Saturday, 27 February 2021

Journal 2021-02-27: Spring returns to the garden

My shadow being cast onto a green lawn

Spring is bursting through right now - snowdrops and daffodils are enjoying the new blue skies, fresh air kicks into the cold mornings, and the old brown branches are trying out their new shoots for the coming summer.

I've been getting back into garden mode. I'm not a "keen" gardener in the way that many people are - I don't hit up the garden centre every weekend and can't name most of the plants and weeds that surround me. But I'm learning to appreciate a green space more with each seasonal cycle. Reading up on permaculture has given me the confidence to not worry about having to grow things and name things either - the space can thrive by itself, and my relationship with it is no longer one of control, but of borrowing; the land is leasing its energy to me, while I am here, and it is in an overall interest to return it once I'm done.

So I've been chopping back weeds and tufts of growth, and leaving the less woody parts to naturally compost back into the soil. Some of the waste from our guinea pig has been making its way to the waiting veg patch as a form of compost and mulch. And the old tree parts, rescued from one chopped down last year, have been changed from fairy table seats to a layer to block out light on a patch I want to rewild.


Wooden rings cut from a tree lying by a fence

Meanwhile, the batteries are looking fairly full all round and I've been able to charge up most of my kit: the old Kindle and Nexus for reading, and the GBA to continue my Zelda foray, all without much worry about running out.

Little white battery didn't charge up recently despite a good whack of sun, so today I've been testing it with a USB power checker:


Close-up of solar panel hooke dup to battery with USB power monitor

As with the cable checking before, I'm fairly confident now that the connector on this battery is a bit unreliable - connectors get damaged way more than the actual battery tech.

It seems silly to replace a whole battery because the connection is a bit wobbly though. Are there good options for fixing up a connector? I've opened up a battery before, but it's not always easy (for good reason). What advice and knowledge should I gather and learn at this point?

Friday, 29 January 2021

Journal 2021-01-29: Lunacy

People think solarpunk is all about power from the sun. But every day that I put out the panels, I get to wander out into the dark grass to collect my battery, and on evenings like tonight, the full moon looks down and we have a little chat, and the stars are there and everything is OK. Sometimes a meteor flies by, or a dog barks.

Batteries may get their energy from the sun. The rest of us should hang out with the moon more.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Journal 2021-01-17: Phew, some sun...

January always seems darker and more winter than December. I'm scraping my batteries for a few dregs this week, and clearing out a bunch of apps, keeping reading to a minimum, etc. Panels are full out today though.

And just for fun, here's a shot of the old guinea pig bedding composting the veg patch, and the fallen broccoli waiting to sprout. Does anyone know anything about purple sprouting broccoli?