"Green" Power

September 16, 2011 at 9:49 AMJeremy

What do you get when you combine a solar panel (thanks Woot!), a lawn mower battery, and some old 12V lights and fans from computers?

You get the funkiest-looking shed on the block.  But hey, at least I can see at night.

Okay, so the bubble tube lights next to the battery are completely superfluous.  I was testing battery load... or something.

Anyway, this is the Mark 1 build.  Next I'm going to have something in a slightly more natural light color.

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Livin' on the Edger

September 1, 2008 at 6:18 PMJeremy

For my birthday, Mom and Greg got me an edger.  Technically, it's an edger attachment for my trimmer.  But because the Drought of '08 was upon us, there wasn't any grass to mow until the Storms of '08 brought us some rain for the past couple of weeks.  I finally got to bust out my new toy and put it to use.

It definitely takes some getting used to.  There were sparks, there was flying debris, there were some ventures away from the edge, leaving a line through the grass.  There was also this constant fear that the blade was going to come loose and go hurtling in some random direction.  But for the most part, it didn't wind up half bad. 

It certainly did a better job than just turning the trimmer sideways.  I only used two lengths of string when I trimmed rather than 6, and it was (slightly) easier on my back.

However, I do have a complaint.  Why isn't it possible to find tools that are suitable for me?  My mower and trimmer both seem like they're designed for someone 5 to 5-and-a-half feet tall.  As I was mowing, I considered the idea of opening a Big and Tall store for power tools, but then it occured to me: there's really not much in tools where being "big" would be a problem.  But, thinking about some of my other tools, I came up with another problem which completed my idea.  I want to open a Tall and Left store: tools that are designed for tall people, left-handed people, or people that are both tall and left-handed.  I think there's probably 3 or 4 of us.  I'm currently seeking venture capital if you're interested.

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RIP: Ribbit In Peace

August 7, 2008 at 5:55 PMJeremy

A week ago, Marci and I noticed that the air conditioner was leaking and dripping water.  I knew we'd had issues like that when I lived at Mom's house, so I gave her a call hoping that she'd have some knowledge of if we could fix it ourselves or needed to call an expert.  We came to the same conclusion, which was that the drain line was backed up and leaking into the house.  She called Greg to see if he could come up with a fix for us.  He brought his air compressor to blow whatever blockage out of the line and rigged up some plastic to keep the air from going back up into the A/C unit.  

He hit the first blast of air down the line and, standing outside, I saw a little bit of water trickle out.  It didn't seem like enough to have cleared it, so Mom came out to see and Greg shot the air compressor a second time.  This time, a lot of water shot out and in the dark we saw some object settle about six feet from the drain, just in front of Mom's feet (she'd been standing in the line of fire... go figure).   I shined the flashlight on the object and we found that it was a full-grown (dead) frog!  I'm not sure how it even fit in the pipe before, unless it bloated when it died.  Odder still, when Greg hit a final blast of air down the pipe, a smaller, still living frog hopped out.  How he was alive when he was submerged behind the big dead frog, I'm not sure.  He hopped along his way, apparently having second thoughts about his choice in habitat.

I did get a picture, but it's a little gross.  For those who want to see it, click the picture below.  Otherwise, just enjoy the nice screenshot from Frogger.

Anyway, I have to give a big thanks to Greg for saving us a night of catching drips and a costly service call to get somebody out to look at it.  I've got something temporary in the pipe to keep any of our other amphibious friends out, and will have to get some mesh to put over it long term.

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Attack of the Mutant Sunflower

June 25, 2008 at 10:53 PMJeremy

After watering our seeded grass for several days, I noticed a little plant had sprung up.  I figured any growth was better than nothing, and that I could always pull up weeds later.  Mom came by some time and told me that it was a sunflower, so I figured I'd let it go and see if it bloomed.  Apparently, they like to be in full sun before they bloom, which meant this guy had some growing to do before he could get out from under the shade of the house:

I was really expecting the bloom to be a foot or two in diameter, but instead it seems content to put out several normal-sized blooms.  I took these shots a few days ago; now there are several blooms open, which is weighing down the top to where it's almost leaning on the swing set.  I'll probably need a machete to go after it when it finally keels over.  Once it looks fully bloomed, I'll get the ladder out to get some pictures of it, although shooting from the ground does get a nice sky backdrop:

 

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Beats watching paint dry...

June 22, 2008 at 4:28 PMJeremy

Sean and Cami had spread mulch around the play equipment in the back yard, which looked very pretty, but was uncomfortable to walk on barefoot and required some vigilance to keep weeds out.  I decided to try and get the grass to grow back so it would be nice and soft by the time Junior is able to play out there.  I borrowed Nana's tiller to break up the dirt, and Mom and I spread out some Bermuda grass seed in the hopes of getting a little something started.  I patiently watered this big patch of dirt every day (not to mention shooing off birds who looked like they were interested in eating the seed), and after a little while some little bits of grass started to appear. 

It's awfully patchy, but I see new little sprouts all the time.  I'm also hoping that the surrounding grass will start to spread into the area, but that's not happening as much as I'd hoped.  Isn't that always the case?  I can't get the grass to spread onto a nicely watered patch of soil, but it has no problem at all growing across my sidewalk and driveway.  It's certainly a rather boring process, either way.

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