Thursday, November 29, 2012

Should Have Listened

This morning I went out to do some work and the backhoe wouldn't start. We've JUST got this thing running so it was a little alarming. Yet it had the same problem yesterday, briefly, so I figured it was a continuation of the same.

I'm fiddling with it and the wife says "Maybe it's the battery."

I ignore her. It's definitely not the battery. I think the problem is with the old and faulty starter button. Maybe a loose connection or it's sticking. So I take off the dash to get a look at it. Oh wait. Yesterday I'd horked up the key ignition (which was rotating freely in its housing) and it has some wires loose. So I fixed those. In the process I broke the starter switch. It was probably the original starter button based on the age of the plastic and corrosion. So I had to go to town to get a new one (which also doesn't fit smoothly in the housing). That didn't work so I traced out all the wiring down to the starter.

Apparently whoever did all the wiring on this thing years ago only had one color wire in stock ... blue. So every wire in the stinkin' thing is blue. Every single wire. Only by using a voltage meter and a lot of patience did it finally get resolved. Kelly plodded along in his usual methodical method while I angrily cursed and threatened the entire ignition system. The wife has long since retired to the house, her advice unheeded.

With all new wires and a new starter button there should have been no reason why it wouldn't start. Seemed like we weren't getting good current from the battery so I dragged the crash cart over to put the charger on it. BAM. The starter turns over and the engine roars to life.

So by about 2pm I had everything put back together and the engine started so we could roll out and clear out some mesquite trees here on the homestead. Yeesh. If this had been a paying job I would have lost half a day.

I've got to get better at engine diagnostics ... or start listening to my wife.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Slightly Skewed

We are short of water. That's my only big concern right now. I'm not at all bothered by rioting crowds at Walmart or whether or not people think that's one of the signs of the big collapse. We see rioting at some Walmart somewhere almost every year on Black Friday.

The pond is as low now as it was back in August. We haven't had any rain in quite awhile. My main tank is empty and I've been having to buy water again, something I only had to do a few times over the summer. It's $6 up at the local fire department when I bring my 200 gallon drop tank up in the back of the pickup to fill. A very easy thing to do but I hate having to do it.

Right now we get an average of 28 inches of rain per year. Per inch I can collect 318 gallons off of the main roof. That's 8904 gallons per year I'm capable of capturing. We use an average of 200 gallons per week (slightly more in the summer months) which means our current water capture methods can fill 44.5 weeks out of the year.

Math very clearly spells out the problem: Not enough water being captured.

The addition to the cabin we're currently building is going to add another 512 square foot of roof for capture. That will double our water collection potential and I'll probably need to purchase another 3000 tank. Especially when you consider that our rainfall is not evenly distributed throughout the year and the majority falls in the winter months.

Still, we're here and we're functioning. In a pinch we could be drinking the water from the pond (after it gets filtered through the Berkey) but I'm not willing to do that short of the apocalypse. There's just too much going on up the creek for me to feel very hapy about that.

Pray for rain!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Petraeus Affair

Aside from the fact that the man has no honor and no self-discipline ...

Does America REALLY need a spy-chief so incompetent that he can't cover up an affair?

It's kind of like having a Secretary of Treasury who can't figure out how to operate Turbo Tax.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rural America is Dead

Took a drive over to my neighbor's to feed his pig today while he's in Fort Worth visiting some family. Driving down the road is a visible reminder this Thanksgiving that rural America is dead or dying.

All along the county road are my neighbors, mostly old folks still hanging on to the family farm. For the holiday, their children have returned to enjoy a big dinner. So standing out in many of the yards you see the grizzled old veterans of country life watching their grandchildren scurry about in the yard and talking to their sons and daughters. The sons and daughters who ran off to the city as fast as they could and now stand beside their tanned and weather-beaten elders wearing expensive leisure clothes and looking like they need a trip to the gym and some time outdoors. Fancy minivans are parked alongside the battered old farm trucks.

Ah, America. The strength of our nation was in our farms and our children, but you believed the lies of the government. You put your children in the government schools and told them to go out and get "good jobs" so they wouldn't have to work on the farm as hard as you did. Now the families are broken and you get a few years seeing your children and grandchildren only on holidays before they shuffle you off to the old folks home and then put the farm up for sale because they have no intention of ever going back there.

I guess I'm crazy (of course I am), but I still think the greatest gift you can give your children is the skills to feed themselves and a little bit of land with which to live free of a mortgage.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Happy Happy

I must be the only non-liberal in America who isn't miserable and depressed.

Why? Because I don't care who wins the election. I don't consent. They can pass whatever laws they want and I'll still choose what to follow and what not to. I don't consent.

Numfar! Do the Dance of Joy!