Author Archives: admin

House painting

J_3410 J_3409


Dining Room


So at last I have painted (or the painter has!) several of the room in the house.  Erik from EDW DESIGNS LLC did most of the work on color selections.

The Kitchen is painted Chilled Cucumber.  Cotton Blossom was used in the Dining room and Utility room.  Polar Bear in the living room and Antique White in the stairway and upstairs hallway.  The ceilings all painted flat white. All paints from Behr.







Living Room



Hall and Stairs



Combines arrived next door today for the oats.

Vegetables doing well. Potatoes, peas, beans, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes cabbage and sweet corn all ready at present. Will have to eat more!!

Finishing up tidy up from electrical work. Cultivated outside front door/near to new transformer. Will sow grass seed.


The silo barn now has 3 LED floodlights upstairs (pretty bright at night!), and a motion activated one on the south side. The wiring clutter inside has been cleared up and new 15 and 20 amp quad outlets added upstairs and one one downstairs. Added GFCI protection to outlets.

All the outlets outside the house are now GFCI or on a GFCI circuit and have proper i.e. to code weather proof outlets.


Inside making progress on home office. Installed 12 way power strip. In the process managed to dispose of 3 plastic ones. New secondary UPS on order after APC one seemed to come over sensitive to incoming mains. Maybe there is too much noise on the lien.

The solar panels are going well. Alliant came to read the meter. The poor guy they sent didn’t know what all the figures were and had to call me later. What amuses me is this type of meter can normally be remotely read. It seems as I am sending power to the grid and have a dual rate plan, it is too complicated to do this!!

PV and Electric work

The Photovoltaic array is almost complete.   The rest should be finished shortly.

The system uses Canadian Solar 255w panels and Enphase 215w micro-inverter.  These are connected via wiring run along the mounting rails back to a disconnect panel.  The disconnect panel connects to the main breaker in the barn.

Alliant energy has completed the new 400 amp electric supply.  This includes a current transformer cabinet and 400 amp main disconnect.

As well as that noted in the previous post, I have run 2″ and 1″ conduit to the proposed location for a generator and 1″ conduit to the electric service panel with 1 CAT 6 cable.

Planting and Construction

Been a busy two weeks @ Walnut Hill.

Garden is starting to move into a higher gear. Potatoes earthed up, onions weeded, zucchini, pickling cucumbers and beans planted.

I have been busy with the tiller. Prepared seedbeds for sunflowers and pumpkins. I think it took longer to attach it to the tractor than actually so the work.  Sunflowers and pumpkins safely planted.

Also been planting salad crops in raised beds.  Radish first crop ready.

All the trenching to for the electric/communication has been completed, save the trench I will need for the silo barn. So far:

  • 200 amp cables to house and barn
  • 30 amp cable to well
  • 3/4 conduit to well with 3 Cat 6 cables
  • 1 1/2 conduit to barn from house for future projects
  • 3/4 conduit from house to electric panel for PoE webcam
  • Box on side of house for Cat 6 cables
  • 2″ and 1″ conduit from house to site of new generator
  • 200 amp disconnect on house
  • 200 amp cable from disconnect to internal breaker panel


Wedge opened up - tree ready to come downJeff finishing off treeTimber!1!Stump

Jeff came over this morning with his Stihl chainsaw and took down a dead pine. Would have done it myself, I am a little cautious when it comes to a 40′ tree!

Pictures above from the left:
1. Wedge cut out
2. Jeff making the final cut
3. Timber – the tree comes down
4. The stump – now I have to dig it out

The tree after felling. I hate to take trees down, this one had been dead for a year and I didn’t want it coming down in a storm and landing on the house. I have been busy planting other trees to replace the few I have removed or have died in the last few years.
Felled treeTree on the ground

Electric Supply

CT Cabinet and 400 amp disconnect
Trenching in front of cabinet. This is the heart of the new system. The Current Transformer (CT) cabinet, on the left, connects to the utility (Alliant Energy) transformer. It has a connection to
the meter as well the 400 amp disconnect on the right.

Busy at 111 trenching for new 400 amp electric utility supply. Had to trench from the house to the new disconnect. Then from the CT Cabinet to the transformer location. Then over to the barn and to the well, making sure I missed the telephone line to the house.

The trench is generally 28″ deep.  The electrics are buried at this level and the comms buried 12″ down.

Trenching in front of cabinetTrench to barn



I had the utilities come by to mark out the existing supplies, as in the picture to the left. Took three goes to find the telephone and in the process seemed to fix a problem with the phone. Can now send a fax! More views below showing backhoe and general trenching.




Below are general views of the house disconnect, ducting being laid in preparation for connection to transformer and fuse disconnects for 400 amp main switch. Yes, they are very large!!





Spring Planting


– Tomatoes
– Brassica
– Peppers


– Red
– Yellow

Pea – Little Marvel


– Red Rose
– Cobbler
– All Blue


– Annapolis
– Aceyeus Sunset

4/19 + 4/26

Pea – Little Breeze


– Banana
– Elba
– Red Thumb
– Russet
– Maris Piper



– Valencia Orange
– Key Lime
– Meyer Lemon

Lettuce + Arugula
Yellow Onion
Red Onion
Early Sunglow
– Snowbird
– Burpee
– Hollow Crown
– Tunga

Plant out
– Redbor Kale
– Red and Green Cabbage
– Cauliflower – Surprise
– Cauliflower – Snow
– Brussel Sprouts – Long Island Improved
– Brussel Sprouts – Franklin hybrid

– Chives
– Thyme
– Parsley
– Rosemary
– Basil
– Tarragon
– Dill
– Cilantro
– Fennel

Spring Flowers 2015

The crocuses and daffodils are looking wonderful!J_1341

It has been a busy weekend.  Started planting strawberries, potatoes, onions, leeks, peas.   Had to do some digging.  Cheated with the strawberry bed – used the new tiller!  Used the backhoe to plant a couple of apple trees, two grapes and two blueberry.

Indoor plants also going including tomatoes, brassicas and peppers.

Built a couple of raised beds, and also finished some digging.
Crocus 1J_1365J_1368

Winter 2015

House Some nice pictures of the Winter at Walnut Hill. The house always looks great in the snow! What they don’t show is that on a lovely day like this the temperature is often only a few degrees Fahrenheit, or around -10 to -15 Celsius!!
House House

House House

The barns always look magnificent with the red contrast with the clear white snow. This is really cold powder snow, so it glistens beautifully in the sunlight.