• Post Falls – Idaho

    A few weeks back we flew up to see Amy and Cole.
    No reason, just wanted to see them, Ok, Ok, yeah, we also wanted to see some snow…..

    We got the airport on Friday afternoon. I worked a half day so it was a relaxing afternoon with not a lot of TSA lines to wade through. I guess most people were flying closer to xmas, not 3 weeks before. Which did not bother us.

    Blurry selfie photo of the two of us on the plane waiting to push back, taxi and takeoff.
    We flew with Alaskan airlines because they are one of the few that offer a direct flight. I have to say they were one of the best flying experiences I have ever had. Really polite and helpful staff and overall a great flight.


    I mucked about with night mode on the camera a bit during the flight. It’s pretty amazing, but does not do real well with moving stuff like in this photo. It works much better when everything is stationary.
    Still, my phone camera is now to the point where I did not take my DSL with me on this trip.

    Nothing at all to do with Alaskan, but a side note, it was super windy at Spokane when we landed, thus we had one of the bumpiest approaches that I have ever had. The funny part for me was sitting down the back of the aircraft, I could see everyones head bobbing around as the plane ducked and weaved. It was pretty comical.

    This is Wayne. He is Amy and Cole’s new sugar glider. Unlike Wade, their original one, this little guy is super chill and is a lot more happy to just sit and hang out with you.

    We made sure to get plenty of quality time with them. I would love to have one or two as pets, but am not sure I have the time to invest. Not that it is a possibility, they are illegal as pets in California.

    Next morning, after breakfast, Amy took us up to see some snow.

    I just wondered off and started to look around when I could hear Amy yelling for me…..
    Turning around I could see this guy in a truck off the track.

    It soon became clear that he was in the deep snow and was stuck.
    He was not the best driver and I think a lot of it had to do with him just not really knowing how to drive, but eh, we thought we would/should help out just the same.
    At first we tried just using snow shovels to get him out.

    It is the first time I have ever used a snow shovel and sadly I really enjoyed it. They are nice and wide and gulp up a heap of snow. Sure its heavy, but I was enjoying the unusual workout.
    I was not worried about him sliding off a cliff or anything, so it was a bit of fun… Dig, watch him flounder around a bit, then dig some more.
    After a while, yeah, it got a bit old, so we got him close enough to Amy’s truck to hook him up and pull him out.

    (Don’t forget that you can click on any photo to make it bigger).
    And yes, that is some lady slacklining on the tow rope…. People…. Moving on.

    We had worked up a pretty good appetite with all the snow fun and games so Amy took us back to the place that serves the best cheesecake I have ever had.

    The one bit between the three of us was perfect. I think its made out of goats cheese, so it tastes like none other that I have ever had.
    Might have to make it a bit of a thing when we are up there now….

    No photos, but Cole and I got to hangout in his garage for a good while while we tinkered with an electric motor he wanted to get going for some project…. Once I understood that he did not want to keep the speed contontrol that was on it, it was pretty straight forward to just hot wire the motor to the batteries.
    Thankfully I had my new little Kickstarter pocket bluetooth multimeter with me, I will do blog on it, its super cool and deserves its 5 minutes of fame…. Anyway, using the meter I quickly found out that his batteries were dead flat. Once you put them on the charger they jumped from 5v to 16 in an instant. They were toast. Made me wonder if my dad could bring them back using his desulfator…. Thankfully his brother bought some good ones over and we were able to show Cole how to hook them up as 12v for low speed and 24v for high speed. He was a happy chap.

    Speaking of Cole, no photos of his truck, but it’s pretty heavily modded, a bit like Marty really, just in truck form. One of the many many mods he has done is that he has pulled out the original seats and put in racing bucket seats…. So yeah, when he suggested that we go and buy some cigars in his truck, I jumped at the chance…. Why?
    Read the caption……

    Fun sucking California……

    After cigars, Vodka tasting!!

    It was my birthday, so Amy was spoiling me a little…. Anyway, we had a great visit, and before you knew it, the speed brakes were on and we were back in San Diego and a short drive home completed the trip.



  • Cloud power

    Data centers are big power users. I know Apple and Google are doing the best they seemingly can by putting solar and wind farms in near their centers, but there is still more that needs to be done.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/tsunami-of-data-could-consume-fifth-global-electricity-by-2025

    The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.

    That’s pretty much it. The data centers are on track to use more power than most countries.



  • Solar Shade

    While we are talking about solar… I think Gary should cover most of his property with solar, it sounds like there is no downside from doing this…

    http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2018/11/solar-arrays-can-create-prolific-microclimates-on-dry-farmland/

    Solar panels could increase productivity on pastures that are not irrigated and even water-stressed, a new study finds. The new study published in PLOS One by researchers at Oregon State College finds that grasses and plants flourish in the shade underneath solar panels because of a significant change in moisture. The results bolster the argument for agrovoltaics, the concept of using the same area of land for solar arrays and farming. The idea is to grow food and produce clean energy at the same time.

    It’s well worth a read (and it’s a quick read). In a nutshell, the shade produced really helps keep moisture in the soil and so things grow better.
    It’s making me think of my setup at home, perhaps I should build a structure over my wildflower garden and put the panels on top. They would get more sun than on the roof like they currently are (less shadows)… hmmmm



  • Seven facts about Aussie solar

    Pretty interesting read for me.
    Most of my readers are from down that way and so probably know most of this already.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/seven-australian-solar-facts-to-make-your-jaw-drop-30669/

    1. Australia now has over 10.1 GW of solar installed

    2. Total new solar registered for the month of September exceeded 725MW

    3. The record was set with the registration of 667MW of large-scale solar

    4. The two largest solar farms in Australia were registered in September: 180MW Daydream Solar Farm and 188MW Coleambally Solar Farm

    5. Each GW of solar requires the installation and connection of over 3 million solar panels and creates more than 1,000 full time jobs a year

    6. Commercial and residential rooftop solar are also powering along with another 100MW expected to be registered in the in those markets. Australia is on track to exceed 1GW in installed rooftop solar for 2018.

    7. With 1.95 million installations in Australia, and growing at over 15,000 per month, we expect to have over 2 million installs by the end of the year. Taking delayed registration into account, Australia will have over 10.2GW of solar installed by that time.



  • Rain event

    We are due to get 1.5 inches of rain tonight and mostly tomorrow…..
    The interesting thing is that we have had a total of .879 inches so far this year, so the rain we are due to get tomorrow will really be an event.