Back Saving Measures

Early in the pandemic, Nicole scored us 2 enormous loads of compost. They were so big we sold some super cheap, recouped our cost, gave some and spread them generously on the gardens for years. Last Summer, I could see that what was left of the once enormous pile would carry us only one more growing season. And so it was time to get more. We called and called, all prices had doubled to tripled. In the meantime, we have several horse properties around, and they have enormous manure piles they’re trying to get rid of. I’ve tried all sorts of schemes to get some back here, and the hard conclusion I came to was that to do anything significant enough to help us, I couldn’t do it by hand.

So I got a dump trailer, and boy let me tell you… it beats a shovel by a loooong way. I finally went after the manure pile of my next door neighbor. With a tractor and a dump trailer, you can move some serious volume. I worked at it several hours and barely made a dent in it. Clearly I didn’t appreciate just how much I wouldn’t be able to do it by hand.

We now have the means to create and manage big piles that will hopefully yield more than enough top notch compost for us and others. While the trailer is a big cost, like many things we get for the homestead, it should pay for itself within a few years.

Feeling the power with the push of a button

While I had the front loader on, I mixed into our home made compost pile some wood shavings from a planer, and a bucket of ash. This one’s just about ready.

Tools of Observation

I lost the solar monitoring for a few days. While I do have a backup for everything that gets us electricity, I don’t have a backup of the monitoring system. And I’ve gotten real used to watching these graphs. It’s very much second nature these days, much like keeping an eye on the weather to adjust your day.

On top of this, I have scripts that will turn on and off the inverter based on that monitoring data. It makes my life easier for automation to keep watch and make decisions. And so for a few days, I was flying blind. Well not entirely, I still had the one voltage indicator with busted segments.

And really it’s not too bad, I’m so much better today at knowing where things are and where’s they’re headed with just that information. But I still missed the automated decision making.

Anyway, this Phidget part is busted, and it took a few days to get another one from Canada.

I might have to get an extra for backup, but they’re pretty pricey. The previous one lasted 7 years, and died for no particular reason, having gathered 16,719,281 data points. It’s a bit of a shame, and my readings are a bit off now, I’ll likely have to recalibrate the sensors.