Monday, December 29, 2008

Lessons Learned…

It took us two days to cut out to reach a town maintained road. Every wire on our road was felled by trees and/or limbs. That’s one old guy & one not-so-old-as-me-is-putting-it-nicely gal.

Eleven days without power can be mighty discomforting (landline phone is yet to be restored by the phone company). Back to back snowstorms didn’t help a lot either (I won’t get started on the blown hydraulic hose on the plow). Thankfully, here at the DT homestead we were fairly comfortable throughout, albeit busy. The preparedness here was normal due to our semi-remote location. Given my former profession in quality assurance (read “anal bastard”), I necessarily reviewed what we did right & what could have been better. The following is a list by category noting what we did & related comments. I hope this helps someone preparing for a similar event or a zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.

Heat: two woodstoves & h/w oil furnace
Remarks: stoves were adequate for our comfort (some “rescued” guests were less than toasty); furnace was available on generator for additional heat.

Light: Aladdin lamp, oil lamps, 12v LED trouble light clamped to photo tripod, head lamps, LED flashlights, LED lantern, LED keychain lights; Coleman lantern available in garage (didn’t use).
Remarks: Aladdin lamp (“stinky”/Mrs. DT) when running @ low output, but generates much heat when running high; oil lamp is low output, but serves for area lighting. 12v LED trouble light was great- could use another; LED headlamps & flashlights a necessity. The LED headlight is the best invention since beer.

Power: 5.5kw generator, solar charger w/100 a/h & car batteries.
Remarks: Ran genny ~1 hour on & 3 hours off; stayed off through the night. Freezer & fridge were fine. We sometimes ran the gen up to 4 hours when we had guests. It would be good to get small battery charging capability directly from 12v to avoid inverter power loss. The solar panel is only 15w, but produced enough juice to keep my batteries charged running the LED trouble light ~ 6 hours a night, as well as incidental charging of cell phone/small batteries on the inverter.

Food: on hand, freezer, cellar pantry
Remarks: A stock of food at home was a comfort; it allowed us to feed “rescued” friends & relatives. The first Saturday night, Mrs. DT cooked a pot roast (all day) on the woodstove, cooked up some frozen green beans from the garden, & added some mashed potatoes. Life is good.

Water: well (on gen- pumped twice a day to fill domestic needs & to water horses), 7-gal container, 1 gal milk bottles; cold (room temp) running water from modified ½ gal Tupperware jug w/ ¼” NPT ball valve, 4” nipple, & couplers, & 1.5-gal pot on woodstove for hot water for washing.
Remarks: A better cold running water delivery system is needed; bathing accomplished by wash-up at sink or shower when pump/furnace timing is coordinated (on gen).

Food cooling: fridge, freezer, cooler
Remarks: I gotta get a bigger, better-insulated cooler for daily use (used outside temps and/or snow as cooling agent); apparently generator use was adequate to keep food from spoiling in chest freezer & fridge.

Communication: GMRS & CB radios, cell phone, TV (on gen)
Remarks: Did not use either radio system. Cell phone was best- most comm was phone to relatives & friends; probably I will plan to use CB for initial local contact as it runs directly on 12v, & use charged GMRS radios as required. A 12v low drain TV would be a good addition.

So there you have it- how to stay alive in the woods, eleven-day edition. AND, all that time without the interwebs DID sharpen my cribbage skills.

If anyone has any questions, lemmeno via comments.

Happy New Year All!

Well, THAT Sucked...

1. Eleven days w/out power sucks large, but prior readiness paid off

2. Merry belated Christmas to all, especially to those who sent regards my way

3. Still no OFFICIAL phone connection (which is how I get my intertubes)

4. Two old guys can figger out how to multiple patch & connect a phone line even if it IS still on the ground

5. More later if'n I get the time

Friday, December 5, 2008

ANOTHER 100 Things...

Officially, my life sucks.
I mean, it's Friday night, & I'm reading blogs about "100 things".
So hey! It can't suck any worse than that, & I'm bored to death already, so I'll do one my own self.
Without further ado...

1. Started your own blog. (FWIW)
2. Slept under the stars. Jus’ a campin’ fool in my younger days
3. Played in a band. Besides school band, high school buds put together a garage band, “A Stepp in Thyme” (hey, it was the 60’s)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Perseid (sp?) shower is pretty regular
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. I avoid large masses of people- no phobia, people just suck.
8. Climbed a mountain. Just a local Monadanock, and a couple in the White Mountains
9. Held a praying mantis. I used to catch then & put them in a jar with grasshoppers; they grab the hopper & eat it like corn on the cob; yes, little boys are evil bastards
10. Sang a solo. I had a couple lines in the ol’ band, mostly like “oh yeah” & such
11. Bungee jumped. NFW.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Aboard ship- pretty cool- when it’s all around you
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Well, the guitar, badly, & blacksmithing, if that’s an art
15. Adopted a child. (Just don’t tell my son) (just kidding D)
16. Had food poisoning. Could have been- or really bad hangover, not sure
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. And I was only about 12- took FOREVER
18. Grown your own vegetables. Every year; can them too
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. Never been on an overnighter- slept on day trains though
21. Had a pillow fight. Hasn’t everyone?
22. Hitch hiked. Primary mode of transportation for a few years back in the day. Used to travel regularly from southern CT to northern MA via thumb
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Uh, no?
24. Built a snow fort. I WAS a kid once
25. Held a lamb. Awww, it was a soft & snuggly, & it pissed on me
26. Gone skinny dipping. Again, in the 60’s I think we did MOST things without clothes
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. Yeah, & the double exposed negatives as eye protection DON’T work
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. From land & sea. Also saw the moon rise on Galway Bay (had to get that in)
31. Hit a home run. Sandlot ball of my yute
32. Been on a cruise. Day trips only
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. A few times. River, gravity, whatever...
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Yup on the Irish side, the other’s been here for so long I live where they did, pretty much
35. Seen an Amish community. A few of them. Nice folks, great food
36. Taught yourself a new language. Been working on Buntus Cainte (Irish), but it ain’t easy
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. This one is close; but what is “truly satisfied”? So, I guess no.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock (wall) climbing. Leominster State Forest. One of the best sheer faces east ot the Tetons, I'm told.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. Not yet been drunk enough
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. Semi-stranger. Bought the town drunk, Harvey, a meal in the downtown diner. They wouldn’t let him in, so we ate our breakfast (at 0200) in the back by the tracks. Harvey eventually fell in a construction hole & died. Really.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. Used to go with a girl who lived on the Cape (Cod for you furriners)- it was required behavior
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Unfortunately… see #77
47. Had your portrait painted. It’d probably break the canvas…
48. Gone deep sea fishing. Out of Kennebunkport Maine. Also off the back of a ship, if that counts. Also, met "Miss Dumpy" of K'port whilst later drinking in a bar. She was the... nevermind
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Hey- I used to watch “Sea Hunt”! Of course!
52. Kissed in the rain. Kissed in a lot of places… wait- that didn’t come out right…
53. Played in the mud. Male. At one time young. Yes.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. When I was a yute, that WAS Saturday night. Saw Ben Hur & West Side Story when they were new. Later, we’d bring beer & cram guys in the trunk to get the best “per head” deal
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business. Yeah, but I let it go (dumbass)
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia. I DO have a standing invite though
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching. Ayuh. Even got blowed on by a whale (that doesn’t sound so good either)
63. Got flowers for no reason. Is that “got” to give or “received”- yes on former, no on latter
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. Can’t.
65. Gone sky diving. Not until the plane breaks
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. Uhuh.
68. Flown in a helicopter. Courtesy of the USCG
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Didn’t really save it, but my folks kept everything- most all of my stuff is still in my Dad’s house
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. Looked just like the back of a nickel!
71. Eaten Caviar. Overrated, in my opinion
72. Pieced a quilt. Wrong chromosome
73. Stood in Times Square. I sort of remember it
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. “you can’t quit me, I FIRE!”
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. Many. See below
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Probably about every riding day from 1967 to 2000
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. Op-ed page editorial is my high point
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. Well, trucks, three
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Fortunately, no.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. Yeah, can we go now?
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Lots, mostly fish. Mmmmm…
88. Had chickenpox. I was a kid. Had it all I’m thinking
89. Saved someone’s life. Not directly…
90. Sat on a jury. BORING, but yeah
91. Met someone famous. Does Bozo the Clown count?
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. Sadly, yes, both human & animal
94. Had a baby. Well, not me, but I was involved in the fun part
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit. Ouch, yeah.
98. Owned a cell phone. For emergencies only. Actually, it’s the wife’s. The one I have doesn’t have actual service, so it’s just for 911 fun
99. Been stung by a bee. Crap, yeah. Just noticed I still have a healing scar from one of the last two I had on my arm.
100. Read an entire book in one day. Not a lot, but it’s been done.

Well, that took care of the boredom, & now it's time for sleep. That worked out...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Posse Comitatus Act be Damned...

Is this the inaugural (heh) move of the Lightbringer’s Internal Security Force?

I wonder what a "other domestic catastrophe" could be- hmmmm?

Welcome to the Brave New World…