Allou brings the stank
Tuesday, December 11 2012
Our friend Nancy has a friend named Kate whom she knows from the world of graphic design (or so I think). Gretchen coincidentally befriended Kate recently while preparing to become a literacy volunteer. Today, Nancy and Kate came over to our house with dogs to go for a big walk in the forest. Nancy brought Deborah's dog Allou (whom she often dog-sits), while Kate brought her dog Sophie, a big elegant orangish-yellow mutt with the head of a fox. Gretchen baked scones, which she set out to cool during the dog walk.
When everyone came back from the forest, Allou stank of excrement and had big greenish-grey splotches on the sides of his neck and on his head. He'd rolled in something extremely foul. I didn't say it at the time because I didn't want to gross anyone out more than they already were, but my guess, based on its familiar fragrance, was that he'd rolled in hunter shit (which Ramona or Eleanor would have eaten instead). The ladies were all freaking out about the situation, so I took charge. I grabbed Allou by the collar and used a random nearby paintbrush and standing water from a nearby bucket to scrub the worst of the shit away. By the time I'd taken care of that, Gretchen had found me some soap. But whatever Allou had rolled in was not going to give up its stank easily. Beyond a certain point, there was nothing obvious left to scrub away, but Allou still smelled like shit. So we put him out on the east deck while we drank coffee and ate those scones. By this point some of that stink was on my hands and there was nothing I could do to scrub it away.
In the midst of all of that chaos, our housecall vet came by to gather a urine sample from Marie (aka "the Baby") to see if she had arrived yet at kidney failure (she hadn't, though she did appear to have a nasty abscessed tooth).
With all those cars stacked up in our driveway, the UPS woman showed up to deliver a package. And then she came back later thinking she'd delivered the wrong package, though she hadn't. By this point the dogs (all five of them) had given up at barking at her (and she'd probably run out of dog treats).
Nancy came back later in the day with Ray so they could gather this year's Christmas tree (it being the third year of their coming to our place for their tree). As always, we had plenty of White Pine trees (and a few Eastern Junipers) on our septic field. They're all spindly Charlie Brown Christmas trees, though I've thickened a few of them by pruning last winter (something I did just for Ray). At some point we stopped looking for trees and went on a tour of the nearby greenhouse upstairs, which Ray hadn't seen in months. It was about 77 degrees Fahrenheit in there (at least 35 degrees warmer than the outdoors), and it was so comfy on the futon, after Ray and Nancy sat down, they weren't in any hurry to get up. Neither was Ramona, who stayed behind after we left and continued enjoying the solar heat as Ray finally decided on a tree. I gave him a couple additional skinny trees to add to the pruning-thickened one I suggested (one could zip-tie two thin trees together to make a seemingly-thicker combo).
The reason I bought a replacement for my Ambient Weather WS-1090 is that the new weather station (a Meade TE923W-M weather station) can monitor five separate thermometer radio transmitters. I'd like to be able to graph the temperatures of the greenhouse upstairs, downstairs, and brownhouse over time to see how passive solar absorption, thermal mass, and insulation cause their interior temperatures to differ from the normal ups and downs of outdoor temperatures. But it turns out that the range of the Meade TE923W-M's transmitters are pathetic. Some of the transmitters (such as for the UV radiation detector) cannot even transmit through the roof of the house down to the mother unit only ten feet below. While a much simpler Ambient Weather station down in the greenhouse has no trouble monitoring a temperature transmitter on the laboratory deck, there is no hope of the Meade mother station reading temperature transmitters down in the greenhouse. So I needed to come up with some sort of solution.
Today I opened up the Meade weather station, removed the internal antenna from its 433 MHz receiver board, and routed a cable to an F-connector I installed on its side. Then I ran some television cable from that connector up to the solar deck, where I attached a small makeshift antenna at its end. This combination seemed to work more or less, finally picking up the signals from the rain gauge and UV detector. Unfortunately, they still couldn't receive signals from as far away as the greenhouse, even when I placed the transmitters outside. But I'm far from done experimenting with making this thing do what I need it to.
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