Category Archives: Cabin

Weed and Feed Math

Two weeks ago, the grass around my garage looked pretty scraggly and weed-infested, so I decided it was time for fertilizer and weed-killer. I am not very knowledgeable about lawns and lawn care, so I decided to research online. This research is summarized in this post. Yes, it was time for some fertilizer and weed-killer. Continue reading

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Lightning Damage at My Garage

During a major storm two weeks ago with 80 mile per hour winds (129 kph) and heavy rain,  a lightning strike near my garage destroyed two TVs, a power adapter for my robot lawnmowers, a wireless router, two data switches, and my furnace’s propane tank regulator and copper feedline. As an illustration of the damage, Figure 1 shows the residue left from my mower power adapter exploding. The light region inside the smudge is from my fingers wiping across the smudge to see how thick the film was. The film was removed using mineral spirits. A small burn mark is all that remains. Continue reading

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Our House Design Process

A number of people have asked questions about the process we used to design and build our cabin in northern Minnesota (Figure 1), a build that I have discussed in other posts (link, link). The questions center on the tools we used, what the build process was like, and things to watch for. The following post examines our design and build process from the standpoint of what went well and not so well. Continue reading

Lake Water Temperature Report Using Power Query and FILTERXML

I have a cabin in northern Minnesota on a small lake where I have been staying isolated from the rest of the US while COVID rages around me.  I track various lake metrics like height relative to sea level, clarity, and temperature.  I gather this information into a report that I send to the other folks who live on the lake. In this post, I show how I put together a chart of lake water temperature vs time using Excel and Power Query. I also demonstrate how to use the FILTERXML function to parse some rather messy data. I find myself using FILTERXML for data parsing more and more. Continue reading

Posted in Cabin, Excel | 1 Comment

Maple Sap is Sweet This Year

I am being a good citizen and am socially distancing at my cabin in northern Minnesota – avoiding people is easy in the dense forests that surround my residence. When I went out for my daily walk and I saw the maple sap bags that my neighbor put out (Figure 1). Most folks around here collect their sap in these blue bags. Continue reading

My Robot Lawn Mowers

I am working today in my garage office at my cabin in northern Minnesota. From the office window, I can see a Worx Landroid robot mowing the lawn (Figure 1). I installed two of these mowers  (one for garage and one for cabin) because I am not regularly at the cabin and wanted to ensure the lawn was mowed even when I could not be there. Continue reading

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Tensions and Angles in a Simple Rope Rigging

I have been tutoring math and physics at the local library for the last few months. As part of this tutoring, I have been looking for good graphics that illustrate basic science concepts. One common high-school physics problem involves computing the tension in ropes tied to an anchor by a pulley. Figure 1 is a graphic that nicely illustrates the tension relationship between two ropes connected to an anchor point by a carabiner. Continue reading

Posted in Cabin, Construction, Daily Math | 15 Comments

Lake Level Variation Over Time

My wife and I are building a vacation home on the shores of Eagle Lake in Itasca County, Minnesota. We also are active members of the local lake association, which is a group of homeowners who work on projects to keep our lake healthy. One task I perform on a yearly basis for the lake association is to draw a graph of how our lake level is varying over time (Figure 1). The lake level is important to homeowners because it affects the amount of beach that is exposed and the length of their docks. Continue reading

Video of Wild Cat in Northern Minnesota

Like me, a number of my coworkers have cabins in Northern Minnesota and most of us have cameras that record activity on our properties. A coworker came in the other day with this video that shows a wild cat going by one of his cameras. I am not sure what kind of cat it is – probably a lynx. This site is not far from the Canadian border. Maybe one of you out there can identify it? Continue reading

A Lesson Learned from Lab Testing a Colpitts Oscillator

It is the weekend and time to build my personal circuits. Some of my recent personal work has been focused on detecting cars in my cabin’s driveway by using a loop of wire that experience an inductance change when a car passes over it. This weekend I built the Colpitts oscillator I discussed in this post, which is part of a car detector improvement I am considering. The circuit I am using now is not as sensitive as I would like, and I am hoping a few changes will allow me to detect smaller vehicles, like ATVs. Continue reading