March 31, 2009 – Planting Willows

It’s time to cut back the willows in the willow nursery.

Here’s a curly willow before pruning.

Here’s what it looks like after it’s pruned or “coppiced.”

I use the prunings to start more willows.  I put 88 in the ground. They seem to grow by just sticking them into the ground – we experimented last year just sticking them in a low spot and they survived without weeding, or even mowing.  So, I will move the patch down the lowland.  If nothing else, the goats will love the browse.

one year ago…”Claire at Mock Trial”

March 29, 2009 – Beekeeper Martin

Martin and GJ brought their beekeeping show on the road this Sunday.  They brought some of the equipment to Martin’s Sunday School class and did a beekeeping demo.

Here the kids keep clear as they are not convinced that the beehive is truly free of bees while Martin and GJ have their suits on to open the hive.

one year ago…”Baby Goat”

March 21, 2009 – Starting Hoophouse

Today we started putting up a 10×21 hoophouse. I’m primarily following a design from the West Side Gardener.

The frames are made of 3/4 inch pvc pipes – light enough for a 7-year-old to shlep down to the building site.

Since the pvc pipe isn’t strong enough to pound into the soil as in the original instruction, I used a piece of metal conduit to make a “pilot hole” to guide the pvc pipe in.

After the pilot hole, in goes the pvc stakes.

Two ten-foot pieces connected with a 4-way connector make the ribs of the hoophouse.

All the hoops in place.

The ridge supports between the hoops in place.  Later, we’ll affix the plastic to the frame, and make the door.

one year ago…”Paying Attention to the Horse”

March 20, 2009 – Skyview Software

Here’s a screenshot of the the Skyview software that remotely monitors and logs the wind turbine.

This shows in the graphs, the watts produced along with the RPMs. The machine is humming along pretty good here, making 2432 watts at the time this screenshot was captured. Although this graph shows a top watt scale of 2600, it does go higher.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #110″

March 18, 2009 – Skystream Upgrade

Today we got our complimentary upgrade to our skystream turbine.  Among other things, this will change the approximate high shut-off speed from around 30 mph to around 50 mph.  I think this may increase our production 25-50%.  This month alone for example, we’ve had 3 days it was off.  Our record production for a day is 32, so we would have made at least 96 more and there is so much more power in the high wind speeds, that I think it would have been closer to 150 more, which is about 50% of the average monthly production.

Here the hatch of the turbine is open in a Frankenstein-type mode, and wires connected to install new software to allow the upgrade – this is just a s software upgrade, nothing mechanical.  We also have a new remote communications module installed that shows us real-time stats from the turbine.

one year ago…”We Knew This Day Would Come”