A really hot week here in Texas. Got a couple things done outside when the heat isn’t too oppressive.

  • Antenna Extension Cable installed
  • New Seeds
  • Sprinkler Testing / The Tin Cup Test

Antenna Extension Cable installed
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I did get two extension cables in for the GPS antenna. I tested it on the extra unit I have at ground level to keep my trips on to the roof to a minimum. The connectors all fit very snugly and I once installed the unit was getting GPS signals. I then went and installed it on the weatherstation, and as I exited the window and made it on to the roof I was confronted by one of the wasps whose home in the radiation shield I had destroyed. It seemed not very happy and was roaming the roofline building a new nest in the corner. Not wanting to deal with getting stung or any distractions that could lead to me falling off the roof, I opted to spray it with the hornet spray and end it’s new home as well. Sorry guy, we have enough pests in the yard so had to thin the numbers a bit.

I ran the antenna to the roof and tried to protect it best I can, I think it’ll work well enough for what I need. It’s just a little gorilla tape over the connectors and then a small bag over the antenna, tied to the rain/wind gauge so the opening stays angled downward, not pretty but should do the job.

New Seeds
I got some seeds in, I know, it’s super late in the season. They’re peppermint and spearmint, the germination time is long, anywhere from 7 to 21 days! I planted them in the peat cups with a mostly peat based soil. I’m hoping they sprout and once they’re big enough I’d like to move them to the boxes I made for the hydroponics and be able to pull them inside during the winter. I like drinking tea rather than water or sugary drinks, my hope is that I can add the mint to my tea (probably the peppermint, not sure how well the spearmint will do), the problem is when I buy a bundle at the store it’s good for like 2 days before it wilts and gets gross in the fridge. Hopefully this approach will give me a regular supply all year.

Watering them was interesting, splashed the soil around and hopefully not too many seeds spilled out. I’ll have to use a mist/spray bottle moving forward.

Sprinkler Testing / The Tin Cup Test
I’m running some tests on the lawn sprinklers to figure out how the optimal time they should run for. There’s a thing called the Tin Cup Test where you place tins, like a tuna fish or cat food tin, out on the lawn, run the sprinklers for a set time and then measure how much water you end up with then do the math to get to the time needed to hit the optimal target. For southern lawns it’s recommend they get an inch to an inch and a half a week, with watering either once or twice a week. So rather than short runs every day or so the long runs will soak the soil encouraging the grass to grow deep roots to pull the water out making them more likely to weather drought and winter seasons better, where the short runs results in a shallow root system.

I first did the test for 5 mins on the side sprinkler and got barely any water in the tins, I did a run of 15 mins for the middle sprinkler and I think that led to better results. Doing the math it means a 70 min water cycle, which is quiet long but maybe makes sense since the sprinkler is covering a large swath of the lawn. For the next water cycle I’m going to leave out 2 tin cups and see if the numbers add up and the collected water matches what it should be.

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