Friday, October 20 2006
A howling wind blew throughout most of the day as cold front did its best to bring temperatures below the seasonal average. I'm always a little nervous when it's windy about the 60 square foot solar panel on the roof, which can act as something of a sail. It's oriented facing southward and so doesn't present much of surface towards the prevailing westerlies, but crazy storm gusts can come from any direction. (As for the new vacuum-tube-based collector, it's less of a problem because the wind can slip easily between the cylindrical tubes and continue on its way.)
Today during a particularly crazy series of gusts (mostly from the north-west) I climbed up on the solar deck to see if it was being pushed around. Interestingly, it didn't seem to be moving at all, no matter how strong the wind was blowing.
Not much later, Gretchen was down in the living room and heard a terrible cracking sound. She was concerned that something had been torn loose from the house by the wind. My suspicion was different; I immediately ran to the room's east windows to look at the tall White Pine trees just east of the house. One of these in particular had a severely-rotted base, the result of a terrible altercation with a bulldozer back when the house was being built. (Word to the wise: bulldozer operators don't give a fuck about your trees!) I'd been considering either cutting the tree down or tying a cable to it to prevent it from possibly falling on the house. At sixty feet tall and fourteen inches in diameter, its destructive power would be considerable. Now, though, I could see I wouldn't have to worry about it any more. The wind had thrown it over, away from the house diagonally to the southwest. I went down to look at how it had broken and saw that it had barely left any stump; most of its structural failure had happened below ground, but in such a way that no roots had been torn up. A few ribbons of fresh pine wood reached three feet above the ground from down in the perfect trunk-sized crater.
This evening Gretchen and I were craving french fries, so we indulged our cravings at the Hurley Mountain Inn, which was still packed after the conclusion of an event sponsored by a local radio station. I've been less-than-impressed with the HMI beer selection, which seems to cater to the baseball-cap-wearing white guy (and yes, this includes every beer made by Sam Adams, the Starbucks of microbrew). Today Gretchen and I both ordered Labatt Blues, which aren't bad when you have nothing handy to compare them to. They taste like malt liquor, and I intend that as a weak form of praise.
This evening I got the idea that I should measure the temperature of the house's well water so I'd know the amount of energy I'm using to make it hot. I taped a thermistor to the well pipe and ran the faucets long enough to get the well pump to run. The lowest reading I got was 52.3 degrees Fahrenheit. I suppose another useful bit of data would be the actual depth of the well so I can get a feel for the extent to which this water is geothermally heated or otherwise at variance with the average yearly temperature of this spot on Planet Earth.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next