Random Gulchy Moments

Yesterday I got a chance to visit the Palace of Food, the Safeway in the biggish town about 35 miles away.

I get such a kick out of that place – nice to be reminded from time to time that quiet people still live prosperously no matter what the news might imply. Portland might be on fire but most people don’t actually give Portland much thought.

For serious food storage I much prefer cans; a freezer full of meat for your bad-time preps only guarantees a power failure. But that doesn’t mean a freezer full of meat isn’t nice, if it’s within your resources. It didn’t used to be within mine.

Speaking of nice…

How’s this for irony: A little over a month ago I bunged up my right shoulder again, quite out of the blue. Unlike in the past I didn’t even do anything to deserve it, I was just hauling on a barrel of chicken pellets and the joint came out of socket. So pain, very ouch and it got me to worrying; maybe this ‘getting old’ business has downsides.

And then cue irony: Only a day or two later I stupidly sliced my left index finger right on the side you don’t realize how much you use until you cut the blessed thing to the bone. Gaping wound, blood everywhere, I no longer had a single fully functional hand. Ended up tying the Jeep driver door open because just opening it hurt so much. Now, I was a mechanic for a long time and used to get cuts and burns and gouges on my hands all the time. Used to joke that the ability to heal quickly was a necessity of the trade. “Don’t bleed on the customer’s car” is one of those unwritten rules they don’t mention at tech school.

In light of the way my skeleton seems to be falling apart I worried that maybe a deep cut like this one would take its time healing or even go bad. Needn’t have worried; two weeks later it’s only another scar. Lately I’ll take my blessings wherever I can find them.

Two days late, but this morning was Battery Day…

One of these days lithium batteries will get good enough/cheap enough for use by non-rich mundanes like myself but in the meantime I really prefer lead/acid: Not in spite of but because they require at least monthly maintenance. There’s no such thing as a maintenance-free battery bank no matter what anybody’s selling, and scheduling a day for topping off reservoirs also gives you a chance to look for loose connections and corrosion and such. There’s no such thing as ‘maintenance-free,’ but without a schedule it’s easy to get lulled into sloth which absolutely will bite you in the ass. In the worst way, at the worst time. Murphy’s Law is a warning, not a council of despair.

Speaking of things going wrong: The cell signal has been really bad lately, and it comes and goes capriciously. I didn’t think I’d be able to load those pics, then suddenly everything was great, and right now I can’t even get a preview. Which means I can hit the Publish button but have no way to know when/whether this will actually be published. Monsoon without the rain; great.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to Random Gulchy Moments

  1. paulb says:

    Glad you are out and about

    Meat in freezer is good but jerky, biltong, or pemmican is better. I even knew some old timers that canned it. All 4 methods reduce need for ice box. Fwiw home canned meat is pretty tender

    As to age, getting old is not for wusses. At least that is my findings

  2. Beans says:

    Lead-Acid batteries will always be better than lithium batteries for one reason – they won’t catch fire in ways mere mortal men can’t put out. Yes, you can blow up one battery, but it usually won’t take out all the other batteries in the pack. Lithiums? When one cooks off, it will take out it’s neighbors, which initiates a chain reaction until all the batteries in the pack are gone.

  3. TK421a says:

    Hey Joel, I got some bad news for you. once you dislocate a shoulder it becomes easier to dislocate unless you do physio to strengthen the joint. So, be careful with it.

  4. Tennessee Budd says:

    I’m a mechanic’s kid. That’s actually why, years ago, I started wearing black–not (just) because it looked cool, but (mostly) because it didn’t show grease or blood.
    Kinda backfired on me 12 years ago when I bounced off a truck on my bike. My femur blew out the front of my thigh, & since black denim doesn’t show bloodstains the way blue would, I nearly bled out before the cops realized I had a real problem.

  5. Malatrope says:

    Tennessee Budd: OUCH OUCH OUCH!!!

  6. Ben says:

    Joel, I am also waiting for those affordable lithium batteries. But great maintenance free batteries do exist. My first set of batteries for my PV system was four big high-quality Sealed Lead Acid batteries that had been removed from a hefty UPS just because it was “time”. They lasted me another ten years!

  7. Zendo Deb says:

    Home canned meat is good, but some work. (All American Pressure Canner is the way to go)

    For cans that are better than you can get at the local market, I like Werling & Sons. Yoders is good too, but the quantities are too much for one person. I don’t care for the stuff that contains sauces, like BBQ pork. I like my own BBQ sauce better. Werling & Sons sells a 14 ounce can, which is a little bigger than Campbell’s soup-sized. Yoders smallest is twice that. (Though they seem to be completely out-of-stock everywhere.) Yoders has canned bacon, which I always wanted to try….

    With a multi-year shelf-life… And my power goes out enough to be a problem

  8. RCPete says:

    I did a solar system for a tent trailer in 2001. I used two 6V AGM batteries (I don’t think the vendor is still around), but when I took the trailer apart last year, the batteries were still in decent shape.

    OTOH, the solar systems around the property (ranging from 140W mini to 3.6kW) all use various flavors of flooded lead acid batteries. The medium sized system (1.2kW, 24V) uses Rolls Surrette batteries, that have twice the amp-hours of the Trojan T-105s, but run about three times the price. The big system (3.6 kW, 48V) uses the Trojans. The tiny uses a marine battery from Interstate. Good enough for lights in the garage and a trickle charger in winter.

    One nice thing about the RS batteries is that they have a much larger electrolyte reservoir. The pack isn’t very accessible, so check and rewatering doesn’t happen on a regular schedule. Never had trouble, though the fact that the system is mostly for backup power helps.

  9. Joe says:

    @Zendo Deb, Werling’s actually produces the Yoder’s canned bacon but can’t sell it online due to contract. According to John Werling on querry, they only sell in their store in Reynoldsburg @ 10 bucks a can (last year) which is a screaming deal compared to Yoder’s price…


  10. John says:

    I love this Blog!
    And it draws high grade comments that just add on.
    Liberty Lives.

    2 x 100AH AGM aboard.
    Toward lower cost lithium battery – yeah!

  11. mark says:

    Eleventy-odd years ago my school suffered a big honking fire because some connections on the buss bars worked their way loose via thermal cycling.

    Do all the terminals have the same size bolts?

    Do you check/ snug randomly on maintenance day?

  12. Joel says:

    Do all the terminals have the same size bolts?

    Do you check/ snug randomly on maintenance day?

    Yup. All part of the service, I show up with a battery jug and a wrench.

  13. Zelda says:

    And of course total eye, head and face protection, leg, foot, arm and hand protection, full PPE, enough water supply to thoroughly rinse any body part that gets exposed to acid and you let someone close by know when you are doing battery maintenance in case you need help. Just saying.

  14. boynsea says:

    I used to take care of multiple battery/inverter systems, totaling well over 120 6 cell batteries in 5 separate buildings. A major monthly PITA.

    The best thing I did for myself was to get a pump up 2 gallon garden sprayer, cut off the tip of the wand, then heat and bend the last 3 inch of plastic tubing into a 90 degree. Pump it up and go.

    You don’t want a metal wand, it’s too easy to get it across the sparky places on the batteries.

    Greatly reduced the time and mess of topping them off..

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