Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Marks do Solar

Our house in Wimberley doesn't use much electricity, so big solar systems are not exactly a brilliant financial move there.  But our power does go out a lot so I've been scheming a small back-up system with my buddy and fellow gadget geek Mark. He even helped me engineer a safe way to install this first panel using a fall protection harness with a rope tied to a nearby tree. Other Mark was up by the ridge on a ladder supplying me with advice, the panel itself, and a good bit of photography as he documented my adventures.  We're designing the system of individual components rather than a pre-packaged kit so I can expand it over time. And other Mark is the perfect guy to ensure I don't do anything that violates the basic laws of science.  Next step: wiring up the charge regulator and disconnect box between the panel and the batteries inside the workshop.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Stick Did It

Ann tells the story of a young Mike blaming some backyard damage on a stick... a stick which, when he uttered the infamous words "stick did it", he did not bother to mention was in his hands when the stick did it.

A generation later, Kara and Braden are infatuated with the sticks and stones they find in Wimberley.  I find them laying around everywhere after their visits, often inside the house where they must figure such treasures belong.  Luckily we have a third attraction, our small pond, which gives them the opportunity to discharge the sticks and stone harmlessly into it.  Which they can easily do for hours on end.

I suppose sooner or later they'll break something with their toys of creative destruction.  I'm not sure whether I'll be upset or just ask them if it was the stick that did it.

Sunday, February 03, 2013


Our place seems to be right in the path of some kind of epic cow migration path.  I know cows don't actually migrate, but seriously, every time after is rains they head through our property and insist on crossing it right between our house and the garage.  And heavy cows on wet ground equal giant hoof-holes everywhere.  So after an extensive google search to determine how wide of an opening a 500-plus pound cow can pass though, here is the solution I just completed.  Two fence posts set in concrete with 14 inches clear space between them.  Sound obsessive-compulsive to you?  Correct.