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DayCreek Journal

May 9 , 2004

The Angels are Bowling

I'm a little delinquent (I've been called that before) in getting the journal out. Usually I try to do it on weekends, but I was quite busy doing my best to work on the solar panels in between the thunderstorms. It certainly has been quite stormy here lately with frequent heavy rains, hail and damaging winds. It's pretty much the normal routine here in Minnesota during the spring and summer.

This couldn't have come at a better time for the farmers though, but as usual it's either feast or famine. The rain gauge here has recorded over two inches in the past three days, but other areas have received over six inches.

The thunderstorms have been occurring mainly overnight and for light sleepers like myself, it's been hard to get a full night's rest. Since I have been working the night shift, I figured I would take some lightning photographs. The trick to lightning photography is not to over or under expose the image. This is sometimes frustrating depending upon the proximity of the lightning and the conditions are always changing. Plus, most of the lightning in these parts is shrouded in rain, blocking the actual bolt from the viewer. But sometimes you get lucky— especially when there's a "close one."

For the past three nights, I've experienced storms that have produced nearly continuous lightning. It is quite a display of nature to be sure. If we could only harness some of that energy! Maybe I should build some kind of a tower with electrodes and hire a helping hand named "Igor." (Or is it pronounced eye-gor.)

Solar Panel Update
I worked until 8:30 PM on Sunday, but I finally got all 28 panels up and mounted. The second rack went a bit easier, but it still was a lot of work. 24 post holes were filled with cement. It took 21 bags of portland cement, 4.5 cu.yards of gravel and a bunch of sand. It was without a doubt a lot of labor, but I really don't mind it—it's good exercise. I would much rather being doing this than sitting behind a desk somewhere.

The next phases of the project are to trench the electric lines from the racks to the inverters and from the inverters to the house. With all of the recent rain, I may wait a few days to see if we get a break in the weather. (So far, it doesn't look promising.) If the weather doesn't cooperate, I will start building the enclosure for the inverters. Since the inverters will be outside, I want to make sure they are adequately protected from the weather and most of all, Asian Beetles. Asian Beetles are of course, my nemesis. (So are Box Elders, but they don't fit into small crevices like the beetles do.)

There's still lots to do, but I am optimistic that I should have things completed by the end of the month. June will find me getting back to building cordwood walls. (I hope.)

A Rose-Breasted Grosbeak stops on by for a visit.