No longer in use as of today.


I’ve got Debian Lenny installing on the NSLU2 right now with a four Gig USB flash drive.
Hardware specs:
The device has two USB 2.0 ports for connecting hard disks and uses an ARM-compatible Intel XScale IXP420 CPU. In models manufactured prior to around April 2006, Linksys had underclocked the processor to 133 MHz, though a simple hardware modification to remove this restriction is possible. The device includes 32 MB of SDRAM, and 8 MB of Flash memory. It also has a 100 megabit Ethernet network connection. The NSLU2 is fanless, making it completely silent.
This should make a decent low power server for my weather station and cameras. Its been about two hours and two more to go before it completes.
I used this site for the instructions.

December 31, 2013 and this is pretty much out of service. No fault of the NSLU2 but the weather station I…

View original post 68 more words

Solar Panel Angle

I used Macslab to calculate the angle for my panels.

42.9 Latitude for Canajoharie, NY.

If your latitude is between 25° and 50°, use the latitude, times 0.76, plus 3.1 degrees.

So my angle should be 35.70 for fixed panels. if I adjust my panels twice a year I can get a better charge using the formula below.

If your latitude is between 25° and 50°, then the best tilt angle for summer is the latitude, times 0.93, minus 21 degrees. The best tilt angle for winter is the latitude, times 0.875, plus 19.2 degrees.

Summer 18.897

Winter 56.7375


Right now I have them hanging on the side of the shed at a ninety degree angle.

My idea is to use a pole that I have, a satellite dish mount and some scrap metal for the frame. Unfortunately this will have to wait for spring to really get setup and going. This also gives me the advantage of being able to move this to follow the sun from East to West.

Solar Panel Progress

I used an old battery from the lawn tractor, it was having a tough time turning the tractor over but seems to do okay powering a couple lights until I can get a group 29 marine battery from Walmart.

From Harbor Freight Solar Panel setup December 1, 2013

The panels are on the side of the shed until the weather gets better and I move them up on the roof.

From Harbor Freight Solar Panel setup December 1, 2013

Below is a shot of one of the CFL bulbs that came with the kit, these have a burn life of three hundred hours so I imagine I may have to replace them before next fall.

From Harbor Freight Solar Panel setup December 1, 2013

December 28th and I tried the lights out at night, worked exactly as desired.

Mortise and Tenon joints

Years ago when I was just a small boy, living in that trailer on Mineral Springs Road across the driveway from my grandparents, my Grandfather Smith got a set of chisels and started making things. The only thing I know of that survived is a small coffee table with mortise and tenon joints and a rough chair that was made with a chainsaw. My brother has that table now, hopefully he is getting good use of it.
No metal nails or screws were used in this everything was glued together and held by the strength of the joints, similar to an old Dutch barn.

Was my grandfather experiencing something like what I am now way back then? I am probably about the age he was then and I feel like I should be doing things that I can see the results of the work.

Dick Proenneke videos of interest. I doubt I am going to turn 51 and move to Alaska to build my own cabin by hand, while living off the land but I think maybe I sort of understand.

That old chair is pictured below.

From December 25, 2013 Chair


I am a ham handed dumb ass

I must confess, I should pay someone else to do any work. Last week while returning home from work on the New York State Thruway my wife’s 2004 Chevrolet Aveo spewed forth all of its coolant just West of exit 25A. The OEM housing split into two pieces after 90,000 miles.

I ordered parts from Amazon and noticed the replacement was two pieces and made of pot metal not the original plastic. I checked Advance Auto Parts and they had the same piece for $41 plus tax, Amazon was $22.63 with tax and Amazon Prime shipping in two days. Same manufacturer same everything so Amazon wins.
Thursday night I decided to try bolting it on the car, what a cluster.
Those little pieces shaped like a D are the ears that once were attached to the housing. I have broken three of four. See that little o ring there? I failed to remove the original one before putting the new one on. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I ordered a new one from Amazon tonight and it should arrive early next week. Just in time for me to install this on Christmas day.
Littered in broken parts and dreams. The one nearest the camera is the original plastic housing with its o ring laying on top of it. The quarter inch drive and ratchet were the tool of choice for the wreckage.
The port on the block where this connects minus the o ring.
So long story short this should cost me about the same as buying the part locally and if I break two more of these it’ll cost about the same as paying someone else to do it.
I got the new part in December 24th and bolted it on the car without breaking it. Burped the coolant system and took it for a thirty mile test drive. Then drove it about eighty miles that night with no problems yet.

Mushrooms in the woods

Can anyone identify these for me and tell me what they are? I think they might be chicken of the woods but they are growing on a downed log that might be hickory or some hemlock.
A quick glance through Cornell returned this link, which indicates to avoid them if it is growing on an evergreen. “Be wary of Chickens growing on conifers (in the Northeast) as they are a different species and can cause poisoning. Chicken of the Woods can make a fine chicken substitute as long as you make sure to fully cook the mushroom.” I am in the Northeast, so I suppose I need to go back and see what these were growing on.

Big Al

When I lived in Schenectady we had different neighbors over the twenty years there. The last one just before we left was Big Al. He was one serious piece of work. I’d come home and find him on the front steps silver paint on his face from the can he was huffing. He said he worked at a group home with kids but I don’t think he was ever away from the house that long.
In the evening his buddies would show up and hang with him on the porch. Music banging out from a red Nissan Four Runner and the windows in every house on the block shaking. Sunday morning after the party was over I’d come out and pick up the bottles and baggies from the front yard. I was miserable those months when Big Al lived next to me.
I’d come home every night and there is Big Al sitting on the porch steps stoned out of his mind. He’d say hello to me and I’d say hello back, neither of us very friendly. In the middle of the night I’d look out in my driveway  between the two houses and Big Al’s buddy with the BMW would be tucked up in there out of site and they’d be sitting in the car conducting their business.
Every now and then Big Al and his girlfriend would fight loudly with the windows open, the baby would cry and they’d shout at each other. We’d had worse neighbors for the fighting but these two really set the bar for the drug dealing.

One day a pair of sneakers showed up draped over the power lines going to the house. Pat from across the street took them down and two days later a new pair of sneakers was back up on the wires, this time pink high heeled sneakers. Young kids twelve or thirteen years old would stop by and get their “stuff” from Big Al. He always had a little something for his customers.
Big Al’s friends all wore red shirts and caps like a uniform. The one kid had a pit bull that he would bring just for company. The dog had a nice spike collar and the kid had a tough time keeping him on the leash, but I never saw the dog get loose.
Neighbors would call the cops on the noise and they’d say they couldn’t do anything unless it continued after eleven O’clock when the noise ordinance would kick in. Neighbors would call the cops on the drug dealing but unless someone filed an official complaint they weren’t interested in doing anything more than lending a sympathetic ear. This was around the corner from Steinmetz Middle School (renamed Cities in Schools or some such thing), within site of the signs that say drug free school zone. Those signs were real useful. The Schenectady Police Department was about as useless as tits on a bull.
One Sunday morning after a particularly boisterous Saturday night I came out to a huge pile of garbage in my front yard. It looked like a couple of trash bags had exploded right there. It turned out that Pat across the street had come out early and picked up all the garbage from the night before shoved it in a  couple of bags and thrown them in the open front door of Big Al’s apartment. Big Al’s girlfriend came down the stairs found this mess started crying and went to Big Al who made the assumption that I had gathered all the trash up and thrown it into his front hallway. In his rage he took all the trash and threw it in my yard. I couldn’t blame him for coming to this conclusion because he was aware I wasn’t pleased with him, but I swear it wasn’t me.
Pat from across the street saw what happened and came out told me not to worry he would get it cleaned up since he had caused the issue and told me to take the wife and go get breakfast. I don’t really blame pat for any of this as I was probably thinking of doing something similar to throwing it all in the front door, maybe setting it on fire once I got it in there. I got back from breakfast and Pat is sitting across the street smoking a joint that Big Al gave him after they worked something out. All I really know is my yard was clean again.
Things like this went on for a few more weeks but we saw an eviction notice on the front door of Big Al’s apartment. Then about a month later the final eviction notice was tacked to the front door by the Sheriffs department. I hate to say it but I did find some pleasure in his misfortune.
I had a camera setup that I could use to watch the house while I was at work and the day I saw Big Al, the girlfriend and the baby headed down the street with all their stuff in tow I celebrated. It had been six long months of Big Al holding the neighborhood hostage.
That night I came home and the kids across the street were out front playing basketball for the first time that summer, people were out on their porches and the whole neighborhood felt transformed.
Big Al couldn’t have gone far as they left on foot but it was far enough away I didn’t have to deal with him anymore. About a week later I was out front mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges a couple of young guys about fifteen years old came and sat on Big Al’s porch waiting for Big Al. I let them sit there and went about my business for about an hour. Finally as I finished up I asked what they were doing the one kid told me waiting for Al. I sadly told them Big Al had moved about a week ago. The older of the two griped “how come we are always the last to know”? I smiled and drug my bag of lawn clippings back up the driveway to the garage as they walked away.
Some time in the next couple of weeks the landlord came by with a couple of young guys and cleaned out the apartment. For two weeks they dragged stuff down to the curb and filled it. Six feet tall, two feet wide and thirty feet long two weeks for trash pick up and a couple of truck loads that they hauled away on their own. Every door in that apartment had holes punched in them and I don’t believe Big Al ever took the trash out once while he lived there.

Harbor Freight Solar Panels

I got a set of Harbor Freight Solar Panels and started to set them up for use over at the cabin/shed.

I am thinking I’ll mount this on the side of the shed and make the bottom tilt out away from the shed to get the right angle for the sun.

Mounted and screwed down so they don’t move around in the winter winds. When I get this completed the bottom will come out away from the shed.

Sourdough Bread starter

 I’m trying to make my own sourdough starter, I’ll try and document it here as I go along.
Day two with the starter on top of the fridge in a Rubbermaid bowl with the cover on loosely.

Day Three
Day Four

A little further along

The Finished Product

Day One

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (4 ounces)
1/2 cup of filtered or spring water (4 ounces)
a large container (at least 2-3 quarts) with a lid (glass or plastic, avoid metal).
I used a rye flour that mom had picked up over in Jordanville, NY, from a small Amish operation that grinds their own flour and I also added a little yeast as this recipe seems way simpler than most of the ones I’ve seen.
Combine the flour and water in the container until all the flour has been absorbed and there are no more dry particles. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and cover. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day Two
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (4 ounces)
1/2 cup of filtered or spring water (4 ounces)
Mix it in, I had bubbles going and a slight odor of fermentation by now.
Day three and four repeat adding in the flour and water.

Day Five
The starter should be ready for use in a recipe now.

King Arthur Flour recipe for starter.
Sourdough starter with pineapple juice.