Monday, August 30, 2010

SCUMBAG! / Banks / Made in America?

Just received word that my second cousin has cancer and it is terminal. They are giving her 3 to 6 months to live. Now after learning that she has cancer her  husband of about 10 years has left her and plans to file for divorce. Never did like that guy, but what I think about him now is not suitable for posting on here.

And on another note my bank (other than the one down here) has failed to send me my new check card. I'd suspect it went to Plano rather than where it is supposed to have. (down here) Problem is that there are a few low life's living where it would have been sent if they sent it to Plano. I really hate banks! Of course it would be hard to do without them though. In this case my land payment and a couple of other bills are tied to that card and since it will expire tomorrow no telling what the heck will happen! I can't contact the bank until I can get in to SB to call on my cell phone so I'm screwed there. I also only have one check left for my old bank so will have to use it to transfer my $ to the bank down here and figure out what to do again before next month.

It looks like I'm going to have to chance taking the falcon to SB Friday since RN won't be here until next Sunday with the new tires and I have GOT to be in SB Friday to take care of the banking and do a few other things. (Like find out why no new check card!)

Oh! and one more rant! Used to be Made in America meant quality, but evidently that isn't the case now. At least for the particular jug shown below. That was my shower jug, but now I'll have to come up with something else for that. Either that or pipe from the water tank to the shower pump which will mean some pretty cool showers because the water in the tank just doesn't get hot. I could use one of the 55 gallon water drums Buddy Crawford gave me, but they are both full of water and I don't think I'm tough enough to move one of them over to the shower. They are in the partial shade of the dungeon now as is so they wouldn't get warm enough for showers either.
For once I can't blame this on Pepper, just shoddy merchandise. It hasn't been over 5 months since I bought this and its been used for the shower considerably less time than that and had been kept inside out of the sun before that. Looks like it is just disintegrating.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cool Vision / Pepper

My niece turned me on to a the little DVD player shown on top of my laptop, but the screen is so tiny (especially when the movies are wide screen) that it is hard for these old eyes to see. Of course reading glasses help, but still its pretty hard to see without getting close and also makes it real hard to get comfortable.) I had the 22 inch monitor that I brought down here from Plano, but using the desk top that goes with it is out of the question without running the generator. (500 watt power supply and then the overhead of the monitor on top of that.) Well I decided to see if I could use the monitor with the small DVD player and I could IF I had the right cable, but I don't. I searched around and found my USB DVD player and hooked it up to the laptop and I could watch movies like that, but the combination still drew more watts than I wanted it to so using it at night is out of the question. (unless its a windy night so the wind genny can handle the load) I'll see about getting the right cable to run the monitor off of the small portable DVD player and that will take care of that problem. The monitor was running off of the laptop in the picture below.
While taking more stuff out of here today and putting it in the dungeon to make room in here and straighten this place up I ran across the box fan below and for the grins of it I decided to check the watts it pulls. Turned out that it pulled more watts than the swamp cooler and doesn't cool the air while doing it. It actually doesn't put out anymore air either. Not a good thing for off grid living!
Now I've made swamp coolers before, but they were tiny as seen in earlier pictures of the dungeon. In reality it probably pulled near as many watts as the one above (mainly because of the pump used) and came no where close to putting out the volume of air or cooling near as good either. I'd say having one of the Convair Westwind swamp coolers is the only way to go. I won't be trying to make any other swamp coolers because they just can't measure up! Fortunately I didn't have to buy that one, but if you plan to spend a fortune on the stuff to build one that won't work near as good then why not buy one of those instead. The pump is actually run off of the fan motor via a small belt so no need for a pump motor. You can also regulate the amount of water to the pad by a dial on the front of the unit so you can pick the cool level you want and water savings along with it. It also has a turbine type blade which cuts down on the problem with wind coming in a window from the other direction. It can also be used outside for spot cooling.

 Pepper has steadily been picking at her bedding in the cage for a good while and has been swaked with a fly swatter several times because of it. However, last night she mangled it so I put her out of the cage, removed what was left of the bedding and all the stuffing she had shredded and pulled out of it and then put her back in. You could tell that she was really bummed about loosing the bedding. Mater of fact she had to be forcibly put in the cage this evening where before she always went right in. Oh well... the medium sized dummy shouldn't have ripped it up! Now she seems to be paying some attention to one of the toys Abby sent her. Guess I should have removed the bedding a long time ago.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dungeon's Demise

Just a couple of months and this is what happens since I'm no longer in the dungeon to keep it up. Sort of sad really considering the months I took shelter in it. Time marches on though and its slowly reverting back to what it was built for. I may go ahead and dismantle it and use the lumber and other stuff for something else. Never the less the dungeon will always be special to me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spunky Monkey

See anything? Actually its a Spunky Lizard and not a monkey. Sorry... ;)

Second one of these I've run in to and both times it startled me. One was under Pepper's water dish when I picked it up the other day. The way they distort their body and with the coloration and fat tail they resemble a very small snake coiled up (Maybe even a rattle snake). They are extremely hard to spot until they move. They also seem to tuck their legs up under them or real close to the body to make them resemble a snake even more (until they move)

The second one was just now when I flipped one of the solar panels on the ground to measure it for a rack I plan to build. This little sucker actually charged Pepper and then me and Pepper didn't have any thing to do with it unlike the blue tailed skinks she chases all over the place. I tried to look it up online and didn't find a match. I've also only started finding them lately so I don't know if I've just been missing them or they are just showing up? I'm sure they aren't poisonous, but evidently their tactic is to scare off predators rather than to run from them like most lizards. It worked pretty good for Pepper and me to until I saw what it was. ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Funny how it works!

When I didn't have the wind generator up I hated the high wind around here. Now I think its a good thing (Especially when its cloudy like it is now.)

When I didn't have solar panels I hated the heat of the summer sun beating down. Now I think its a good thing (Especially when there is no wind.)

When I don't have rain catchment l hate the rainy days, but after I do get it then I'll think its a good thing. (Especially when I'm about out of water.)

I was about out of drinking water and won't risk driving the falcon down south to get any since I don't have a spare and have a knot the size of a hard ball on one of the front tires. The water in my tank comes from the Cowboy Mine water well, but they sell it as non potable water even though some hearty souls are known to drink it as is. I chlorinate it when I get it delivered here, but the taste is pretty bad before or after the chlorination. (using common household bleach (non scented and no additives) @ 1 Tsp per 5 gallons of water). Anyway since I don't have the water from the tank hooked up to this trailer yet (but may in the future) I made a couple of adapters to allow me to use the water filter from the kitchen sink' filter to filter the tank water for drinking. See picture above. No more worry about running out of drinking water and I can still use that same filter on the sink by removing the adapters.

For those of you that don't know trash is a real problem down here. Paper can be burned, aluminum cans can be taken several places for recycle, but there is no place to dispose of steel cans or glass. That just keeps building up. Plastic can be burned, but some people bust a gut over the mention of that so I won't say what I do with it. See picture above.

 In my case Ms Pepper loves to raid the pit I keep the steel cans and glass in and scatter the cans everywhere. See picture above. She also likes to scatter stainless steel bowls and about everything else you can imagine everywhere to. See picture above. My intentions were to keep the burn barrel for paper only so every now and then I could use the ashes as fertilizer, but considering I don't have a safe place to store the cans to keep Pepper from them I've started putting them in the burn barrel to. That means I'll have to sort them out once I start using the ashes for fertilizer. Maybe she won't mess with burned cans???

And for the weather around here now? See pictures below.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nick, Frann & Steve

Nick came by on his way out and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the Legion for a cool one before he pulled out so I chained up Pepper and I followed him down there. Either that or he followed me. (Don't remember which) We hadn't no more than went inside and in walked Frann and Steve so we sat around and visited for a while. Frann and Steve had a date with some steaks at some other people's place they had met earlier, but they stopped by and inspected the dungeon before heading back south. Of course as usual I was brain dead and forget to get the camera and take pictures while they were here. :( Maybe next visit!

With nothing much else to post I took some pictures of one more use for pallets so will post a couple of pictures of that use. This is a temporary thing until I get racks for the solar panels built. (When the weather gets right!)
And then there's this.
Pepper Update
Frann's dog Kinky and Pepper didn't seem to want to scrap while they were here. The two dogs seemed like they wanted to play. I had pepper tied up though so I guess when F & S come back I'll let her loose and see what happens. She is actually getting worse about some people though and she tried to bite me the other day when my neighbor Bob and his family came over. Pepper kept jumping up on his wife and especially his daughter so when I was trying to put the leash on her to tie her up she tried to bite me. Fortunately for her I had her by the collar and was able to prevent her from actually doing it. Her life expectance suddenly dropped at that point because I will NOT put up with a biting dog! She also tried to bite a visitor several times as he was walking up to the trailer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Think Happy Thoughts!

My nephew Dale (and follower of this blog) once again has early stages of cancer. He is a cancer survivor from several years back. Unfortunately he'll have to go through chemo again this time to. There is some good news to this though and that is that the doctors are confident that they can take care of the problem. I'd ask for your Happy Thoughts, Chants, Prayers or what ever you might do as support. We want to keep him around for a LONG LONG TIME!

And a Happy Note.
 Occasionally you can catch this rig at the legion. Its owned by a local veterinarian who trained the two ponies to pull the buggy. Its said that the ponies are half brothers and one likes a beer occasionally, the other one is a T-Totaler  so I guess he's the designated driver. ;) The buggy has brakes on all four wheels, head and tail lights, bucket seats, stereo and I'm not sure what else. I've been wanting to do a thread on this rig, but never seem to have the camera when its down there. The above photo by David Secor.



 The Septic system will be installed tomorrow at the Legion. For now the equipment is parked between the RV and the Legion and is blocking the internet signal so... I'm at the legion doing this.

Added pictures to the original thread

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Blowout

I've never been one to sweat a Friday the 13th, but the last one proved to live up to it's reputation! At about 3:30 AM I woke up and felt something lite on my hair so I grabbed and squashed it. When I turned on the light to see what it was I found it to be a Cone nosed Beetle. I guess at least part of that was a good thing because I got it before it had a chance to get me. Later I noticed that the screen next to the couch had partially fallen in and there was about an inch and a half opening for that beetle and all the other flying bugs to enter at will. I got that fixed so that was another good thing.

One of the members at the legion had told me about a free BBQ feed in Study Butte and wanted to know if I was going and if so he'd like to catch a ride. I figured what the heck and decided to go. My neighbor decided he wouldn't mind riding in to. At about 1:00 PM we loaded in the falcon and headed that way. No problem going and my neighbor stayed there and was going to ride back with his wife.

On the return trip the other two of us were going down the same very steep and winding S curve where I'd had one of the blowouts before and it was Déjà vu. Yep! Another blowout! This time I came real close to smacking the guardrail! As luck would have it it was one of the supposed to be 1 year old new tires that had only been used for two weeks. That was on the front and stock rims wouldn't fit on the front because of the disc brakes I'd added a few years back. That meant taking one of the larger rear tires on the mag and moving it to the front so I could use the small spare on the rear. That didn't work well at all because the tire I put on the front was so large that it rubbed the fender in even a slight turn. It also means that I have a tall tire on one side of the rear and a small tire on the other side which could cause problems with the mechanics of the rear end among other things. Further inspection of the other tire I bought in Odessa shows signs of weather rot and a bulge in the side wall. This probably indicates that the tires were much older than a year old.

The pictures above are by Robert (Bob) Dawson of his home down here. He is my nearest neighbor and good friend. He took what I believe is a storage building for an RV, put it up and built his house inside it. As you can see it is one heck of a house and built to be very energy efficient for this area. I'll probably add more pictures off and on along the way.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm Home!

Made it back to the ranch without any trouble and had new sneakers on the front of the falcon so that helped a lot. Having them balanced sure helped the ride to. As you can see the falcon was packed as tight as I could get it and believe it or not I managed to bring everything I wanted to bring including the Coleman electric Ice chest and portable Swamp cooler. RN came up with the ice chest and my uncle and aunt donated the swamp cooler since they are moving and won't need it anymore.

I only had to stop every 50 miles to let Pepper catch up on the way home. I think she got a good workout. ;)

Actually there was just enough room left in the back seat for her to ride back.

I did have a BIG problem when I got back though and that was that the propane had run out some time after I left which means the fridge shut down. I'd put a new bag of ice in the freezer the night before I left and when I came in there was signs of a dried up puddle on the floor where it ran to when it melted. All of the meat in the freezer had gone bad as well as everything in the ice box so now I have to figure out what to do with all the bad stuff and get the fridge cleaned up. Considering the amount of propane used by the ice box and only the freezer working like its supposed to then I may scrap the idea of using it period. Its nice to have ice handy all the time, but might not be nice enough to warrant paying for the propane just to keep ice in the freezer and what little else will fit in it.
This is the fridge RN gave me and it only pulls 43 watts of electricity which would allow me to run it full time from the batteries and solar panels after I get all of the panels online. Of course it doesn't have a freezer though so it won't help there. More than likely it will become my refrigerator and I'll turn the icebox off after I get it cleaned out and cleaned up. It won't cost anything to use the electric ice chest.
This is the little swamp cooler and I tried it out last night. It does a very good job of cooling this place down (at least at night), but it uses a good bit of water so it looks like I'd better get the 275 gallon tank refilled soon.
I got the three largest solar panels temporarily wired in yesterday afternoon, but found that they didn't have diodes to keep the panels from draining the batteries at night when they weren't charging. I had the one panel that was no good so used the diode from it to put in one of the 30 watt panels and then robbed two more from the smaller panels so until I get replacement diodes for them I won't be able to use those two. No big deal though because there are plenty of other panels to put online when I get the time.
I plan to mount most of the panels I brought back on the rack in this picture. I made it a while back with the casters on it so it can be swiveled around as the sun rises to get the max out of them all day. If I start forgetting to do that then I'll probably just leave it facing south all the time.


My attempt at getting the fridge to work well enough to keep a small amount of perishables evidently failed. What I did is completely block off the lower part of the icebox with 1 inch of foam insulation which should have cut the space down that the refrigeration system has to cool. It still only maintains 60 degrees. As you can see I've now taken that another step by putting a block of ice in the small ice chest in it as an attempt to get the temp in there low enough to keep cold cuts and the like in there. I figure at the constant 60 degrees in there before the ice then the ice should cool it on down and probably last several days while doing it. I guess time will tell on that.

Pepper the Mountain Goat

Pepper now thinks she's a mountain goat. Note the paw prints on the trunk of the falcon. Yep they're on the top and hood to. I think I have a nice quiet place picked out for her in the west 5 critter field!