December 2003 Archives

Living in the Country

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We've been here six months now, we've gone through our first summer and are headed into our first winter. I was thinking last week, as I walked across the fields to get my mail, how much I'm really enjoying living in the country. Joanne and I have a knack for choosing good locations, our first house was on a really fantastic street in downtown Toronto, with amazing neighbours, and all that downtown has to offer. Good and bad. It looks like we've lucked into a great neighbourhood once again.

Last Saturday was the neighbourhood Christmas party. Every year everybody on the Line gets together at one house to celebrate the season. Everyone brings a little something to add to the table, some booze, and this year, a sealed envelope with a contribution for a young boy on the line who has cancer and is going through chemo.

This is an adult affair, though an exception was made for Gil, since he's so young. As soon as we walked in the door Gil had been wisked out of my arms and I hardly saw him for two hours, though you could follow his progress around the room by all the cooing of the women. He slept through the whole thing. Midway through the night my next door neighbour and I slipped out and went to play hockey in Millbrook. When we came back two hours later the party was still going on.

Hockey in Millbrook is a quintessentially Canadian affair. Pick-up hockey, played on a small-town rink with a bunch of guys of various skill levels in various levels of equipment, with either classic rock or country playing at ear-splitting levels over the PA system. I step on the ice and I feel like singing Oh Canada. We rarely have enough players (or goalies), there are no lines, no positions, and nobody seems to keep score, it really is hockey played for the sheer joy of it.

I've been composing a list of things I love and ... er ... like less about the country. I'll post it soon. Right now there's about 6 inches of snow on the ground, it's minus 10C, and the whole countryside looks like a Christmas card. I love winter in the country - that's number one!

Six Month Stats

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Now that we've been in the house for six months I've compiled stats for what we've generated off of our solar panels since June of 2003. Because we reset the system when we swapped in the new battery in early June the stats for June start at the 11th.

I have no stats for the wind generator because we have no way to track its production over time right now. If I can find a method of storing data for the wind generator that isn't expensive and that doesn't consume electricity itself I'll set it up, until then it's all anecdotal. Most of the summer was pretty still and winds have been steadily increasing since late September/early October.

All readings are in amp/hours (AH). Our solar panels and battery bank are wired for 48 volts (V). To calculate Kilowatts (KW) multiply AH times voltage (V) which will give you kilowatt/hours (KWH) at 48V, divide by 2 for KWH at 110V.

Our solar collection system consists of 8 BP Solar 85 watt panels, which feed 48V through a Trace C40 into our battery bank. All of the stats are taken from the C40.

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