Sunday, May 2, 2021

Early May 2021

Our weather has been cooler after our few days of almost record setting warmth, I wish that I could say wetter as well but that is not how things have gone.  We're dry and need some rain....our fire/wind warnings continue to come and go.  Almost no riding, even when conditions were on the warm side.  It's coming though, soon...the riding.

Garden and yard work continues, a paced race to warmer weather when the plants started indoors can finally be out where they belong and hopefully thrive; we're certainly attempting to provide them with conditions they favor.

I kinda lost count but I think this was load #10, a good yard to yard and a half each load.

We waited..and we waited...and we waited some more.  Delivery promised, then promised again but then finally after 2 weeks of being told that UPS had it on their truck did the pallet actually arrive.  Just like the new mower, delivered with an 18 wheeler at the top of the driveway and like the mower, I had to bust up and remove the crate.  The mower was driven home, the coop had to unpacked and then stacked in the trailer.  Those folks are obviously Tetris masters!

Where it still lies on the edge of the lawn.  Chickens aren't due until June, the site for Coop's Coop not yet prepared.

This Aprilia Scarabeo came home last Saturday, its former home once shared garage space with my Yamaha Morphous.  Rick and Judy were scooter riders from way back and owned numerous models, two of which I now enjoy.  That afternoon once off the trailer, a big round trip out to the mailbox and back.  Not until late Wednesday did I suit up and actually take the bike for a ride, that length of time from Home > First Ride Somewhere a new record...there's been that much going on around the home front.

Out and about, a quick late afternoon ride for Soup and a Sandwich in Red Wing Wednesday afternoon. 

By Saturday a real ride, complete with Zumo XT this time.  I'm obviously still in training mode since I had to reach out to my fellow users for a very rudimentary question mid-trip.  Both of them answered quickly and without a waver.

Plenty good enough on the gravel....

County XX....

The blue line (160 miles) my Saturday route on the Scarabeo...the yellow route was a Himalayan loop in the evening for dinner in Red Wing.


Bright and early Sunday morning, a breakfast ride.  Not a long ride but a good ride.

More progress in the garden.....

Corn, blueberries, raspberries, peas (peas are up), beans and I don't know what all else...Peg's been busy!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Earthworks II - 2021/04/20

Still busy in the new garden, progress continues.  Soon, as weather permits (29 degrees last night) we'll get more plants transplanted.  The chives were moved, 3 varieties and Peg put the peas in over the weekend.  We'll finish the woodchips in the aisles and then get started on the Big Fence.

 The video....

Happy 95th birthday dad, this video will be in Heaven's Video Store, there whenever you have time.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Bit Of Spring Riding

 Over the weekend, mixed in with a lot of gardening and yard work (more of that soon) in the mornings and evening, I did manage to squeeze in a few afternoon rides, just over 200 miles over the 3 days, using 3 bikes.  The poor neglected TW200 had the most miles in an attempt to catch up to its imagined quota.  It didn't run many miles in '19 and NO miles in '20.  A new battery, finally and the reason it wasn't running previously and then, finally a new carb from the Far East.  I gave up trying to fix the old one, couldn't find parts and couldn't stop the leaking.  I was told the new carb was almost plug and play and it was save for a bit of cable re-routing.  2nd kick, it started and hasn't been touched since then, better 'an new.

These tires need attention, way too rolly polly on the gravel, even for me.


My first time at the Town & Country in Kellogg, won't be my last.  Then just down the street, there were Dave and Paul.  Been a long time since I'd seen Dave, had never met Paul before.  It was all way, way past due.

Back home on the TW200, swapped for a different Yamaha and off to Wisconsin across the bridge at Red Wing.  This time the Morphous, absolutely wonderful riding on the quiet backroads.

A Chef Salad in River Falls capped it all off....almost too lovely to eat.  I was able to smell the cuke's before she'd even made it all of the way to the table.  I'll bet you can smell them from where you are!

Apparently I've been eating well this weekend....but then I've been burning calories at a higher than normal-for-Coop rate (again, more on that soon).

Today, Sunday, it was time for some glorious miles on Ol' Blue.  

This happened...... 


Home only to find a couple of hot from the oven pizzas, their aroma's calling even before the front door opened.  I have to say our cooks are getting more and more adept at gourmet pizza creation....crust....toppings....all 9 yards.

It's that time of year again....time for struttin' one's stuff!

Monday, April 12, 2021


 Another Theme'd Post and it wasn't part of any plan but adequately describes the 'big' events that have been happening around here.  We had a few May-like days in March....teasers they were...but now we're back to the harsh reality of early April weather.  Some, not too much, moisture that we were becoming quite short of, temperatures back to season norm.  Often the recipients of a wet autumn season, it wasn't to be in '20 with a winter that brought us precious little snow our soil moisture content was way down.  It's been a windy couple of weeks and those few warm days brought us fire danger that we normally aren't very familiar with.

When the weather's been fit, Peg and I have been busy working on the garden beds, raised bed with more structure than our raised beds have had in the past.  When we first arrived on the farm back around '90, our garden(s) were growing in size and number of varieties grown, crescendoing and then falling off as the house was being built, kids were being schooled, Peg's furthering education, 4H.....and so on.  The last couple of years, a few herbs, a row of tomatoes and some fading rhubarb that hasn't seen much proper care.

Now that we're both spending a bit more time at home (no commuting for Peg), interest in gardening has returned or so I'm told ;)  Cedar panels were ordered, assembled and loosely laid out according to a carefully constructed plan. 

A used tiller was sourced nearby and brought home...

After a heavy day of gardening, I managed to squeeze in a late evening Elite ride.

A new GPS arrived over the winter, a few of us are now owners of the same model.  The information flow back and forth has been extensive as we come to understand our new machines.  Now to get them out and accomplishing something!

A new mower (finally!!) arrived, the semi wanted nothing to do with our driveway so I helped the trucker ease the big pallet onto the barely large enough liftgate and down to the side of the road.  I made relatively quick work of getting it off the pallet and down the muddy the rain.  But....trucker Nick and I had a lot to discuss, taking way more time jabbering than I took uncrating the new mower....his GS1200 was a little much to handle out in CO...after the 4th time on its side, he'd had enough.  A more moderate Husqvarna or KTM is in his very near future.  He and his dad are anxious to run parts of the TAT before dad loses interest and the ability to do it.

Our brand new yellow lawnmower looked very leopard-like by the time I got it to the garage, well...within 100' of the garage ...when I ran out of gas.  We finally made it all the way in.

The crops need a home....Pronto!  They're getting longer legs than those runway models!

So, when I brought the tiller home and unloaded the trailer, I backed around our parking area "Y" and felt a big bump....I'd run over something but had seen nothing....something was much bigger than a stone in the driveway.  This pipe is 12' long and easily could have been pushed deeper.

Take a look and see how this has hopefully been resolved....Once And For All!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Some Winter, Some Spring, Some Solar

 The days, the weeks are racing by and as I've joked, even though I'm anxious for Spring, I expected (should know better by now) to be a lot more ready for it.  Our winter, at least here in Minnesota, milder and not just anecdotally shorter seems to quickly be saying goodbye.  The swans and geese are racing north up the Mississippi Flyway, their toots and honks above us night and day.  Just today I summerized the snowblower but wasn't brave enough to put it in FRONT of the lawnmower.....there will be ample time for them to trade places.

Three weeks ago already, the rig was out for its 2nd trip of 2021, this time not on an icy lake, conditions much much wetter and messier than a cold and solid lake.

Two weeks ago, the first real outing for the Himalayan, a real outing ride.  A lunch meeting with Paul and Eric, the rendezvous planned in Nelson for some barbecue.  A loop around Lake Pepin sounded really good so I went north and crossed at Red Wing.  When I found myself close to County A, I knew that I had to make a stop at the Ice Sculptures.  Most people stop in the winter using their automobiles.  I like to visit in early spring on my motorcycles....have never been there in the cold when I was supposed to be.

Not much left by the time I finally made it.....

I monkeyed around on some back roads away from the river and almost too late realized that at that pace, I was going to be late to meet the guys.

I'm never late.  So to borrow a phrase I hear often among the Sport folks, I had to step up my game.  The Himalayan was wound a little tighter than usual, that final part of the route more direct...a text was sent warning about a probable late arrival.  In the end if I was late, it was only by a minute.

We've had some beautiful sunrises......(Eric's shared capture was much better than mine)

A water heater that was making cold water needed emergency attention.....

Jerky was made with Eric's kind gift of Wyoming Elk and Wisconsin Venison.  Hanna provided the Jerky Squeezer a few months back under the Christmas Tree.

All of the (running) bikes have been started and ridden down to the corner, all except the 400Auto.  I'm sure that it will cooperate and be as willing to run as the others have been.  I was a bit over confident with Ol' Blue however...the 40 degree oil early the other morning just wouldn't turn over quite fast enough with my svelte frame.  I never use the button for the first start of the season, not quite enough oomph in the battery which seemed to be even a bit weaker this year.  A few minutes on the charger, next kick it popped right off.

Last weekend, I spent the night in my Continually Improving Minivan.  It's being enhanced to make better use of space, becoming organized (not my natural gift) and will be much more self-contained and comfortable for my upcoming travels.  Just maybe, next weekend will find me out in the woods rather than in the driveway.

That mostly covers my goings on.  Peg's excited about the enhancements that she's making....a new, larger fenced garden with new more formal raised beds.  Worms are doing their part.....

Plants are reaching for the sun, anxious to be out where they belong....

The chickens are on their way, flying up from somewhere down south.  It's really windy today, hopefully not setting them back too far.  If only they could get into the slipstream of our geese or swans....but as I understand it, chickens seldom spend much time up that high.

Finally, Solar

Our system was initially turned loose on August 23rd, 2020.  Too Much Information follows but something easily seen is the drastic difference between a very sunny day and a very cloudy day, no matter the month.


Lots of busy numbers in the graphs above though I haven't done Mean/Median and those other important Statistical metrics.  Here's the info boiled down. Note that March is slightly ahead of September and we aren't even to the end of the month yet.

March 19, 2021, our highest production day so far in 7 months, 74.87 kWh, a very uniform bell curve, sunny, no clouds all day long.

See how different today, March 28, 2021 has been with hazy clouds on and off all afternoon.  That 10.78 kWp is the most that our system has put out at any one time.  There have been multiple days that have reached 10.0 or slightly over but the 10.78 Peak has been in place since that first day back in August.

This screen shot taken at 7:31 (not 7:21), our official sunset.  The panels currently making no power, 67.31 kWh total for the day.

Here's what each individual panel produced today.