the Quail Manor gets some press

Couple of weeks ago Jake, the Architect, e-mailed to ask if we'd mind if the Tucson paper did a story about the Quail Manor. Figured that might end-up a possibility. So what the hell.

One of the available interview days was the day SWITBO last arrived so we did it then. I expected it would be one of these "in the can" stories that may or may not ever actually get published. No no, it's going in Sunday's (today's as I muse this) paper...will I'll be damned.

We suspected there were lots of angles they could take. The neighborhood, small, green. She, the reporter was a she, asked more questions than I expected about costs. Considered being obtuse, but what the hell. The she asked if we'd mind putting the address for the site in the article. I hemmed and hawed thinking now all 6 people who actually read the Home and Garden section of the Tucson paper will know our names, our address, etc. But what the hell. In for an ounce, in for a pound.

Will try to find some hard copies. In the mean time, here is the story.  I think she did a nice job. Seemed to hit on all the angles. Small words that I could understand. While directionally correct, the quotes are more of a composite of our conversations. Pictures are pretty good too. Thankfully I guess, no reference to the site.

Meanwhile, at the Quail Manor. Frequent readers may recall our internet connected irrigation system is from a company called Skydrop. Further frequent readers may recall some rants about said Skydrop. It's been working but has ways of it's own. As often as not it says it can't connect to the internet. Everything else is connecting to the internet, what is YOUR problem - I would think.

So yesterday (Saturday as I muse this) about 16.00 we decide - screw the smart watering, let's just water heavy once a week. Been working fine for DnT and JCQ is going to keep an eye on things as it heats up here in the Quail Manor Compound. So. I go to my trusty computer. Can't connect. OK, I'll go to the iPad. Can't connect either. I know, I'll reboot the Skydrop.

Reboot, which means I unplugged it, results it a complete cold reset. That's new. And a pain in the ass, but maybe that's just what it needs. But while, it says it connects fine to the WiFi - it can literately see the damn router, it's across the single car garage, narrow ways - I can't connect it to the Skydrop account that lives on the Internet.

Well piss. Research is conducted. Using the Internet that works on every other freaking device. I come up with a worthy competitor from a company called Rachio. Start checking reviews. 5 stars across the board. Only gripe is you can ONLY control it from a computer, smart phone, etc. No manual controls. What the hell. Home Depot has some in stock.

"To the Depot Batman"

I'll spare you the details, but it too will not connect to the Internet. BUT. Because of it's physical design, the only thing the wall plate does is connect to the sprinkler wires and hold it to the wall. I can bring it inside and work there. Connects like a champ. OK. Back to the garage. Won't connect. WHAT...

We look at the location. What is 8 inches above and to the left. The Solar Power Inverter. Coils and transformers and I'm guessing one hell of an electromagnetic field. That would do it. I guess I could put it over there by the WiFi router.

"Holy we need more 18/8 sprinkler cable Batman." Back to the Depot.

It's now 19.00 on a Saturday night and your musist is wondering if the barrio Depot is even open. It is. Cable comes in 18/7 which is why the sprinkler guy ran two cables in the first place, so, so does your musist.

By about 21.00 we have a working new internet connected irrigation controller installed over by the WiFi router and sprinkler cable draped over the garage door held in place by zip ties. Will work on a permanent solution to that problem at a future date. Think I'm going to need to run some speaker wires from the same area so will solve both problems together.

So far, the Rachio has performed flawlessly. Tested last night and running a full scheduled cycle as I write this. Flawless so far. Frequent readers may recall the Skydrop was a problem out of the box - turns out they had only been delivering product for 6 weeks when we installed ours. The Rachio is about a year old at this point. The user interface is similar to Skydrop, but much more robust and flexible. Appears that it does all the same things. Big difference is that it actually does them!

Stay tuned.

Need to blast. DTW finished the driveway gate and has made good progress on the cistern barn door. Have some pictures but need to skedaddle. Full report later.