20090430

Tired of Irrigation Photos?


Tired of Irrigation Photos?
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We are too. No more irrigation for a while. We now can water the entire property in less than ten minutes and three valve turns. There is still some manual watering, but it is really minimal.

Sesame Has a lot of Friends


Sesame Has a lot of Friends
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

This morning Sesame had visit from Sgt. Pepper. He is a new puppy to our neighborhood and she really enjoys playing with him. Sgt. Pepper is totally out of control, but a lot of fun. She then went over to play with another shy heeler mix who goes by Deena. She is a busy a lady.

Sesame Has a lot of Friends #2

20090429

Tempting Box Spring


Tempting Box Spring
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I'm not sure how this lasted for several days by one of the high traffic dumpsters, but it sure is good looking. We decided to take home this raw box spring mattress after watching dozens of people consider hauling it off. Looks like it will be great for vines to climb.

Irrigation Day 2


Irrigation Day 2
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our second day of irrigation was focused on rebuilding the east facing bed area. We had some stuff in place, but the holes were so plentiful and so large that we had to redo them. We also added plumbing for the new raised bed and potato beds behind our place.

Irrigation Day 2 (#2) Irrigation Day 2 (#3) Irrigation Day 2 (#4)

Nice Rebar Scrap


Nice Rebar Scrap
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I received a call from a friend in town that they had some rebar that was going to be placed by a dumpster. Since we like working with rebar so much I stopped by to check it out. These appear to be old security window thingies that were used for garden climbers for a bit. We will probably leave them as is for the garden.

20090427

Irrigation Extension


Irrigation Extension
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our new garden beds have been hand watered for the last few weeks. This is a daunting task taking nearly 40 minutes for one person to do almost daily. We spent the better part of the afternoon extending our 3/4" PVC irrigation system to four more raised beds. It looks like tomorrow will be more of the same as there are several other areas I'd like to avoid watering by hand.

Irrigation Extension #2 Irrigation Extension #3

More Glass


More Glass
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

This is our last round of glass. The city of TorC will no longer be collecting glass. We now have six large dumpsters which are mostly full. It doesn't look like we are going to be using all this glass soon though. Many projects in place ahead of it.

More Batteries to Fix


More Batteries to Fix
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I picked up another six Trojan T-105's from a local junk shop along with another 15 gallon keg today. I've had good results with the first pair of batteries that I tried desulfating for the last few days. I was able to get them to hold a charge of 6.05V overnight with a load. These will take a few weeks to repair. The keg was only $3 so I've been thinking about projects to do with it.

Dead


Dead
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our black Scardy cat caught his first mouse today. We are so proud of him. He has been training for this event for years and he finally found a mouse and left it for us as a gift in our laundry room. Good work Scardy..

20090426

Planting Bamboo


Planting Bamboo
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy busted out the tiller this lovely Sunday afternoon. She wanted
to plant a bunch of green solid core bamboo that we were gifted
earlier this week. It is amazing how a task like this doesn't sound
like a big deal, but took the better part of the day.

EV Battery Swap


EV Battery Swap
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I needed to make a quick trip to the auto store today to pickup some 18ga hookup wire in various colors. I took our NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) which had not been charged in several days. When I turned the vehicle on it showed a charge of 85% when I returned home from a 2 mile trip it showed a charge of 23%. Hmm, sounds like a tired battery. I checked each battery and sure enough one of the six 12V's had dropped down to 10.5V. I pulled the battery and put it on the desulfator. Knowing that it is a Interstate it probably has a single cell failure which is common with their deep cycles. It will be my third which has done this if that turns out to be the case. I swapped it for a freshly desulfated napa deep cycle. We shall see what kind of distance/charge levels I get out of it. Just putting in the NAPA battery brought my charge up to 80%.

EV Battery Swap #2

Yahshua


Yahshua
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I had a custom request for six LED grow lights shaped in the star of David. This is so they can be laid out in a larger star of David formation. I call the project "Yahshua". The lights are spendy costing me $200 each in parts. Still have some wiring to do. I've removed all the resistors and using a fine tie wire to hold the LEDs onto the slotted flat bar frame. At least it is strong.

Yahshua #2 Yahshua #3 Yahshua #4

20090425

Our Cooling System


Our Cooling System
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

The daily high temperatures in our town are now regularly breaking 80F. At the moment it is 82F and we already hit 87F earlier this week. We can usually avoid the use of a swamp cooler or air conditioning with these temperatures as it is really not that hot. However, the winds cause us to have to close our south-west oriented windows which tends to make our home stuffy. What we have been doing to stay cool with temperatures between 80F-105F is pretty simple. Maybe this will be of use to others.

1. Use reflectix (reflective bubble insulation) in South and West facing windows.
2. Leave small east facing windows open (bathroom windows) for some fresh air.
3. Use two small 36W Vornado fans to move air through house.
4. Set swamp cooler thermostat to 80F. This causes the swamp cooler to rarely kick on.
5. Open all windows from 10pm-10am

Our Cooling System #2 Our Cooling System #3 Our Cooling System #5 Our Cooling System #6 Our Cooling System #7

Batteries & Beer


Batteries & Beer
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

One of my favorite scrap shacks in town is owned by a man who goes by the name of "Poor Paul". He collects copper, aluminum, and batteries. I found a pretty big score of high end deep cycle batteries with him so I am in the process of desulfating some. He also has a few beer/soda kegs which he sold me one for $5. It still holds pressure. I'm thinking we might use this keg for fermentation or chop it up to make another compost container. I see these going on ebay for $50-$83 plus shipping.

Trash Fence


Trash Fence
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our best scrapper buddy Jason dropped by today. He had quite a bit of R-panel. This material is commonly used in New Mexico for roofing and fences. It is a extremely thin metal that has a baked on enamel finish and lasts a long time even with our ridiculous UV levels. Oddly enough I had just taken a photo of the pricing of different corrugated and R-panel metals at home depot. The $10 I paid to Jason for four full sheets is a way better deal with Home Depots $32 per sheet pricing.

Trash Fence #2

Sky Fuel & Tesla


Sky Fuel & Tesla
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I made a little road trip up to Albuquerque this week. I need to pickup some PV solar gear for a install that I'm helping a neighbor with. Also there was a Sky Fuel open house which I was invited to checkout. Those of you not already familiar with Sky Fuel they are one of about a dozen solar companies that recently opened their doors for business in the Albuquerque area. Advent, Emcore, Schott are some others just to name a few. Along with meeting some of the Sky Fuel technical team I had the pleasure of seeing my first Tesla roadster pull out of the parking lot. The vehicle looked great, but I can't get over how the battery packs work. Those lithium 18650 cells need to be held at a 40% charge in 40 degree weather to last for several years. Anyway, Tesla Motors was supposed to manufacture their vehicles in Albuquerque, but they backed out in June 2008.

Our First Strawberry of the Season


Our First Strawberry of the Season
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We planted a lot of strawberries this year. Only a handful look like
they are doing well. In our south facing onion bed this little plant
has produced our first strawberry.

20090422

A View from a Dome


A View from a Dome
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I managed to get two sheets of lath and another 18x10 squares of remesh tied down to the roof of our dome. While up there I decided to get some photos of what I was seeing around me.

A View from a Dome #2 A View from a Dome #3 A View from a Dome #4

Shallot Update


Shallot Update
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our shallots are huge now. Wendy pulled one today and we had a bit of it for breakfast. We actually have been eating a lot of winter garden stuff each day. Broccoli, green onion, and shallots went into this breakfast. Probably some other stuff I forgot too.

Shallot Update #2

Sesame Gets Another Bath


Sesame Gets Another Bath
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

This bath worked out a lot better for sesame. We had run out of soap
on the last one and the dog was trying to pull away from us. We
managed to get her a lot more comfortable this time so we could do
multiple wash/rinse cycles. Sesame was so excited that she did a
little victory run around the yard when the bath was over. The dog
then went onto the park for her evening walk and could not stop
running in circles of joy and rolling on her back. I guess the years
of filth being removed really helped Her coat isn't even the same
color anymore.

Seed Swap Aftermath


Seed Swap Aftermath
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy is really excited about the seeds she acquired from Mondays seed swap. I'm looking forward to the tomato that tastes like a pineapple. There was one tomato hybrid that was described as looking like a snowball, survives frosts, and is a perennial. As usual we need more raised bed.

Seed Swap Aftermath #2

Swapping: clothing, seeds, herbs - Abundance!

Wowsa! What a weekend of swapping. Friday, Saturday and Sunday I volunteered as a videographer for the first Michael Moore conference held here in Truth or Consequences. During the event tons of herbs were offered for free by a local woman who is no longer working as an herbalist. I gathered things such as lemon balm, catnip and many other herbs. Sunday I attended a friend's clothing swap where I restocked my wardrobe for the year (and got rid of tons of stuff too large, small or strange). And then on Monday I attended a food/seed event with speakers such as Gabriel Howearth in which some of our regions' best organic growers and seed savers offered a huge bounty of free seeds of some exotic veggies such as a pineapple tomotillo/tomato and a cherokee purpose tomato. Wahooo!!!! The world I've envisioned has finally arrived and just as I thought, "it's abundant."

20090421

Battery Swaps


Battery Swaps
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

My battery pyramid scheme is still running strong. I picked up four more batteries and did a little cleanup. I really like these big 4D batteries on the left. They cost between $125-$200 new and have been really easy for me to desulfate.

Battery Swaps #2

Sesame Gets a Bag


Sesame Gets a Bag
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We watched three DVDs of the "Dog Whisperer" so far. Cesar Milan is all about giving dogs work to do. We thought we could get a bag for Sesame so she could help carry some stuff around the property or on walks. She kind of freaked out. The bag scares her. She thinks that something is on her and occasionally she throws a fit and chases her tail. Even the ill behaved dogs in Cesars video didn't have any sort of issue with the doggie bag.

Wendy Wants Rocks


Wendy Wants Rocks
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Yes, my princess loves hard labor. Sometimes I feel that I am on a chain gang with all of her bizarre requests. Can you dig up this tree? How about we move these 3 dozen buckets of sand? Ready to go pickup some rocks? These are being taken from the river and placed around various trees and garden areas.

20090419

DDU: Upper Remesh


DDU: Upper Remesh
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I started my work on top of the dome. It was a little scary at first, but I've found ways to feel comfortable up there. I am slowly adding remesh on the outer skin of the dome. The lath needs to go on at pretty much the same time or I lose access to the upper region.

DDU: Upper Remesh #2

20090418

Root Beer (Again)


Root Beer (Again)
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Just wanted to make a note of what I did on this round of root beer. My first pass came out with no bubbles. I assume this to be caused by my use of a airlock (root beer should be capped) and inappropriate temperatures for the yeast.

Ingredients:
- Nearly a gallon of warm 90deg filtered water
- 1/4 tsp red star wine yeast
- 1 tbl root beer extract
- 2 cups sugar

Process:
- Warm ~1 gallon of water in jug in sun
- Heat a cup coffee mug of water to 98F
- Add yeast to coffee mug
- Wait five minutes
- Add sugar to big jug
- Add root beer extract to big jug
- Add coffee mug of warm yeast to big jug

Wait:
- Store at room temperature for 3 days
- Store chilled for up to two weeks

Root Beer (Again) #2