Care packages!

Actually I purchased some of this stuff myself. But since my income these days comes almost exclusively from the blog in one way or another, maybe that qualifies as care packages too.

Some of these are large and/or expensive and important. For “large” I don’t think we can top this…

When I told Landlady that some motivated Generous Reader had purchased and shipped an actual new Jeep driver’s seat which she was requested but not required to find some way of transporting in her roller skate of a car, she laughed out loud and then made with the mad Tetris skills. She managed to get all that stuff in there with room left over for her own stuff and a medium dog.

Check this out…

That may look like an unimpressive oblong box to you, but when I saw it and the logo on the other side my mouth fell open and I stared at Landlady in disbelief. A couple of months ago after fixing the well plumbing (again) I mentioned to Landlady that she might mention to Ian when she saw him that I can fix almost anything on the water system, and I’ve modified the well house so that I can remove and install the well pump myself, but there’s no way in hell I can fix the well pump myself – and that we’ve had it out of the hole twice already since 2009, and that what would be really great is a spare pump. I was just talking: it was a good idea, in an elementary sort of way, spares always are. But they cost well in excess of $600 so I didn’t see it as practical unless more people depended on it.

Ian listened and acted: That there is a spare well pump. It is now most carefully marked and stored in a LOGICAL place where I’ll know where to find it.

Here’s something else I thought was very cool…

That, friends, is exactly what the box says it is – a heat-powered stove fan. I’m not making this up.

My neighbors D&L have a couple of these on the woodstove in their workshop, and I’ve wanted to try one for years but they’re pricey. It’s an actual electric fan that somehow gets its juice from the heat that radiates up its body from the stove. And it doesn’t take a lot of heat, either – I tried it this morning, lit the fire at 7:30 almost exactly, and the blades started spinning at 7:34 before the kindling was fully involved. It’s spinning happily away behind me as I type. Can’t say it throws an impressive amount of air, but as a way of moving heat around the room rather than starting from the top down it’s quite useful. Made for a rather bigger stove than mine, but it does work.



Two months worth of monthly care packages from Big Brother have me flush with snack food for a while, plus an Andy Weir book I didn’t even know existed – I was only aware of The Martian, which I love – some folding cash and random tools and toys.

Speaking of cash, a generous reader emailed to ask how much next month’s trip to the eye doctor would cost, then Paypal’ed that much money. Which was a load off my mind, and thanks very much.

Somebody gave Ian this compact first aid kit, he didn’t need it and sent it to me…

That’s not your typical two-bandaids-and-a-packet-of-Aspirin first aid kit: That’s for stabilizing some poor fool with a sucking chest wound enough to get him to an aid station alive. And it’s going to have pride of place in the Jeep’s Big Bag’o’Stuff.

Somebody, not sure who, hit the Wish List pretty hard…

A new workshirt and a copy of “Gone to Croatan,” a series of essays about “Origins of North American Dropout Culture,” a subject as near to my heart as you can imagine. Thank you! I’ll probably review this in the fullness of time. Not for a while, though, because my reading stack is rising.

And speaking of that, dig this:

A number of people sometimes send me old books, or thumb drives with bootleg movies or ebooks, to the point where the Secret Lair actually has quite a collection in addition to the books I’ve been able to swap/gift with/to neighbors. This, though, has to be a record. This Generous Reader promised a thumb drive with some movies and old TV series on it, and so when this terabyte harddrive came out of the Prius I thought at first somebody had sent me a cast-off backup drive and didn’t think to check it for files. I still haven’t begun to plumb the depths for all its content, but it’s certain that there are months of obsessive binge watching in there. Old sci fi series, including a couple of old favorites or shows I didn’t have time for when they were on the air. Scores, possibly hundreds of movies old and (ahem) new. Westerns! I haven’t seen Big Jake since it was in the theater! Yike!

I also hit Amazon a little hard this month, by my standards…
Last summer I had three 3-gallon drinking water bottles, which was barely enough to last a week even before LB developed his urinary problem and stopped drinking the well water. Then this winter one of those three developed a tiny pinhole leak on the bottom. Not enough to make it useless, but enough to make it messy. Curiously – I really don’t understand why – there is no local supply for decent water bottles. So to replace the leaking one and in anticipation of next summer’s need, I bought two on-line. That five-gallon bottle is one of two I use for reserve, stored in Ian’s Cave during the winter to keep it from freezing.

Ever since ending up with two separate battery banks the power corner of my powershed has looked like Medusa’s hairdo. It works, but there are so many wires connected to battery leads that some of them will barely screw down. I’ve had an improvement in mind for quite a while but I needed parts. I haven’t been to the big town about 50 miles away for almost a year and nobody sells buss bars locally. (Seriously, I know these are specialty needs but there are lots of people off grid around here. I guess none of us have enough money to become a bloc important to retailers, even in the tiny desert towns.)

Anyway, I got a couple of connection blocks so I can clean up the power system.


And while there I splurged on some mindless entertainment.

🙂 Alas, a copy of the movie appeared on the aforementioned hard drive. But I’ve been waiting for the last book in the Correia/Kupari “Dead Six” trilogy to come out in paperback for maybe a year. Finally I can feed my Correia jones for a couple of evenings.

Hey, that woodstove fan works great! I’ve already shut off the bedroom heater because the cabin temperature surpassed the bedroom temp after far less than an hour though the bedroom had a 20-degree head start.


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to Care packages!

  1. Claire says:

    I alway love your care-package posts. You do have amazing readers, Joel.

    And it’s great that you were able to buy a few of those items for yourself, too.

  2. Bear says:

    Those stove fans are unexpectedly effective. It doesn’t take much to get the warm air circulating well. But… they are also unexpectedly fragile. Between the metal base and the metal fan assembly is a Peltier junction block; essentially a fragile little square of ceramic. Do not knocj that thing onto the floor. It might survive multiple drops, or the first time might kill it.

  3. Kentucky says:

    The way things usually go, now that you have a spare pump you’ll never need it!

    And I was hoping you’d get one of those fans. They are slick!


  4. Klaus says:

    If I might add to Bears warning they can also be damaged by over heating. Unfortunately I found that out the hard way. You can easily look it up but the surface it sits on shouldn’t exceed a certain temp. I found them very useful for moving warm air around smallish spaces.

  5. Ben says:

    Certainly not to belittle any of the other stuff, but that Jeep seat is an amazingly generous and thoughtful gift.

  6. Joel says:

    Amen. The current seat is down to the frame.

  7. M says:

    A bent coat hanger on a little hook somewhere will lift the Fan off if temps exceed 644F – something I’m sure you keep a very close eye like the rest of us “burners”.

    Warmer home – warmer Tush seat – what more can a Hermit ask for?

  8. Ruth says:

    I have two of those fans on my wood burning stove. Love them. Not as effective as an electricity powered blower sure, but when the power goes out they don’t blink! BTW at least some manufacturers sell replacement parts, including motors (or at least they used to), if you do have a mishap!

To the stake with the heretic!