I suppose it’s inevitable at this time of year to feel that progress on our various projects has reached a sort of nadir. I feel like we’re creeping forward on all fronts.
Last week, I hiked across the bay to another homestead to help troubleshoot her wind generator’s charge controller. The solution, surprisingly simple, allowed her to surplus her previous unit, so she gave me the circuit board from it to try to replace ours. We’ve been without a working circuit board in our controller since October (see Wind Generator Problems, Yet Again).
I switched the boards that evening, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work. The wind at the moment was just squirrelly enough to raise a question, but other signs indicate that it, too, is dead. Since then, I’ve been searching for another solution.
This becomes problematic currently. We’re getting gale force winds with high gusts these days (along with torrential rain, which doesn’t help). I need to equalize the battery bank. I need the wind, just not so much, especially while we have no circuit board to regulate the incoming power. The rains and short winter days have kept the solar from contributing any useful power to this equation so far. Our wind forecast calls for high winds, dropping off precipitously at the end of the system, along with solar array-covering snow, so who knows when I’ll get that equalizing charge?
Besides equalization, we need to conserve power a bit, which means our headlamps and other battery-operated lights suffer. My favorite headlamp recently broke; my back up burns batteries at an alarming rate! I have changed its battery every day since I started relying on it regularly. Its sudden blackouts when the battery runs out are irritating, particularly when I’m in the outhouse!
In town, the Borough grit truck broke down, and most streets look like ice skating rinks. I took Aly to work Saturday, and had to put ice grippers on before getting out of the car at almost every place I stopped! In town all day, I must have seen 6 other cars at most.
The high winds and heavy rain keep us from most of our usual homestead chores, particularly cutting and processing firewood. Installing new windows at Aly’s cottage is completely out of the question for now. We have a lot to do, we just lack cooperative weather in which to do it.
On top of all this, we just upgraded our computers. I found a couple of good laptops at an excellent bargain, one for Michelle, one for me. For the last few days, we’ve been migrating from the old computers. This happened just in time for me—I’ve limped along with my old used laptop for a long time. A year ago, when I upgraded the OS while in Anchorage for the high school debate tournament, my battery showed signs of imminent death (see The Challenges and Opportunities of Frugal Computing). It has not rallied since then.
Not only that, but the computer is beginning to fall apart physically as well! No passing this one on to anyone else, it’s headed for the recycler as soon as I strip it of all its useful soft-and hardware.
The transition to the sleek new(er) machine on which I compose these words has been smoother and a lot more fun than last time. I performed the OS upgrade on the fly, away from home, with just a USB thumb drive to help. This time, in my own home, with all the cords, external drives, peripherals, tools, herbs and unguents to do the job, it’s been rather fun!
Let’s see if the writing improves as a result . . . .
Today (and everyday) remember Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.!