Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Remembering...

Remembering...  It was four years ago on this day that my father died.  I have many good memories, but the feeling of loss is still very strong.  Much more about him here...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Paradise ponders: sculpture progress edition..

Paradise ponders: sculpture progress edition...  We heard from the artist who is working on a sculpture for our back yard – the clay statue is coming right along!  Two views:


Our notion is to build a water feature in our back yard that includes the sculpture.  We've got some thinking and planning to do!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Paradise ponders: moderated temperature, kittenly progress, and bigeye tuna edition...

Paradise ponders: moderated temperature, kittenly progress, and bigeye tuna edition...  Yesterday I finished up all the remaining “mechanical” work on my office temperature moderation project.  Part of that work involved making cover plates to go over the three big rectangular holes I had earlier cut into the OSB in the storage part of my barn (photo at right shows two of these).  These were more fun than you might think, as I had to cut a 10" diameter hole in each of the cover plates.  I used my bench scroll saw to do that, and it made very short work of it indeed.  The rest of the work involved putting insulation around my office door, and then wiring up the blower.  Once that was all finished I lit off the blower, shut off my heater, and let it run all last night.  This was a test of sorts, as the outside temperature got down to 17°F last night.  This morning when I got into my office at 6 am, it was quite comfortable inside.  The temperature measured 68.3°F, which had me a bit puzzled at first: it was actually warmer in my office than the 64.8°F of the first floor.  Then it dawned on me that I'm sucking air from the ceiling of the first floor, not the 5 foot high area where the thermostat is set to 65°F.  To test that theory, I got my precision thermometer up on a ladder with me and measured the temperature at the ceiling: 73.6°F.  That got me to wondering what it would be on the floor of the first floor, so I measured it there: 62.1°F.  So there's an 11°F gradient between the floor and the ceiling of the first floor – much more than I'd have guessed.  On the other hand, there's nothing circulating the air down there, so there's every opportunity for a gradient to be established in a relatively stable way.  That observation led me to turn on the ceiling fan in my office; we'll see what that does to the measured temperatures there.

This morning I've started writing the software that will eventually control the new fan, based on the algorithm I've described in a previous post.  This would be a trivial exercise in daemon construction but for the fact that I'm going to allow some nice monitoring capability.  That requires me to write the daemon multi-threaded – a new experience in C programming for me.  I've also got another challenge: a parts delivery is late and prevents me from actually bringing up the Raspberry Pi I bought for this purpose.  So I'm writing a bunch of software that I won't be able to debug for several days, at least.  This is not my preferred modality – I like to write a little bit, then test, fix, and repeat...

The little kitten is doing very well.  We may have settled on the name “Kalea” (pronounced ka-LAY-ah), which is Hawai'ian for “full of joy”, but I wouldn't count on that. :)  It's eating like a little piglet, and spends a lot of the time sleeping.  All signs of stress have disappeared.

Yesterday at Macey's we spotted some scrumptious-looking bigeye tuna.  We bought about 20 ounces of it, and today my lovely bride made us a mess of poke with it (my bowl at right).  Oh, man, was that good!  That's raw fish in a soy-based sauce flavored with a bit of sesame oil, with avocado, green onions, and some sesame seeds for garnish.  That big-eye tuna disappeared mighty quickly!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Paradise ponders: temperature moderation progress, kitten settling in, and great customer service edition...

Paradise ponders: temperature moderation progress, kitten settling in, and great customer service edition...  Debbie and I took a nice drive up Blacksmith Fork Canyon yesterday.  We spotted several groups of deer, and noted that the bucks are back with their harems.  We also spotted a large herd of elk just north of the Hardware Ranch enclosure – they're coming back for the winter.  It won't be long now before they're all in the enclosure and the kids are taking horse-drawn wagon rides out to see them.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon working on the return for my office temperature moderation project.  I had a question from a reader about how I cut those rectangular holes in the OSB.  The first photo below shows the beginning of such a cutout, in this case through the second-floor floor sheathing.  I started with a 1/2" hole right in the middle.  Then I used a battery-powered skill saw to cut a couple of chunks out, as you see in the first photo below.  This gives me access to make the square cuts, and I ended up with what you see in the second photo.  To put the return in, I had to make four of these rectangular holes: on the inside and outside sheathing of my office wall, on the second-floor floor, and on the first-floor ceiling.  These all had to be in perfect alignment, which meant much careful measuring.  Once the holes were cut, however, the rest was a piece of cake; in the last photo you see the completed return.  Well, almost complete.  Today I'm going to cut some OSB to make covers for the rectangular holes I cut, with a hole for the ducting.  This will let me refill the holes with insulation and button it all up nicely.  Then I really will be done!


Debbie is working on a name for the new kitten, which she thinks is female (it's surprisingly hard to tell with kittens).  We have an appointment for it at the vet next Tuesday.  Meanwhile it's in one of our isolation cages, with a soft bed, a clean litter box, and an unending supply of food and water.  It looks quite content. :)

I had a great customer service experience last night.  I'd ordered the little camera at right to put in our cattery, so Debbie could watch over the kitties while she was upstairs or away from home.  It didn't work at all out of the box, which of course was very disappointing.  I followed their directions in case of trouble, and fired off an email to their customer support describing my problem.  Then I went to bed.  This morning when I got up, I had a very nice email from Connie – directly reassuring me that if the camera really didn't work they'd send out a new one.  But first, she asked if I could try an alternative microUSB cable.  I did, and that solved the problem.  I let Connie know, and instantly she reimbursed me for the cost of the replacement cable.  Very nice service, and about as easy a problem resolution as I could imagine.  What makes it even more impressive is that the company (Wansview) is in China, as is Connie, and she's Chinese.  Her English was excellent (as so often is not the case), and her service attitude admirable.  Kudos! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Paradise ponders: first air and fallen kittens edition...

Paradise ponders: first air and fallen kittens edition...  I made good progress on my temperature moderation project yesterday.  The first photo below shows the door (a hatch, really) for the plenum box I finished yesterday, and the next photo shows it installed, with chest latches holding it in place.  The last photo shows the completed plenum box, with the flexible duct leading up to the boot (and on the other side, the grill for first floor air to get into my office).  When I light it off, I can't hear the fan at all – wonderful!  Last night I left the fan going all night with the second-floor heater turned off.  When I checked it out this morning, my office temperature was 64°F, same as my first floor.  That wasn't really much of a test, though, as the coldest it got outside was 55°F!  :)  Tomorrow night it's forecast to get down to 20°F – that will be a real test!


This morning, as I was drinking my morning tea, Debbie called up from the cattery, saying there was something there I needed to see.  That turned out to be a little kitten, to all appearances healthy except for a complete lack of body fat – that little thing was hungry.  Small as it is, it put away two cans of wet cat food in mere seconds.  Debbie found it in the well of one of our basement windows – apparently it wandered over to our house, perhaps attracted to our cats visible in the basement windows, and tumbled down.  You can see in the photo at right just how small it is.  We don't know if it's male or female yet; we're waiting for it to settle down a bit before we handle it too much.  It's already accepting being held and stroked, so I don't think that's going to take long.  It's going to the vet next Tuesday for a checkup, and of course we're hoping it's FeLV negative...