Thursday, December 29, 2016

A nice week of visiting family

At this writing Daniel and Crys' Dad, Glen, have come and gone. Sis, Christie, and our niece, Autum, are here through the weekend. It's been pretty darned nice. We're just chilling this morning, kicking back and letting the morning move through. They'll go see Grandma today and I'll go to work, and we'll meet back up later this evening.

It's good.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Starting a new chapter of sorts.

It's Christmas Day.

We have family in town for the holiday. Crys' Dad and Brother, our Niece and sis. Some today, some tomorrow but all for the next week or so. It makes for a nice, slightly crowded, happy, visity holiday.

We've had snow twice in the last 4 days. Luckily, so far, the breaks in the weather have let folks drive in and arrive safely. Tomorrow I'll go up to pick up niece and sis in Denver. At 7 PM. The weather stations say it'll be clear and good for that trip. I sure hope so. It'll be nice to see them.

This morning I was up at 5 shoveling snow. It's kind of a lot of area to cover, but I do enjoy the process. First a path to the solar building, then the 24 solar panels, then the back, side and front decks (900 square feet) then the path to the creek, the path along the creek and the sitting area by the fire ring. After that I shovel out the chicken yard and a path to it. I follow that with a nice hot cuppa joe.

Sometimes it's one of us that shovels, sometimes it's another. Today it was me. Crys made a great coffee cake for breakfast with her dad and brother. Auntie and Unk got ahold of us to wish us a happy Christmas. We adore them. Don't get better family than that. Crys' mom called and that was nice too. Now Dad has taken off to Colorado Springs for a couple days and Daniel and we are chilling and listening to Christmas music. I'm on call for work, but what else is new? :D

The new chapter in the title refers to a risk and expense we've decided to pursue. Today I signed up for the associate level solar installer certification program offered by Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado. It is two online classes and a certification test. Following that I'll pursue one of 3 full level certifications. Battery based solar, grid tied solar or developing world solar. I'm leaning toward the developing world battery based solar certification, that would let us travel in retirement and be of use to people. Updates as conditions warrant. If nothing else, I'll understand our own solar better and be able to make it work at top capacity.

BTW, the solar mom and dad help Crys and I put up last July was cranking out over 70 amps to the battery bank this morning. That's pretty much ideal.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's looking like a white Christmas around here.

We're up this morning checking the intertubes for the lastest.

It's snowing. It snowed a couple days ago, and it's snowing again. Then it's supposed to be clear for 3 days or so before it snows again. That's good, we have family coming in for the holiday, with one set showing up tomorrow (Friday) and me or Crys driving to Denver on Monday for the other set. Sometimes the driving in the snow can be a bit nervy.

I've been out and swept off the solar once already today and it's building back up. Looks like it'll be a most of the day chore. This will be a good test for the new panel system. We'll see how we end up today. The wood stove is going, since there'll be no passive solar heating today, and we have to work out at some point before I leave for work around noon. Maybe today I'll leave closer to 1. :D I do get a bit of flexibility.

OK, enough of the sitting around. I think I'll go sweep.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Inching toward the holiday

We're much looking forward to having our family out for the Christmas holiday. Crys' dad and brother along with our niece and her mom will be out right around the 26th and for a bit after. It's interesting trying to coordinate everything so that all get a chance to visit and also so we don't end up feeling overwhelmed. We kinda like our solitude, a dose of holiday overage is probably just what the doctor ordered.

We've been getting ready by inches and degrees. The weather is still oddly warm but that should be changing some time today. Yesterday we decorated the tree out in the yard, star and all. It's a Juniper tree, and they don't really have a place to put up a star. Yesterday morning found us crouched on the living room floor with an old aluminum broom handle (8' long) and a pile of coat hangers. We built an armature of the coat hangers, then taped it to the broom handle and then put lights on our new star. The broom handle got taped to the juniper tree along with an extension cord, then we plugged in the LED lights and wrapped the tree. We're pleased with it and it adds a neat holiday flair up here where everyone is off grid.

Time to get back to wrapping presents and decorating the pine tree I cut off the powerline right of way earlier this week. Sure, it's a bit Charlie Brown, but we likes it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

boiling boiler

The boiler repair job went well. Just had a couple little things to jury rig and it all went back together just fine. Kinda cool, now we can leave the house without worrying that the whole thing will freeze solid. That was pretty much the big thing for the day.

Today I put the new tire on the car and put all its flotsam back together, then I put the spare on the truck, I have to go put a new tire on that rim tomorrow. I got the floor jacks put in the car and truck, as I have an intense dislike of scissor jacks. The one on the truck had just worn out, I'll have to keep my eye out for a larger one on sale for the pickup. Then we brought in all the Christmas stuff and I wrapped up the few presents I've got here for Crystal.

Crys worked on boxes and business stuff for part of the day, we cleaned up the house a bit and now we're taking our Ancestry DNA tests to send in which will be followed by a bath.

It's a big day around here.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The google machine triumphs again!

We have a backup hot water baseboard boiler system for heat in the house. Part of that system includes a pressure limiter and backflow prevention device. The backflow device is prone to leaking over time and ours did just that. This is problematic in that the leaking requires more water into the system which, in turn, leads to the pump running which draws the batteries down which makes the generator run.

So I had to find a new part. I ordered one, but the specific set up on it was just different enough that I'd have had to sweat pipe in a close location. Not really my favorite thing, setting the house on fire. :D

It took me almost a year of hunting to find the exact same brand name and configuration for the part. And now I have it. This morning I'll put it on and the world will rejoice.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Warm inside, cold outside.

Figured it'd be better and make more sense for the post below if someone could actually see the snow :D

Last weekend of the vacation

We got a little snow over the last few days. It's nice to finally have our friend, Winter, settle in to stay for a few months. We managed to get all cleaned up outside before everything got covered with its seasonal blanket of white. A giant pile of split wood is dry and stacked under cover of the shed. Our new pile of solar panels and inverters are giving us enough power to stay entertained and working away, even when it's cloudy. The little kitty we re-homed ran off as soon as we let him out. After a couple weeks he has decided to let us know he's still out there. He's sitting outside windows and chatting with our 2 indoor kitties, I think they're making friends. And he left a perfectly outlined, my melt, kitty foot print on the welcome mat at the back door.

I haven't gotten the usual amount of things done on this vacation. I don't really mind. We did get the corners of the house cleaned up, had a great holiday meal with friends, put new glass in 2 of the entry doors, and finally got to have a home-vacation. We've cooked and cleaned and walked and chilled in front of the TV.

Pretty sure I like that.

So we have today and tomorrow to get our last chilling out done before I go back to work and probably work every single day till the Christmas holiday. Perhaps I'll make the money to get that storage container I want and clean out the shed. :D