Monday, July 29, 2013

Follow ups

If all else fails SCREW IT! Which is what I did to the PVC joints on the catchment that came loose. There's a 20% chance of rain today, tonight and tomorrow. It looked like the bottom could drop out earlier, but now that I have the catchment fixed you can be sure it won't. I could sure use it though because the hose I patched that lost me 100+ gallons of water busted again yesterday and there went another 50+ gallons before I caught it.

I was using a set of jumper cables to temporarily tie the new batteries to the old ones in the battery hut. That kept giving me trouble so I did it right this morning and used 5/8 inch copper tubing to make buss bars out of. Works MUCH better now!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Storm / AC / Buzzed and More

Had one hell of a storm this afternoon!
I thought I'd struck a gold mine (OR maybe Water mine) this afternoon when one hell of a storm came through. I was sure when I looked at the rain gauge and saw another 3/4 inches of rain/small hail in the rain gauge that I had cleaned up on water catchment. As you can see the high wind and heavy rain broke the catchment system so I didn't come out worth a darn as far as catchment goes. Most of it went on the ground. I've never seen a glued PVC joint come loose before until today.

When I took the rest of the PVC loose from the tank and checked the filter screen I noticed it was pretty near clogged up with gnats. What is in the red circle is what I cleaned out of the strainer.

The high wind and driving rain/small hail flipped over all of the solar panels that had been supplying the trailer and water pump. Note in the background out buy the main battery bank and battery hut were unaffected. Fortunately now this is panels I'm not using yet. They will be added to the main battery bank later.

From another angle looking east showing how the panels and pallets were flipped. Also notice I now have the little AC installed.

The AC

I finally got the window type AC installed in the cabin wall. Needs more work, but I was thinking I was going to be cool for a while. It was cooling down in here nicely yesterday after an hours running, but then the compressor started over heating and started seizing up. I tried it again after it cooled down some last night, but it conked out after about 5 minutes.

Well it got up to 110 degrees this afternoon and it was 101 in here at the time and I decided to try something else and see if the AC would work. The picture was taken after it had started cooling down in here. I filled the condensate pan on the AC with water which is a way the manufactures use now days to get extra efficiency out of small AC window units. It helps cool the hot gaseous freon  from the compressor and condense the freon more easily. Dang if that didn't work and it ran from 1:50 until 3:30 when I cut it off. Of course part of that time was during the storm and it had cooled down outside by a bunch.

And More

Got buzzed by three more C-130s early this afternoon. These pictures are of the same one with one over by 9 Points. Another one was between Black Hill and 9 points and out of sight.

And since part of this is about planes check out this video. It is amazing!!! I don't think there was any luck involved here it was a very skilled pilot flying the plane all the way to the ground which saved his life.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rain! / Catchment

Well first a picture of last night's sunset. There was actually some sky seen back there, but that didn't last long.
RAIN! Yep... Over the past few days we have only gotten an occasional sprinkle adding up to just over .3 inches. This morning it came a good rain and we got .7 out of it so there is a solid inch of rain. I did a calculation through a catchment calculator and it says I should have gotten 182 gallons of catchment. :) That more than makes up for my loss  because of a busted hose last week and also gained maybe 50 or 60 gallons to boot.
Here's a picture down at the dam. Of course Shelah was tagging along when I walked back there. There is a little water in the pond, but the dam needs to stretch about another 8 or so feet to the east before it could trap much water. During a rain the water goes around the east end and can't build up. Maybe one of these days I can remedy that? Note you can actually see some blue sky in the last picture. Seems like for ever since you could see any real sky around here and the forecast for the next 9 days is cloudy to partly cloudy. :( Sure does cut down on the solar so no running the fridge Which means buying ice from the legion again. There is a fairly high possibility of rain in five of those days. Wouldn't be so hard to take IF it would really rain and not just spitting.

On another note a bee just flew in here and Shelah was laying beside me on the floor. I started petting her and picked up the fly swatter and started swatting at the bee. Finally got the sucker and although I could tell it was making Shelah uneasy she stayed put. Looks like edlfrey's suggestion is going to work.

Finally got the table Bigfoot left me moved in to replace the old solar panel table I made. I guess that will be an outside table now. I'll have all sorts of room on this table to store Junk. ;) Unfortunately now Shelah thinks the table is her new house and likes getting under it. That's ok IF she doesn't step on the switch and turn it off when I'm on the computer. For some reason she likes to be under stuff. (Tables, bunks, ???

Damn Clouds!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet Shelah / Solar Stuff

We're getting along fine so far. She does like to be petted a lot more than I have time to devote to that so I guess she'll just have to deal with that. She got on an exploring kick yesterday and at first I could call her and she would come back from where she was, but later got to where she wouldn't. It was windy and she was out of sight though so she may not have been able to hear me calling her. One time I cranked up the Jeep and took off down 118 looking for her and when I came back she was running down my road back to the cabin and stopped in front of the cabin and waited for me. After that when she wouldn't come when I'd call her I decided to crank up the jeep and as soon as I did she came running. She likes to ride which is a good thing for me. She likes to be in the Jeep to so that makes it nice because I can leave her in there with the windows down when I go to the store or what ever and she won't jump out. As a matter of fact I have to almost drag her out.

Earlier this morning it was sprinkling and coming in the door so I shut the door and then kept getting pestered by flies so I picked up the fly swatter and started swatting them. As soon as I did she headed under the bunk to hide out.  I started thinking about it and when she started her disappearing act yesterday bees were real bad around here and kept coming in the cabin. I was swatting at them when she left the cabin and disappeared. Evidently in her young life someone used a fly swatter on her (A LOT!) This is NOT a good thing because of all the flies, bees and other bugs around here. I guess I'm going to have to start putting her out while I'm doing my swatting. Either that or shut the door where she can't take off and try to get it across to her that I'm not going to use the swatter on her. It took a lot of coxing to get her out from under the bunk this time, but she seems ok after a lot of petting.

BTW yesterday she must have gotten too close to a birds nest because a saw a bird keep dive bombing her. She stays in the cabin with me now unless I'm out side. I guess she don't like being pecked on the head. ;) When I'm out she's usually trailing along with me.

Solar Stuff

When Ring came down to bring Shelah he also brought this little harbor freight generator. We got the gas powered charger running, but then it quit again and wouldn't start so we hoped this generator might help by running an electric battery charger off of it. There is no way a 10 amp battery charger will charge the large battery bank from inverter cut out to full charge within a week, but it will keep them up when they are charged which will allow me to start running the fridge again. It won't run the fridge by its self, but it would through the battery bank and inverter. Problem at first was that the generator was out of adjustment and wasn't even good for that, but with some adjusting I now have it where it will. Its supposed to run for 5 hours at half load on a gallon of gas and the total load running the charger should be at or more than less half load so that should be fairly economical on cloudy days. I had to stop using the fridge again because of all the dark cloudy days.  

Hopefully the generator will turn out to be a good one. Nick (now known as  Terlingua Bassnik because he now plays a bass fiddle) gave me one like it a few years back and in the heat here it only lasted about 8 hours before it potted out.

Anyway I'll probably only run it some late in the afternoon/ evening on real cloudy days and at night some so maybe that will help. It should also let me run the AC at night as well as the fridge when I get it all setup right.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fridged Again.

Got the fridge moved over to the pad yesterday and spent at least an hour cleaning the inside with a bleach based kitchen cleaner. It had a lot of mold in it from not running for months and there was some food in there that I'd forgotten to get out so it stunk like the dickens also. Now its clean enough to eat off of the inside and smells much better to (Although a little like bleach).

Note the Velcro straps on it. I had to put them on it to keep the wind from blowing the doors open because I'd let it set so long on rough ground that it got a little warped and cause the doors not to stay shut good. Hopefully now that its level that will reverse its self? If not then I'll just have to deal with the Velcro.

In the last picture note the very large Styrofoam ice chest above the crispers. I decided to use that as an attempt to cut down on the run time on the fridge since it would cut back on the space the refrigeration system has to cool. I can already tell that it is doing as I figured it would do because its already cycled off and on a couple of times since I plugged it in this morning about 8:30. Normally it would have been running probably non stop with the sun shining on it like it is now. That should do even better by about noon when the shade of the porch roof covers it. It will be in the shade after that until the next morning.

I need to modify the lid to the ice chest where I can put it on and get it off easier than I can now because it is a very tight fit. Once I do that I can stock it with hot sodas and other condiments that are hot and it won't effect the fridge much at all. It will just slowly cool them down until they reach the inside fridge temperature. Its been a major problem to do that before because the fridge was running way over time just trying to chill the hot stuff.

I picked up that ice chest on the bench at the Study Butte Store way back before it closed and its been in the tank every since. There were a lot of mouse droppings on it as well as mouse urine stains on it so I had to clean it well also with the bleach based cleaner. Damn mice and rats!!!

I'll still have the use of the crispers in the bottom and the door storage plus the room above the ice chest so will have more than enough room for about anything I want to put in there. Once stuff in the ice chest finally reaches inside fridge temp I'll be able to move some of that stuff out to either the crispers, door space or above the ice chest and restock the ice chest.

I figure once I get the fridge restocked, get a couple of bags of ice in the freezer and other stuff in there I just might be able to squeak by several cloudy days without the batteries going to low. I'll add and remove a bag of ice as I need more room in the freezer for frozen food.

I'm also going to be out shortly moving some panels from the trailer's bank to the main battery bank because I don't need so many on the trailer. Also have others that I've never even wired up and will be adding them to the main bank. That should help a lot on cloudy days to.

My nephew is supposed to be coming up with 8 good used batteries before long and I'll be able to add those to the main bank, BUT I'll have to ditch the small battery hut and build a utility room to move all of them and the electronics in to. With that many batteries and solar panels running the AC also shouldn't be a problem probably running it 24 hours a day. That will give me a total of 14 batteries.

Since the It'll Du has outlived its usefulness its quiet possible that I'll add on to it and the old shower and turn that in to the utility room to keep from having to start from scratch. Of course it will receive a full make over in the process and the old business part (the Pooper) will be removed. ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Conenose bite / Fridge Pad / Att N Terlinga Peops

After the Foots had left to go back home I took a shower and put on clean clothes. I came in to the cabin and was at the computer. I always place my elbows on my knees since I have to stoop over to type because of the low solar panel table. A few minutes later I sat back and noticed the red spot on my left leg so I felt it to see what the heck was going on. I felt something between my bluejeans and leg so dropped my pants and investigated.

It was a squashed conenose beetle which I'd accidentally squashed when I leaned forward and placed my elbows on my knees. That's one accident I was glad I had because I hadn't felt it crawling up my leg, but it had evidently already nailed me and I didn't even feel it. I later found a couple of small red spots on my leg near by where the blood was, but there was no pain. I did a search on the net and found the below info at Conenose People that are allergic to them usually have real bad swelling at the bite site and a lot of pain to go with it.

"The only important species in California is Triatoma protracta, the western bloodsucking conenose, whereas in the southern United States from the Atlantic Ocean to Arizona the most important pest species is Triatoma sanguisuga. Triatoma protracta frequently lives in aggregations in the nests of wood rats (Neotoma spp.), but also flies into homes and may feed on people. Although not painful, bites from conenose bugs sometimes produce allergic reactions, which can be cause for concern in sensitive individuals. In Latin America these insects are important because they sometimes carry a protozoan, Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas’ disease in humans; this debilitating disease is rare in the United States, however, with only two recorded cases in southern Texas and one in central California."

Now... I've been bitten many times at night I guess by different type bugs and they were not only painful, but caused whelps and itched like the dickens for well over a week. I attributed them to conenose bites, but I guess not. This makes me wonder if I've ever even been bitten by one before this because of the lack of pain, but then again since I'm evidently not allergic to them then I could have been bitten many times and never knew it.

I'm starting to wonder if that may not have been what bit me on the bottom of the foot and caused that infection??? Maybe I'm the third person in south Texas to have caught Chagas??? I'm sure with all the blood they took at the hospital they weren't looking for that. Guess I need to be checked.

While I was in Odessa my sister found a conenose around the laundry room so it had to have hitchhiked in in my clothes. There are none in that area. Later Bigfoot told me that Littlefoot found one in there clothing when they got back to the DFW area.  From now on when I get ready to take a shower I turn my jeans and other clothes in side out to make sure there are no critters in them and if I'm going out of town I'll check all clothing I take and then seal be bag before I go.

Fridge Pad

I finally got the concrete pad poured for the fridge so I can get it out of the yard and more importantly out of the afternoon and evening sun. once I get the fridge moved on it then I should be able to start using it again which will put a stop to me having to buy from one to two bags of ice a day. (unless all the cloudy days keep happening) In that case I'll probably have to empty the fridge contents in to a large ice chest and buy ice until the solar is working better.

While the Foots were here Littlefoot told me I had to do a blog showing my progress on getting the fridge where it needs to be so here it is. I wasn't hard headed at all on this (maybe just a little slow).  ;)

Attention North Terlingua residents. Mike Dirinkerd (Sp?) with the Crisis Center dropped off a BUNCH of cantaloupes and tomatoes at the legion. They need to be gotten pretty soon before they go bad! If you're in the area you might want to stop by and get some. The tomatoes and cantaloupes are both VERY GOOD! While you're there you might also buy something from the legion (NOT MANDATORY!!!), but I think it needs the help. If nothing else maybe drop a buck in the donation kitty on the bar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More This & That

While I was in the hospital one of my friends came over thinking I was at home and when I didn't answer the door he figured I'd gone somewhere with someone else and would be back soon. While he was waiting on me to get back he got out doing some searching and found the above arrowhead. First found here since I've been here.

The bunny in the two pictures above seems to think its my pet now. It mossies around here like I wasn't even outside and near it. I wonder if it will do that when Shelah gets here. ;) Its one darn big jackrabbit! Don't know what caused it, but cotton tailed rabbits are all over the place now. Mostly pretty young ones. They are everywhere and several are nesting in different places around here. That isn't only here though they are everywhere.

Above is a quality table and chairs brought to me by the Foots when we came back down here. My first thought was to coat it with Elastomeric (White roof coating) so it could withstand the outside elements, but now I'm thinking more in the direction of using it for a computer desk in here. Right now I'm using the coffee table I built out of solar panels and it keeps me bent over to use the computer. I can sit up straight using that table and have a lot more room to stack junk. ;) Bill also brought me a fire extinguisher, but I hope I never need it. Would sure be handy in case I did though.

I need to get the fridge Bigfoot brought me back when out of the sun and get it moved up under the porch roof in front of the cabin. I picked up three bags of concrete Monday when I caught a ride to Alpine and will be pouring a pad for the fridge soon. I should be able to start using it again soon and quit buying ice! I picked up two more batteries when I was in Odessa and that should help to. Of course if we keep getting the cloudy days that may not work out to well.

Friday, July 5, 2013

3rd Time for Charm?

Looks like I may be getting another dog and I'm hoping it will be charm. She's probably about 3 years old, part Lab and more or less solid black.
She showed up at my families house about a year ago and jumped the fence to play with the other two dogs. She's been there every since, but has started digging out and has the other two dogs following her out. Constant attempts to stop that failed, so they want her gone so I offered to take her. She is a little skittish around strangers and was probably abused in her earlier life. She did warm up to me pretty quick though. She seems to be a home body and wants to be in the house, but the  dogs are outside dogs and are not allowed in the house.  They do have air conditioned and heated quarters outside though. She doesn't stray far from the house which I hope will be the same case down here.

Best part is that she doesn't chew up electrical cords and everything else she can get her jaws around (like Pepper did) and doesn't take off like a bullet (like Booger did. )

I figure she might go good down here since she will be allowed in the cabin and there are no fences to dig under or jump. For now she goes as Black Dog, but I figure she needs a proper name so I'll call her Shelah (An Australian word meaning Girl or woman.)