Friday, February 29, 2008

There's "Snow" time like now..

Woke up this morning to a blizzard with about a half a foot of snow accumulation. There is a strong East wind blowing also so that means the driveway and road are drifting over. I was thinking yesterday that I probably won't need to clear the snow anymore. Maybe not.



We were off to Vanderhoof today to meet the UPS delivery person to get some truck parts we had ordered on Ebay. UPS only delivers to our area once a week and I wanted to work on the truck this weekend. However I think I will wait for the delivery on Monday. We payed 30$ to have it delivered so they should probably earn their money.

So today it's back to coding in the office. We've run into some problems with Vista and are having to re write our code to fix it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

Kinda, well maybe in 10 days or so. I have been having problems with seeing the monitors. The back of my neck is sore from raising my head so I can see out the bottom of my gradiated bifocal glasses. It's been four years since I had my eyeballs checked so time to do it. We're off to Burns Lake now to the optometrist.

Just when I was starting to plan the garden project ( having bought some seeds at the local Safeway) We were faced with full blown snowstorm. I about to take a picture of the mud starting to show in the driveway. That will have to wait for another day. Well, here's what it looked like.



Time to get another work computer. The old 800 mhz machine I do my developing on is getting a little long in the tooth. I have been doing some research on apple Mac Pro's But I have lived in an Intel/Microsoft world for so long it seems like a waste to not use all the software I have now. Of course, with Vista, I have to upgrade everything anyway. Not an inexpensive Project.

I am writing this blog from my laptop via linux Ubuntu installed from Wubi. If you ever wanted to try Linux but felt daunted by the install process give Wubi a try. I have Ubuntu set up with the avant windows manager to look and feel like a Mac.

So Whats your definition of a lap Dog?



Time to run out the door. (And slide on the water slicked ice).

Hope you have a great day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What "Eggzacly" is the problem

We've had ginormous eggs before but never one this small. Maybe the chicken that was laying the giant eggs finally got worn out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SaaS me will you?

If you haven't heard that term you probably will in the near future.  It's the way software is being sold.  Like most things if you think about it for a minute, we don't buy things anymore, we purchase subscriptions.

So that's something I am looking into now.  Seeing it's too cold to do the garden.  Making our software available as a service.  In other words you would "rent" the software for as long as you need it.  The advantage to us is that it is easier to keep it updated.  To our customers it could mean that their data is "autoMagically" backed up.

It's a beautiful clear day. This is an aerial photo of the place taken about 10 years ago during the summer.

xanadu_aerial_1200dpi

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hello, any one out there?

The internet just came up! Well, our portion of it anyway. We get a highspeed internet connection via a tower on a mountain 17 kilometres away. So when something goes wrong it is quite a trip for the guys to skidoo up the mountain to get at the tower.

It couldn't have happened at a worse time. I had customers I needed to dial in to and we had some online stuff that was costing money not to get done.

Five days without the internet. It's got us thinking about a two way satellite system. We keep hearing rumours about Telus or Rogers but so far just not enough customers to make it worth their while.

After a week of 0c when we got up this morning it was -12c. A more familiar temperature for this time of year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Singin' in the Rain

I went into town and had the local Autosense shop fix me up with a replacement main hydraulic hose for the skid-steer. On the way back I drove through a rainstorm! Go Figure. It's plus 5c and the water is pouring off of the roofs with a heavy chinook wind blowing. that's like a 31 degree rise in temperature in a couple of days.

I got the skidsteer back in operation and managed to get the yard cleaned out. I got stuck last night in my round about, coming home from Stellaquo and had to shovel my self out as the Skidsteer wasn't going yet.

Hopefully that will be the last of the snow fall, but as Jo-Ann points out: it snowed a lot later than this last year.

Hope springs eternal. Our friend, Audrey, just faxed me her seed order for the year.
Time to start thinking about gardening.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Snow Bound

Even tho the temperature dropped to -26 we had a two foot dump of snow over two days. The two days right after the YRB grader made it up our driveway. However he came back yesterday and pushed did the driveway again, pushing 6 foot drifts out of the way on the upper road.

I tried to no avail to get the skidsteer started to clear the couple hundred yards to our top gate - where the grader stopped as he doesn't come in the yard. After removing the fuel filter I noticed that it had big rust clumps in it. Also the block heater had packed it in. Although it had warmed to -16 there was no starting it.

Today were going to bash a trail with the Toyota to the cleared driveway and make it to town for some victuals and new fuel filter and block heater. The snow should be light enought that I don't have to chain up.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Bump In The Road

On the way home last night I ran into the Bump in the road. It is almost like a fixture on Savory Road. Every January there are three bumps that arise about a kilometer from our driveway. They seem to be where there are underground springs that freeze up and expand. The largest one covers the whole road from side to side and is about a foot high.

Suddenly, the thought crossed my mind: "They ought to do something about that bump." By now, I know I am on spiritually precarious ground when I use the word "They" in the context that some one else owns the problem. It's not like I don't have options. Slowing down to second gear adds about five seconds to the trip. Funny how five seconds can seem like a serious amount of time. Especially when I am in a hurry to get home and relax. Now there's a sentence. In a hurry to relax... I think a lot of problems I have seem to have a natural rhythm to them. Too fast and they can be jarring. The right pace and they are just a little bump in the road.

As it was, when I got to our upper driveway around 10 p.m. the 50 Kph winds had drifted it over with four foot packed drifts and I got completely cemented in, a couple of hundred yards from the house. It was a clear night, I was dressed appropriately, my snazzy hat light and touch light were working, and I enjoyed the walk. My side line fantasy about trekking towards ice station Zebra in a full blown arctic gale broken when my dog Xena came running out to show me the way home. Happy to see me.

And I wasn't in a hurry anymore.

Here I am this morning, digging out the truck with the skid steer....

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Cat's Meow

My brain is working on a database problem. Well, solution actually. As it likes to do from time to time, it sends me off to do something else while it's working. To get out of the way, as it were.

I am rewiring parts of the house to provide more outside outlets and an emergency lighting and backup power system. Eventually, I want to have the computer rooms all powered from battery backups via an inverter. We have notoriously bad power here, with spikes and brownouts a daily occurance. Using a battery/inverter system will provide an industrial strength power conditioner and UPS for our working computers.

I decided to add some outlets to the front of the house. We don't have enough and the one we do have needed to be extended by an inch and a half to account for the rigid foam insulation we used to insulate the floor joists. I have some electrician friends and my ego just couldn't stand them seeing the plethora of extension cords snaking around the house. In a former life I was an electrican for Pete's sake! I could have just slapped on some ready made surface mounted GFI's but they are kind of ugly not to mention expensive. I opted instead to put two inch electrical boxes in 12" X 14" half round logs. Looks a lot nicer seeing we live in a log house.

This demanded cleaning out the workshop. I am also in the middle of rebuilding a 10" table saw and it's parts were all over my 8' X 8' work table.

As an aside, it was also time to get our shop cat, Boose, back to her stomping grounds. She hasn't been fitting in well with the other three house cats. Blackie, the undisputed, master picked on her mercillessly. He even chewed a bit of her ear. Well, to Boose it was like going home. Nice warm electric blanket to sleep on. Plenty of food and water and fresh litter. The occasional suicidal mouse. A wood fire going ( backed up with electric heaters ) and a lap to sit on and discuss project progress. Her own place. She let's me share it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

In Hot Water

The Chucks that is. With the cold snap showing no sighs of abatement I was having to bring the chicken watering can into the house to thaw it out and then fill it with hot water. While the run has a 250 Watt infrared lamp in it it still can get cold enough at the floor ( or straw ) to freeze up the watering jar. I insulated the can with several raps of mylar plastic bubble wrap using the home handymans new best friend, clear duct tape.

Works well. Just to be sure tho, I was at the feed store and purchased a heating pan that the watering jug is placed on. It is thermostatically controlled so that when it gets to freezing it comes on and keeps the water from freezing.

I also replaced the aging infrared lamp and the new one seems way brighter. Just to see how well everything was working at 11 p.m. last night, after the monthly Endako hall society social night, I peeked in. Imagine my surprise to see the chucks still up and enjoying the new light. They almost looked guilty when I opened the door. Honest dad, we were just going to bed...

I guess it's O.K. for them to stay up late on a Saturday night, as long as they keep laying eggs like this: