Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shelby Racing Group is back

Was just sitting here looking out the window and saw the Cobras heading south for their get together. The get together for my members wasn't going anywhere so I scratched that. What a BUMMER! 5200+ members and not one could or would make it. Grrr...

The below pictures are from last year at the legion and they will gather at the legion again this coming Saturday afternoon around 3:00 or 4:00 PM. Looks like Bigfoot and Ring will get to see it this year.

I won't be doing this again this year though. Too hard on tires!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Near by Fire

I saw this yesterday and sure thought it looked like a fire, but the wind was up and there were storms in the area so I finally dismissed it as dust. However, when my neighbor Robert showed up for coffee this morning he confirmed that it was a fire and had his camera with pictures of it. He is the one that took all these pictures. Fortunately the fire fighters (probably with help from some rain) got it under control and put out fast. This is just east of here between Black mountain and 9 points Mesa. Way too close for comfort and if it hadn't been put out the people on the other side of 118 would have been in big trouble. Matter of fact us on this side of 118 probably would have been to because the wind changed to from out of the east later and it was high enough that it could have easily caused the fire to breach 118 and start on this side.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shootin / Fruit

I'd been wanting to sight in my old Mosin–Nagant sniper rifle for a good while, but yesterday I actually started the process. Got a pretty sore shoulder today because of it, but no bruising.
I took one of the 20 gallon plastic water jugs, filled it about 1/3 of the way up with rocks and dirt (The wind won't blow it away!) and then screwed a platform down on top of it to make a shooting platform. A folding lawn chair is the perfect height for shooting from it.
I use the sighting platform on loan from my neighbor to cradle the rifle while sighting it in.
I shot a total of 8 rounds and the first three were needed just to figure out how to get it on the target. The sites are perfect horizontally, but it shoots high and the site is set to shoot as low as it will go. Looks like I'm going to have to do some modifications to get that corrected. The 6 hits you see were while I was trying to get the elevation correct using Kentucky Windage. Or in other words knowing how far down, up, left or right the bullet will go and shooting either up, down, left or right to get it to hit where you want it to.

This was using the old battle field sights and that's a far cry from using a scope. Not likely I'll ever add a scope so the trick will be for me to get used to using the battle field site and get the group as small as I can. Where we usually shoot from is the tall yucca to the right of the target. I was shooting from another hundred or so feet away from that.
 Just measured and that was a 239 foot shoot.

Found several more Strawberry cactus while out doing all of this so if and when they ever bloom again then that'll give me considerable more fruit. (Provided I beat the birds and rodents to it.) Unfortunately this year all they've done is bloom, but they didn't put on fruit under the blooms or at least the fruit was too small to do any good with.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn's here

As of Friday 23rd Autumn arrived and it had actually felt like it a while before that. For now... Its HOT again. 97 degrees in here right now at 6:51 PM and I'd bet that it topped 100 outdoors, but I didn't check to see.

Chess anyone?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ref/Sol -- High Speed Love

I've made some discoveries as far as the fridge and solar go. First one is that with the really cloudy day we had day before yesterday even with more panels that I need for sunny days there wasn't enough for cloudy days. I didn't run out of power even running the fridge, the laptop until late and using the 22 inch monitor to watch movies on, but if there had been several real cloudy days then I'd have been in trouble. Especially since the gas powered battery charger is broken down.

To off set that problem I've added 4 more panels to the two old batteries and am running the fridge off of them and the added panels during the day to give the main bank more time and watts to get fully charged. I was having to wait until at least 10:00 AM before switching the fridge from the main bank running off of the inverter at 110 volts. (Actually less because I only get about 99 to 109 volts from the inverter.)  That means that the transformer the fridge runs off of is putting out less voltage to run it. (Something like 10.5 to 11 Volts.) That causes the fridge not to do as good as it should even though its been doing fairly well with the cooler weather.

Now that I've added the extra solar panels to the old battery bank I can switch the fridge to it around 8:30 or 9:00. I also run the fridge off of direct battery power when I switch so it gets more than the full 12 volts its supposed to which increases the efficiency a good bit and it works better in the heat of the day. At night the lower voltage doesn't effect it much because it has a much lower heat load on it.

And for the heck of it... High Speed Love

You'll have to watch it all to see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Storm Pictures

My neighbor stopped by earlier and said he'd found another piece of the steel siding. I'd missed seeing it because it was about half way between here and 118 (About 400 feet I'd guess.)
Almost looks like a bulldozer bucket scooping up the grass. I think that's all of it unless there's some on top of 9 Points. Yep... Its the same stuff. The white side was just up and the yellow side down.

Raining again now. Saw a fire started by lightning and then watched the rain put it out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Funnel Cloud / New Fridge

First off evening before last I was sitting out in the shade of the trailer and noticed a well defined classic funnel cloud emerging from the clouds to the northeast where there were storms going on. I watched it for a few minutes and it looked like it probably touched down, but I couldn't be sure because of the ridge between here and there. At that point I headed in here to fetch the camera and by the time I found it and got back out it looked like the funnel was breaking up and going back up in the cloud. You can see the remnants of it in the picture with it circled with the red oval. I'm not sure something like this didn't happen around here the night of the big storm because on the south end of the trailer there was stuff that was easily light enough that it should have been in the next county, but on the north end of the trailer it reeked havoc.

My neighbor came up with another electronic fridge that actually works GOOD so it looks like I'll buy it from him. Matter of fact it works so good that I may have to add a refrigerator thermostat to it to keep it from freezing stuff at night. at 7:00 this morning it was down to 27 degrees inside it and when I took the picture  of the thermometer it was 80 degrees in here and still down to about 32 degrees in the fridge. Yesterday when it was 90 degrees in here it was still at 38 degrees which is more than cool enough to store perishables in. Not a heck of a lot of room in there, but I can live with that. The water jug in the bottom picture will just fit inside it with the lid removed which means I can store a whole bag of ice in it and that should last for days instead of the one day it usually lasts in a normal ice chest.

BTW the outdoor fridge ran out of propane last night and I've now decommissioned it. No more sucking propane for it. Now not only should I be saving $ on ice I'll be saving it on propane to.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

STORM! / fridge / Bloger Sucks!

There was one HELL of a storm here last night about 2:00 AM. Its starting to look like 2:00 AM is the magic time for storms around here now days. This storm was really bad and worst part was that the super high wind was out of the west which put it broadsiding this trailer. I was almost tempted to head for the tank a couple of times and brave the flying sheets of metal flying around and heavy rain to do it.. The vents in here sounded like a jet engine going over heard several times. I felt drops of water hitting me so had to head for the vents and windows to close them and the trailer actually felt like it could go over several times. Note the scattered metal siding scattered around. Before it was neatly stacked, laying flat on the ground and had that  steel 55 gallon drum half sitting on top of it with some considerable chunks of wood in it. The wind just flipped it over and the siding took off. This storm reminded me of the one we had when the old pole barn vanished.
More scattered siding.
After I post this I'll be out rounding up all the siding and re-stacking it, but this time I'll be putting some heavy rocks all the way around it along with the drum that got dumped off of it. There's another 20% chance of storms today. Sure hope the Ocotilla didn't get much damage out of this. It was a little more than unnerving hearing the sheet metal flying around because it was actually singing as it sailed past the window in here. I'm sure glad there wasn't anything else in the path that could have gotten damaged. There was another .7 inches of rain in the gauge this morning so between night before last's rain and last night that makes a little over 1 inch. I'm real surprised because only one solar panel got flipped, but fortunately it wasn't damaged. From looking at the Ocotillo now it doesn't appear that the siding bent it over it looks like the wind tried to tip it out of the ground.

The drum that got flipped and the wood is under it.
Got the solar cooker to.

The old mini blower I put on the mini fridge took a dump and I'm not sure I'll do anymore with it now because it sucks too much solar power for the good it does. I guess I'll put the butter back in the freezer of the propane fridge and live without the mini fridge in here again. Its cooling down enough to where the propane fridge is starting to work half way decent so I'll live with that for now.

Blogger Sucks
Don't know if anyone else is having this trouble or not. Maybe its  just a Firefox/blogger problem or what, but before when you clicked on pictures to view them the pictures came up and could be further expanded. When you clicked the back button then you were taken back to the blog. Now they have the cheesy slide show come up when you click on a picture to view, they can't be enlarged and when you click the back button you are sent back to the history file that you were at before visiting the blog. This sucks and I really wish blogger would quit screwing around! The way I see it is IF something ain't broke don't fix it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mini Fridge \ Solar \ Rain

Above pictures of my new Mini Fridge. Well it isn't new, but it works. The old Coleman electric fridge potted out when the fan motor died. No chance of getting another one and it actually died so lubing the bearings with WD40 was out. On this one I'm using a small blower out of an old computer on the hot side (Which would be called the condenser in a normal refrigeration unit.) This thing actually uses a refrigeration chip and electricity is the refrigerant.

Since it hadn't worked very good when it was working I hoped that putting the refrigeration unit in the small ice chest might make a freezer out of it because there would be far less volume to cool. Well that didn't happen, but it does cool sufficiently to chill drinks and keep a small amount of perishables in and it runs off of the solar so I don't have to buy propane for it. Problem is the small size, but then it is small enough that it takes up very little room in here. That won't replace the freezer in the propane fridge which will at least make a small amount of ice and I can chill drinks in it before moving them in to the small fridge in here to cool them even more. Later in the season when the weather cools I'll be able to use the propane fridge, but for now it isn't a lot of good. Perhaps one of these days I'll find a cheap home styled fridge or chest freezer to run off of the solar. Believe it or not one of them probably wouldn't use any more solar than this mini fridge because this one pulls 40 watts 24/7 and a full sized fridge would pull much more, but only intermittently. Perhaps 20 minutes on and an hour off.

And for the Solar Part...
Some of you may know this while others may not so that's why I'm talking about it. Those who have solar need to be aware of the fact that you need to keep them clean and especially remove anything that can cast a shadow on any part of them. In the second panel photo just the shadow of my hand in the red square is enough to cause the WHOLE panel to drop to 50% output. That's right. Just that one little shaded area drops the efficiency of the whole panel by 50 percent. Dust and durt can be a real killer on solar panels and I've seen them on roofs where they had dirt all over them and the people couldn't figure out why they weren't working as good as they should be. That's one benefit of keeping them close to the ground where a paint brush can be used to keep them dusted. Its also a lot easier to clean them with Windex and a rag to get the bird poop off of them because dusting doesn't work for that.

And for the Rain...

Got woken up at 2:20 this morning to the loud sound of heavy rain pounding the roof and high wind. It only rained about 5 minutes, but it was raining so hard that it totaled up to just over 1/10 inch. The wind finally settled down around 8:00.

And for Blogger...
Just been viewing my blog and it looks like Blogger has screwed up big time one more time! The way viewing the pictures works now really SUCKS!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harvest Moon over 9 Points Mesa

I didn't know last night's moon was anything special other than it really looked cool (Especially the way it was peeping out in a cranny of the south corner of 9 Points Mesa) I decided to take a few pictures and only this morning found out it was the Harvest Moon.

You can read about it Here

And a little Photo Magic?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Don Briant

Frann and Denese came by yesterday morning on their way to a tour of Don Briant's domes. Of course they were in the little red dodge truck and there wasn't room in it for three so I was given the choice of riding in the back or taking the jeep. I'd imagine you'll can guess what my decision was.
First structure we were taken to by Don was this unfinished structure and I think it was before the domes. After looking at all of this I think I can pretty well figure John Wells got his inspiration for his Field Lab trusses from Don.
Don has home made jigs for everything he builds. In this case it was a simple, but very effective rod bender for making some of the stuff he uses on the domes and other stuff he builds.
Another jig for making the components for domes.
Here he's in the process of building a giant ball. For any of you who have traveled down 118 from Alpine headed for Terlingua you may have noticed some of his work atop a tower just this side of Alpine. Unfortunately he is in the same boat as me with the DAMN burn ban. He can't weld and neither can I so neither of us are getting anything done. I say RAISE THE DAMN BURN BAN! Better yet vote for someone who will next election!
Another piece that was going to be part of a dome or ball laying out on his property. There are many such components that haven't been used. Perhaps they were experiments gone bad?
Another jig for one of his domes. These are very ingenious! Matter of fact all of his jigs are.
And another one.
One of the many domes he's built from a distance. He told us that him and another guy built several in Houston Texas. Sure would like to see them because they are two story and much taller. He said no welding was used on them the rebar was all wired together before the concrete was added on the exterior and interior.
Here you see Don on top of one of the domes. Frann says he is 90 years old, but he still gets around like a teenager and is as agile as a mountain goat.

After there we went to another place Frann thought she could get a metal satellite dish for the roof of her earth bag building, but the guy wasn't there. The road goes down behind Nick's place and we were going to stop by and check his progress and on the way we saw a pretty large mule deer buck. I'd guess at least a 6 or 8 pointer. Unfortunately I was having to try and take the picture of it while driving to keep up with it and through the windshield so the picture came out pretty lousy. The deer can't really be made out, but you can see the dust trail it was kicking up as it ran down the road in front of us. We did stop by Nick's place, but he wasn't home and as far as progress there doesn't appear to be any since our last visit some months back.

At another place in the road and at an ant bed in the raod we came by this horny toad. You rairly see these any more, but many years ago there were lots of them. This is the largest I've seen in many years and may not have seen over four that I remember in the last 30 years. You see back in the 60s or 70s some AH got the bright idea that they looked like miniature dinosaurs and the word got around that they would sell up north for the cool factor of having one. Hunters hunted most of them down and they were sent off to other parts of the country and the numbers dwindled. The population never has recovered. I think they are on the endangered species list now fortunately!