That should teach me. If I needed to be taught. Which I apparently do.

Morning started out normally and irritatingly enough. Coldest in a week, so naturally this morning the fire didn’t want to cooperate. Don’t know why it does this sometimes, probably variation in firewood quality, but sometimes the fire lights easily enough but never really seems to get blasting, y’know? So from 6:30 to around eight I was futzing with the fire but never feeling any urge to take off my jacket and stay awhile.

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By then LB was letting me know that a walkie might not be a bad idea at all. So I bundled up and we went off into the wash, and wouldn’t you know by the time I got back and didn’t really care anymore the fire had finally gotten the idea and the stove was just short of glowing, and now if anything the cabin was too warm…

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And right then the phone rang, which I’d been expecting. A text from D&L, wanting to make the usual Monday water run at the usual time. Plenty of time; scarf down some breakfast, wash off the empty water jugs, go out to scrape and start the Jeep…

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…and that’s when Sister Mary Murphy stood by my little wooden desk and demanded that I present my knuckles for a good sharp crack with a ruler. A couple of cold mornings past the Jeep cranked a little slow, and I thought at the time I ought to take it over to Ian’s for a couple of days on the Battery Minder. The Jeep rarely goes more than a mile or two at a time, the battery rarely gets a full charge, and it’s getting a little old. Should have taken better care when I was warned. Didn’t do it, though, and now the damned battery was flat. My own damned fault.

Fortunately it’s a sunny day and I have plenty of spare photons. But things are off to a slow start here at the Secret Lair. D, bless his heart, swung by and picked up my empties for me so I don’t have to pay for my sins by rationing drinking water. Summers I have lots to spare, but winters there’s no freeze-proof place to store extra jugs.

Next thing, Former Weekender Neighbor L will call wanting me to drop off my laundry. Hope I can get the Jeep started in an hour or two, fer shur.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to That should teach me. If I needed to be taught. Which I apparently do.

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    I’ve been thinking about one of those block heaters. The other morning I went out to the car to go to town, since I hadn’t been to the post box at the bottom of the hill for a week. It was a balmy 10 degrees, the usual low limit I allow as possible for such a trip. But the starter was seriously sluggish and I was afraid to crank it long in that cold, so I turned off the key and came back inside to wait for it to get a lot warmer (more than 24 hours later..). That battery was new last fall, and it’s just too expensive to mess around with. Wonder what the block heater costs… and how much it would cost to put one on. I’ll go Amazon shopping and see if I can figure it out.

  2. Patrick (in the UK) says:

    Although a cold engine needs more effort from the battery to turn it over, the main issue is that a cold battery puts out a lot less power. A few years ago while I was a student and on very tight finances, I managed to eke out a battery’s life over one more winter by bringing the battery indoors overnight when the foreast was for very cold, so it was always that bit warmer. On one occasion when I forgot I suceeded in starting it after putting the battery into a big bowl of hot water for half an hour (topping up the water with more water from the kettle a couple of times). Black cased batteries absorb heat quite well. Not of course a real solution but in an emergency may be worth a try

  3. Goober says:

    Mama they make magnetic heaters that stick to the bottom of the oil pan. Installation I’d as easy as hanging a kids art project on the fridge. As for cost, surprisingly affordable, but the cost to keep a 15 kiliwatt heater running non stop for 12 hours a day works out to as much as 50 bucks a montb. I put mine on a timer to turn on 5 hours before I need it so it isn’t running all the damn time.

  4. Norman says:

    Goober – I got pretty good results with a $6 150W heat lamp, in a $1 socket that was screwed to a board. If you have enough clearance under the oil pan, give it a try. Extension cord into the garage and a timer. For a 5 qt pan at 0-10F 2 hours seemed about right. Colder than that I’d go to 3 hours and throw an old quilt on the hood to retain a little heat.

  5. MamaLiberty says:

    Thanks Norman and everyone. :) The beauty of my situation is that I don’t usually need to go out THAT much. Anyway, I’ll look into the heating pad type warmers and see what my mechanic can suggest.

  6. Zelda says:

    Can you construct a freeze resistant large wooden box that can sit in a south facing place out of the wind near your door, using 2 inch thick styrofoam inside and something like Tyvek outside to block the wind, and store lots of water bottles in that. If you put it on skids you can move it to the shade in summer to keep your water cool. Adobe blocks would also insulate a water storage area summer and winter, if you wanted to mix adobe and make 12 inch thick floor and walls with them.
    If you have to replace your battery you might take a look at an AGM type – they are about the same price now as a really good standard lead acid. My battery finally died after 10 years of use and abuse so I looked at gel and AGMs. Gels were more expensive and are said to not tolerate high temps well, so I went with an AGM. These are my first months with it at temps well below zero so I haven’t got any long term history with it yet. You do have to learn some new things about how to use and care for it. My AGM is an Optima.
    But the good news is that apparently your wiring wasn’t chewed to bits by rats… or is that the rest of the story?

To the stake with the heretic!