Friday, August 23, 2013

And a weather station is active.

This week we added a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station with a Weatherbridge so we can upload weather to the web.  I want to be able to track not only temps but RH, rain rates/total rainfall, wind speed and direction and use that to help with not only gardening but with the house performance.  If you'd like to see what it's like at the house, go to, click on the 'maps and radarl' tab and enter Sanford NC or zip code 27330.  We're just North of Sanford on 15/501 (Rte 87), technically in Pittsboro (part of Chatham County) but the USPS zones us as Sanford.  Our weather station ID is KNCSANFO8

One reason we installed this station was to help track the rainfall and see if we're in a micro-climate here.  It appears that when areas around us have been getting 1/4" to 1/2" of rain, we get upwards of 2, sometimes 3 inches of rain in a very short period of time.  Recently I took a snapshot of the weather radar showing "maximum recordable" rainfall rates in a small section that was centered around our area.

The good news is that we haven't had to worry much about watering the veggie or flower gardens but the bad news is that the rain has reduced our tomato output to near-nill and some of our landscape shrubs had died of overwater.  I am learning the fine art of sculpting the grading in fine increments to steer water away from some areas and into others.  It's slowly developing into a working site and we hope to have a rain garden growing in the coming months.

Hummingbird activity has been unbelievable this year.  At times I can count over 20 hummers flitting about, sometimes 4 feeding from a single feeder with 2 more queueing up for the first open slot.   There are so many that we refill the feeders every day (total of 4 feeders, 32 ounces of water and 1 cup of sugar for a day's fill).

I'll try to post some of the pics we've managed to take recently of the activity though they move so quickly some are simply blurs on the screen.

In addition to hummers, we have a number of deer, a raccoon or two, a possum, one or two field mice, and several owls that inhabit the woods around the house.  Some days we have to escape inside to avoid the symphony of noises....

Updating the utility costs, this month's electric bill was $107 and the refill of our 120 gal propane tank (which is at 31% after 16 months of range/grill use) was $160.  Overall utility costs are quite low - though we are still working on the desuperheater function.  Neighbors supply all their hot water from the desuperheaters while ours is not changing the temp of the storage tank noticeably at all.  We believe there is a "plumbing" problem that is leading to either thermal syphoning or other loops that are bleeding the heated water into the house vice into the storage tank.  We're considering installing a check-valve but there may be other plumbing related issues that are causing this.