Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2019

Winter Project List

In the past we've always done an annual goal list. I post it on January 1st and wrap up the year with a review post on how well we met those goals. This year, we seem to have fallen into a different pattern. Maybe it's because Dan is retired now, or maybe it reflects a shift in the kinds of project we do. Mostly, I think it's because our lives are more in sync with the seasons; everything seems to revolve around that. Everything we do fits into the pattern of the agrarian cycle I've blogged about.
Spring: March, April, May - season of plantingSummer: June, July, August - season of growingAutumn: September, October, November - season to harvestWinter: December, January, February - season of the hearth
This year we've started doing quarterly project lists instead of an annual one. The other day, we got out our notebook and made a winter project list. Here's what's on it.

Solar porch project build battery boxinstall batteriesconnect batteriesmove freezernew chest …

A Day for Giving Thanks

"God grant that the spirit of gratefulness again became a national trait—that in between year-long demonstrations of unrest and complaint, we might be treated to occasional demonstrations of thankfulness."

Eric Sloane

"Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness."
Robert Casper Lintner

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
Frederick Keonig

"We are grateful for the land, and for the things upon the land which the Spirit has bestowed."

Native American Prayer

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will…

Burying the Solar Cable

Last time, I showed you how Dan wired the solar panels. The next step was running the cables which will connect the panels to the charge controller (which will connect to the batteries). For that we needed multi-stranded copper wire cables with solar connectors on the ends. We needed two, one for positive and one for negative.


Before I could buy them, I needed to know the correct size. Size depends on panel array voltage, amperage, distance from the batteries, and acceptable voltage loss (typically 3-5%). I ran our numbers through several online calculators and the results were all the same – size 12 American Wire Gauge (AWG).  Even so, larger cable would further minimize power loss, so I bought 10 AWG, which is the next larger size. If we had to go a farther distance, we would have used 8 AWG.

The cable comes in pairs, one black and one red. Since the connectors are already attached, it was just a matter of burying them. Of course, Dan had help.


It's a span of about 30 feet, but the…

Wiring the Solar Panels

Last month we got the solar panels up.


The next step was to research the best way to connect them and what we'd need to do it.


Each panel has a pair of wires (technically cables) with connectors.


One of the cables is positive, the other is negative. We had two options for connecting our three panels: in either series or parallel. There are advantages and disadvantage to each.

Series wiring connects negative to positive and positive to negative. This is the easiest configuration because it only requires plugging one panel into the next. It's a good choice for longer runs of cable and can use smaller gauge (less expensive) cable. This set-up multiplies the panels' voltages. Its disadvantage is that all panels must be in full sun. Even partial shade means no electricity. Or, if one panel isn't working properly none of them work, just like a string of Christmas tree lights.

Parallel wiring connects positive to positive and negative to negative. Its disadvantages are that it req…

Freeze-Dried Leaves for Goats

Last post ("Change of Seasons"), I showed you about our fall color and early glimpse of winter. Here's what a sudden drop in temperature into the low 20s does to the leaves still on the trees.


It shocks the trees into dropping them in a crunchy green blanket covering both barn roofs and barnyard.


The're crunchy because they've been freeze-dried by the sudden cold. The goats really like them.




This doesn't happen every year, but when it does I collect as many bagfuls as I can. I store the bags in the hayloft and add the leaves to their hay from time to time.


Goats love variety and these make nice treats during winter when everything is bare. The ones in the barnyard are pecan leaves, but they also like oak, sweet gum, and poplar. Maple leaves aren't as popular.


The pecans are usually our last trees to lose their leaves. Looks like that's happening more quickly this year!

Freeze-Dried Leaves for Goats© Nov. 2019 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com

Change of Seasons

Autumn is officially here. After a several scattered frosts earlier in the month, I finally lost the summer garden to Jack Frost last weekend. Fortunately, I heeded of the weather warnings and gathered in the last of the tomatoes and peppers still on the vines.


The leaves have been changing too.



Our color is never very spectacular because of the kinds of trees we have.









Autumn may be short for us, however. My telltale sign isn't caterpillars, it's this particular cat choosing to sleep indoors at night!


In the summer she only comes in if hunting hasn't been good. Then it's just to grab a few bites of food and she's off again. Sleeping inside is proof of cold nights! Lows in the 20s are unusual for us in November but that's what we've got! Winter's on the way!

What season are you enjoying? Autumn? Winter? Spring? Summer? Post some pictures and show us!

For fun, linking to Rain's Garden: Thursday Art Date: Forest & Critters
Change of Seasons© November 201…

Observation on the Time Change

So here we are, one week after they've changed from daylight savings back to standard time. That the whole time change business is a nuisance doesn't need to be said - we all know that. The critters especially don't care what the clock says. They "know" when it's time to eat!

My observation is that I seem to have "more" time now that we've gone back to standard. Maybe it's my inner clock still being attuned to daylight savings numbers, but it seems when I think it's time to go in or time for chores, I still have another hour of project time available. So while my days are actually shorter, they seem longer.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that? How does the time change feel to you?

Observation on the Time Change© Nov 2019 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com

Modest Success in Controlling Wiregrass

In my last blog post, 5 Principles of Soil Health: In the Garden, I mentioned some success in my ongoing battle with wiregrass. If you've read my blog for any length of time, you've likely heard me rant,whine, rage, complain about this problem. It's "real" name is Bermuda grass.


It's a popular lawn and pasture grass in my part of the country. It's ubiquitous—there's nowhere that it isn't—because it's heat and drought resistant, plus tolerates heavy traffic and mowing (or grazing). But it has a dark side: it's highly invasive and quickly becomes an extremely tenacious weed. It has a number of other names, but earned this nickname because it's tough as wire when you're trying to pull it out.

It's also impossible to get rid of. Even the "experts" admit that and at some point the southern gardener simply has to accept it as a fact of life and learn to live with it. It's the reason why we tilled for so long in the garden…