albear_garni: me mirror (pic#811132)
As promised, here is a link to photos of our garden in Willits, including a few pics of the snow at the end.  When we woke up, all we could tell from our bedroom window was that there was snow everywhere, and it was still coming down.  later in the morning it changed to rain, then hail, then snow again.  This cycle was repeated, until finally, in the late afternoon it was only rain.  It stopped by the time we left the ranch.


albear_garni: me mirror (pic#811132)
[info]snousle  has seen this in person, and I've been waiting to make some corrections before showing it off, but here goes, anyway! 

I've been working on a lego model of our house up in Menodocino for awhile, and although it looks finished, I still need to redo it a bit.  Using the lego software program would probably help, too!  The easy part was putting it together; the hard part was populating it.  Thanks to a gift in the mail from some friends, I now have enough facial-haired lego people to do the house justice. 

Judge for yourself...

BTW, I'm trying this post from my dreamwidth account, as a test...


The Gate

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:42 pm
albear_garni: (Default)

The last of our grandes projets involves the erection of a deer fence to defend our newly landscaped spaces from said deer. David wanted it to be not visible from the house, so it has wound up being a rather long fence, to say the least. The fence has four gates, three of which are standard issue farm type gates, but the fourth is the main gate onto our property, and required something a little special. It is going to be slightly Japanese in style, although made out of steel tubes. The guy (John) who is constructing and fabricating it for us has turned out to be reliable and thoughtful, two traits that are valued highly around here. He came up with the design for the gate, and we went over to look at it in his shop on Sunday.


Gate Sketch - the arch will actually be made up of two different arcs with different radii.


The gate - way bigger than I thought!


John and the gate

As the deer fence is 7’ high, the gate is also quite tall, and spans 14 feet (with two swinging segments) to allow for trucks to get in and out.   It gets hung temporarily this week too get the hinges set, then it's off to the shop to be powder-coated.  The arch is due to be set over Thanksgiving weekend - woo-hoo!

I think the money flow has finally trickled down to almost nothing....

The Gate

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:42 pm
albear_garni: (Default)

The last of our grandes projets involves the erection of a deer fence to defend our newly landscaped spaces from said deer. David wanted it to be not visible from the house, so it has wound up being a rather long fence, to say the least. The fence has four gates, three of which are standard issue farm type gates, but the fourth is the main gate onto our property, and required something a little special. It is going to be slightly Japanese in style, although made out of steel tubes. The guy (John) who is constructing and fabricating it for us has turned out to be reliable and thoughtful, two traits that are valued highly around here. He came up with the design for the gate, and we went over to look at it in his shop on Sunday.


Gate Sketch - the arch will actually be made up of two different arcs with different radii.


The gate - way bigger than I thought!


John and the gate

As the deer fence is 7’ high, the gate is also quite tall, and spans 14 feet (with two swinging segments) to allow for trucks to get in and out.   It gets hung temporarily this week too get the hinges set, then it's off to the shop to be powder-coated.  The arch is due to be set over Thanksgiving weekend - woo-hoo!

I think the money flow has finally trickled down to almost nothing....

Panellets

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:33 pm
albear_garni: (Default)
A week ago [info]ursine1 posted about these traditional Catalan All Saints' Day sweets called Panellets.  They looked yummy, so I asked him about the recipe.  [info]gorkabear  responded with one for the version made with sweet potatoes, or boniatos.  I tried my hand at making them this week up in Willits. 

Here is how they came out.

 

Needless to say, they were delicious! Made with sweet potatoes (I used not too sweet yellow fleshed ones), ground almonds, and sugar, after being baked they wind up with a chewy consistency somewhat like marzipan. Although there are a couple of variations for finishing them, I coated mine with pine nuts before baking. Like [info]gorkabear , I would probably make them a bit smaller the next time.

Panellets

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:33 pm
albear_garni: (Default)
A week ago [info]ursine1 posted about these traditional Catalan All Saints' Day sweets called Panellets.  They looked yummy, so I asked him about the recipe.  [info]gorkabear  responded with one for the version made with sweet potatoes, or boniatos.  I tried my hand at making them this week up in Willits. 

Here is how they came out.

 

Needless to say, they were delicious! Made with sweet potatoes (I used not too sweet yellow fleshed ones), ground almonds, and sugar, after being baked they wind up with a chewy consistency somewhat like marzipan. Although there are a couple of variations for finishing them, I coated mine with pine nuts before baking. Like [info]gorkabear , I would probably make them a bit smaller the next time.

albear_garni: (Default)
As we have learned, living off the grid has its challenges.  We are now on the third iteration of our solar system, and are hoping that this is our last (except of course, for adding more solar panels).  We spent last Sunday with our solar engineer, Doug, installing the new battery bank.  The batteries (48 volt service) are made by a company called Hawker, and with four banks installed, should provide 3-4 days of power storage.  It took a quite a while to get the batteries moved, as each of the battery banks weighs over 600 pounds.  As a comparison, the batterie they were replacing weigh 150 pounds each.  Our engineer rented a hoist to get them off the trailer and to lower them into place, and I came up with the idea to use teflon furniture glides to then slide them into position.

We drove back to Berkeley that night exhausted, but happy, and celebrated with dinner at the truck stop in Ukiah (not as interesting as it sounds, unfortunately).

We stayed in town this weekend, for Halloween.  Maybe more on that later.


Our engineer on his trailer with the all important hoist and the batteries.

Below is a series of photos showing how the system has changed over the years.


This is the original 12 volt system that was in the house when we purchased it.  We couldn't run anything over 600 watts at one time; finding a toaster that met this qualification was a bitch.  The propane fuel back-up generator ran a lot.


The second system, with a Trace sign wave inverter, Outback Charge controller, and larger batteries.  Still 12 volts, it gave us more storage, and enough power to run the washer and dryer without running the back-up generator.  The white box is an on-demand Buderus Hot Water Heater, for the radiant heat system and general hot water.



The lates and greatest system, with an Outback inverter and Outback charge controller.  A lot fewer things on the wall, but over 2,000 pounds of batteries still boggles my mind.
albear_garni: (Default)
As we have learned, living off the grid has its challenges.  We are now on the third iteration of our solar system, and are hoping that this is our last (except of course, for adding more solar panels).  We spent last Sunday with our solar engineer, Doug, installing the new battery bank.  The batteries (48 volt service) are made by a company called Hawker, and with four banks installed, should provide 3-4 days of power storage.  It took a quite a while to get the batteries moved, as each of the battery banks weighs over 600 pounds.  As a comparison, the batterie they were replacing weigh 150 pounds each.  Our engineer rented a hoist to get them off the trailer and to lower them into place, and I came up with the idea to use teflon furniture glides to then slide them into position.

We drove back to Berkeley that night exhausted, but happy, and celebrated with dinner at the truck stop in Ukiah (not as interesting as it sounds, unfortunately).

We stayed in town this weekend, for Halloween.  Maybe more on that later.


Our engineer on his trailer with the all important hoist and the batteries.

Below is a series of photos showing how the system has changed over the years.


This is the original 12 volt system that was in the house when we purchased it.  We couldn't run anything over 600 watts at one time; finding a toaster that met this qualification was a bitch.  The propane fuel back-up generator ran a lot.


The second system, with a Trace sign wave inverter, Outback Charge controller, and larger batteries.  Still 12 volts, it gave us more storage, and enough power to run the washer and dryer without running the back-up generator.  The white box is an on-demand Buderus Hot Water Heater, for the radiant heat system and general hot water.



The lates and greatest system, with an Outback inverter and Outback charge controller.  A lot fewer things on the wall, but over 2,000 pounds of batteries still boggles my mind.

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