In the swamp tonight. No clue what day it is. Think it’s mid August. August I’m pretty sure of at least. A huge “Thank You” to whoever bought from Amazon using the link on this page.
Been a lot happening so I’ll start with the refrigerator. It’s in the shack, on a platform, mostly framed and baffled in. I’m hoping to finish the baffling tomorrow, seal the plenum and light that bad boy off on propane. If all goes well I’ll be celebrating ice this weekend. If you want to know more head over to the Refrigerator page under Projects for so much detail you will be scratching your own eyes out. Sister Suzie has asked how it works so I’ll give a short run down on ammonia cooling.
Before I go on, a short explanation about names on this blog. In general I don’t use anyones real name here. Or maybe I do sometimes. The thing is, I mostly make up names for people based on how I’m feeling at the time or something about them I’ve noticed while interacting with them. All the names are intended to keep their real identity concealed and are meant in fun. Under no circumstances do I intend to insult, demean or otherwise offend someone. Truth is, if I don’t like someone, they will probably never be mentioned here.
OK, so let’s talk about bears. Or rather a bear. As in there’s a great big honking bear hanging out here that has me a bit on edge. I’ve never shared space with a bear so I feel justified in admitting that I’m constantly prepared to run screaming like a scared little girl.
This guy is big! On his hind legs he is at least six feet tall and we’re guessing his weight in the 350 pound range. In the pic it’s hard to tell but he’s molesting a feeder about seven feet off the ground. What’s not shown is that he knocked the feeder down and tore it in half to get at the corn inside. All this happened about 100 yards from the shack. Bears can run up to 35 miles per hour. I can run up to 1 mile per day with frequent breaks for snacks and water. Maybe a mile and a quarter if I have those guys that stand alongside the road and hand you water and energy bars.
So there’s this new bear in the hood that I have to figure out how to coexist with. Never let it be said that I’m not into diversity. My biggest concern is the Boy. By muzloid standards he’s a freaking brilliant genius capable of inventing space travel, again. In truth, he’s dumber than a box of rocks and to stupid to run from a bear. Which means I would have a martyr on my hands to gather up and bury which I really, really don’t want to do. Thank god I never had kids. I probably would have kept them velcroed to the wall until they turned about 30.
I’ve been training him to stay in sight of the shack by liberally applying the bug zapper (remote control) to his shock collar. But when he sees a pig or armadillo that doesn’t work all that well. Cranking up the setting will light him up like a Christmas tree but again, doesn’t always work. Obviously more work is needed.
Figuring I’d keep the bear at a distance, I bought firecrackers and bottle rockets. Or at least what passes for firecrackers these days. At the gas station I was perusing their fireworks and settled on some M100s and bottle rockets. Hey, vertical envelopment. When I got to the shack this afternoon, I lit off one of the M100s expecting to startle wildlife for miles around. What a ripoff! I can get more noise out of clapping two pieces of wood together. Are kids such wimps these days that they can’t be trusted to handle high explosives without losing limbs? Where do you go to get something that will lift a tree trunk out of the ground? This is obviously another area that the feds got into and screwed up.
So I have this pile of firecrackers that don’t crack and bottle rockets that probably run out four feet then glow feebly. I guess I could dump them all in a pressure canner, hide in the brush, then light it off and throw it at the bear. But then I would probably have a bear laughing his ass off while he ate me.
In other news, wait, there’s no other news. Refrigerator and bear. OH!!! Generator. Yeah! It’s screwing up sad to say. That lovely 30 amp extension cord that came with it went dead the other day. I’m not sure if it’s the outlet or the cord since I have now other cord to test it with. When I have time I’ll check the outlet on the generator for power and see which it is. If it’s the receptacle on the generator itself I’ll be taking it back for a refund this time.
Good news is my solar is working like a charm. More tomorrow. Maybe.
Back again tonight. Long day. Finished framing in fridge, hooked up 12 volt DC control power and fired it up off the generator. At last check one freezer compartment was at 39 degrees and still cooling so I’m getting excited. I filled some ice trays for the other compartment hoping I’ll have ice before I fall out tonight. In a few minutes I’m going to pack the refrigerator part with soda just to have some thermal mass to help keep it cool while I hook up the propane tomorrow.
If all goes well with the propane I’m going to run it at least two days then shut down and head to town for a day. When I get back I want to start it up on propane, run for ten days then decide whether to leave it running permanently. At that point I’ll be able to stay out here two or three weeks at a time and only have to go to town for material and food.
Since I’ll have to refill my propane bottles occasionally I can’t really say that I’m completely off the grid but I’ll certainly be a lot closer than I was this time last year.
With the end in sight for the refrigerator, I have to start thinking about my next big project. As hot as it is I really need to get ready for winter. That roughly translates into finish putting up siding, insulate and seal the shack and installing the wood burning stove. From experience I can vouch for how miserable spending the night in a drafty shack with no insulation is. Candles and sterno just can’t keep up. Besides, it’s very uncomfortable trying to get some rest in a sleeping bag with a 70 pound pit bull in it with you.