Prior to the garlic prep mentioned below, we had to clean and store the potato crop, to make room to work on the garlic.
This is a sample of one of the ten varieties we planted this past year, Yukon Gold, celebrating its 50th year now in Canada.
Basically this is just brushing the dirt off the spuds, checking for any bad ones (they get tossed) and stored in an open plastic bin and put into the cold room on a shelf. The 60 hills took a few hours to go through.
Archive for October, 2016
Time seems to be in shorter supply every trip round the sun. This year we seem to have fallen behind so much so that it may be another couple of evenings outside in the dark, cold, and wet, trying to get the fall planting done.
The last two days of cold we have been prepping inside the garage.
Garlic bulbils go into labelled large styrofoam cups, perforated on the bottom, filled with potting soil.
There are approximately 75 types/bags of garlic shown here.
The garlic planting cloves themselves need to be broken out of, or cracked, the garlic bulb. Some are easy, most are not. We use just our hands and fingers, no mechanical aid, in breaking them apart.
The chosen seed garlic were in labelled paper bags, stored in the cold room since harvest and drying in August. This was my first year at cracking the garlic. In the past we have done it out in the garden as we plant, with Kim doing the work. That may explain why our typical garlic clove planting sessions run 4-5 hours for about 500 cloves. Hopefully this year, with the advanced prep in the garage, it should go faster. I can’t recall which type this one shown above is, but they look like four large cloves, so my guess is probably Mennonite.
We have also inventoried the signage and prepared missing ones, cut the 1×2 sticks down to a standard length, and are almost ready to go!
Today (Friday 2016 Oct 28) will be an announcement from Elon Musk about the Tesla Powerwall. This is a very interesting concept of storing power in your home and trying to lower the total cost of power. In our area, we are billed with time-of-use, which ranges from offpeak @18 cents, midpeak @26 cents and onpeak @36cents per kwh.
One obvious use of the powerwall is to charge it up during the offpeak (it will hold up to 6.4kwh) and use that power during the onpeak and midpeak times. How much would it cost and how much would it save for an average 30kwh/day use?
tesla powerwall 1.0 $3500 US for 6.4KwH = $4700Can plus installation
Our 30day average use is
100%= 74%*18+15%*26+11%*36=21 cents kwh average
$0.21 * 30 kwh/day = $6.30/day
assume 100% offpeak = 21-18= 3 cents saving per khw * 30kwh/day minimum? = $1/day
The powerwall has 5000 charge cycles or 10 year warranty.
365*10=3650 days * $1 = $3650
This does not even cover the cost of the battery, much less installation.
What happens if we conserve more and try 24kwh/day = $0.75/day = $2740.
OK, how about if we start using more power? and try 40kwh/day = $1.20/day * 3650= $4380
This is almost the cost of the battery. so still no real savings.
The other issue is that is the 6.4kwh capacity of the battery enough to run all use during mid and onpeak?
At our 30kwh/day use, 74% is at offpeak, leaving 26% at mid or onpeak, which is 30kwh/day*.26=7.8kwh, or not enough capacity. So the cost saving numbers come out even worse. We would have to reduce our daily average down to 25kwh/day with the same percentage breakdown to achieve the 6.4kwh. And the powerwall capacity would also reduce over time with age.
What about adding in solar panels to help charge? Assume that the going price is $3/watt. Also assume only 5 hours/day production of power.
Add in one 100w solar panel for $300. 100W*5 hours/day = 0.5kw/day from default 30kwh/day = 29.5kwh/day or 1.7% saving for about $300 cost – and we come up even.
add in 1kw of panels for $3000 *5 hours/day = 5kwh/day from default 30kwh/day = 25kwh/day or 17% saving for about $3000 cost plus install
add in 2kw of panelsfor $6000 *5 hours/day = 10kwh/day from default 30kwh/day = 20kwh/day or 35% saving for about $6000 cost plus install.
So it seems that solar panels may be able to pay for themselves alone in 10 years, with no financial surplus to help cover the battery.
Things are not looking good for this system.
If you are on the grid now, there is no business case for this. If you have a lot of power outages, it would make a great backup system.
If the price of power doubles, so would our savings ($3650*2=7300) and that would pay for the cost of the battery plus installation (estimated $7000).
One can only hope the price of the powerwall drops, the Canadian Dollar rises, the price of solar panels drop and the price of power rises (only that last is a bad thing!).
Left is up, right is down, and the leaks seem to be in the same general areas as the condensation patches you can see on the left of the supports in the to panels at the top of the image.
We tried adding some rustoleum sealant along the edges and also noted that some of the screws were not completely seated, so those were tightened as well.
There is a bead of silicon between each of the 2′ panels, where they overlap. That is meant to stop water flow when the wind picks up the edge of the 2’x8′ poly sheet.
The stains on the wood supports are from the previous roof leaking… mostly. It is hard to tell what is an old leak stain and a new one after it dries.
Here is a closeup of that area
The Lennox & Addington Horticultural Society (aka the Napanee Garden Club) met last night (Wednesday 2016 October 19th).
There was a good turnout of 21 people for the second regular meeting since early summer.
The meeting started at 19:00 with the business of the night, agenda, minutes from September and announcements.
This was followed by a demonstration of splitting hostas (now is a good time to do that).
The meeting adjourned around 20:30 with a round of refreshments.
The Tardis Observatory is now up to 3 years old, and over that time the wooden 2×6 rails the 5″ wheels run on have degraded, warped, moved, and become rougher. It was time to lay down some donated L angle iron (steel actually).
The donated rails were 3″x3″x20′ and approx 3/8″ thick.
Step #2 was to push in the 20′ rail under the wheels and on the rails. Each rail had an end plate welded onto one end to act as a stop. They also had predrilled counter sunk holes to allow for screwing to the underlying wood.
This shows the new longer rail sticking out the end of the supports. At some point in time we will have to support that end as well. For now, the building rolls off to the north just another 12″ or so moreso than before, but not to the end of the excess 3′ of rails.
All in all, it was under 30 minutes of actual work, maybe an hour of planning. The building now rolls off much easier and even stops since we added in some wooden stops on the track. Just a two person job that went extremely well.
*after the fact*
It turns out that instead of putting in the rails in this orientation: |_ _| we had to put them in this orientation:
because of the underlying structure. Well, that has not worked out so well… now there is too much pathway for the wheels and the building does not roll off in a straight line like it should.
One possible solution is to put wood shims on the inside of the wheel and the rail, to keep it in line.
The Raspberry Pi called Weatherpi, has been out of action the last few days. Turned out there were some power issues and in some fashion the database was corrupted with a bad datetimestamp in the future and nothing would upload after that.
After a lot of troubleshooting, including wiping the weather pi and reinstalling the Jessie Raspbian distribution and weewx package, and power cycling the davis vantage vue weather station receiver, the system is finally up and running again.
The last action seems to have been the decisive one, deleting the database file at /var/lib/weewx/weewx.sdb
The exact steps were something like this:
weather station receiver remained up and running
sudo service weewx stop
sudo rm /var/lib/weewx/weewx.sdb
sudo service weewx start
presto! up and running, creating local data and web files, uploading to the weather underground as well.
The raspberry pi is now also connected to a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and hopefully will not have any more issues.
There were twitter reports this morning of a possible fireball last night around 22:30 EDT.
As always, media and other 3rd hand reports come with very little detail and timings are usually way off.
So we scanned through the 400 images last night from Allsky1 and the only anomaly found was at 22:37:27 and the immediate 80 seconds before that, as it is an 80 second exposure and the timestamp is at the end of the exposure.
The bright flash is at the bottom of the image, right over the letter “h”in the word “south”.
The Allsky2 Camera System did not detect the event, probably because of the tall trees to its south.
We can’t say that we have ever seen any terrestrial lightsource at that point, being so low to the horizon, it could be headlights on a chimney reflection for instance.
Will continue to gather reports and check the American Meteor Society website as well for more details. Looks like 390 reports to date:
Water levels remain extremely low in the area and the local Quinte Conservation area is still declaring us to be in a drought situation. We have had and are getting rain right now, but as seen in this image, the Yarker waterfall dam/weir structure is well above the water line.. and normally it is below water.
Fall has come. The frost-killed (-3.4 for 30 minutes and 6 hours below 0C on Sunday September 25, 2016) heirloom tomato plants got pulled out of Veg Bed #9 yesterday and we added another coarse of garden mini-ties (3.5″x5.5″x8′) and another 3 wheelbarrels of triple mix garden earth to the pile.
Two basil plants and a couple of geraniums? remain behind for now. As do a *lot* of immature tomatos that came off the plant when pulling out the stakes and the tomato cages. Hopefully the seeds of those are not viable (we saved seeds from ripe tomatos earlier), as there are a few hundred of various types that I did not clear out of the bed first 🙂
Just in case we decide to plant the garlic bulbil project in this bed, it needs to be ready. Having the bed a little taller also helps the soil depth (over a foot at the right end), and the don’t-have-to-bend-over-so-far in general.
Once we purchase a few more 6″ spikes, that top coarse can be nailed down and then we can add a little more earth as well, to bring it up almost to the top.
From past experiments, if we take it up to the top and hill it in the middle, we actually lose soil in rains as it runs out over the edge.