Friday, March 25, 2011

Things are going well. My hands are feeling pretty good and I have finished up some more projects in the house. I bought a print and frame and I glued some soundproofing to the back of it to cut down on the noise from the circuit breaker box. I also treated all the wood that is exposed to the soil with the termite spray. I had to shut all the windows in the tractor barn because the squirrels were getting in through a tear in the screen. After I closed the first two, they torn up the screens in both in an attempt to get in. I am sure they were building a nest.
I took a hike yesterday and there is bloodroot out, coltsfoot, cress, speedwells, rue anemone, and toothwort. I have seen a lot of purple dead nettle outside the hollow. When it warms a little a lot more should be happening.
The greenhouse is doing nicely, and my first tray of peas are over five inches tall. The peas in the second tray are coming up, and I have about 30 blooms on the strawberries. The lettuce in one tray is up and I am hopeful about the second tray. The broccoli plants are doing fine.
Wimmer came and picked up the lawn tractor and the service fellow was able to grease the fitting by turning the connecting bar. I hadn’t tried that and he got plenty of grease in.
I have gotten a very positive response from the woman I e-mailed on Match and I hope to meet her soon. She sounds very nature oriented.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I played golf at the Meadows today and shot a 47 from the red tees. I made some very good putts.
I have finished up almost all the projects at home. The greenhouse leak is fixed, and I cleaned out the cattleguard. I set up the 250 gallon tank so if we have some rain I will start storing it. I cleaned out the asparagus patch near the orchard and then I started the lawn tractor to charge up the battery but after idling for a few minutes it died and wouldn’t start again. I called Wimmer and they are coming out tomorrow to pick it up and also look at the problematic grease fitting on the big tractor. I cleaned out a couple more bags of junk from the house and cabin so everything looks cleaner.
The chair of the SAMLA committee wrote back and wants to see a proposal so I will send that in in a few days. My chapbook should be out in a month and my article in Kaatskill Life will be out soon. I have not gotten a poem accepted from this mailing so that is a bit of a disappointment.
My hands are doing well, and I am now off the colchicine and down to 4 and ½ mgs of Prednisone. I still have a slight cough and though Rob thinks it is asthmatic, I wonder if it might be some of the meds.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The memorial for Liam was quite powerful and Kelly held up very well. I read my poem and got a good reaction from it, and I was able to chat with Paula Corson and Kelly’s dad Ray. He looked a little weak. Playing with Lucia was a lot of fun and I hope I can play with her again in June.
The teaching week was not too bad, and I have a lot of papers and poems to read and grade. My poety reading on Tuesday went well and there were about 20 people there. I have volunteered to host one of the admitted student days in April but that won’t be too hard.
Coltsfoot is up and almost at peak, and there is a cress and speedwells in the pasture. I sealed the rest of the vents in the foundation with the foam insulation and I put out more traps. I found a hole in one of the plastic screens on one of the vents, and I sealed that up also. I cut and installed the piece of 1 x 4 at the basement door and caulked it and painted it. No mice can get in there. So far my traps haven’t caught any mice so perhaps I have them all out. The solar panels are keeping the electricity up enough so I haven’t had to burn any gasoline all week. I hope I will be able to equalize the batteries when I get several days of full sun. The greenhouse is doing okay but I have had to replant the peas since many didn’t come up and I have yet to see any lettuce. This morning I planted 8 broccoli plants in one of the trays and I will see how that turns out. I planted another tray of peas and I put new soil in two of the trays and planted lettuce in both. I am not planting spinach because of the gout I have. I worked on the road and that is in reasonable shape but once things dry out completely I will have to move about thirty buckets of soil from the collapsed bank so that the top culvert will work again. The second and third culverts are much more important and they are fixed so there is no rush. I think the leak in the greenhouse will be pretty easy to fix since it looks like a plug has popped out. Replacing that may solve the whole problem. Nothing going on in the owl house yet. I cut back the butterfly bush and it is coming along well.
After grading a little this morning I decided to play golf even though I am supposed to perform this evening. The Meadows and Auburn hills were crowded so I drove out to Castle Rock and played nine. I made some nice shots and shot a 52. I will probably be a little shaky this evening when I perform at Gillies but Luke will be there so that hides me some.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today was very productive. I fixed the road some, shoveling and then dumping the rest of one load of crusher run on the middle water bar and one load of 357 in the big rut near the bottom. The scraper worked okay even though the ground was still pretty wet. The road is much better.
I then cut back the butterfly bush which was cutting out the sun for the greenhouse. It should grow back as a smaller bush and that will be perfect.
I replanted the peas filling in the missing spaces. I have about 15 plants up. I also reseeded the lettuce since none of it came up, perhaps too cold.
I have given up on equalizing the solar for now since I ran the generator at 13 amps for maybe ten hours after I got the batteries as full as I could (1240 in cell one, 1250 in cell two, and 1265 in cell three) and the batteries didn’t read any higher. I will try again next week when the sun is out and I can get more juice in. Even if I only get 7 or 8 years more out of them (as the guy at Rolls thought I should), I hope to be long gone by then.
The mice are definitely back in the basement and I am going to try to seal the spaces around the vents and I am going to put a piece of 1 by 4 at the bottom of the door even though it still looks pretty tight. I got some caulk and foam insulation and mouse traps and hand grenades. Let the second battle begin.
I figured out how much propane I have used since the last delivery on November 29. I have about 29 percent in the 500 gallon tank, and the 100 gallon tank is still full so I have used an average of 2.87 gallons a day. I have enough for another month and a half at least, so I have no concerns about running out for now.
I ran the lawn tractor to recharge the battery and it started after I gave it a spray of starter fluid.
I checked the owl house but I didn’t see anything going on.
I have all my work done for Monday, and yesterday I went to my office and cleaned up all my files so that is out of the way.
I will leave for the memorial tomorrow, and I think the poem is quite good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I spoke to Rolls and the batteries should last at least 6 or 7 years with how I am handling them, but Serge thought that there was a good chance that I had never really equalized them since the best I have ever done is to get them all above 1250. Serge said that I have to get the actual battery voltage above the equalizing voltage setting (now set at 64) before any equalizing will occur. He also said that I have to get all the cells up to 1265 or within 5 points of that before equalizing will start. I did some more charging today and it was interesting that when I started the actual battery voltage was 62.6 and by the time I finished, more than three hours later, the abv was 62.2, meaning the batteries lost some charge. It doesn’t make sense but when the sun comes out next week, I am going to do my best to equalize those damn batteries. Perhaps I am being severely punished for something I did in a past life.
My lunch with Gyorgyi yesterday was very pleasant, and then I went to play golf at Blue Hills and made a remarkable putt of over fifty feet to end with a 48 from the red tees. I actually started shouting I was so excited. After that I took a nap and went to Carraba’s for dinner and then a quick walk in the mall.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The solar saga continues. I called Outback on Friday morning and spoke to one Katie and she was helpful. She explained how to reset the mate (which involves disconnecting it and the flex-net, reconnecting the mate, charging the batteries to full, then reconnecting the flex-net). She told me that I could equalize the hell out of the batteries and that is what I started to do. In regular charging mode, the amperage coming in was between 2 and 3 which meant that it would take me months to charge the batteries. Even in equalizing mode, I could only get 13 amps coming in before the generator kicked out. I called Bryan and he said that the instructions that Katie gave me were for the solar controller only, not the generator. I had to call Bryan back a number of times and finally yesterday morning I got the batteries bubbling like I have never heard them, this time from equalizing them from yesterday’s bright sunlight. I actually got scared they were going to blow up, so I turned off the equalization (which was coming in at around 17) and the rate dropped to between 2 and 3. The first three cells are at 1240, 1250 and 1260 and I am going to try to do more tomorrow. I called Katie back and she said that I have to follow the equalizing instructions from the battery company (Rolls batteries) but they didn’t return my call. I have to admit, when I finally leave the hollow, I won’t miss the solar system at all. I have paid more than my dues to be environmentally sane.
After my battery duties, and practicing my sax, riding the bike and cleaning up the house a little, I headed off to play golf and shot quite well from the red tees (55 for ten holes). I wore the winter gloves and the wrist braces and swung pretty well. After that I stopped at my office to pick up some books and I headed for Wolf Creek but when I got to the flooded Walker I saw that there was no chance Wolf would be down so I headed up to the Cascades and stopped just outside the entrance. Though the water was fast it was rather clear and there were some decent pools. I fished a number of them with a wooly bugger and though I didn’t get a hit, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The wildflowers are certainly beginning, and coltsfoot is getting close to peak, and I saw the cress at the gate. I need to do a flower walk tomorrow to see if any hepatica is up and perhaps other things.
Kelly and Alfredo both liked the poem for Liam and I will be reading it on Sunday at the service. I spoke with her for a long time and though she has planned it well, I think it is going to be very emotional for all of us.
I am up to 100 mg of allopurinol (Rob thinks I may have to go up to 300 mg) and I think it is making my hands hurt a little more, which is to be expected. I don’t want to increase the prednisone past the 5 mg I am taking but if the pain gets much worse (it is 3 out of 10 right now) I may have to for a short time. It is great to be able to use my hands as much as I am, so a little more pain is a very cheap price.
Tuesday morning and my equalizing efforts continued. The batteries read slightly higher but I got some battery instructions online from Rolls and they hinted that the batteries might stay the same for a time. I did my practicing and bike riding and I am headed off to see Jeff and then have a late lunch with Gyorgyi.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The teaching week is over for me and now I don’t have to be back till the following Monday since it is spring break. It has been a good week for my hands and though they are hurting slightly more (1.5 out of 10), I have no complaints. I was able to help Cameron with the ladders on Tuesday and I have done a few things around the house which require use of my hands. I have been able to practice quite a bit and my hands haven’t been stiff in the morning.
I took a nice walk with Rob this evening, and we are planning a flower walk this weekend. I know that coltsfoot and cress and speedwell are out and more should be coming shortly. I plan to go fishing tomorrow (I would have played golf but I am performing tomorrow night), and do some work around the house.
I have a pretty good idea about the solar system now, but the solution I figured out, to charge the batteries by equalizing them, is not a great idea according to Bryan. The sun was charging them rapidly this morning (19 Amps) but as soon as the Outback read 95% the controller cut down the juice to around 6 amps, even though the batteries were actually nowhere near full (1215). So I am wasting all that solar and I need to figure out a way to bypass the Outback so the sun can keep sending in more energy. I will have to talk to Bryan again.
I have made major revisions to the Liam memorial poem and I think Kelly will be very moved. I hope to send her a copy by the end of the weekend.