Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Solar Birthday

We celebrated my 46th birthday on a few hundred acres of sunny farm land outside of Lancaster, CA.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and did a preliminary b-day with Mom Houghton. We did a Mall trip to get me a new pair of DG sun glasses, and a Thai dinner.

Throughout the week, I had countless girlish tasks to tackle on my first solar fielding project.
I wrestled with 8 feet tall, 60 lbs steel posts such as the one bellow.

We had 65 of these babies to drive in with a hydraulic post driver. I transported them with the truck to 28 locations. We drove them all in record time of a day and a half.

On my bithday, I got to drive this cute little tractor accross the hundreds of acres, back to the starting location. Given the rapid speed of this mobile, I was bouncing and shaking for a couple hours to get a few miles distance covered.

We only had a half day work (8.5 hrs) on my b-day because we had a tax appointment that afternoon. The numbers came out in our favor, so that was another present. We had a pizza night with Mom H and she made me a chocolate cake. I also got a pair of fancy, fabric cutting scissors from her. She always knows what I need somehow. I don't know where that information leaks from....

I even got to drive this backhoe for some time. That was really fun too! It travels quite faster than the other little tractor.
We need one at home.

After we drove in all the posts, I had to cut them down to the desired size for testing.

I had lots of fun with my bendsaw too. Even the generator didn't give me trouble after the first day. I showed it who the boss is.....

A working week birthday cost far less than a non working one even if we consider the minor dent I put on the bumper of the truck and the bending of the steel testing frame I did right before we finished the project. I think Mark will take the cost of repairs of these out of my paycheck....but...I still come out pretty good and ahead.

Let's not forget the babies! Buck and Spitz had a long and tiring week. They were right there with us and got to run on the fields, chasing rabbits and having a good time. Some times they were confined to the seats in the truck for their safety.

Spitzers was hard at work with mommy when he was allowed.

Buck was enjoying the desert sun while watching us working away.

Tired doggies did not get the usual beauty sleeps during the days. They did not really care for the 5:00 am alarm. To watch the sunrise and the sunset on the field was really pretty though and they liked it too, because that's when the rabbits came out. The pups were looking forward to crash out every night and they did not move for the few hours they were able to sleep.

We are ready to go again!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Washington Post

The reward of spending a week in northern Maryland, stumping through the snow and the mud to test a solar field, was a day with Jenna and Sierra.

Mark and the girls had a Saturday out in Washington DC.

Jenna in front of the Senate Building

Mark and Jenna about to enter the Senate to apply for a job

The Madison Building

I wonder what this is?

The Capitol

General Grant on the horse

Scene from the Civil War

The Botanical Gardens

Not sure...

The Smithsonian Museum for sure

The Washington Memorial