batteries was flawless (thanks to a nice diagram from Mick). Heck I only put a jumper on one set of connections the wrong way and had a splashing lead fire dance for less than a second. :D No blood no foul.

Speaking of blood.....

Marian came and helped me. Marian is an electrician and one hell of a good friend and worker. She did manage to bleed her own blood on a good bit of the rack but much like my fire dance she just kept working.

At 9 PM the lights came on for what should be a period of 10 to 15 years with good maintenance.

Did I mention that DC Battery ( is gonna give me 25 cents a pound for the returned cores?

Summation of the story? Go see Mick at or contact DC Battery ( in Colorado Springs. Under NO circumstances purchase anything from

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Battery troubles.

Figure it's a good idea to write about this one, since we did so much about the construction. :D

The battery bank that we originally installed about 2 1/2 years ago is giving up the ghost. In general it is my fault. The batteries we bought were maintenance free ones. I did a good bit of communication with to figure out what would be best for my needs and that was their recommendation.

NEVER listen to them. :D And, by the way, their customer service completely sucks ass. Diarrhea elephant ass as a matter of fact.

As it turns out, the equipment I bought had factory presets that are perfect for flooded lead acid batteries but the opposite of right for maintenance free batteries. It has to do with charge rates and equalizing charges. The ones I bought are supposed to be good for from 4 to 8 years depending on use. WELL.... not if you charge them wrong.

I would swear that I read all the documentation that came with the batteries, but I missed that one. When I contacted their reply was a terse one stating that I had probably ruined my battery bank and since I'd had a local electrician order the main system for me they would be absolutely NO help with tech support.

I am currently finding help elsewhere so that I don't ruin the next 3 to 5 K worth of batteries.

DO NOT USE FOR ANY REASON, any previous recommendation I have made is hereby nullified. Even when I sent them the pdf file of the receipt for the purchased batteries they would not so much as send me a data sheet so I could figure out exactly what I'd done wrong.

They no longer answer my emails.


I am now working with a very nice man that I met through the Surrette/Rolls main web site. That company makes the best battery for the buck. Flooded lead acid and crazy rechargeable. I am currently educating myself to a large degree on proper battery maintenance and charging info. The new fella is from Pagosa Springs and seems to realize that this is a large investment and worth the effort in education to ensure repeat business. I'm actually paying him up front for knowledge so that he need not feel cheated if I go a different way.

At present we run the generator at night to bump up the batteries and they'll hold until we get a new set.

I was thinking we could use substation batteries that the fellas from that dept are gonna let me have but you can only discharge them 20% of total and I know we won't manage that low a usage level especially in the winter time.

By the way, thanks to Mike at Solar Bear Electric for his help with the generator. We'd be hurting pretty bad at the moment if he hadn't been there for us.

Back to your regular programing. :D

Friday, January 4, 2013