Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taking A Walk

I woke up this morning realizing I hadn’t turned the hot water heater off its vacation setting. It’s been 90° out every day, so by the time I take a shower around 5 or 6pm, it’s plenty hot. The problem is that the pump runs all night to keep the temperature balanced between the roof and tank when it's on vacation setting. But remembering the kingsnake back there by the pump made me reluctant to go find a flashlight and change the setting. So hopping out of bed in the morning, I headed out back in my underclothes. It’s too hot to sleep in much during the summer, and I think I may need a ceiling fan soon. The adobe floor keeps it cool, but circulation when the air is still would help. I situated the house so I can take advantage of the Bernoulli effect. 

Next, up on the roof. I couldn’t figure out why the batteries weren’t fully charged with such long days. I saw the daily kWh on the meter was only 1.7kWh, normally 3.0 this time of the year. When I looked at other parameters, I saw at 2pm yesterday that the voltage coming into the system was only 75 at 3 amps. Checking the battery charger, it followed the 24v system had 9v going in. Which meant it had to be the panels. I remembered (and should have written it down) that the voltage from the panels is usually about 87, or something like that, in full sun. Yesterday was too hot, and the roof even more so. I have to hoist myself from the porch roof to the house roof, and it’s about chest height. Invariably I end up with scratch marks on my belly from either going up or coming down.

This morning I didn’t bring my cell. I was in my pjs, after all. Nowhere to stow it. I usually bring it because if I knock the ladder down, I will have a way to call someone to come help me. Just a thought; put a rope around the top of the ladder, and tie it to the porch roof! Otherwise, I’d probably break a leg trying to get down. Up I went, while the coffee water was heating up. Of course! There was pollen all over the panels. DOH! Down I went, grab a mop, spray with water, clean the panels, and voila! 87volts again! I love it when that happens.

Sunset, same vista
Next, over to friends’ house to pick up Rio. My sweetie. He’s always happy to see me. They leave him in the pen till I get here and we walk back together. He’s such a great protector, even when you don’t need it. Yesterday, on a walk down to the river to check out the new graded road, I kept hearing rustling in the hill above us, about 50’ away. Rio stopped, so did I. I put my arm on my friend’s arm, and looked in the direction of the noise. I could see the brown shape, still making noise. It was Baby Bear! She’d been spotted in the area, and I had small bite marks in my plastic soil bag in the last month. The plastic shows a good impression of the size and tooth development, one bite slightly larger than the first; the earlier one had no toothmarks! For some reason, the bears like to bite the bag. A few times it’s been claws ripping it open, when it’s on the ground.

Rio started barking at her, and ran at her. We turned around and hightailed it back up the hill, all the while calling Rio. He finally came, thank goodness. I didn't remember till later I wolf whistled for him, he knows my call. He came running. Normally he’d have a shock collar on so he doesn’t harass the wild horses. This is a necessary evil, as he’s been kicked numerous times, and the last time had a $600 gash in his side, skin flapping loosely from it. Today we’d been planning on a swim, and knowing he’d be first in the water, it wasn’t feasible.  

Of course, my bear spray, normally always in my backpack (I think more because I’m afraid of the feral pigs) was on the counter, acting as a bookmark. It all turned out well though. The only need for it would have been if the dog and bear had engaged. Thankfully it didn’t happen. And I didn't lose my place in my book. 

As I left the house, walking up the drive, I heard woodpeckers nearby. I stopped to listen (and check my pulse! Normally 55 or so, it shoots up to 160 going up the drive because I walk fast). It sure sounded like Morse code. It really did. The eerie thing was that within 30 seconds, a second woodpecker answered only 50’ away. They conversed for a few minutes. It was very funny. Time to head back now, it’s 77 and only 10am!