Friday, September 27, 2013

Where is my Pensive?

I am really worried that my pensive pumpkin is missing. Please let me know if she is still around. My heart is breaking if she is gone.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pumpkin Beer

There are several people out in the blogosphere in search of a good pumpkin beer. I stumbled across this California Brewery's take on the pumpkin beer Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale by Anderson Valley Brewing Company. I was only able to find it in cans. I don't drink much beer, but my plan is to pick up six packs of the autumn and pumpkin brews and try one of each and save the rest for a Halloween party.
For me, this is my favorite pumpkin beer I've tasted this season (out of  2, the other was Shocktop's).      The King of Halloween Pumpkinrot started this year's quest Here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Haunt Lighting Overhaul

I started a new discussion thread on my haunt lighting on Hauntforum.com where there are so many awesome and talented home haunters and pros alike that help each other work out ideas and make them into functioning projects. While at night my haunt looks pretty cool (at least according to a couple of people), the wires and spotlights look less than desirable during the day. In the past I was using home made spotlights with ultrabright LEDs. I had 20 warm white, 10 blue, 10 green, 10 purple, and 20 red spotlights. Everything but the red had 2 LED's. It all ran on 12 volts, my haunting choice as it is relatively safe. That means I had 70 little spotlights sprinkled throughout the haunt plus 5 skeletons with glowing eyes and 5 singing pumpkins. The wire to connect all of that came out to a few hundred feet.

Here are some photos during daylight:

This year I am replacing almost all of the spotlights with waterproof LED strips that have an adhesive tape backing. Most of these will be placed on the backs of my fence panels with reusable connectors for each panel. I just got the strips in today. I originally had 135 superbright LEDs in my setup. With the new strips I'll have over 1600. They are all dimmable and super low profile.
Here's an example image I got off the web. I ordered mine on Ebay, I got 16 feet each of warm white, green, blue, red, and purple. They also make the RGB strips and even controllers and "light organ" modules that will illuminate the lights with music. I spent countless hours sequencing each light event for my display so I stuck with single color strips still run with Vixenlights and an Arduino. 

My packages shipped from China in about a week and wow, let me tell you, these are slick (and really off gassing). They are much narrower than I thought, so placing them on the back of the fencing should be a breeze. I'll add more as I make more progress.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Late Summer 2013 Update

So many things have changed since last summer's big update. The house is coming along nicely, there is an endless list of to-do's to tackle, but that keeps us busy and happy. I know we've had so many big announcements, 2013 was the year of upheaval for us, some bad and some really good. It seems I finally got my version of the white picket fence dream, just a little later than I thought I'd get it, but that just makes things sweeter.

Lucy seems to be very happy at her new house and she made a friend at her daycare at The Dog House. Otis had been playing with Lucy while he was a foster dog under the care of Justin the manager there. They seemed to really get along and I was thinking of adopting him, but we were in the middle of moving and Kyle wasn't quite on board with the whole idea. He was adopted and we were bummed, but happy he had a new home. A few weeks after we moved in and got unpacked I noticed a post on FB that Otis had been taken back in as a foster as the adoption didn't work out.

We arranged to meet with Justin on a Sunday and brought Lucy with us to see the two in action. We had never really seen Lucy play with other dogs but Justin had been working with her, socializing her at The Dog House with several of their dogs. After our dicey experience with Sadie (dearly departed) and her problems with other dogs I never knew if I'd ever had a dog that played well with others. Well, let me tell you, Otis and Lucy wrestled away that evening! We were so happy and impressed by the whole situation. I ended up arranging with Justin taking Otis through their Leadership training course as his handler. Last Saturday was our first class with me handling Otis and Kyle handling Lucy who has already been through the 6 week course. Remembering what a handful Lucy was the first time in class earlier this spring, I had prepared for a lot of work handling Otis, especially since he had only briefly met me. The class went really well and he minded me fairly well. About half way through the class is whispered to Kyle across the room if he thought we should adopt Otis, he whispered back "we have to!".

So last night after work I piled Otis and Lucy in the car at daycare and drove them both Home. Last night was a bit hectic, but we all survived and actually slept through the night with no problems. Otis woke us all up for breakfast and the day has been going really well.
here's Lucy looking particularly sneaky over Otis' back
tugs are fun
good buddies
Otis has pretty yellow eyes
Lucy has gone from this little starved thing back in March...
...to this happy girl
they wear each other out pretty nicely

Welcome Home Otis!

the water gardens are blooming
I've put up a few early decorations (indoors)

Life is Good