Category Archives: home

Making Silicone Rubber Molds

This is a nifty technology for making candles and casts, and lots of hobby and crafts. I learned how to do this at TechShop in San Jose. The smooth-on.com website also has lots of videos. It is a two part … Continue reading

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Off Grid Batteries

One question I get asked a lot is “how long do the batteries last?” Batteries fail very slowly at first, then they seem to shrink until you replace them. In the summer when there is enough sun to recharge them … Continue reading

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A New Batch of Mead

Mead is the oldest of fermented alcoholic beverages, a wine made from honey. There are cave drawings of honey gathering from bees hives going back almost 10,000 years. If left to sit for a while, honey with a bit of … Continue reading

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Checking Up on an Old Solar Panel

I tinkered with solar cells all through high school, making small panels and using them to charge batteries, run fans and lights. I got this Arco M25 in January 1989. At that time, Arco was one of the few, if … Continue reading

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The One to Beat July 1993

I’ve long been a laptop user. They tend to be more efficient with power usage. In the early days before I had enough solar panels, that was an important detail. I still don’t have enough power to leave a large … Continue reading

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Summit Fire

Five years ago today, I awoke to the ringing phone – “There is a fire in your area. CalFire recommends that you evacuate.” The sky was clear blue out two sets of windows and in almost every direction outside. But … Continue reading

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Visiting the Bees

April is often the busiest month of the year for honey bees. They have been building up population since the weather started to get warmer in the early spring, in order to have lots of foragers ready when the flowers … Continue reading

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Solar Wax Melter

These are used to remove excess wax from the frames that fill honey bee hives. Most of the links to solar wax melters point to the same design, from some universtiy or Ag Extension. It’s large enough to hold a … Continue reading

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Rain and Snow

It almost never rains here in the summer. When it does rain in the winter, we usually get a lot of it all at once. Everything that grows needs the water, so that’s good, but heavy rain also can cause … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring

Spring doesn’t officially start until later in March, but I’ve already got things growing outside. My green house has a cover which keeps the hard rain at bay, but the ends aren’t covered, so it doesn’t really provide much heat … Continue reading

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