Thursday, October 29, 2009

Winter... here in the Northwest. Rain, cold. I probably won't be able to drive in to my garden until June. I went there yesterday and rototilled for about 1 1/2 hours. I had bought a used Troybilt Horse tiller and wanted to try it. It was able to till the corn rows, with frequent stops to clear the tines. The 8 Hp engine is very stong and does not die on uneven ground or tough going. I'm very happy with it. I got all but one corn row tilled under.

The soil is getting very wet though and this was the last of the tilling for this year. I'll clean up the tiller, change oil and store it away. I'll remove the starting battery and keep it in my closet until spring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Green Thing To Do

Last month we installed 24 solar photo-voltaic panels on the roof of our house. Each panel is rated at 210 watts, so we should be able to produce 5 kilowatts of power. Integrated over a typical sunny day, that would be about 6-7 kilowatt-hours of energy/day. Our house uses an average of 10 kilowatt-hours/day. It will be interesting to see how this actually works out. In fact, since it was connected to the grid and everything started working 2 days ago, we have been generating about 2.5 kilowatt-hours/day. These have been very cloudy days.

I am anxiously awaiting a nice sunny day to see how well the system will do but the forecast doesn't look good. We seem to definitely be into a winter weather pattern in the Maritime Northwest. But every month we do get a few cold bright days. On those days the system should, well, shine.

I figure that with all the incentives for installing solar power, the payback will be about 10 years -- at today's power rates.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Rains Started

It's October. The rains have started. I had intended to get all of the garden tilled before the rains started. I only got about 2/3 tilled. The %$#@* tiller I bought cheap last summer stops running about every 5 minutes. It wears me out just pulling the starter rope. Next year, I want a better tiller.

Yesterday, Greg's dad came and picked the rest of the corn. he got a wheelbarrow load -- I'd estimate 150 ears. The corn stalks are going down fast with the rain and wind. But he stuck with it and got a good load for Greg and Sara. They bought our old freezer and will fill about 1/4 of it with corn. Happy to help them.

We've only had about an inch of rain this month and I noticed as I was trying to till yesterday that the soil is still fairly dry down 2 inches. The rains haven't really raised the water table yet. Today promises harder rain and that may make it difficult to till or even drive in to the garden next week.