So far so good

The Bison hand pump is holding up pretty well to very cold weather and so is the underground overflow. The greenhouse definitely helps and has withstood fierce winds recently.


Bigger, Stronger, Faster

I bought another chainsaw and promptly went after a big tree.


My forearms burn as they did 5 years ago when I got the smaller saw and had no idea what I was doing. This saw is a serious upgrade and makes the job both easier and harder at the same time. It take much more strength to wield but much less work to go through the tree.

Robin climbed on top of the tree, in pieces.


The new saw has more metal components and is made in Germany. I’ll keep the small one for smaller jobs.


At the junction of I.T. & homesteading

I started acquiring multiple Raspberry Pi Zeros for the purpose of starting to figure out a consistent deployment scheme for the various automation related projects I envision for our homestead.

For now I’ve simply deployed 2 DS18b20 temperature sensors. One on the existing Pi in the Solar shed which serves this blog, and another on a Pi Zero in the house. Only sensing for now which complements the data I’m gathering from the solar array.

The Pi Zero consumes between 0.1 and 0.2 AmpsIMG_7476

Sample data being gatheredScreen Shot 2016-12-10 at 10.25.03 PM

Here are my current install notes for the Pi Zero.

To limit power consumption, add this to /etc/rc.local to turn off HDMI output

/usr/bin/tvservice -o

To be able to read from the temperature probe, add the following line to /boot/config.txt


Get the python-w1thermsensor package

sudo apt-get install python-w1thermsensor

Reboot & make sure devices are listed in /sys/bus/w1/devices

The python code necessary to read the probe is:

from w1thermsensor import W1ThermSensor
# assuming only 1 sensor
sensor = W1ThermSensor.get_available_sensors( [W1ThermSensor.THERM_SENSOR_DS18B20] )[0]
temperature = sensor.get_temperature()
if temperature is not None:
    print '%.1f' % (temperature)
    print "failed to get reading."