Haven't heard much about what's going on around this area for New Year's Eve. I have heard that the BBMI is having a shindig at the Party Barn, but that's too far away for me to go to. Dave said the Legion will be open, but nothing planned other than that. I chose not to have a NYE party this year so what ever happens at the legion is up to them. I've been sick and am starting to feel better and the nice warm sunny days have helped lately.
Hope everyone has a Happy New Year's Eve and day also. For that matter I hope the whole new year is a lot better than 2011! Maybe 2011 was ok for you though?
Had just settled my brain for a long winter’s nap.
when, what to my wondering ears should hear,
but a miniature white pickup, and not a single rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
I reaches for my pistol, but he had me out gunned,
with four of his on I decided to run.
I just got back from spending a week in Odessa with my family and yesterday when I stopped by the legion to get ice before coming home Dave handed me a box that was sent to me by The Foots. Its a Coleman camping coffee maker that works like an electric, but it doesn't use electricity. That's good because most of the electric coffee makers draw about 1500 watts and even if you have some solar you about have to run those coffee makers off of a generator. This one just sits over a burner and works like an electric one. Its slower than electric, but not bad. Took about 20 minutes to make 10 cups. Thanks Bigfoot & Littlefoot!
I took some iron, the alternator and new motor to Odessa and Ring and I constructed this new charger there. Unfortunately we didn't get 100% finished so I can't use it to charge the batteries on cloudy days. I could sure use it today because it is cloudy and there's a 30% chance of snow tonight. BTW when I got home yesterday it was sunny and was actually T-Shirt weather until the sun started setting. I guess I should have finished the charger then, but was busy doing other things. Now its too damned cold and windy to do it so I may have to try and get the jeep up next to the battery hut if I have to recharge them because of lack of sun. The propane bottle I was using ran out in the wee hours of the morning so it was pretty darned cold getting out of the rack this morning. Fortunately I only had to switch from the empty bottle to a full one. The oven isn't cutting the mustard too well in here because the temp is dropping, but hopefully not below 55 degrees or so which I can handle.
Did I say its COLD here? Online says its 40 degrees, but the thermometer in the It'll Du said it was 31 degrees over an hour ago and I think the temp is actually dropping. I'd put the wind at about 25 MPH and gusting to about 40. There's a 30% chance of SNOW tonight. Tell me it isn't true! I hate that stuff!!!
While in Odessa I managed to pick up this 750/1500 inverter at Harbor Freight. Ring had a coupon for $35 for it and I think that was about half price. That should open up the way to running a fridge if I ever get one. My neighbor's new fridge has a defrost cycle on it that is a real watt hog so he is going to have to keep the one he was going to give to me. Looked like Bigfoot was going to be able to get me one, but that fell through so now I'm back to square one on that. My other neighbor still has the one he wanted to sell me, but he got burned on the price of it and wants the same amount if he sells it to me. Its pretty rough and $300 which is about $200 more than I'd pay so I'll keep looking.
And finally what's left of a batch of BlackJack Fudge I made while in Odessa. Needless to say it went over big. Its a real easy recipe and probably doesn't take over about 10 minutes to make. Consists of a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar, 1 pound pack of semi sweet chocolate chips and 8 Oz of Black Jack or your favorite bourbon. You mix the powdered sugar and bourbon well and then heat the chocolate chips in a microwave until they are melted and then mix that with the sugar booze mixture and pour it in a greased pan of some type. A 9x12 works out about right and it sure is good. Especially with pecans in it, but Misty is allergic to them so I had to leave them out of this batch.
Update... Its been snowing here some over the night and this morning. Had to get out and sweep the snow off the solar panels because they weren't charging at all. At least now they are a little. Technically the inverter should have shut down because the voltage was down to 11.39. I thought the inverter I am using cut out at 11.5, but I guess it is 11 instead. Looks like if I want power tonight I'm going to have to grub up some creosote where I can get the jeep to the battery hut to charge the batteries or bring the charger in here and try to get it finished where I can use it instead.
BTW for you who are or will be relying on solar keep in mind I'd have to have setup a ladder and gotten on a roof if they were roof mounted. Having the panels close to the ground is a BIG benefit at most times. (Easy to get to to keep them clean)
Latest word that I've received is that Jerry and Eva were ready to open the Grub Shack back up after getting the septic system taken care of. Now the inspector has come up with other things to prevent them from opening. One I've heard is that he says they will have to get two high capacity (approved) water tanks and go ahead and tie the other camping trailer in to the septic system also. Who know what he'll come up with after that??? I'll try to update this as it goes on.
On another note Judy's Bad Rabbit restaurant at the ranch headquarters is closing again (If it hasn't already) That part doesn't effect me though because I've never eaten there and had no inclination to do so. Perhaps if Mama Crow had been able to take it over to start with that would have been a different story.
The next blog will likely be some major bitching about Classic Country Land since I got stuck paying the taxes twice (one payment he said would go toward the principal instead of being refunded) and I have not received any answers to questions I've ask.
As for clouds and fog we still have both. Solar is doing next to nothing. I think we've had one semi clear day in the last week and mostly cloudy is the prediction for the next 6 days.
It was so cloudy yesterday that the solar panels did little good and the same for today. The batteries were just barely high enough in charge this morning to keep the inverter running so it was time to crank up the generator to run the electric battery charger. Trouble with that is that its just a 10 AMP charger and charges the battery bank very slowly.
This is what's left of my old gas powered charger I built shortly after moving here. The engine I had on it broke down so it was basically worthless. I traded that motor to Ring for a running 6.5 horsepower motor, but will have to find a smaller pulley for it before I can rebuild the charger. I tried to find the pulley I need in Alpine with no luck so will have to wait until I go to Odessa next time and I should be able to find one there. The difference between using the gas powered charger and running the generator to run the electric charger is this. If using the gas powered charger it will charge the battery bank from inverter cut out to full charge in 20 minutes where running the electric charger takes several hours (If it even does it at that)
This photo was taken the other day and you can't even see this mountain now.
Now the next 6 days forecast calls for cloudy to partly cloudy. Looks like I'll be running the generator a lot for a while. :(
Yesterday I made another ride share supply run in to Alpine and took along Dave and his brother Steve and the trailer to haul all the supplies. No problems going through the check point and the agent we talked to was friendly and only asked three questions. Those were:
"Are you all US citizens?"
"Where are you going?
and after I said Alpine he asked:
"To get groceries?"
I said yes and we were allowed to go on.
However, We noticed a bunch of new stuff on the other side of 118 evidently there to monitor south bound traffic? On the way back I got my camera out to take photos of all the equipment, but my camera potted out so that took care of that. Best I can do is the drawing below that shows something like we saw as well as my memory serves me.
Now this gets me to wondering what all of this stuff actually does. Since its pure speculation on my part it may be all wrong???
There were a series of high intensity halogen lights and a number of weird looking stuff on poles facing south east. Some actually resembled cameras and some didn't. I don't remember how many there were, but there were several. Behind all of that it had to be a control and power station in a trailer. Lights were flashing on the back of the trailer.
Perhaps a radiation detector was used to see if any weapons of mass destruction were headed south to blow up Mexico?
Perhaps infrared cameras to detect illegal aliens in trunks being smuggled back south across the border to Mexico?
Perhaps none of the above and they were used for something totally different reason? (Possibly more sinister uses?)
Anyway... The trip was enjoyable, but I ran in to trouble with a Radio Shack employ when I went in there looking for one of the new Magic Jacks that can be plugged in to the WiFi modem and don't have to be hooked up to a computer. I asked the woman if they had them and she flat out told me NO. I asked her if they had any of the NetTalk Duos and she said she didn't even know what that was.
Now when we get back down here Dave asked me what I thought about the new Magic Jacks and he had been in the same store after I was there had found them. He thought I didn't buy one because of the price so didn't even mention finding them before we got back down here.
All I can say about all of this is they need to get rid of that employ and get someone that knows what they have in that store!