Every end of year, we put together a year end review letter and send out to friends and family. More and more over the years it is trending to pictures with a short description rather than the long written entries of the past.
Sometimes though, that leaves out details that one might like to remember… so.. we’ll try this here, and give a little more descriptive dialogue.

In the gardens, 2016 was an exceptional year. We removed the old Palruf PVC 2’x8′ transparent roofing panels on the greenhouse, which in hindsite were not the appropriate panels to use, and replaced them with the top of the line Suntuf panels at about twice the cost of the Palruf design. The older roofing was 10 years old and had become very brittle and discoloured, as it was not designed to be used on an enclosed space 🙂
We also managed to screw up the screwdowns… That was all fixed in the new roof… as well as more sealing of the edges to minimalize the water leaks.

The second big item was the replacement of the deer fence around the two large gardens with more chainlink fencing. The deer did get in past the Lee Valley 7′ nylon mesh deerfence, as did the rabbits and other critters. Since the new 5′ chainlink went in, no deer and no rabbits have been spotted. The veg should survive much better than in the past… what with the eating and trampling caused by the critters.

2016 was also a drought year, with the lowest rainfall since we moved in.
May 2016 22mm
June 2016 85mm
July 2016 19mm
August 2016 100mm, starting in mid month.

We used well water to fill four rain barrels, let it warm up and then trickle into some of the beds with soaker house. That did not work so well as soaker hose is designed for 30psi.. and we did not want to do that with cold well water. So the story for 2016 is that we decided to move to a tape irrigation system for 2017.. and we are researching that right now.

In astronomy, 2016 was a lower than average year, in terms of number of available nights for observing and imaging, and the quality of the skies when they were clear. We built two wooden piers 14 years ago. One of them rotted through 3 years back, and the other is not far behind. It is difficult to digital image when the entire telescope moves… a lot. So design work has started on a new observatory with a new concrete pier, along with a new location farther away from the towering trees that have grown up in the last 15 years. Kim is looking forward to expanding her daily visual observing to include hydrogen alpha viewing… we are searching for a new mount to handle two telescopes at a time.

In the electrical year, we continue to try and conserve more and more electrical power use, as the rates continue to be high. A recent report showed that the Time-Of-Use metering has proved ineffectual in the province. People have not load shifted any more because of it, but are experiencing high bills.
Electrical Heating is pretty much as low as it can get, so we look elsewhere for more savings. That has results in the replacement of a data logging computer system with a ultra low power raspberry pi computer system, changing the 24hr/day, 365day/year power use from about 100watts down to about 4 watts. We hope to continue this program with more replacements in 2017.

We have also replaced a major appliance, a 15 year old fridge. Anecdotally, the new one is supposed to use a lot less power, is in fact quieter, but does seem to run more than the old one. If the overall cooling rate is lower then that would make sense, as long as the total power used comes down in the end.