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Ben's blog

  • IT rant

    I don’t know why it is that every time I want to download the simplest of modules I’m asked to download this great new package manager to end all package managers. Which results in this glorious 3 fold install sequence:Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 1.40.19 PM“Installing is easy, Composer will take care of all dependencies! Ooops it doesn’t but PECL will! Oops just kidding I guess we’re back to apt.”

    Not to mention all 3 package managers are independent from one another so changes in one don’t percolate to the others; thus throwing out the window their mission to resolve dependencies.

    I’m flabbergasted by this trend and its unquestioned acceptance.

  • First night in the house at -20°C

    I slept next to the stove to keep feeding it through the night; woke up 3 times, the sky was amazing. The house isn’t insulated optimally yet. I don’t like that we don’t have an alternative to the one stove for heating. It’s low tech and has a low chance of breaking down but I will be reassured when we have another one in the addition we’ll build.

    Looks like we’ll be able to spend Winters with 100% renewable fuel sourced within 2000′. Improvements will be quite welcome if we go through something like last Winter.

     

  • New Section: Maple Syrup

    We are getting ready for this coming season of Maple Sugaring. Nicole will be doing the bulk of the work. I’m in charge of getting the ducks in a row so we can hit the ground running when the sap starts flowing.

    To this effect, we purchased an evaporator and 40 buckets & spouts. This should give us 10 to 15 gallons of syrup but the season could be weird given the “winter” we’re in now.

    The model we have is a Mason Welding 2’x3′ Hobby Evaporator. It’s supposed to evaporate at ~8 gallons per hour.

    Not my picture, ours is currently wrapped up.

    270_Hobby_EvaporatorI need to brick it and get a chimney for it.

  • Egg Stash

    Some time in November I removed the fence around the chickens in preparation for the snow which damages it. Chickens never go far in the snow and they knew where home was so I felt ok letting them roam around. They enjoyed their liberty enormously and did very well coming back at dusk. Problem is they also started laying; not all picked the coop as their laying spot.

    IMG_2272So unfortunately for them, and in the absence of snow, the fence is back and much tighter so they correct this behavior.IMG_2303

  • Solar Upgrade

    The past few weeks have made it clear that out 2 solar panels weren’t enough at all for the Winter months. Short and overcast days weren’t enough to keep the battery charged with even very minimal use and we went dark a couple of days. I don’t have numbers yet but these 3 panels should do a lot better than the 2 I had. I also doubled the batteries’ amp-hours to have more buffer.FullSizeRender(1)FullSizeRender

  • Water

    Getting water ready for the week

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    A good shower involves a hatchet

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    How important the stove is to us now: heating, hot water, cooking & lip balm making

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  • Getting into Garlic

    210 cloves we planted earlier this month, here in their cozy beds.IMG_1781

  • A small ash

    I’ve been sick but trying to keep a good discipline of bringing wood in every week end. This small ash is perfect to get some fresh air and light exercise, not big and close to a path. I felled it right where I wanted it, I was worried it was going to hit that apple tree.

    IMG_1853

     

  • I pimped my ride

    I absolutely cannot wait to get some snow.IMG_1847

  • A solar powered blog

    This blog is now powered by a Raspberry Pi using 100% solar energy. Nicole instrumented the Phidgets sensors so we would gain some visibility into our electricity production & consumption. This has already given us some great insights. We can see the effect that each device we use has on the system: how much the LED lamps take to charge, the hole that the inverter blasts through the battery when turned on. We can tell that not all sunny days are created equal in their ability to give a charge. We can even tell the increase in electricity consumption that rsyncing a whole bunch of data to the Pi has: 0.03A.

    The sensors

    • solar panels volts (a good indicator of sunlight)
    • input amps (indicates when the charge controller uses produced electricity)
    • output amps / load (what we consume with various devices)
    • battery volts (whether this blog will make it through the night or not)

    For now I’m only graphing using the Gnuplot one-liner from Hell. More to come…

    Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.33.16 PM

    It blows my mind way too hard that I have a system in which sunlight comes in and organized information comes out. And by organized information I mean lolcats.serious-cat