Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A tiny step into renewable energy

No, I'm not going to go all "green" on you, even though I was turning off lights and changing out bulbs before it was cool. I'm cheap, and saving energy saves me money. Not running 125' of electrical circuit also saves me money; a rather substantial amount when you consider the cost of trenching, conduit and so on.

Let's set the scene: About 125' from my back door sits a 12'x14' extruded plastic outbuilding. I love the thing--no painting, just hit it with a pressure washer occasionally. We use it for storing the lawn tractor, various flammable liquid fuels, lawn tools and the like. It was put in the second year after we moved.

I didn't have any electricity ran to it, because dollar$. I can't see spending a weekend of my time and several $hundred just to have power out there on demand. The demand isn't there. It's a storage building. If I need power for a short-term project, I have many extension cords and a generator.

However, it would be handy on the odd occasion to have a little light, basically just enough to find things without holding a flashlight in my teeth. A while back I bought a solar shed light at Harbor Freight, similar to this one. It's sat on a shelf for some time, waiting for me to do something with it.

I finally did, after needing to put things up one night after dark and being annoyed about holding my flashlight in my teeth. To whit:

The "solar panel"

Light off

Light on. Note disconnected plug. Click to embiggen if necessary.
 Yes, I need to hit the building with a pressure washer. After Hurricane Michael passes, maybe.

Installation was simple, some screws and a 1/4" hole to pass the power cable through the building wall, which was sealed with silicone caulk. The panel doesn't get much direct sun, but it gets enough sun to keep things charged.

It isn't the brightest light in the world, and it won't run forever on a 600 mah AA ni-cad battery, but that's cool. It doesn't need to. But I do wish it would work without having to unplug the panel before switching it on. That's a bit annoying. Some other time when that annoys me enough I'll take it down and take a look into it. Given the building is Plan C in case a real need for a place to sleep shows up and the house (Plan A) and the camper (Plan B) are both out of commission for some reason, I'd probably better do that sooner than later.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Sorry, but politics must intrude for a bit

(Via the Woodpile Report and the Conservative Treehouse)

I hope everyone reading this is well and truly sick and tired of the fiasco that has been the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

I hope your sick of watching the show trial of Judge Kavanaugh and tired of listening to the sanctimonious lecturing from the thrones of the powerful which have been built of their own misdeeds.

I hope your tired of being told what you should think rather than being encouraged to think for yourselves.

Here are two links to let you know that there are people who are noticing and others like you who think as you do.

Prepare yourselves. It's coming, and it may arrive sooner than anyone thinks. Or it may arrive later. In the end, it won't matter the timing.

Because it will arrive, you may be certain of that.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer turns to fall

Falling behind, that is.

It's been a long, miserable summer here at the Freehold. While the temperatures have been warm, it's been the tropical levels of humidity that have caused trouble here at the Freehold and around my area. I really can't recall another summer that was as consistently humid as this one. It's been bad enough that I've had to limit my work hours outside. It got to the point that, no matter how much replacement fluid I poured into myself, my body couldn't process it as fast as I was sweating.

I suppose that at some age, you get the message you aren't 25 any more. Message received.

But we finally seem to be on the down side. Not that we're seeing fall weather; we aren't. But the conditions of the last week have been far less oppressive than they have been. This means that it's time to get to it and catch up on the outside work. There are bushes and trees to trim and all that will have to be burned. There is lawn to be created by a methodology that is yet uncertain. Firewood must be processed and next year's wood obtained. I really ought to wash the outside of the house and do the windows as well.

The list goes on. I have ham antennas that I still haven't put up. Not only will that cross a big item off my list, but it will allow me to finish the long dormant series of blog posts I was doing on the process. I need to put preservative on exposed wood around the house. I want to put some sort of gutter guards on the gutters that lack them. My utility trailer needs some love. The RV wants washed and waxed. The list seems endless, but it all has to get done.

Yeah, I'm whining a bit. But enough of that, time to get moving. As they say, winter is coming.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Feed the machine

There are a number of people who wonder why the "police action" in Korea wasn't prosecuted with more vigor, why the Vietnam "conflict" was fought in a way that nearly guaranteed failure and why the the Gulf War/Global War on Terror is still going on at all.

There are also people who wonder why we put up with the joke we call "public education" and the contaminated industrial products we call "food".

Other people continue to wonder why medical costs are so high in the US, why perscription drugs are so costly and why modern medicine seems less interested in curing diseases than in offering expensive treatments that don't cure but do prolong suffering.

Color me cynical, but it appears to me that the group we call "the Deep State" views "the masses", which have more lately been  known collectively as "deplorables", as fodder for their cash cows.

Edit, 9/25/2018: Corrected an error in the final paragraph that made it clear as mud.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Outside the box thinking personified

(Via Says Uncle)

The most cogent reason for carrying a pistol chambered in .45 ACP I've seen recently.

AR-15 Wear and Failure Points

(Via Says Uncle)

15 wear and failure points on the AR series of firearms, but a list of good spares to keep.

I note they diplomatically mention the shooter as a failure point.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Eric S. Raymond posits that we are genetically selecting for intelligence at the top of the income scale and muses on the possible consequences. e sure to read the comments as well.

He points out that this would make an interesting SF book. Personally, I think it could be a series.

Hurricane Florence AAR

Hurricane Florence has came and went. Here at Ft. Freehold, Florence wasn't as serious a problem as it was for the residents of coastal NC. We received a measured 6.9" of rain and had wind gusts that topped 30 MPH. No trees down and no power outage, although it did the "on-off-on-off-on" dance a few times.

In the local area, there are a few trees, mostly dead or diseased, that have come down, along with minor flooding and a number of power outages. I imagine there is also some roof damage here and there.

I'm grateful for my blessings, and pray for the safety and well-being of those who have been grievously affected by the storm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Keepin' on and keepin' up with Florence

Another day of being sure we're ready for Florence. As far as major items go, we were in pretty good shape beforehand and now we're as good as we're likely to get. Kudos to Amazon, UPS and the USPS for getting the order for extra batteries and a couple of battery-powered fans here on schedule. If the power goes out for a while, at least we have some means of relief.

Where forecasts are concerned, there seems to be some difference of opinion between our local TV weather droids and the National Hurricane Center. I'm going by the information from the NWC. Right now we're still in the 4+ days out category in terms of the storm's arrival at our location, which means the forecast could change significantly, so I'm checking at most update times to see what's changed.

Given the size of the storm, we'll see winds and rain well before the center of circulation gets here. At the moment, we'll see winds of tropical storm force or better (over 39 MPH) and rain of 6-15". We're near a break point for the forecast, so the rainfall range is large just yet.

I have gotten the WeatherFlow weather station up, although I need to guy it. This is the wind and rain sensors, mounted on an aluminum push up pole. At this height, it's around 5' over the peak of the roof and about 21' off the ground. There is another section I can take it up, and I'll probably do that once I have the guys in tomorrow. This is a temporary setup. The good thing about it is that I can drop the who thing down to about 6' tall in 60 seconds. If things start getting particularly dicey, down it comes.

As there isn't going to be anything of real interest until the storm gets here, I'll stop this series of posts here. I doubt that anyone wants the details of charging batteries, getting things up off the basement and garage floors and making sure all the outdoor stuff is tied down or stored.