getting the cabin's battery out of shutdown mode
Saturday, April 22 2023
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Not long after I got out of bed at around 8:00am, I told Gretchen that I was ready to begin our drive to the cabin. She'd already prepared last night, so all she really had to do was get out of bed. We left in both vehicles, though we stashed the Forester at the park & ride near the Kingston Thruway traffic circle so that Gretchen could get to Woodstock faster tomorrow afternoon (there was an event related to a Judy Blume documentary that she wanted to attend there). As we headed north, Gretchen realized neither of us had eaten anything, so she began researching places we might pick up some food in Albany. She settled on Bitchin Donuts, an all-vegan donut shop that also had some savory options like avocado toast and hash browns (basically more than everything you can get at Dunkin Donuts, but vegan; perhaps their name is a play on "Dunkin Donuts"). Bitchin Donuts had a good number of customers when we arrived, one of whom being the fattest man I'd seen in real life in months. Bitchin Donuts doesn't make a big deal out of the fact that they're vegan, so it's possible many of the customers don't even know. As the woman running the counter (the daughter of the owner) told Gretchen, it's the only donut shop in that part of town (which happens to be in the Lark Street neighborhood that we often go to when going out for a meal in Albany). We both ordered donuts and as well as some savory food and fancy coffee drinks. The donuts were amazing, or course, but there was some mix up in the kitchen that slowed the production of my avocado toast and Gretchen's faux egg & cheese sandwich.
I ate all of my food early in the drive out of Albany, which initially seemed like the right thing to do. Later, though, as we drove through Johnstown, I described the feeling in my guts as resembling having a straight eighteen inch piece of rebar in there. Gretchen then mentally tallied up all the calories I'd eaten and decided it was in thousands.
Everything seemed good at the cabin, and I'd brought two different ways to trickle charge the household battery to wake it from its months-long slumber. The generator started up without having to be jump-started, which was promising. And then when I hooked up the trickle charger to the correct terminals, it seemed to be slowly raising the battery's voltage (which is an indication that charging is indeed happening).
While that continued, Gretchen and I walked with the dogs down to the lake. It was blustery and not very pleasant down there, so all we did was look out across the choppy water for a few minutes and then trudge back home.
Back at the cabin, I paid close attention to the battery as it continued to charge. When it was at 46.5 volts, I tried starting it up and it came to life perfectly normally. After that, I could let the inverter charge it at a much faster rate. The sun was often blocked by a thin layer of altostratus, but some of the time I could let the solar panels handle all of the charging. But I also turned on the generator several times and let it run for awhile.
Gretchen thought we should go on another walk, so she and I set off down the trail that leads from near our cabin down to the northwest corner of the lake, where it turns into a strong brook carrying water down to Lake Edward. I wanted to show Gretchen a set of rapids further downstream on that brook, but as we were climbing down the face of a line of glorious granite cliffs, Gretchen turned around and saw Ramona standing there. We hadn't expected the dogs to follow us, but it seems that when they saw both of us leave together, they had a serious case of FOMO and decided to follow (despite having already gone on a walk today). Gretchen was worried about Ramona doing so much walking, so we decided at that point to head back to the cabin. On the way, we visited the little picnic site near the beginning of outflow brook (a little above its north bank). I salvaged a few artifacts along the way, including a large screw eye and a rectangular lump of heavy steel nearly the size of child's fist.
Back at the cabin, I climbed up on the roof and gathered data about our solar panels to help inform my buying decisions when getting a third tranche to be arranged vertically so as to capture sun throughout the winter no matter how much snow falls. I'd gathered this same solar panel info in the past but had somehow mistplaced it. The most important information was the width of the existing panels, which turns out to be 41.2 inches, though they're set on a 42 inch centers (which was something I already knew just from measuring images available on Google Maps).
This evening we had a dinner of leftover chili and broccoli (though I forgot Gretchen had made the latter).
A violet (Viola pubescens?) with a beech leaf in the trail down to the lake. Click to enlarge.
Looking down from the upstairs deck on the east side of the cabin, you can see Gretchen, Ramona, and Neville.
Click to enlarge.
Looking down at the top edge of the solar panels from the rooftop.
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Looking west off the cabin's roof.
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