After receiving a power bill of $1400 three months ago, $400 more than our normal $1000 bill, it was time to look at alternatives.
Without going primitive, the only viable option was solar.
We have been looking at it for a while but it always seemed too expensive. But with most things, over time the prices do eventually come down and now was the time to take the plunge but I am sure it will be even cheaper in the future.
So after looking at a number of different options - Chinese vs German vs Italian inverters, Chinese vs German vs Canadian panels - it was decided to go for a German Sunny Boy inverter and Canadian Solar panels. Then what size system and this was a matter of matching available funds against available systems and ended up with a 4 kW system.
Today was installation day and of course it was cloudy.
The installation team started at 8:00 am and had it all finished and connected by 11:30 am.
Even with the clouds, It was putting out enough to turn the electricity meter backwards - haven’t seen that before.
At the time of writing, we have generated 8 kW in 5 hours and that is with cloud cover so cant wait until the sun comes out.
I have wanted to get back to Yorke Peninsula and clean up more of the ever increasing geocaches that are appearing there. This weekend was my opportunity with Rachael and the Bleden Venturers looking for transport across to Yorkes for a different sort of clean-up weekend.
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) have a Marine Debris Survey Program that has been going for a few years and the Venturers offered to assist by doing a survey on Gleesons Landing and Daly Head Beach at the western side of Yorke Peninsula.
We finally made it to camp at 11:30 pm and the place was deserted which meant we had the pick of the campsites. The kids spent about 30 minutes setting up camp and were soon in bed. I was ready in 3 minutes since I was sleeping in the roof top tent. This gave me a chance to go for a wander around to the point and grab a geocache.
Saturday morning and making sure the kids were OK, it was time to hit the road. The plan today was to grab finds and do a lot of the walking geocaches in the Innes National Park. The temperatures were in the mid 20′s so perfect for some long hikes.
Considering the walks, I made 21 finds for the day and saw some spectacular coastline in the process. I had made my way across to Stansbury and camped there for the night. It was a little windy but slept well.
After picking up the kids, it was a quiet drive home as they all slept – they must have been tired.
It was a good weekend for them and me as well. Even our Japanese billet enjoyed the camping experience and I am sure she will remember her stay in Australia.
Today was a quiet sort of day. Being a Monday meant that it was a day off but I didn’t have a lot planned for the day.
8:00 am was the time my on call for the weekend ended so off with the magnetic roof lights until Wednesday when I am on call again. It was then school drop off time, taking Rachael to Blackwood High School.
After getting a $1400 electricity bill, solar is starting to look attractive. Had the first salesman come to go through the options, get up on the roof then give me the price. Have another couple of companies coming around next week. I can see a lot of confusion coming with all the different options of inverters and panels.
It was time for some chinese massage time on the lower back – one day it will be normal again. A long overdue haircut then back home for a couple of toasted cheese sandwiches and a coffee for lunch as well as get some pathtags ready to post to the US.
Being a Monday meant that Rachael finished school early at 2:25 pm – they never seem to be at school. Bradley has already finished his last high school exam and is getting ready for Schoolies.
Last task for the day was an inspection on our rental property to see what cost I am up for for repairs. Seems to be a lot of electrical stuff with some plumbing and painting. Hopefully it isn’t too much.
That is it for November 12 of 12 ….
This morning was spent logging the 46 finds from yesterday as well as submitting 4 new caches hidden while out yesterday. These 4 caches will form part of a series highlighting towns around South Australia that may be the location for the 2014 Oz Mega. The actual location is yet to be announced.
Jenny has been busy getting the pool ready for swimming but after the weather on Wednesday with hail, snow and rain, I am not sure that the Mother Nature is ready for the pool.
In the middle of our family room is a mountain of mess that has spewed out of Rachael’s suitcase. She has been back from Japan a week now – you would think that it would have found a home by now.
A visit to the post office to send off some pathtags to the US and pick up the mail. It was obvious that ETSA wanted to make sure that we knew there is a change to our power supply as there were 2 letters from them.
Tonight there was a family gathering to celebrate 5 birthdays on Jenny’s side of the fence. It was held at the Blackwood RSL. Given that it was a Friday night and we had booked in 40 people, the staffing would have been appropriate but it wasn’t and we had to wait 2.5 hours to get a meal. I was very hungry by the time it came. At least we had cake.
That’s it for Octobers 12 of 12.
With overcast conditions and low temperatures this morning including a little fog, it looked like it may not have been a good day on the slopes at Falls Creek. It was good that everyone else was thinking that as there were hardly anyone on the slopes.
Started on the Summit on some nice groomed runs where I managed to make my own tracks up until 10:30 am when the ski schools descended. Made our way back over the mountain but couldn’t quite find runs that would top the ones from this morning.
Around lunchtime the clouds parted and we had blue skies which was unexpected. Then the temperature dropped and the snow crusted up followed by snowfalls.
After doing 55 kms for the day it was time to call it quits today and head back to the Schuss Lodge.
We were never going to get another day like yesterday. Even though the skies were clear and it was sort of warm (8C), there was a wind that dropped the wind chill down to -5C. Also as the temperature didn’t drop below zero last night, the slopes didn’t start the day as well as previous days.
But you make do with what you have and we headed out a little earlier than other days to enjoy another spring day of skiing at Falls Creek. The plan was to start over on the Summit and move across the mountain finishing up at Main Street. This seemed to work yesterday well.
The plan changed slightly once we got to the top of the mountain. Rachael needed some video for a school project so a few runs down Main Street before heading to the Summit.
We made it over to the Summit earlier than yesterday but the conditions weren’t the same as they never groomed the mountain so it was very similar to what was left yesterday afternoon. A couple of runs here then we headed over to Ruined Castle and Scotts. This seemed to be the pick today.
Eventually the wind won and I headed back to the Schuss Lodge while Rachael went for her second snowboard lesson while Jenny pottered around with a Blackwood Mum who was on the mountain as well.
Tomorrow looks like it may have some fresh snow falling – I guess the sunny days couldn’t last forever but it has been a great week so far. That’s it for the September 12 of 12 …. with a bonus video
For our 2nd day in the snow, again it was a typical spring day with warmish weather (11C), clear skies and no wind.
We headed over to the Summit for the morning before spending the afternoon over at Scotts and Ruined Castle.
The snow held up a lot better today than yesterday and you could find somewhere to ski with reasonable snow up to around 3:00. A big day distance wise with 66kms on runs and lifts.
Rachael decided to try out snow boarding and it looks like that some more lessons are required.
Well after a 2 day drive, we have made it back to the snow at Falls Creek – and there is plenty of it. It has been said that it is the best in 8 years and I would have to concur it is pretty good for this late in the season. There is plenty of snow on the sides of the road coming up and the roads in the village are still covered. It has been quite a while that we haven’t been able to drive to our accommodation.
It is probably lucky that the roads are covered as the Lift company replaced all the Oversnow vehicles so they needed to recoup their outlay. I just wasn’t expecting to have to allow them to recoup their cost in the first year. They charged me for Rachael as an adult as they thought she looked older than 15. Not happy Jan
We arrived at our accommodation to find a lot of familiar faces staying in the lodge. We are almost becoming part of the furniture at Schuss Lodge. It has a great atmosphere and is a friendly lodge. One day we may even become members.
Today was our first day on the slopes and there was certainly a lot of snow. There were a lot of brown patches but it was not the dirt coming through but dust that blew over last week with the storms.
No matter what slope you chose the conditions were good but unfortunately the weather was warm (12C) so the snow became slushy around 1:30. Still managed to get in around 42 km of runs and lifts for the day so wasn’t too bad.
Another good day is in store for tomorrow.
Every now and then, due largely to the action of the seas on the surface of the earth, an extra second has to be slipped into the calendar because the earth’s rotation is being hindered by the friction. The days ARE getting longer. The latest one happened at 23:59:60 UTC on 30th June (09:29:60 CST July 1). One second later it was 00:00 (09:30:00 CST July 1).
The first leap second was in 1972 and the most recent in 2008.
So to see if we could feel it or see it I organised something of a flash mob event, Probably the World’s Shortest Event – 09:29:60 for the local Geocaching community.
And it was not a bad turnout for 9:30 am on a Sunday Morning with around 75 people turning up. This event was the first of a challenge today to get 10 different cache types culminating in a CITO Event, 10/10.
My personal tally was only 7 different types:
Traditional Cache - Life of the Beach – SLSSA Headquarters
Multi-Cache - Frequent Flier Mach Two
Mystery Cache - Nearly Gone
Wherigo Cache - Beware Drop Bears!!
Event Cache - Probably the World’s Shortest Event – 09:29:60
Cache In Trash Out Event - 10/10
Webcam Cache - Sailing the Web
To finish up the day, we had the family around for afternoon tea to celebrate Rachael’s 15th birthday (where did those years go)
It was a funny sort of day today. Bradley had his Year 12 formal last night and was needed to be picked up at 4:00 am. As I was on call, there was no guarantee I would be around the place so Jenny headed out to pick him up.
I had a few projects to do today.
The first project: Waeco Battery Pack. Our battery pack is a few years old and doesn’t hold the charge too well. A replacement is $335 so I bought a couple of replacement batteries for $150 but my soldering iron wasn’t up to the task. First stop was Jaycar Electronics for a soldering iron with more power and then replace the batteries. Both tasks completed OK.
Second Project: Sleeping Bag zip. One of our sleeping bags has had issues with the zip with the slide breaking. It should be easy enough to get a new zip slide. Headed to Spotlight but they only had zips. So grabbed a short zip with the right size zip and took the slide and put it on the sleeping bag. New slide on OK but there seems to be other issues with the zip.
On my travels, I returned the suit that Bradley wore last night for his formal. The suit had been hired from Ferrari Formal Wear.
It was a good afternoon to be out and about and there were a few new geocaches around the Edwardstown and Morphettville areas and I made 9 geocache finds. Even one down near Morphettville Racecourse while the historic race with Black Caviar was being run.
Third Project: Film Canisters. South Australia is starting to get a reputation of having geocaching power trails. These involve many geocaches hidden close together along a road in a country area. There may be 50 to many hundred geocaches in a power trail. I recently completed the ET Highway Power Trail in Nevada which had 1500 geocaches. I have plans for a couple of trails but not to the size of the ET Highway power trail. Today I readied 220 film canisters for this task. It involved printing log sheets and putting one in each canister, then printing labels and labeling each canister. Task complete now to go out and hide them