Meanwhile my future office needed to get a floor. Marc and Rika would be coming over and if I wanted to work from home it would be more convenient if I had my own space to sit. With a few square meters of floor it was already turning into a real room. Before I could put in the rest of the floor I had to replace part of a beam, which I had prepared already a few months ago. It was a fun project and with the help of the high lift jack, I moved the beam back into the right position before I glued the new part in. Another very rewarding project.
The next weekend a part came in that I needed for my Home Assistant Glow project to be able to read the LED-pulses. Putting the right software on an ESP board went pretty straight forward and quick enough I had my first measurements coming in. The next day I adjusted the pot-meter and then precise measurements flowed into Home Assistant. Very nice to see different heavy users like the kettle, hub and oven show their own specific graphs.
My goal was to get the solar panels connected to the grid before the end of the year. So still some work to do. Once the new cable to the electricity meter was connected, a project in which the meter was also finally moved to the final position in the meter closet, I could start connecting the inverter also. Fronius has great instruction videos online on how to do it, even though it pretty straight forward to begin with.
Once the inverter was online I set it up, enabled the API and connected it to Home Assistant. The next day it started spitting data which I then displayed as nice graphs.
With that done, I decided it was time to do a bit of service and repair work in the sauna. After three year a few of the stones started to come loose, so I got a different glue. When I started to take of the loose stones from the top, I soon found out it would be a bit more work then the few I thought where loose, around 80% of the stones came loose without any effort, so I took them out and after that glued them back in place. I now also could finally glue the stones in front of the chimney and on the other side of the chimney put the last wood.
In the kitchen I placed the chimney of the extractor hood, I put insulation material in it but it was still much noisier then we had hoped. Let’s see if at some point I can come up with an idea to improve that, as now it is not a nice hood to use.
To be able to deliver power to the grid, our electricity meter needed to be changed and the power company wanted to place an additional switch on the pole to be able to disconnect the house from the grid. To my surprise they requested to do this on Saturday. Another moment of looking at professionals doing their work. The guy that replaced the meter said something about the old wires going to the meter, so I asked if that shouldn’t be replaced. He agreed but told me it was my responsibility. Which seemed weird to me as back in the Netherlands everything before the meter is the responsibility of the power company, so I double checked this and it turned out the wire from where the main wire reaches the house to the meter would be my responsibility. I discussed this with Henk and he said this should be 4 x 10 mm^2, which turned out to be some very expensive wire. Luckily I remembered about some large wires I had found a couple of years ago when I was cleaning up the garage and I was in luck. So I prepared this wire between the meter closet and the connection point, ready to be connected. My new meter is a Landis & Gyr E360, which in other countries has a P1 port for local polling, but unfortunately not in Estonia. I inquired with Elektrilevi but this was not offered, so I started preparing for a backup plan and ordered some parts for the Home Assistant Glow from AliExpress.
On the attic above the bathroom was a nice place for the inverter, so I started to prepare the wall there with plaster plate. This improved the look and feel of the old attic so much that the idea came up to fully renovate the attic and make it my office. So I started covering the inside of the roof with plaster plate. I took out part of the floor to get all of it upstairs.
Last year we bought a few bags of potatoes for the winter, but the garage gets below zero, so the potatoes freeze and get inedible. So for the upcoming season I build an isolated box to prevent this from some left over polystyrene plates.
For a change the heater has some issues again. The main augur did not work anymore. I am getting to familiar with this heater as I had found the cause of the issue within a few minutes. I took out the engine and opened it up. It turned out the gears in the reduction gearbox had totally worn out. Luckily I have good contact with Pelltech and I was able to replace the augur engine quickly.
In the side garden has been a dead tree for some time already and I thought it would be good to take it out before winter. The trailer was on its way to the Netherlands and the wood storage was getting pretty empty. Marc helped out. We took it down in two parts and then cut it in 30 cm pieces, split it and pilled it up. We tried it in the sauna, but even though the tree had been dead for years and didn’t even have a crown anymore, it was still pretty wet, so I guess we’ll first start using the apple tree wood.
The weather is still good, and I want to have to solar panels on the roof before winter. Partly because this part of the roof still has some leakage at odd times. Besides it would be nice to have them online before January, so I will have a good start of the annual data. We first took off half of the roof, the part that bordered the neighbors. Here would be normal roofing. Dressed up in overalls, PF3 masks and gloves we took of the asbestos roof plates. The nails that where used came out surprisingly easy and there where no breakages. This went quicker then expected. Under the asbestos there was asphalt. To take that off took way more time then anticipated. It seemed nail where free in the Soviet times, they used so many! When the roof was clean, we placed the vapor barrier and the distance holders. On top of that the horizontal planks and after two days of work this part was ready for the new roof. Another two days later the roof was on and if looked fantastic! The neighbor was also very enthusiastic.
The next weekend I worked on some electrical things for the home automation without very much success and I finally placed the kitchen light in the final position. Mo found a place that was willing to make a custom extractor hood chimney. In Tartu of all places.
The weather forecast was good again, so we decided to replace the next part of the roof that would hold the solar panels. It was easier because we did not have to work around the dormer, but connecting the panels and routing the wires took more time, so all in all it took another 4 days get the solar panels up. The roof looks absolutely amazing!
Before the winter would come in, I also upgraded the chicken coop with a door to make it easier to get in and out.
Now that all the dust in the studio is settles it is more then time to put the linoleum in the hallway. When the floor was in, it was time to build the cabinet we got at Ikea and once that was in we toasted with a glass of chartreuse to the good use of our chartreuse coloured floor.
One of the last upcoming projects will be to finish the utility room. There I have to replace part of a beam. After some measuring I looked through the old wood and found some pieces that could be glued together to create the required beam.
Meanwhile exciting times ahead. The new roof and solar panels have been ordered. It is always good to check prices. The wood Roofit had put on their estimate was much more expensive then i could get it ar Puu Market. When they asked where I would order the rest of the roof and my reply was at the place that offers the best price, that part was also taken of their estimate. So I ordered the wood at puu market and the roof at Ruukki. I picked up the wood with the help of Martijn en Ruukki came to deliver the roof. Exciting times!
The prices of pellets keep rising and as my supplier said, the end is not in sight. I was told that apart from the more expensive electricity, the main reason for the increased prices is that a lot of raw materials for the pellets come from Russia and since the trade sanctions there is a relative shortage of raw materials. So i decided to invest in 4 pallets of pellets. We cleared the back of the garage where we could place just over 2,5 tons. The rest we put in the normal storage. This should last us till February at least, lets see how the market will be then.
Ronald and Chris had given me their old vacuum robot. It was broken and even though the internet was pretty clear on the most likely problem, they figured with a dog and a cat in their apartment a new vacuum robot might not be a bad investment. I ordered the part from AliExpress and once it came in, and I replaced it the robot came back to life. The next step was to get it into Home Assistant. Since this was a 100% Chinese model they took from China, I had to create a new account and after a bit of hacking around I got the machine code I need to communicate with it directly from Home Assistant. It just show some Chinese characters here and there, but all the functions work.
With a little plaster, and some wall paper the next step in the room was finished. I wanted to get the floor in before we would go on vacation. But this floor fought back, it literally cost blood, sweat and tears to get it in. No clue why this click system did not work like all the other floors in the house. But with dedication, patience and sometimes brute force, the floor was done before midsummer.
Off to Centrope as I found out the region we had picked for our vacation is called.
Jon-Paul contacted me if he could borrow my chainsaw. This gave me a good reason to fix it. As it stopped working out of the blue at some point. I took it apart and removed a lot of dust which on its own was already worth it.
With the help of DuckDuckGo and a multi-meter I concluded the capacitor was broken. Of to the Makita specialist. They did not seem interested. According to them the chainsaw was to old and the did not have this part, as a matter of fact ‘they often take it out as it has no use’. I found another specialist who turned out to be much more friendly, they where impressed this old machine was still going strong, checked the computer for the part and concluded they could not get it anymore. To bad, but they did win me as a client for future needs. Since the part is ‘just is 250V capacitor’ I figures I try my luck with an electronics store and that was a good call. I put the capacitor in and after a few tries the chainsaw was working like a charm again. This has cost me some time and a 2 euro part. The sheer satisfaction of repairing something!
Back in the studio, the walls and ceiling where placed quickly; another great metamorphoses of a room.
We finally visited Mo’s sister and her family on Hiiumaa. It has been a great weekend with a big surprise at the end. Mo’s sister gave us two chicken. So suddenly the construction works are moved outside to build a chicken coop. The base will be the old dog house that came with the house. It is great this can be reused as well. With the help of Marc and Mattias it is placed on poles and then the coop is build around it. All was build with materials already laying around the house, made to fit, the only thing we bought was netting to close the coop.
In between I went to return the help by rewiring the kitchen of Glenn and Anton. I had to cut in the concrete wall of their apartment and add wires and power sockets as preparation for their kitchen renovation.
I made a new sill for the studio doorway, as the old one was beyond repair. Nice playing with the table saw again.
Meanwhile Mo prepared the greenhouse for a new season of tomatoes. We learned from last year not to plant to many plants, as the grow big.
The chicken also are settled in and start laying eggs. It is impressive how the plow the ground. Within no time all the grass is gone and they have dug up all kinds of stones and trash.
Finally we start on the wall papering of the hallway. It is always a very rewarding job and this time it is no difference. And with the wall paper in, painting the walls is a logical next step. We start again with the boldest colour. The dark blue completely changes the appearance of the hall way and the light green on the rest of the walls really is a finishing touch. The cherry on the cake is hanging my grandfathers garderobe. I found a very nice plug for the LED lights my dad added to it. The final result is catalog worthy.
We decide not to put in the floor yet as we still have some breaking to do in the studio. For this we have the help of Glenn and Anton. Especially Anton seems to enjoy breaking the ceiling out. All breaking is done in one day. So time to create a new ceiling and put in the walls.