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Off the Bike

Getting things done : 59/100

This weekend was all about getting things done. Kate’s sister and 2 teenage daughters are going to visit with us later this week. So we wanted to have things nice for them. Of course we will practice safe distancing.

The first main project was getting the solar system wrapped up. We still needed to hang the 4 panels on the top of pole mount. Then we needed to tidy things up like the weeding and all the little things to make the place look less like a construction site.

Yesterday I posted about the weeding I did for the patio. We also made a run to the dump with the leftover construction junk from the drywall project. Today we tackled the solar panels and then focused on getting everything nice and tidy.

We waited 1 week to hang the panels on the pole to let the concrete cure. Today we assembled the top of pole mount which the panels were then hung from. The mount is remarkably light for its size and strength. It took us a few hours to get it assembled 7 feet up on the pole.

While this mount does not rotate to track the sun it does tilt depending on the season. In the summer, when the sun is higher in the northern hemisphere’s sky, the panels should be more parallel to the ground. In the winter, when the sun is lower, the panels should be more perpendicular to the ground.

There are a variety of methods for figuring out what angles are best. I like this site as it has a nice equation based on your latitude. The site also points out that while adjusting the panels for summer and winter gives a good amount of increased performance, adjusting it for each season(4 times a year) only returns marginal improvements. Based on its equation we should have the panels at 13 degrees from horizontal in summer, and 51.5 degrees from horizontal in winter.

The top of pole mount we have has 6 settings for tilt: 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, and 65 degrees from horizontal. So in the summer it will be set at 15 degrees and in the winter we can go either 45 or 55. 55 is closer to the equations number so we will give it a try this year. The date to change to summer tilt is March 30th, and for winter is September 10th. I have set calendar reminders to do this every year moving forward.

Once we had the panels hung and connected it was time to clean the place up. Kate and Bill took care of the inside of the cabin while I handled outside. The first thing I did was remove the weeds from around the cabin. I created a 3 to 5 foot area surrounding the building. Then I came back and sprayed a borax/water mixture to help prevent them from growing back. Personally I don’t like plants growing close to a building. They tend to grow into cracks and cause problems.

Once we had everything done the place looked great. We still need to put finishing trim in the windows and doors, but that is a project for down the road. For right now we are at a great stopping place and its time to relax and enjoy things.

Workout detail

I have been slacking on my regular workouts, but its all been supplemented by manual labor. Today was no different. Tomorrow I am taking my bike to a custom frame builder in Durango to repair the cracked weld. Hopefully I will have the bike back soon!

In other news, our local trail group has assigned trail sections for maintenance. This is their method for handling COVID but still having us maintain the trails. I have a 1.25 mile section of trail to cut brush back on and ensure the trail is in good condition. The section is pretty remote and above treeline. I will get to drive about 10 miles into the national forest and then hike a couple of miles to get to the section. I am really excited about this and will be sure to take photos and blog here about it.

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