The first three months
This week: The weather so far; Wiring up the lights; Blossom everywhere;
Today is the first of April. I hope you remembered to say “White Rabbits” three times to bring you good luck.
I’m not sure where the year has gone so far, but the first three months, the first quarter has disappeared in a puff of smoke!
It has been cold outside this week, so I have been doing inside jobs and consequentially, the blog will be a little shorter than usual.
Generally the reading time is around ten to twelve minutes. This week it will probably be half that, so I hope you don’t feel cheated?
The weather so far
Being the first day of the month, I have all the data for the weather so far this year in my spreadsheet.
The sun has shone this week, but there has been wind which has made it feel cold.
We have also had a little rain too. Looking first at the precipitation data for the winter period, we have had almost double our average rainfall.
The rain has come in bursts, with several weeks of dry weather between each spell of wet weather.
Our winter season is usually cool and wet. With the climate change, there seems to be a developing pattern of heavy rainfall in November and December, followed by another pulse in January and then a gap until March.
Even with double the average amount, my soil moisture gauges are only recording 35% soil moisture. I will have to irrigate again very soon I think.
The temperatures since January have see-sawed from above average to below average. Ten days ago it was over 20ºC. This week we have only just been in double figures.
The average is of course just that, an average of temperatures over the past eight years.
Wiring up the lights
I actually enjoy the challenge and execution of electrical wiring.
Down in the Konoba, I designed ceiling lights which are contemporary in style, but which provide a range of options for lighting according to what is needed.
There are the niche lights, some of which I wired in a couple of months ago.
Then there are corner lights, to illuminate the, umm… corners!
When I was replacing the floor above, I also included two centre lights, for when you just need light, and also seven positionable spotlights, to illuminate features in the room, when it is finished.
For good measure, at the same switch box, I added some outside lights and a one gang two way link for the stairs/hall lights above.
All the wires are hidden in the ceiling and the tails appear above the switch.
I have hollowed out a beam to take the wires and then cut a space for a metal clad pattress box to fit.
I had a good day sorting and marking the wires and then connecting them up to the switch block. Of course I had my assistant there to help identify which wire was which.
When I was installing the wiring from above, I wrote on each tail, what the wire was for. This has simplified the wiring considerably.
Thinking of the future, when someone other than me has to do any work, I’ve added a photo in my building file, showing which wire they undo first to free up the switch block.
I have added to this with small labels on each set of wires in the pattress box, so anyone opening it will immediately understand where the different tail go.
Lastly it was an individual test of all six circuits, AND they all worked! That is always a bonus. So I was able to hide the wires with the hollow wooden pillar and screw the switch block into place.
Next comes fitting plasterboard to the ceiling, and when that is painted, I will fix the LED low voltage lights.
However the completed wiring is another “tick in the box” of jobs which need doing.
Editing the magazine
Every quarter I edit a magazine for police historians. It was published yesterday, the last day of the month.
I have spent a couple of days tidying up the text and putting the finishing touches into it.
With a cold wind outside, I didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt in spending my time indoors, working on the computer.
It did take me a bit longer than usual though. This was because having finished all the formatting, and writing in HTML, using a programme called Kompozer, when I saved the work, the programme threw a dickey fit and altered all the text.
So there was nothing for it but to start again. It was second time lucky, and the formatting remained when I saved my work.
These days most writing and editing is done on screen rather than using a desktop programme. I am going to see if I can find a new programme before the next issue is due out at the end of June.
We are at the peak of the fruit blossom season at the moment.
My cherry trees are covered in blossom, so it looks as though it will be a good year for cherries.
All my fruit trees have a lot of blossom this year. This makes me wonder if the cold snap we had at the start of February was the boost to winter cooling hours they needed.
All fruit trees need a certain number of “winter cooling hours”, when the temperature is between +4ºC and +8ºC. The actual number of hours varies between varieties and I have chosen varieties which have the minimum number of hours.
This is pear blossom.
By the way, yes, the sky really is that colour. I have not used any filters to enhance the colouring!
For the first time my Greengage and Damson trees have blossom on them, so I am looking forward to a good year for fruit. NCG