Stuff

Remember the massive Kidde fire extinguisher recall a few years ago? I had three units affected. It took over a year to get them replaced, and I was late to the party. One of the three, manufactured in 2019 according to the stamp on the bottom, now shows EMPTY on the gauge. They advertise these as having a six-year warranty. This one is at most half of that age. I’ve reached out to Kidde, but I don’t have high hopes. I ordered one from First Alert to replace it.

I have an old heating oil tank, approximate capacity of 125 gallons, that I removed from a former residence when I replaced an inoperable oil furnace and mounted onto a 4’x6′ trailer kit that I got from Northern Tool. I mounted a manual pump on it and use it to store diesel for the tractor. It doesn’t meet DOT standards, but it only ever sees about five miles per year. I decided to fill it today, since it’s been about a year since I last topped it off, and the price ain’t coming down any time soon. I used sixty-five gallons since the last fill. I paid $3.44 per gallon today. Last January, the price was $2.34. Let’s Go Brandon!

I finally got around to load testing my PTO-driven generator yesterday. I say finally, because despite my intent to do so every three to six months, the date on the board where I track such things said that the last test was done in March 2020. I ran it for an hour, and it performed as expected. The lights dimmed when the heat pump kicked on, as they always do when on genny power, but once it spun up, the lights were happy once again.

It’s a small unit, 7.2kW, but it was the best balance of price, tractor compatibility, electrical output connections matching my needs, and ease/cost of connecting to the house that I could find. It isn’t designed to be a whole-house backup, but it will serve as one if the user is selective as to which high-apmerage loads are active at any one time. In other words, don’t expect to be able to run the clothes dryer at the same time you’re taking a shower (hot water heater) and someone else is cooking on the stove. And diety forbid that the heat pump/air conditioning needs to run during all that. It will handle any one of those four while keeping the lights on and all the other bits and pieces running, maybe two if the second one is the dryer on low heat or only one burner on the stove. Don’t expect more than that, and you’ll be happy. If you need all that, buy a 20kW Generac for six grand, another $800 for the transfer switch, and a few grand for an electrician to hook it all up.

I paid $950 for the genny (now $1250 – FJB) mounted it to a three-point Carry All from Tractor Supply and bought a light-duty PTO shaft from AgriSupply. There’s no need to spend $400 for the “recommended” shaft from NT. It’s rated for 60 horsepower – an absolutely unnecessary level of strength for a generator that only requires 14HP at full load. Then I added a 30A circuit breaker to the outside box (left in the off position except when the generator is needed, at which time the main breaker must be turned off before turning on said 30A breaker, unless you want to blow up the generator when the power comes back on) ran wire through flex conduit “borrowed” from work to an outdoor outlet designed for generator use, and picked up a ten-foot cord to connect the two. No it doesn’t meet code. Yes it works, and is safe unless you’re a fucking idiot. Total cost in 2019 was within fifty FRNs of what the genny itself costs today.

It’s cold today. I mean, not really. It’s 41 degrees and sunny at the moment, which is tolerable. It was 19 last night and didn’t break freezing until almost noon. I’ve done the stuff I have to do, and am not all that motivated to do anything else.

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Random

I lost another pen this week. The second of three Parker Vector pens that I bought some years ago. One was damaged not long after I acquired the trio, and this one disappeared between home and work yesterday.

State Farm has decided that my antique pickup chassis dump truck must be insured as a commercial vehicle and has to be on its own (significantly more expensive) policy, despite its age and my complete lack of an active business*. Greedy fucks.

I put in 48 hours at work this week. I’m supposed to be retired. Damn the boss’s father-in-law for dying and making that necessary.

If you order food for delivery to your workplace, either prepay so they can drop it off and go or make sure your ass meets the delivery driver when they arrive. I hate watching these poor bastards wait around for fifteen minutes or more while you drag your lazy, inconsiderate ass up front to pay for the seven dollar sandwich you just had to have right fucking now – but couldn’t be bothered to come pay for until the spirit moved you. And a half-assed apology and an extra dollar tip doesn’t make up for it.

I’m failing at my most recent weight loss attempt. Mostly because I like to eat. Eventually I’ll succeed. Or I’ll die fat. Probably the latter.

The companion dog to the one I dispatched last year has a new friend, and they have been visiting daily for a week. Today I had the building doors open so the girls could get some real daylight until I had to go to work, and the dogs eyeballed them for quite a while before coming up onto the back porch and nosing around. They didn’t raise any hell, so I didn’t know until I checked the video later.

Mother Nature pushed the fence project down the priority list. I might have to suck it up and do it regardless, as I’d prefer that to having to dispatch and bury more canines.

*Sure, I’d like to do some tractor work, and I put a few signs out. But I’ll be shocked if I get enough work from the effort to pay for the signs. Much less recover the cost of a single six-month insurance premium.  (This paragraph is supposed to be a smaller font, but upon publishing it reverted to the normal size. I guess WordPress is worth precisely what I’m paying for it. It’s certainly not worth any more.)
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Fear and Beer Virus

A couple weeks ago I shared the new acceptable face diaper definition at my workplace. I commented a few days ago about the local medical community and their face diaper policy, which led to me not scheduling routine medical care. Leftists are screaming for the denial of care, incarceration and even celebrating the death of the unvaccinated. That’s the bad news.

But there is good news. By now everyone knows that SCOTUS told Brandon to shove his OSHA jab mandate up his ass. The Brits are backing off of their mandatory jab passport and most other fear-based protocols. Spain is trying to get ChinkFlu classified as endemic (managed like seasonal flu, etc.). Everyone on the planet except for the FDA (a fully owned subsidiary of Pfizer, Moderna, et al) is blowing off the booster jabs as ineffective. A bit over two years in, people are finally finding a clue.

What am I doing? Before I answer that, I need to make a few things clear as to why I’m doing anything. I ain’t scared of it. Even with my co-morbidites, of which I have a couple, I still have a 99.6% chance of surviving it if I even catch it. And my chances of catching it are extremely low considering the very small number of people with whom I interact. Mostly I do it to decrease my chances of developing noticeable symptoms of any kind that the Karens will notice and get nosy about it.

Well, I’m staying the fuck away from as many people as possible. But I did that before the release of the underwhelming biological weapon/fear inducer/control method, so it barely counts. What I’m actually doing to protect myself against viruses in general (including but not limited to or motivated by ChinkFlu), is taking prophylactic ivermectin monthly and supplemental zinc daily. In addition, I acquired a small quantity of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin that I will take along with increasing my zinc intake should I experience symptoms.

I also read somewhere about a study indicating that the combination of benadryl and lactoferrin might slow viral replication. Since both of those products have been available OTC/unregulated for quite some time and thus can be considered reasonably safe, I added them to my daily supplement list. They probably don’t do anything against the beer virus, as the study referenced in said article was a lab petri dish experiment and not an animal or human study. My thought process is thus. It won’t hurt, might help, and is cheap.

Shut the fuck up. Some of you injected a chemical cocktail that

  • is experimental and unproven,
  • meets no pre-woke definition of a vaccine,
  • admittedly does nothing to prevent infection by or spread of this oh-so-deadly disease,
  • has very questionable effectiveness when it comes to symptom and/or death rate reduction,
  • and has a very high rate of negative side effects

into your body. Multiple times. And you wear a piece of cloth over your breathing offices that is about as effective at stopping a virus as underwear is at stopping a fart. You do you and I’ll do me. I ain’t been sick yet. Lots of y’all motherfuckers have. Despite all your faux “science”.

I will say that one positive outcome from all this insanity is an increased focus on things that can be done to lower one’s susceptibility to viral infections in general, even if those who think they are our betters try to quash the information when it’s less lucrative for them. Zinc good. Things that improve the body’s ability to absorb and utilize zinc are even better. That’s largely what both HCQ and ivermectin do.

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Happenings

It’s supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow. Initially they said 2-5 inches. Now it’s “up to 2 inches” and the Blizzard Warning is gone for my immediate vicinity. Yes, that’s what some genius titled the Winter Storm Watch that was active yesterday. I hoped that it would materialize, since I got begged to work tomorrow night so a co-worker can go out of state for his father-in-law’s memorial service. If they cancel production, then I don’t have to see anyone. That’s a definite win in my book. We’ll see how it works out. I figure it’s going to fizzle out and turn into a big nothing.

The Aquila girls have spent three of their six days here outside, parked next to the chicken run proper. They attracted a little attention, but the two groups largely ignore one another. Today they’re staying inside the building to protect them from the wetness falling from the sky. The next couple of weeks has forecast overnight temperatures in the low teens to low twenties, so they won’t join the flock until that shit is over. The building isn’t heated but is much less drafty than the coop. I killed enough with the heat last summer, I’m not going to kill my new babies with the cold. They seem healthy and normal and I want it to stay that way.

Yesterday I responded to a call for beta readers by L.J. Hachmeister. I recently entered a giveaway (I didn’t win) that included one of her books. Entering the giveaway also signs one up for the authors’ newsletter if they have one. Such was the nature of this request and subsequent arrangement. I’m halfway through the series she sent. It’s interesting so far, and I’ll leave it at that.

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New Birds

I brought the Aquila juveniles home about twenty-four hours ago. They are slightly larger than I expected for eight weeks old, but they are definitely still babies compared to the old ladies. I thought they would be almost all black like the Rustic Ramblers I got last year, but they aren’t. There is a lot of copper-brown, especially along their fronts.

One almost immediately found the roosting perch that I fashioned from a copper rod with cardboard tie-wrapped along its length.

They all tried to fly/climb out the back of the crate when I started the tractor, so I decided to let them settle in for a few days before I start the daily trek over to eyeball their aunts through the cage/fence. One stuck its head and neck between the bars during its attempt to escape the big, loud, scary orange monstrosity. It took some effort to get it back through once the perceived danger had passed.

Last night they scared me. They haven’t figured out the whole roosting thing, so they just face-planted onto the bottom of the cage. They looked dead.

But this morning they were all up and active. I stood out there close to the cage for a few minutes before leaving for work. They tended to stay huddled together at the back, but three wandered over to the feeder and ate while I stood there. The runt is extremely skittish, though. My leg moved the slightest bit to maintain balance and the poor thing jumped like it had been shot and retreated back to the huddle briefly before returning to the feeder.

One had a dry/irritated spot on its back that it keeps messing with. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. It doesn’t appear to be an injury, but I do worry. In case it’s a parasite, I plan to dust them with some diatomaceous earth as soon as my work weekend is over.

It’s going to be interesting, especially once I integrate them into the existing flock. Hopefully if the old biddies pick on them too much, they’ll figure out that they outnumber them 2:1 and can retaliate.

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A Day in the Life

I’m due for my annual eye exam, and a couple years overdue for my hearing check. I attempted to schedule both today. Both have mandatory mask policies. Neither one will get my money at this time.

I finally got around to spreading the chicken shit over the bare spots in the yard today. The rake disturbed the new grass that had started to grow despite the recent cold temperatures. I’ll be putting more seed down tomorrow. Hopefully the existing new growth plus the extra nutrients and more seed will give us a decent yard this spring.

Amazon Warehouse will try to resell anything. I ordered an exhaust Y-pipe for the dump truck. Someone had returned one that they already welded in place. They had left one-foot sections of the welded-in pipe in the arms of the Y, and the weld bead on the single outlet side. Somehow Amazon thought this was accurately described as “like new, packaging will be damaged” and appropriate to be sold at a decent discount. Uh, no.

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Cats and Chickens

My mouse patrol seems to have settled into a comfortable routine. We have five cats that visit regularly, four of which haven’t missed a day in weeks aside from a very rainy two-day period a little over a week ago. One is Quicksilver, the male shelter cat that I adopted the second time around last year.  His female friend and the two female kitties from round one never returned. Given the time that has passed, I think it’s safe to say that they never will. The other three are either neighbors’ cats that have found a new source of easy food or strays who have decided to call our place home. Regardless, I’m pleased to have a near-constant feline presence. All it’s costing me is an eleven-dollar (thirteen pound) bag of Kit and Kaboodle every month. The mice should have ran for the hills long ago – the ones that didn’t get eaten that is.

My three hens are pretty consistently making three eggs every two days. Fifty percent production in the dead of winter is quite acceptable. I really hope that my precautions against the heat are effective this summer. I plan to add one more layer of UV blocking cloth in late spring, and lay a cut piece of PVC pipe along the ridge line to keep the fabric from touching the peak of the roof and transferring heat through to the inside. Between that and the gable exhaust, maybe it’ll stay below a lethal temperature, since they are too stupid to just go outside and find shade there.

I have a confirmed schedule for bringing the new birds home. I’ll pick them up six days hence at 1300. The farm is over an hour away, so by the time they are loaded and I make the return trip, there won’t be but a couple hours of daylight left. I have the same XXL dog crate that I used for the cats’ initial confinement set up in the storage building on a pallet. I’ll probably just dump them in there from the travel crate and let them settle in, leaving the doors open until dark so they can get some sunlight. I’ll be working the following two days, so I’ll probably let them stay there, just opening and closing the doors with the sun. On the following Monday, the integration will begin.

In the mornings, I’ll move the pallet (with the tractor) from the storage building to the outside of the current run. I’ll put it as close to touching as possible so the two sets of birds can inspect each other closely through the fencing/crate bars. I expect both groups to be quite curious about each other initially, but eventually lose interest.  Once they’re actively ignoring each other, I should be able to let the new birds into the coop and run proper. At that point they get to work out a new pecking order, hopefully with much less blood than if I just dumped them in with the three old biddies on day one. Until I’m comfortable doing that, at night I’ll move the pallet back into the storage building and close the doors. Most predators wouldn’t be able to get into the crate, but Old Man Winter is still hanging out and I want my birds to stay healthy.

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Minor Update

I built and installed the shelf for the chicken coop ventilation fan this week. I still need to cut the hole in the gable and fabricate a flap for said hole, but the hard part is done. The chickens weren’t happy with an extended human presence in their home, and absolutely despised the associated power tools. Hopefully it will aid in keeping them and their younger soon-to-be co-residents alive in next summer’s heat and thus be worth the annoyance that they suffered.

Speaking of which, the Aquila juveniles are supposed to come home next week. Chicken Lady said something about them maybe needing a heat lamp when it drops below freezing. I thought our arrangement was such that she’d keep them until they were old enough for such to be unnecessary, but I’ll manage. I do have such a lamp, but it resides with the water treatment system, and I dare not risk it to protect a few birds. Guess I get to spend fifteen bucks on another one. Or thirty bucks on a heating mat that they can huddle up on. I’ll decide and order whichever within the next few days.

I got both good news and a not-so-cheap learning experience with the truck this week. It has piddled hydraulic oil since I got it, from the vicinity of the pump. I figured it was a from a seal or seals in the pump. The rebuild process isn’t the easiest task even if one can find a seal kit. Even though the pump itself works fine and the cylinders lift a full bed easily, I expected to have to replace the pump to fix the leak, due either to availability or convenience. That was the good news part.

The leak was a bent and loose section of standard schedule 80 black iron pipe coming out of the pump and going into a tee. It was a bitch to replace since I didn’t want to disconnect more than absolutely necessary and it was a solid piece with no union. I ended up cutting it in half very slowly so as to not catch the oil on fire. That done, I went looking for replacement parts. Nobody locally stocks schedule 80 nipples, and I wasn’t going to steal from work. I decided to buy two shorter nipples and a union to achieve the original length in schedule 40 from the local big box home improvement store. Technically, it can handle the pressure, so I should be fine. Much cleaning, contorting and most of the remainder of my very expensive Loctite 545 later and I had it back together. The next morning I tested it. A touch more torque on the union healed the drips there, and the system cycled a dozen times with only minor seepage around the cylinders and the actuator valve. I can live with that.

The reservoir was almost empty with the cylinders extended (the only way one can access the reservoir) after the repairs and previous leaks. Tractor Supply was out of five gallon buckets of hydraulic oil, so I bought two two-gallon jugs. The entirety of the first one didn’t bring it up to even half, so I added from the second one. It ended up taking all of it to bring it up to almost three-quarters full. I figured that should be about right to allow the cylinders to compress and expel their contents into the reservoir. Yes, I’m an idiot. I lowered the bed, compressing the cylinders. About one third of the way down, the area erupted in a shower of hydraulic oil. It seems that full when compressed equals about three-fifths full when fully extended. Over half the contents of that second thirty-dollar jug of oil wound up all over the truck and eventually on the ground. The exhaust pipe is going to smoke for a week to burn that off.

But at least I didn’t need a seven hundred plus dollar pump.

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The Glorious Smell of Bacon

My most recent meal was one hundred eight hours ago. Wife is currently cooking bacon as part of her late breakfast. It smells heavenly. No, I’m not having any. But damn am I enjoying the aroma.

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Yet Another Weight-loss Attempt

Being chronicled here.

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