Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Snow, solar, agility - basically a mishmash today

We're getting a more normal snow load this year than last. Chris has had to use the tractor to clear the driveway three times. That's always a production simply because it's so darn cold on that thing. We really need to look at getting a cab for it. 

My experiment in overwintering my rosemary seems to be going well. The plant I brought into the house didn't make it two months (my worst record ever) but the outside plant seems to still be good. I cut the bottom out of the bucket, put it over the plant, and packed it with dead leaves. The hope being that the heavy mulch would actually stay in place and let the plant sit in stasis until spring. Fingers crossed.
Rosemary still alive?
We installed solar PV in October and November was pretty good despite lots of rain but December stank because of the snow cover. We're grid-tied so we put the panels on the roof - great for getting them out of the way, not practical to clear the snow. If we were actually off-grid we'd have put them on poles that allowed the panels to tilt but we were looking to offset our electrical not get off the system completely. One thing that amazed me is how much the costs have dropped in just four years. When we built the house we had to pay a small fortune to get power all the way back here (we're nearly 2000 feet from the main road). We looked at going off-grid at that point but the cost was twice what commercial power cost. Now it's almost at parity. Would have made a different decision, I can tell you that.
Cooper tracks
Cooper enjoys the snow but we've got to keep on eye on her pads. January has brought heavy ice and the crust is hard on her feet. We're rubbing them with ointment to keep them flexible and help with cracking and so far it's helped her be more comfortable. We've also just decided to stay inside some mornings; no need to walk when it's below zero outside.

What do you mean it's cold?
Unfortunately she's a high-energy dog so no walk means, stir-crazy animal. We've taken to setting up a small agility course in the house and doing training. Frankly I think it's good for all of us. She gets both mental and physical exercise and we have the fun of working with her. We use a broom as a jump, pull out the dining chairs as obstacles (over, through, and even under), and work around the table. Minimal mess with maximum results. Pretty good.

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