Friday (03-December-2021) — New Jersey

Autumn Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the day viewed at the birdfeeder and in the backyard: Mourning Dove, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Dark-eyed Junco.


Birds of the day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Blue Jay Drinking from the Birdbath. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Red Rover time-lapse videos. (1) Installing a set of Pat’s Easy Change System for category 1 three point mounts on Red Rover. (2) Moving black mulch, used to cover the center driveway Holly and Pine tree section, and to cover the front yard Japanese Maple tree section.

A couple of notes about the Pat’s Easy Change System installation. I was looking for something to make it easier to change items attached to the Category 1 three point system on Red Rover. Like the quick change system on the front loader that I use to go between the front bucket and the forks. The installation documents for Pat’s Easy Change system were relatively straight forward. There was a note indicating that the system adds 4 inches to the length of the tractor lift arms, and that some tractor models may require a longer top link. That should have been in the information I read before purchasing the item. The first difference between the installation instruction and the package I received was they switched from using set screws with jamb nuts to hex bolts with jam nuts to align the Easy Change System. Also, my parts bag was missing the 0.25 inch roll pins used to hold the shims used to make the hitch parallel with the lift arm. I ended up using bolts and nuts to hold the shims in place. The rest of the instructions were straight forward. The installation gave me the opportunity to relevel the lift arms, and adjust the width between the arms to 26 inches. When I went to use the Easy Change system to re-connect my rear weight & tool holder to Red Rover, I found that I had to extend the top link to its maximum length (~25 inches). I may need to get a slightly longer adjustable top link. I will need to test the Easy Change system with my 3 point implements that use the PTO. Does the power drive connection to the implement extend the extra 4 inches?

Black & White images from a Leica Q2 Monochrom camera.


Black & White images from a Leica Q2 Monochrom camera. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (51.4 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (29.8 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sun and clouds. Geothermal HVAC heating the house. Deficit of 21.6 kWh.

Wednesday (01-December-2021) — New Jersey

Autumn Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the day viewed at the birdfeeder and in the backyard: Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco.



Birds of the day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Little Planet Time-lapse Videos. Red Rover using leaf vacuum and moving some black mulch. Last week I was not able to complete the autumn annual leaf cleanup with the John Deere mower and DR Power leaf vacuum. I attached a leaf vacuum adapter to Red Rover’s mower deck, but the 8″ diameter flexible hose to connect the mower deck adapter to the leaf vacuum was too short. I ordered an 8″ x 8′ flexible hose from McMaster Sunday night, and it was delivered Monday evening. I attached the new hose — it was just barely long enough. Once attached, I did the leaf cleanup. It took some adjustments getting the mower deck height on Red Rover right. I wanted to collect the leaves without cutting too much grass. I had to stop a couple of times to clear the vacuum hose plugged with leaves and grass clippings. When the leaf collection bag was full, I dumped the leaves in a temporary mulch heap. The cart was too full (and too heavy to dump by myself), but this time I remembered I could pull the long hinge pin and remove the collection bag cover and dump the contents. A lot easier than having to use Red Rover with the front forks. For the second time-lapse video, I moved some more of the black mulch, and finished the leaf collection. Most of the trees have dumped all of their leaves, so probably only need to do one more collection when the Sycamore tree drops the last of the leaves.

Daily Electric Energy Used (63.6 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (29.8 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sunny. Geothermal HVAC heating the house. Deficit of 33.8 kWh.

Monday (29-November-2021) — New Jersey

Autumn Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the day viewed at the birdfeeder and in the backyard: Blue Jay, House Finch.


Birds of the day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Little Planet Time-lapse Videos. Continuing to evaluate the LabPano Pilot EE 360 camera. I found that I can do longer shoots using an external USB-C battery pack. It just needs to be one that can do fast charging. The first time-lapse little planet video was changing the AAA batteries in the solar powered Trolls.
Five of the batteries that were removed, wouldn’t take a charge. With the new batteries, three of the Trolls LED lights were on during the day. They are supposed to charge the batteries when it is light out, and only light up when it gets dark out. All but one of the Trolls lights went on when it got dark out, and they were still on at midnight. Will continue to monitor if they continue to charge during the shorter days, and now that the temperature is dropping below freezing every night.

For the next video, the camera was mounted on Red Rover, and on a tripod in the field. Today’s main project was to prepare and seed some of the back sections. A couple of months ago, the sections were fertilized, rototilled, and then covered with black agricultural fabric (to kill germinating weeds). The wildflower seed vendor recommended to sow the seeds after the first few freezes. Apparently, some seeds germinate better if they are out for some time in the cold. (Just hope the birds and mice don’t eat all of the seeds). Today, the black agricultural fabric was removed, the plot leveled with a drag harrow, seeds sowed, then the seeds pressed down with a water-filled drum roller. The LabPano Pilot EE 360 camera was set for a 20x 4K time-lapse video. The white balance and exposure were set to Auto. In the time-lapse video you can see problems with the white balance and exposure. The lighting conditions kept changing from sunny to cloudy.

Daily Electric Energy Used (69.1 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (24.5 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Cloudy and cold. Geothermal HVAC heating the house. Deficit of 44.6 kWh.

Wednesday (24-November-2021) — New Jersey

Working on RedRover and New 360 Camera.

Previously, I had to remove the mower deck on the John Deere lawn tractor. I still have lots of fallen autumn leaves that need attention. I decided to attach a leaf vacuum adapter to Red Rover. I recorded the project as a time-lapse video using a Labpano Lab Pilot One EE 360 camera. This camera does not have interval photo mode, but does have a time-lapse mode. Rather than two fish-eye lenses, it uses four 185° wide-angle lenses. The images are combined and processed in-camera to an equirectangular view (up to 8K, 7680×3840). The camera has a relatively large battery that took images for ~80 minutes. I had an external USB-C battery attached, but it didn’t seem to continue to provide power while the camera was recording the time-lapse video.

The 47 seconds of the 8K (7680 x 3840) video file was 2.49 GB. The time-lapse setting was 100x (3.3 fps) for the 47 seconds of video which would correspond to ~ 78 minutes of recording. I was not able to use the GoPro FX Reframe plug in for Premiere Pro to convert the 8K equirectangular image into a Little Planet view. First needed to convert the video to a 4K (3840 x 1920) video then process in Premiere Pro with the GoPro FX Reframe plugin. [Note – Next time record the time-lapse video at 4K or 2K].

Daily Electric Energy Used (67.5 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (28.9 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sunny but cold. Geothermal HVAC heating the house. Deficit of 38.6 kWh.

Friday (19-November-2021) — New Jersey

Autumn Nature in New Jersey, Working Outside and in the Garage.

Birds of the day viewed at the birdfeeder and in the backyard: House Finch.

House Finch. (David J Mathre)
House Finch. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens. (David J Mathre)

My Little Planet time-lapse video for the day. Finished removing the mower deck from the John Deere lawn tractor. Removed the agri-fabric and electric fence wire caught in the blades. Removed the blades to be sharpened. Hopefully, I will be able to reinstall the mower deck… Removed electric fence wire from the yellow plastic insulators. Completed installing the Tent Box cold weather inner insulation shell.

Daily Electric Energy Used (53.6 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (28.6 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Mostly sunny. Deficit of 25.0 kWh.