February 2019

Maintenance-free Batteries

We had our new batteries on site for a month before I had the time and the weather was cooperating enough so that I could install them. What a diffrrence they make.  We didn’t have to run the generator all week!  The previous batteries seemed to need generator charging every other day this time of year.  This will save us the hassle of charging with a generator but most of all

save us alot of propane fuel and also the wear on the generator. 

The maintenance free feature of these batteries means there is no need to check on them every 4-6 weeks and add distilled water.

The new batteries are made by Rolls in Nova Scotia. Surrette/Rolls have been around for about 50 years  They have a reputation in North America to be one of the top lead acid batteries available on the market. They are quality batteries that perform.

We have (8) 6 volt, 415 AmpHour batteries connected to give us 24 volts at 830Ah.

I connected four batteries in series (positive of one to the negative of the next). When you connect in series the voltage adds and the capacity remains the same.  I connected the second four batteries the same way.  I now had two groups of batteries wired to give 24 volts and each group had 415 Ah of energy.  I then connected the two groups of four batteries together in parallel.  A parallel connection in when you connect positive to positive.  This keeps the voltage the same but the capacity adds. 

 

New batteries in place

Straw and more straw

Going thru the straw!

I had to travel for work and was gone for over a week. It was very cold when I was away and my wife added straw every day in the duck pen. How much straw you ask?  Well I can’t stand up inside the pen anymore without hitting my head, and the ducks slide out of their house in the morning when we let them out. At least they're not behaving like they are cold. 🦆 My wife says they are happy and warm! Snuggly ducks! 

The egg laying has begun!

The ducks didn't lay any eggs during the month of January except on New Year’s day.

They didn't lay any in the first two weeks of February until the other day. We collected 3 eggs in the past 7 days!

The daylight hours are getting longer and this stimulates egg production.  Today’s egg was the largest one yet!!  Looking forward to a duck egg omelet!🦆 🍳

Electric Chainsaws

I’m seriously considering buying a cordless chainsaw! There are several ones that have good ratings.  Makita has had a cordless chainsaw for a very long time.  It has good reviews. Sthil has a cordless line which are suppose to be good.  Sthil make great gas powered saws so I am thinking that their cordless will be similar.  Then there is my favorite brand of cordless tools... Milwaukee. They also have a chainsaw available that takes the same batteries as my cordless set. There is a huge advantage with sticking with the same brand.  I will have several spare batteries to use in the saw.

Makita

Stihl

Milwaukee

A Homesteading Friend

I met with a friend  yesterday for a coffee... I actually don’t drink coffee so I had a tea... just saying.

Anyways... my wife works with him and last year suggested we meet as she thought we might get along... which we do.  He and his family are homesteading in the “Valley” which is a beautiful part of the province about 2 hours away.  I think they just started getting serious about this a few years ago and already they have over 25 chickens, 2 pigs, a few goats, oh ya and several thousand bees.  That is awesome!

First time trying a grow light

I bought an LED grow light that has both red and blue spectrum lights.  The blue will help with seed germination and root development. The red helps with stem and leaf growth. There are switches for each of the two colors so that they can be run independently.  Once the seedlings are growing well you can have both lights on together which helps with flower and or fruit development.

Grow light in position!

The sowing begins!

Started 28 sweet pepper plants off from seed today and 6 red chilli peppers.  The patio door and upper windows are facing west.  Once the days get longer i shouldn’t need the grow light but for now it might be a good idea.  The light only uses 19W which is low and that is good. We are off grid and power consumption matters alot.

Garden Plans

We made our garden plans today.  The weather turned bad (snow and 90km wind gusts) just after lunch so it was a good time to work on some spring garden planning. 

We are hoping to have 6 cucumber plants, 4 zucchini, 12 tomato (1/2 being Tiny Tims and the rest Scotia Gold). 3 pumpkin, 8 broccoli, 3 watermelon, 6 hot peppers, 40 sweet peppers, carrots, 15 or so rutebega, some radish, onions and about 120 potato plants.   Almost forgot the 20 foot row of snap peas and two  20 foot rows of green beans.  If we have room I would like to plant a 10 foot by 10 foot area of corn. There is also some lettuce and spinach in there somewhere.

 

Major change in climate coming

I posted something in December about climate change.  (Climate change is real, “global warming” is a lie.) I mentioned of the coming magnetic pole flip and weakening magnetic field.  There are also many scientists that think we are headed into a mini iceage.  Don’t let the word “mini” take away from its severity. Take some time and do some research on the coming pole flip, our weakening magnetic shield, “grand solar minimum” that we have started into and the coming mini ice age.

Our Magnetic Field

Earth’s Magnetic Shield

Whether you believe it or not the earth has a magnetic shield that is very important to our everyday life.  The magnetic shield helps protect the planet, and it’s occupants (that’s us) from some of the sun’s dangerous electromagnetic radiation. 

When the poles are about to flip, which they do every 200,000 to 300,000 years, the magnetic field is thought to weaken as it is doing now.  The problem is the last pole flip happened 780,000 years ago, so we are very much overdue.  

The magnetic poles are not aligned with the axis of rotation of the earth.  This causes “magnetic declination” and is why a compass reading has to be corrected to get the true bearing.  Magnetic declination is different depending on where you live geographically.  The magnetic declination of Espanola ON for example is around 10 degrees “west” whereas the declination of Halifax is closer to 20 degrees. Edmonton however has a declination of 14 degrees “east”.  Not only does the declination vary depending on where you are but it also is always changing because the magnetic poles are moving or “drifting”.  The north and south poles have moved so much in the last few years that the military has requested an update ahead of schedule. The south pole is not even on land anymore!  The continent of Antarctica which is very large, is located at the geographical South Pole. The magnetic south pole has moved so much it is not on land anymore but instead on the ocean.

In the image shown below the thin blue line is the axis of rotation of the earth. The thicker red line shows the magnetic pole axis.  Notice that they are not in the same place. 

Geographic & Magnetic North