return of the buffleheads
Saturday, April 9 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
I woke up well before Gretchen, made myself a french press of coffee, stoked the fire, and then sat in the great room of the cabin by myself visiting my usual web haunts on my work-issued latop. Eventually Gretchen got up and we collaborated on the New York Times Spelling Bee together. My breakfast largely consisted of Miyoko's vegan cheese spread on toast. Our toaster was working fine off the electricity in the household battery. I noted the toaster only uses 800 watts, as compared to 1500 used by a typical toaster oven; evidently having heating coils so close to the material to be heated leads to real efficiencies even when heating the bad-old electroresistive way.
At some point I began tinkering with my ESP8266-based temperature probes. I'd set them up to work on the Moxee WiFi hotspot, though that hotspot came by default with a space in its SSID, which seemed to be a dealbreaker when testing the ESP8266s on "clone" of that hotspot I'd experimented with in Hurley. I was hoping to change the name of the SSID to a simpler one that didn't contain spaces, but to do so would require reconfiguring other devices, particularly the SolArk inverter's data connection. But I couldn't figure out how to make any changes to the WiFi hotspot the inverter connected to. It was looking like I was going to have to hack the ESP8266 probes I'd brought, something I hadn't expected to need to do.
Fortunately, it didn't take long to download and configure the Arduino IDE on my work laptop (it had a copy of the IDE on it, but it was a beta 2.0 version that I couldn't get to work). And then, to my relief, when I configured the probes to use the space-containing Moxee hotspot, they connected to it just fine. Evidently there had been something amiss with the fake version I'd made of it back in the laboratory.
I continued work on the probes, adding some security features to prevent deliberate data pollution and SQL injection (both risks when one has published the code on GitHub and has malicious readers, both the case with me).
On a couple occasions, I went out into the nearby woods with various chainsaws to gather more firewood, starting with small pieces (since I have so many large chunks of difficult-to-split black cherry; these need smaller pieces to get burning). Later I felled a medium-sized trunk of standing dead wood that I think was white ash, and it proved fairly dry.
Later this afternoon, I went on a walk by myself through our woods to Woodworth Lake. The day was fairly warm, but down by the lake conditions were considerably colder, likely an effect of the melting ice. The surface of the lake is still about two-thirds covered in ice. The entire north and and wide swath along the east shore of the lake are now open water, though ice is still so close to the west shore that it would be impossible to kayak along it. As I approached the northwest bay along the shoreline, I saw a pair of bufflehead ducks a couple hundred feet away. Unlike the mallards I'd seen two weeks ago, these did not fly up when the saw me. I wonder if these are the same buffleheads I'd seen in the fall, in that case migrating south; they breed in the very north of the boreal forest and nest in holes left by northern flickers (the second-largest non-extinct North American woodpecker).
Periodically today I kept unloading bluestone from the back of the Bolt. On one piece, I noticed an egg mass left by a gypsy moth. So I scraped it all into my hand and threw it into the fire, where it went off like a small pack of fireworks, likely from small steam explosions from each individual egg.
At some point we tried to charge the Bolt using our 240 volty/30 amp charger and power from just our solar system (we hadn't yet used the generator on this trip). But evidently the Bolt's charging needs exceed the upper limit of the SolArk inverter (which is 8 kilowatts). Somehow we ended up with one that was a little too small, even after describing our needs in detail to the chuckleheaded solar installers. It's still possible to charge our Bolt without needing to resort to the generator (which has a 14 kilowatt rating). Either we dial down the upper limit of the the Bolt's charging needs (something one can do on the Bolt's dashboard) or we use a smaller charger, such as the rinky-dink 120 volt one. This evening we chose the latter, which was, the Bolt told us, going to take something like 20 hours.
This evening Gretchen made a curry using a jar of pre-packaged stuff that she ended up not liking because it contained a "sweet spice." To me, it didn't read that way at all; it just seemed exotic, and I ate the curry with gusto.
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