Sunday has turned out to be a misty day with low flying clouds getting caught in the tree branches leaving behind a fine shower of rain mostly underneath the towering redwood trees; their needles efficiently capture the airborne moisture, condensing it into water droplets. The front gutters were clogged; I saw heavy streamlets of water poured down onto the gravel moat that surrounds the house, and I was concerned that in time the backsplash could seep through the stucco. I got out the 24 foot extension ladder opening it fully to reach the gutters 20 feet up. But first, I had to stomp all around the area because the gophers have been tunneling all through the front yard. We lost one bush due to their root exposing antics, and the ground was a bit unstable to bear the weight of the ladder let alone me on it. Selene helped me get the thing up (in the light rain), and I took care of cleaning out the detritus that managed to sift in through the so-called leaf guard covers. That was a waste of money, and maybe later on I might rail on about the roofing company that did a lousy job of the gutter installation. The irony is their name: Accountable roofing, not. The clot of composted crud was thankfully near the downspout so it did not take too much effort to clear out the stuff. Once cleared, the overfull gutter's load of water spiraled down with a whoosh and cleaned out the remaining silt.
After throwing in all the clothes and sheets into the washer, as we head back to Seattle tomorrow, I decided to take on cleaning up the place. Though our housemate is supposed to keep the place clean as part of her living arrangement, she simply does not do that great a job. There were spider webs all over the place, many of them heavily dust laden which is a sure sign of them being there untouched for at least a month. And, the little spiders, who usually stay in the corners, were traveling mid ceiling and walls. Again, it takes more than three weeks of inattention to let them build up to that level. They have very well programmed and dependable behaviors. So, I spent the next three hours with a vaccuum cleaner and hose attachment methodically running the suction wand along all corners. It is a lot of fun actually, especially with the stereo at full blast playing Angelique Kidjo. I just love those chest thumping bass rhythms. A finally vacuum of the upstairs carpetting finished off the effort. I will bring up this lack of follow-through with housemate tonight. If the cleaning is performed once every two weeks (as I've done for years), it take only two hours since the little fellows stay in their corners.
The batteries were doing mostly OK until the vacuuming started. Despite the gloominess, the PV panels were generating enough to charge them to about 70% capacity. However, three hours of washer/dryer and high powered vacuum cleaner was enough to convince the inverters to protect the batteries and kick on the generator. And then it happened - a bunch of red lights and I heard the generator running extremely roughly, so much so it fell way out of voltage and frequency spec. The inverters transferred the load off the generator and shut it down. I ran down to the shed, fearful of what I might find. The engine had not overheated and the fan belt was intact (recall the wood rat incident a few months ago). My inspection revealed one of the spark plug wires had a spot of insulation rubbed off. The wire was routed next to a screw and the vibrations must have worked on that spot, enough perhaps to allow a spark to bleed to ground. A bit of electrical tape and a better routing took care of that one. Then I noticed the connectors to all the igniters (there is one for each plug - a precision firing system) were completely loose. One of the nuts had back turned a full half inch up its mounting screw! With that kind intermittent contact, I was amazed the generator ran at all let alone rough. I tightened all the electrical connections, tested every other bolt just to be certain, and then programmed the inverters to go through a charging cycle. Relief - the generator was back online in energy laden meditation toning a steady "OMMMMMMM". The inverters sang in harmony, sloshing energy across its triad of inductors.
It is getting dark now. Our boarding passes are printed. We have our bags packed, and it is at this time of reflection that I feel accomplished but sad. I look forward to rejoining the cats but I miss fiercely the quietude of this place in the misty mountains.