my mother called this morning to let me know my snow shoveling services were not needed today as my father had already cleared what snow had fallen with the snowplow around the cafe. she also said i didn't need to go to belmont either and clean the snow off of the solar panels, as that can wait until tomorrow. the part about the cafe i heeded; the part about belmont i didn't. word on the street was whatever snow didn't get cleaned up today would freeze solid overnight. and when wet snow refreezes over solar panels, it's impossible to remove.
the snowfall this morning was more impressive. yesterday morning the snow that fell overnight was already getting soaked by the rain. the snow falling today was more pure snow instead of wintery mix, and easily clung to objects already soaked from the weekend. judging from the sidewalk condition, my upstairs neighbors must've done some early morning shoveling. for lunch i made myself some turkey rollups. i found out i did have hoisin sauce in my fridge.
when my mother called again in the early afternoon saying that my father was going on a supply run to market basket and if i wanted to go, i asked if he could pick me up and drop me off in belmont afterwards. as they really didn't need anything other than eggs - which i had nearly a dozen at home - she sent me sister to pick me up and give her my eggs.
it was still snowing but light enough that nothing would stick, or so i thought. the landscape was pretty, with trees covered in snow, but i could only partially appreciate its beauty, as i was thinking more about the clean-up and how soaked and wet i'd be afterwards, nothing something i was looking forward to.
i was happy to see the neighbor's solar panels completely covered in snow. they might have more panels, they might have a more angled roof, they might have the better sun exposure, but at least in this one case we're better than them: our roof is low enough that we can clean the snow off of our solar panels instead of waiting for mother nature to slowly melt everything.
i'd brought my new EX7000 pro action camera to take a time lapse of the cleanup. the one caveat was i couldn't use an external power bank when the camera is inside its waterproof housing, which meant i only had an hour's worth of battery. there's only a few options for the time lapse duration: 1, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. i chose 1 second.
i started from the left (west) side of the house, standing on the step ladder to clear the edges of the roof before pulling chunks of snow off of the panels. the snow was much easier to move than yesterday, but the thaw and overnight refreeze had created some rough frozen ice layers on the bottom edges of the panels, which had a tendency to grab onto the snow and prevent it from simply sliding off. after i cleared as much as i could, i used the extension ladder to get to the panels further up on the roof, as well as the side panels above the sun room.
next i moved to the sun room roof. i hindsight, i should've first cleared the snow from the bottom edge of the roof from the step ladder, but i went directly to extension ladder, which made it awkward trying to clear the snow as i was right up against it. that made it twice as laborious, as i had to hold the foam snow broom in awkward positions and kept having to extend and reduce the pole. the sun room roof also has a shallow angle, so the snow won't slide off on its own and needed to either pushed or pulled. even after all that hard work, i could only really clean half of the sun room panels.
then i moved to the right (east) of the house. there are only three solar panels on that side which made easy work, but i also had to clear the snow off of the steps afterwards from the mounds of falling snow.
finally i climbed the roof to access the areas i couldn't get to from the ladders. for this part i asked my sister to spot me, who'd been waiting inside for me to finish up so she can go home. i just needed her to pass me the tools and to hold the ladder when i came down. climbing the roof to clear the snow off the solar panels is a last resort because there's an element of danger involved (snow, ice, roof, not a good combination), but cleaning from the roof versus from the ladders is so much faster. if i could climb the roof to clean every single time, i could clear the panels in just 15 minutes instead of the hour plus it now seems to be taking me. with a shovel i cleared the snow trapped between the main roof and the sun room roof. i then used the foam roof rake to simply push the snow off of the panels.
instead of dying down, the snow seemed to be picking up. so much so that a fresh dusting of powder was recoating the panels i'd so painstakingly cleared. by that point though i just wanted it to be over, go home and get out of my wet clothes.
afterwards i went to go retrieve my action camera. i wasn't surprised it had turned off after exhausting the battery. it did put up a valiant effort, creating a 74 minutes time lapse (reduced to just 2-1/2 minutes of footage) before finally dying (on a battery rated for just 60 minutes of use). it had recorded most of the clean up however, just missing the final few minutes but by then i was mostly putting away the tools. we left soon afterwards.
i made it back home by 3pm. apparently i wasn't too tired from cleaning off the roof, because i shoveled what little bit of snow there was on the sidewalk before deciding to dig out one of the open parking spots that was now covered in 6-8" of snow. i was afraid if it wasn't cleared out, it'd freeze overnight and then never get cleared.
i set up the EX7000 pro to take another time lapse out my living room window, hoping to capture the sunset. i was happy to see it worked with the external battery.
the time lapse video was okay up until it got a little dark, in which case the image quality got very muddled, like it was having a hard time processing in low light.
for dinner i had some more turkey rollups. just 2 wasn't enough, so instead of eating some more, i heated up a can of soup (chicken dumplings) a short time later. on cold days the body craves warm food, not cold food. i've also stopped snacking, not for a lack of trying, but because i've exhausted all the snacks in my house.
i got a chance to further explore the EX7000. first of all the two instruction manuals that were included in the box - quick start guide and user manual - are pretty much useless. they're multi-lingual editions so there's actually very little content, and what info they did have isn't complete. for example, there's a motion detection setting, but there's no instructions on how to use it. to make matters worse, there doesn't seem to be a lot of info on his function online either. there's also a WDR option, which i had to find out what it was by doing an online search, since it's not explained in the manual. WDR apparently stands for wide-dynamic range. some of the option names in the manual don't correspond to the actual names in the camera. anti-shaking in the manual corresponds to stabilisation in the camera, but no explanation as to how it works. but the stabilization is legit, it works by using a combination of internal gyroscopes and cropping the picture to provide more leeway data to create the stabilized image. i went to the manufacturer website which has a page on the EX7000 pro, but it's essential just an ad, rehashing a lot of info found elsewhere, with no additional info or product support for the camera.
other than those gripes, there are plenty of good things about the EX7000. for one thing, it has a tripod mount underneath the camera, so i don't have to use an adapter or bracket to attach the camera to a tripod. besides a much larger screen, the FOV is also wider compared to the SJ4000. i have to step it down from wide to medium to match the same coverage as the SJ4000. however, when i use the stabilizing option, the FOV is further reduced to narrow, regarding of what you set the field of view to. you can also change the ISO and exposure compensation settings on the EX7000. i noticed that the date and time keeps changing. at first i thought it was because i changed out the battery, but the timestamp gets messed up regardless. i don't like you can't see the time and date anywhere, unless you turn on the timestamp and take a photo/video with it.
i've been trying to buy a squirrel proof birdfeeder for a while now. i've had my eyes set on the squirrel buster standard but amazon was selling it at $42.50, the most expensive it's ever been. i was hoping maybe the price would drop during the black friday sales but no such luck. however while searching elsewhere for cheaper prices, i found an ebay seller (openboxguys) setting them for just $27.99 with free shipping. the listing is a little weird, the title doesn't mention the brand or model, it's actually buried in the description, though the product images are definitely for the squirrel buster standard. so i decided to save $15 and give these guys a try. hopefully it can get here this weekend so i can install it in my parents' backyard. especially now after we've had this winter storm, birds are having a hard time finding food.