The evening moonrise overlooking Echo Lake a few nights ago. There is still a lot of water that needs to recede, but we are getting close to starting our summer season at The Lodge. The lawn will be mowed today or tomorrow and we are looking forward to our first guests in a week.
I was planning on working on replacing the air conditioner with a newly purchased heat pump as well as finishing the install of the third and final ceiling pump, the weather here was so cold that I just didn’t want to work on top of the Airstream all day. We decided to focus our time on the sub-floor replacement and we found that much of the rotting sub-floor is due to a leak around the water heater that was installed by the previous owner. The floor essentially crumbles when touched. Unfortunately, the only way to get at the floor was to completely remove the water heater and start over with the install and sealing after the new floor is in. I decided to rip out the water lines as well and replace them with new since I was in this deep. After spending hours ripping out the rotten floor, grinding and priming the frame, we were finally able to get the new sub-floor in. What a chore! Insulation will be going in, then we will secure the sub-floor, reinstall or replace the water heater as well as replace the old water lines.
The water heater was a major cause of our rotten sub-floor. Leaks all around the install. Will probably just replace with new….
Sub-floor out and getting ready for replacement
Water heater out and now to remove the crumbling sub-floor…
Marine grade 3/4 inch plywood templated with cardboard and cut ready for install.
New sub-floor installed and looking awesome! Finally we can walk around without worrying about falling through the lower pan (which also needs to be replaced someday)…
Sub-floor in. The inner “skin” on the wall has a layer of latex paint and vinyl wall paper that I am in the process of stripping, another weekend warrior project that will take me weeks to complete, but the end result will look fabulous!)
Sunday’s challenge of the day (well actually one of many) was to eliminate some of the tree overgrowth in the backyard. One task was to take care of a birch tree that had grown over the back patio of the house. There were also a few tree limbs over the back yard immediately behind the lodge that needed to be trimmed back. Using the chainsaw is serious to me and I really try my best to be very safety conscious. I leave all the large tree cutting to the professionals and try to only cut up trees that have already fallen to the ground. Today, however, I was faced with a relatively simple task and decided that I could do this myself. It is interesting to note that I was on call last night (very sore from running the chainsaw the evening before) and had to look at a foot x-ray of an 85 year-old man. The history on the study read: 85 y/o male using a chainsaw to cut down a tree and branch fell on foot. Foot Pain.
In my mind, this x-ray does nothing more than justify my use of the chainsaw at the meager age of 50 and now I know that I have at least another 35 years to go before I need to consider hanging it up (the chainsaw that is). Looking forward to a few more chainsaw challenges in the years to come!
The birch tree falls within inches of the Airstream, exactly as I planned. Really!
Nearly complete with the birch tree removal and not one piece of it ended up damaging any persons or personal property!
Afterwards, a Sunday evening celebration at the nearby Smiling Moose Saloon where a live band was playing amazing classic rock! I smelled like gasoline and hadn’t yet showered after my chainsaw fun, but I was definitely the best dressed and probably the best smelling guy in the bar! Heaven!
During the long winter months, I’ve had time to do a lot of research on amateur radio satellites. This is something that has always been a mystery to me and I’ve never really had the resources or time to spend learning what I needed to learn in order to actually utilize them. Well that has changed.
I finally decided to purchase a high gain dual band hand-held UHF antenna along with a radio (or possibly two or three) that would finally provide me with the opportunity to do something I dreamt about since I was a teenager. I’m also hoping that this could be a fun activity during the summer weekends while camping. Perhaps I will be the only nerd even remotely interested in this while sitting around the campfire enjoying a beer at night, but at this point my life I’m totally fine with that.
The satellites have changed over the years and are actually easier to make contact with them they were when amateur satellites originated. So to that end I am hoping that on Tuesday or Wednesday I will have the final pieces of hardware needed to try my hand and talk to somebody thousands of miles away using somewhere between three and 5 W of power.
SO-50 Will be the first satellite that is flying overhead and I should be able to reach it Tuesday night at 8 PM. There is amazing software available now that makes it even easier to find the “birds” and know where they are while operating. Since they are a moving target hundreds of miles above the earth, it’s very important to know exactly where to point the antenna while operating. Wish me luck!
The first satellite opportunity I will have tomorrow night
An iPhone app that helps direct the antenna. Found this from an operator I chatted with on Twitter today. Makes me feel like I am in a Jedi Fighter!
The handheld antenna that will make everything happen (besides my hand holding the antenna and my other hand which will be on the radio)
Today I spent the majority of my time in the home office going through all my receipts and paperwork in preparation for taxes; one of my least favorite things to do. Luckily, Alexa was by my side keeping me company the entire day.
Alexa, hanging out in the home office
While I took this picture over a year ago while traveling in northern Wisconsin, it fairly depicts the morning drive to work during abundant new snow that started about an hour before leaving home. I really could use about two months less of the snowy weather, however days like this make living here worthwhile.
Recent snowfall at a farmstead in northern Wisconsin
After 3 years, the solar panels are going strong and making nearly all electricity utilized at The Lodge and residence! Return on investment is about 10 more years. After that all electricity generated will be free. NICE!!
Screen Capture from Today’s Monitoring Service
Had a problem with our fiber optic run between the tower and home, but was able to diagnose the problem utilizing a laser continuity tester. After one week, we are finally back online. Unfortunately we didn’t get this fixed until after I spent an evening of call in the hospital. Above is a view of the sunrise taken right after Internet was finally restored at The Lodge.
Spent much of the weekend working outside and getting prepared for the inevitable snow. As it turns out, I timed it perfectly. The first snow came on Saturday night, mere hours after the tasks were completed!
Installed the snow plow this morning. Ready for some action!
The Airstream was relocated near the pole shed in preparation for a new sub-floor to be installed this winter.
The first snow, early Sunday morning. Eventually we had over 3 inches of accumulation