steve sent me e-mail this morning saying they were finally leaving for the vineyard, and that the new tenants would arrive sometime later today. i wasn't sticking around, and left for belmont soon afterwards. a lot of kwanzan cherries are blooming, but our own backyard kwanzan cherry is seriously lacking in pink flowers.
i decided to go to home depot first to pick up 10 more bags of mulch. it was busy, and i managed to snag a flatbed cart from a customer who was about to leave. they only had black vigoro mulch left, which is what i bought. i returned to belmont and unloaded all the mulch.
our balancing LiFePo4 batteries have finally stopped charging after reaching 3.65V per cell. the amperage dropped down to .089A and a wattage of just 0.3W. this means the individual cells can now be placed in series, attached to a BMS, and start being placed into active service.
next stop was lincoln, where i was meeting my craig's list seller at noon to buy a used scott's drop spreader for $30. i can't remember the last time i visited lincoln, it's been a while. the route was fairly simple: straight shot on route 2, turn into walden pond, and then a few small side streets to reach my destination. i missed my turn into walden pond and have to drive another mile to do a u-turn. i had my phone to give me directions, but i didn't bring a recharge cable and was able i'd run out of power so i dimmed the screen so it was barely visible.
i arrived at what appeared to be a gated condo community, i didn't even know such a thing existed out here in lincoln. the place seemed more country club than a place people actually lived. my seller turned out to be a little old lady. she apologized for giving me a number that i couldn't text, but i dropped her an e-mail before i left. at 87-years old, she was giving up gardening and selling some equipment. her husband used to garden as well, but now needs full-time assistance. i asked her about the place, she said this condo community had been here since the 70's.
the day was so nice, i regret not bringing my drone so i could stop by somewhere and do some airborne sightseeing. i got back to belmont by 12:30pm. i inspected the drop spreader. even though it's only been used a year, the spreader looked a little worn, especially the form handle grips which were falling apart. these new spreaders are mostly plastic, which is good because they don't rust like the old metal ones, but they seem cheaper, even though they cost $75. i thought the setting adjuster was broken because i couldn't read any numbers. i went inside to look up ways to repair a broken spreader adjuster, but the only thing i found was how to calibrate it. so i went out and did a calibration, and discovered the reason why i couldn't adjust it was because the adjuster was at its maximum position. also it takes a turn or two before you see numbers. so it wasn't broken, i just didn't know how to use it. now i'm tempted to reapply the crabgrass preventer, not sure how much i actually put down with the broken old spreader. maybe that'll be something i do tomorrow or monday.
i loaded 7 bags of mulch back onto the car and drove to the cafe around 1pm. i figured since i had the time, i'd put down mulch around the few trees near the cafe and my sister's place. i used a bag of mulch per tree, and each tree used a different bag: one used vigoro brown mulch i got a few days ago, another an old bag of scott brown mulch that i got from belmont, an old bag of scott black mulch, and a new bag of vigoro mulch in black. i like the vigoro mulch better, besides being 2 cu.ft. a bag versus the 1.5 cu.ft. of the scott mulch, the vigoro also has a nice woodsy fragrance. the remaining bags of mulch (5) i dropped off in my sister's backyard so she can do her own gardening. i visited hailey in the house before i left, she was sleeping on the couch.
i finished up by 2pm - drinking the last of my horchata - before returning to belmont again. i did some yard maintenance, mostly weeding: dandelions from the lawn, grass and creeping bellflowers from the perennial beds. i found a few japanese maple seedlings which i dug up and put in a pot. when my father returned home by 3pm, he hooked up the on-demand pump to a battery so we can use our rain barrel water. it's a good feeling watering with rain: besides being completely natural, every part of it is free, including the electricity. i don't know how much water we save during the growing season by not having to use the town water to water our plants, but it's probably substantial.
i found a rabbit nest in the backyard, near the phlox. it was just a patch of rabbit fur, but when i went to go clear it out, i noticed movement inside, so i put back the fur. although i didn't see the rabbits, these must be hairless newborns. elsewhere, we saw another rabbit, a bunny as well, but a few weeks older. it was pointless trying to chase it out because they're small enough to go through the cracks between the fences.
we removed the busbars from the charged LiFePo4 cells and attached them onto our other set of batteries so we can top balance them as well. that's when we discovered we were missing a set screw. after some research, i determined that correct size to be M6-20mm. even though we needed just one, the cheapest we could find was a package of 10 for $5.50 off of ebay, so we had no choice but to order it.
for dinner my father cooked up some chinese dumplings i saw him making at the cafe this afternoon. some teenagers came by while we were eating selling cookies (what kind of person rings the doorbell on a saturday 6pm?), i told them we were having dinner and wasn't interested, and accidentally slammed the door hard on them.
i left for cambridge around 8pm. when i got back i wasn't sure if the new tenants had arrived even though the lights upstairs were on. they were super quiet to the point i didn't think there was anyone upstairs until i heard the sound of rushing water through my bathroom pipes. later i checked my webcam, caught a glimpse of them, they must've rented a car so they can pick up groceries and household supplies. they appear to be a late middle age couple with a small white dog. they don't seem very academic, more like midwesterners on a holiday.
today marks the end of april. even though it didn't seem like we got a lot of sun this month, we still managed to set a new production record for april, at 1.066MWh, compared to last year's record of 1.01MWh.