Time keeps moving on and it has been a while since my last post. There is a variety of things to cover, so stay tuned.
First, I’ll give you a solar update.
Solar power during winter has its challenges. Optimally, it would be nice to have the batteries in a semi-heated/temperature stable location, but alas, we don’t have such a place so where they are is what we have. That being said, the solar system has been behaving very well. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been all that sunny. After that snow we had on my birthday, it warmed up a bit, rained enough to get rid of all of the snow and then it snowed again.
… and again… and again… In fact, there haven’t been too many days in December where it hasn’t snowed at least a few flakes. This means I need to get out and clean off the solar panels each time. I have a system where I don’t need to get on the roof, but it still has its own risks being up on a ladder. I fell from it once and I don’t recommend the experience. Nothing major was broken, fortunately.
The other thing I discovered is it is not sufficient to simply clean off the solar panels. The more you do that, the more the snow builds up at the bottom and then starts covering the bottom panel. Once that happens, your incoming voltage will drop so much that you can’t get enough power out of it to recharge the batteries. So I spent an extended amount of time cleaning off the roof below the panels yesterday.
If the panels are clear of the thick snow, any ice or minor coverage will quickly melt even on a cloudy day. Last Thursday (Dec 15th) was one of the first days where we had any sunshine at all, but it was bitterly cold. I think the windchill that night was down to -32C (-27F). Fortunately, we went back to getting snow and it wasn’t quite so chilly. Today, was a brilliantly awesome sunny day and we were able to get some good power out of it. If it is constantly cloudy, we can go three days or so from 100% battery down to 80% at which point I run the generator to top them up.
I’m sure you’re all wondering where the pictures are so here are some nice scenery shots of the snowy landscape that we now live in.
In that last picture, on the far right you can see a black barrel beside the smurf house. The snow cap on it is probably 40-50cm (16-20″). As I said above, it’s been snowing a lot. We’ve certainly enjoyed having our driveway ploughing done by someone else, that is for sure.
Kat also managed to sneak a picture of me as I was cleaning snow off the roof yesterday.
In case you’re wondering, I have a squeegee attached to the end of one of those telescoping poles you usually use for painting. It works great for the panels, but is less efficient at clearing the roof itself.
While I was outside taking pictures, our bird feeder has been quite the area of activity. Chickadees, bluejays, wood peckers and nuthatches all like to feast on what we have to offer. I managed to snag a picture at just the right time to get a shot of a nuthatch. They are pretty flighty and don’t stay for very long, even less so than a chickadee.
You can see this one on the side of the feeder on the right.
Next, we’ll move inside.
As you may know from previous posts, we have a new bed frame that is working very well. Soon after that was put in, I hooked up this.
That’s an LED light strip on a dimmer switch. It’s very snazzy and makes reading in bed very enjoyable.
Once that was in it was time to work on paneling the walls.
This is the area around the closet, before any paint was applied.
This is the first section on the opposite side of the closet, by the window, after the primer was applied.
Here you can see both sides after the primer.
Progressing along, all of the window side is now paneled. Some has been painted, some are waiting to be painted.
That last picture is a little out of date, as those unpainted panels now are.
Recently, we were back at my parents for our annual cookie day event. Friends of ours from the Ottawa area, Ian and his wife, Heather, who were attending said event, kindly donated a small set of cupboards to us that they no longer needed. As it turns out, the cupboards fit nicely over the counter where the sink will be going (yes, another project yet to be completed).
Unfortunately, this did mean some adjustments needed to be made to the spice rack we had made to go over the stove, but nothing that we couldn’t handle. But before we could install it, Kat wanted to paint the wall to match the rest of the area. So, she did.
Isn’t that a lovely blue? Anyway, I did need to make a few modifications to the cupboards before I could install them. We don’t have standard wood studs behind our walls, so you can’t just hang it any which way you like. Here is a picture of me on the floor praying to the cupboards.
It wasn’t a whole lot of work, and we now have a nice new storage location for more things. Actually, all of the spices ended up in the cupboards until I finish making the modifications to the previously mentioned spice rack.
This was right before it got really cold last week, so we haven’t done much since then. I still need to go outside into the truck shelter to do things like make cuts in the pieces of wood we want to use. If it’s -20C (-4F), I’m not really inclined to go out and do that.
Things are winding down now and we’re getting ready for the holidays. We won’t be doing any major traveling this year, just visiting our family and friends within easy driving distance.
Make your holidays great 🙂