Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures

Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures - learning about gardening up north.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Home Weather Station

Minor computer frustrations have interrupted my usual posting schedule lately. Specifically - I have been busy setting up a home weather station and configuring the software. I have always been interested in these devices and a close friend from California told me about one that they set up. So during the winter of 2008 I found a good deal at Costco and got one. The weather widget at the top of this blog is now displaying our home weather station data.

I am using a Honeywell model TE831W-2 home weather station. It has 2 remote temperature sensors, barometer, wind gauge, and rain gauge. I set it up last spring and I was able to monitor the temperature in our hoop greenhouse over the internet while I was at work. This involved connecting the base unit to a computer and required having the computer running all the time. The setup was not very convenient and it finally was disconnected. The base unit continued to operate and it was interesting to keep an eye on our local weather conditions. I did gather some good micro climate data from our property. This year I decided to try setting up an internet weather station again.

 I happen to have a very old Gateway computer sitting around and I bought a used Dell monitor on eBay and added a USB wireless network adapter. The software was installed and configured... this is where the fun began. Since I am not a network engineer this involved a lot of trial and error - and 2 expensive tech support calls to Linksys trying to troubleshoot my router. The router continues to cause connection problems and must be rebooted often.

 I looked at several weather software options and settled on Weather View 32. There is a trial version to try before you buy. I signed up with the Weather Underground Personal Weather Station network and they post the weather data on their network web site. You can easily embed your data to any  blog or web site that you manage. There are many other home weather stations in this area. My Personal Weather Station (PWS) ID is KAKWASIL18 and it is very interesting to compare data. You can click on the weather widget to bring up a more detailed page and from there you can link to other weather stations using the WonderMap located on the left of the page. I am hoping to use this data to better understand my micro climate and how it affects our growing season.

Monday, April 5, 2010

About Chateau Listeur... the name

I have been making home brewed beer since 1975 and started making hard apple cider and berry wines in 1980. After moving to Alaska it was very exciting to see all of the berries that grow very well  up here.  Growing my own berries in Alaska was a no-brainer. In Alaska I continued with my hobby making wine from produce that I bought. My goal is to make wine out of the fruits and berries that I grow myself.

I did plant a raspberry bed in my front yard in Anchorage and it was very productive as you can see.

My favorite resource for berry growing information is The Backyard Berry Book by Stella Otto.

When I moved out to Wasilla I brought some raspberry plants along and they are doing well out in my Wasilla garden. I have since added rhubarb, black currents, gooseberries, blackberries, and a strawberry bed. It is taking a few seasons for the berries to mature and become productive.

My country wine recipes make five gallons and require about 15 lbs of berries or fruit. I pick the berries as they ripen and wash and freeze them for later use. I have about 8 lbs of frozen raspberries saved so far. During my first summer in Wasilla I decided to visit Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm. They allow the public to pick their own produce. I came home with 25 lbs of rhubarb and set about producing my first vintage Chateau Listeur country wine... The complete step by step recipe for Alaska Rhubarb Wine can be found on my Alaska Home Wine-makers Blog.

Hence the name I chose to call the property is for use on my country wine labels as you can see. Cheers!