Saturday, 28 October 2017

11:28 – Barbara gets home tomorrow.

It was 42.7F (6C) when I took Colin out at 0625, heavily overcast. I fed him breakfast. His usual, dog food with canned pumpkin on it. He ate the pumpkin, but wouldn’t touch the dog food. This is the third or fourth time he’s refused to eat his dog food since Barbara has been gone. He always eats it, eventually, but I think he’s showing his displeasure.

Afterwards, even though he hadn’t eaten, he whined insistently until I finally gave up at about 0830 and took him out. He promptly disappeared and was missing for 20 minutes. I called him repeatedly and activated his shock collar, but with no result. I was just about to go driving around looking for him. As I walked up the front porch stairs, I heard a jingling. It was his collar making the noise as he trotted across the yard toward me.

The raccoons showed up again last night. It was about 2000, and full dark. Colin was lying at the front door, looking out through the glass storm door, when he let out a yelp that turned into a howl and then maniacal barking. I ran over to the front door and flipped on some of the outside lights, which revealed two raccoons trying to vacuum all the sunflower seeds out of the feeder. They just stared at me. I didn’t have my pistol in hand, and the angles weren’t right for safe discharge anyway, so I bellowed at the raccoons. They took off running down toward the south tree line.

I turned around and went back in the house to get my .45 and big flashlight. Colin was obviously raring to go, so I let him out. He charged down toward the tree line and paused just short of it to sniff. Apparently the two of them had split up there, or perhaps made a jump for refuge in one of the huge pines. I shined my light up around in the trees looking for eyes, but didn’t spot any. (Not that I’d have fired at that angle even if I had seen a target.)


A clarification. When I mentioned that our stock of new, unused quart wide-mouth canning jars is now 144, sufficient to can roughly 288 pounds of meat, at least one reader thought I intended to rush out and buy 288 pounds of dark-meat chicken and sausage.

Not at all. Those jars are in reserve. At any given time, our big vertical freezer out in the garage may have anything from maybe 50 to 150+ pounds of meat and fish in it, not to mention anything from 50 to 100+ pounds of butter, and other relatively high value frozen foods.

We have very, very few power failures here, and the ones we do have tend to last only a few minutes. If we have a power failure that looks like it may last a few days or so, we can fire up the generator as needed to keep the stuff frozen. But if we have a power failure that looks to be long-term, we’d start pulling out meat and canning it.


With Barbara gone, I’ve been spending some time in the evening watching Youtube videos. There are a boatload of prepping and homesteading channels, and I’ve been sampling many of them. They’re pretty much on a bell curve, with a few that are excellent, a few more that are truly terrible, and the vast majority in the middle.

One of those in the middle is run by a guy who calls himself preppernurse1. He’s in the Rochester, NY area and lives off-grid. He posts videos very frequently, sometimes more than one a day.

He seems obsessed with his PV solar installation. He started two years ago with six 250W (or 280W?) panels and added three or four more last year. He often reports how many kW-hrs he collected the previous day, and the biggest number I remember him reporting was about 2.8 kW-hrs. That’s about what his array should produce gross with just a little over one hour of full sunlight. I don’t know what the average sunny hours per day are in his locale, but surely that figure must be at least 2.5 to 3 hours per day. Sure, there are losses in transmission, inversion, and so on, but his net figure is pathetic.

I see two big problems with his setup:

1. His original six panels are simply leaning against a crude wooden framework, I’d guess at about a 75-degree angle. Almost vertical, in other words. The panels he added later are similarly held in a crude framework, but those are oriented almost horizontally. Neither is at anything close to an optimum compromise angle.

2. His PV panel array appears to be a long way from the charge controllers and battery bank. I mean, a LONG way. And from the one quick glimpse of the cables he’s using to link the panels to the charge controllers, they’re not very thick. If my panel outputs were even 10 feet (3 meters) from my charge controller inputs, I’d want to be using #00 if not #000 copper to link them. At a guess, he may have a 50-foot separation spanned by maybe #12 cables. Voltage drop on a low-voltage DC line is pretty hideous, so just this one factor may be losing him a large percentage of the power his panels produce.

I thought about emailing him, but he has thousands of subscribers, so surely at least one of them has already done so?

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14 Responses to Saturday, 28 October 2017

  1. nick flandrey says:

    “so surely at least one of them has already done so?”

    from most of the vbloggers and youtubers that I’ve looked at, probably hundreds if not thousands of comments pointing out the same thing. Usually without so much as even reading the previous comments on the post. It’s a version of the prog internet arguing list, ie. a version of ‘scan until offended.’ Someone sees something they think is wrong and snaps out a comment.

    Sounds like poking at his PV array is a hobby for the guy. I see lots of preppers fall into this trap (and hobbyists in general.) There is a big difference between relying on a thing and doing it for ‘fun’. If you want PV power at your remote site, and you can afford to mess around and like poking at it, you get one sort of system. If you are serious and going to count on it, you do what the pros do, and buy a complete, well designed system. When things get serious, see a subject matter expert.

    (like DIY water purification systems, if you are serious get a serious solution, not some buckets of sand and a prayer.)

    n

    added- and the reason I don’t blog is that if I made this comment as a post I’d have to spend 2 days with caveats and ‘yes, well, but…’, and ‘of course there’s value in learning it for yourself….’ because people are idiots, and literal, and part of a ‘gotcha’ culture online.

  2. CowboySlim says:

    “When things get serious, see a subject matter expert.”

    I’m at your beck and call.

    CowboySlim, who produced the analytical simulations of the steam cycle performance on this facility four decades ago.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Solar_Project

  3. brad says:

    @Slim: cool, that’s very cool indeed…

  4. brad says:

    It’s been a gorgeous fall here, so far. Today’s sunset, shortly before dinner…

  5. Miles_Teg says:

    Where are the mountains?

  6. brad says:

    Behind them thar hills. From where we are now, it takes a really clear day to see the alps.

  7. SteveF says:

    You missed Miles_Teg’s point, Brad. He was looking for a busty babe in a low-cut top.

  8. MrAtoz says:

    Any guesses on who(m) Mueller has indicted? Libturdians are wetting their panties that it will be tRump, but it doesn’t work that way.

  9. lynn says:

    Any guesses on who(m) Mueller has indicted? Libturdians are wetting their panties that it will be tRump, but it doesn’t work that way.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/grand-jury-approves-first-charges-mueller-s-russia-probe-report-n815246

    I am guessing that it will be someone in the campaign staff for something that happened two decades ago. Probably for jaywalking in front of the Washington monument.

  10. paul says:

    I watched a movie last night on Amazon Prime. So, free. Yeah, I know… free 2 day shipping that takes 4 days. Let’s just go with “it’s a hundred bucks a year and we watch 4 to 6 movies a week on the Roku” thought. Round the number of movies watched down and hey, what does a Redbox charge per disc?

    “Battle for Sevastopo”

    It’s got everything except Blondie on the soundtrack. (Not a bad thing.)(I happen to like Blondie.) Russians. WWII. Woman sniper. Stuff being blown up.

    It’s a Russian movie and does have English subtitles. However, turning on closed captioning is the way to go…. white text on black is a lot easier to read than white text in a smaller font on various colored backgrounds.

    Good movie.

    And in other noise, it was 32F this morning at 7AM. Although the thermometer on the other side of the house said 36F. All the way to 61F today…. from 88F a few days ago.

  11. paul says:

    I had a shower idea…. I’ll look Mr. Swift up on Facebook. A teacher from High School. That didn’t work out… he died of cancer in March of 2014. All of 73. The obit says he moved to Lubbock in 1976. That’s not how I remember it. I’m thinking early summer of 1975. Because summer of ’76 I was doing PASS at PanAm, right out of high school. Though it could have been during Spring Break of my Senior year. Yeah! Bi-Centennial Seniors!!!

    It’s been a few years and the motorcycle crash in ’77 knocked me a few notches towards the left on the bell curve.

  12. brad says:

    @SteveF: Ah, my fault, I did misunderstand. Perhaps he will appreciate one of the Swiss “Lebenskünstler”, or whatever you call people who turn themselves into their own, live art projects. Her specialty is going around nude, asking people to touch her. Given that she’s a fine looking woman, I imagine she has plenty of takers.

    On a meta-level: she’s managed to make her personal fetish not only legal (because “art”), but to make a living off of it.

  13. Miles_Teg says:

    This is the sort of view that gets Steve going…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crutching#/media/File:Crutching2.JPG

  14. dkreck says:

    Shear joy.

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