Monday, December 31, 2007

Feeding the Cat

We feed Specter every morning. Panda would like to help him/her eat the food but I think the cat outweighs the dog.

This is the cat in the cat condo we've provided for her. We have a camera mounted outside of her condo so that we may observer her without scaring her away. She is totally feral and we have never touched her. She will (sometimes) talk to me when I feed her but usually hisses when she first notices us. Notice how long it takes for her to respond to my call.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007



I received a camera for Christmas. This is my first attempt at video making.

Panda's First Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2007


Power To The People
Today, we installed the first set of four Kyocera 135-watt solar panels at the RJ Ranch. Later we will install three more sets, for a total of sixteen panels.
This first set will deliver 540 watts of power. After all panels are installed, the system will, on a nice sunny day, generate 2.1 Kilowatts of power, most of which will be sold back to the power company, thereby reducing our electric bill substantially.
We are also investigating the feasibility of adding both wind power and hydro power. Maybe in the near future the RJ Ranch might become a "Power Farmer."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Work in Progress

Roger continues to work on the solar panel installations. The temperature was mostly in the 20 for the past week so I think his stamina is admirable.

He dug the holes with the backhoe but had to clean out some of the ditches by hand. I have no actual photos of him working as I don't like the cold.

It took 12 - 14 bags of cement to fill up the one tube and most of the day to haul it, mix it and pour it. When Roger got in he told me that the other three posts were going to be done by the WSU Rowing Team. I wonder if they know what they're in for?

Since we only have four panels and all four will be put on one post there is no real hurry to get the other posts done until the other solar panels arrive.

When Roger was finished pouring and hooking up some of the pipe he was going to back fill some of the ditches. However, remembering that he used a backhoe to dig the trenches (because of the rocks) we (and I use that term figuratively) are going to use a bulldozer to fill them back in. Roger is such a trooper.

It will be nice when everything is up and running.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Clothes

Panda has a new coat. I'm not sure she particularly likes it though.

We introduced her to deep snow today. At first I think she liked it less than the coat.

But, then she saw the birds and she quickly forgot about snow up to her belly.

Of course in this photo she's standing under one of the large fir trees.

And, she didn't even seem to mind the fact that the fur on her stomach was caked with it.

I think or city Foo Foo dog is becoming a Country Bumpkin.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Major Gophers... (aka 'I Dig Solar')

Friday morning bright and early Roger rented an auger from the local equipment supply rental dealer. The auger was intended to facilitate the digging of the holes to accommodate the poles that will support the four solar panels we have had in the barn for about a year now. (No, it's not a NEW project.)

I went out to check on his progress after he had been 'at it' for a couple of hours. There he was diligently digging away (sort of).

Evidently, our little vista on the east side of the barn is mostly land fill. Though there soft places (evidenced by the tree we planted last year) most of the ground is filled with rocks; big rocks.

I watched him for a few minutes and snapped the photos below. At times it seemed that the people in China had a grip on the drilling end of the auger and were trying to pull it out on their side. At other times the machine; the part Roger is holding on to, tipped up in the air. Someone in the Far East must have really wanted to use it.

He's not getting very far.

The holes need to be 4' deep. After an hour this one is less than two.

Evidently this was not going to work. So, Mr. Auger went back on his trailer and back to the equipment rental facility.

Roger returned about 45 minutes later with (what shall we say) a bigger and better mouse trap.

Now, this is more like it.
Roger tells me there was a slight learning curve in using the backhoe. There are a couple of levers that need to be worked independently but in sequence in order to get the machine to do what you want it to do. One lever lowers and raises the arm of the machine. The other lever operates the bucket.

Sometimes after gathering the dirt in the bucket but, before he moved the arm away from the hole he dumped the dirt back into the hole... Oops!

It took him the rest of Friday and a good part of Saturday but, we have some very deep holes and trenches ready to be filled with poles, concrete and dirt.

You need to appreciate the fact that both days were very foggy and the temperature was in the 20's. We're lucky Roger didn't freeze in mid scoop. Last night it got down to 15.

We hope that the ground will not freeze before he is able to get at least one pole set and the hole filled with cement; just to see what it looks like. We will cover the rest over with the remaining metal from the barn and wait for the Spring thaw.

Does anyone need an experienced backhoe operator?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Falling into Winter

It's been a busy time here on the RJ Ranch. We had some of the family over for Thanksgiving. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it. I think there is just too much time between visits.

A great time was had by all and everyone returned home safely.

Here Bryan is helping Lyla with her piano practice. She may not be Mozart yet but she's a star in my book.

After Patrick and Lori went home I had a chance to hold Lyla. She is such a sweet baby.

I left on Friday November 30 headed for California where I picked up the newest member of our family.

This is Panda. She will be a year old on December 27th.

This is me trying to keep up with Panda. What a great workout.

Panda had her first bath on Thursday. I don't think she liked it.

It's been so cold here she shivers each time so goes outdoors so I knitted her a sweater to wear.

I don't think she likes it either.

Neither do I.

While I was in California I had the chance to for a very short visit with my Mother, sister, my children and grand-children.

Lillie Tiffany and Samantha

Lillie & Samantha

Tiff and Lillie

Lillie is the princess and Sam likes to collect bugs. Sam is taking tap dancing lessons and Lillie gets to play along. Hopefully, they will be collecting bugs and tap dancing in Washington soon.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?