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 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 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”