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Stocking up

Hooked to the DTB to go scavenging

Hooked to the DTB to go scavenging

I have been off grid at the Secret Hideout for 10 weeks.

My typical day along about now?   Well, let’s see….  Up between 0600-0700 and first order of business is to fire up Little Blue to make some coffee.  I have an Aeropress Coffee Maker that doesn’t require electricity but the water still has to be hot. No way I am firing up the stove inside the NO Princess Palace for anything these days.  Little Blue also tops up the house battery on the RV while I watch the news and run the traps.  Along about 0900 the sun has come up enough to clear the big oak and fall full on the solar panels.

I can shut Little Blue off then and still have internet, TV and a fan running via the ol’ worn out Interstate batteries and the Xantrex inverter.  The batteries won’t hold enough of a charge to do a whole lot after sundown but during the day, with those big RENOGY panels
throwing the juice to ’em, I get by pretty good.

Danby Chest Freezer - Notice the temp

Danby Chest Freezer – Notice the temp

Let me do a little aside here.  A few weeks back I told you I put the Vissani residential fridge on hiatus just because it was drawing too much juice and I can ill afford to run a generator just for that.  I have become much more reliant on the little Danby Chest Freezer purchased February 2014.   It has been ultra reliable and in daily use in a harsh environment ever since.  When I was doing my energy assessment, I found out some interesting things when I plugged The Danby into the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. If you shut off The Danby and immediately restart it, there is a huge power surge to the tune of 20amps plus that my inverter will not handle.  That just didn’t seem right so I did my Google Fu.  Seems the problem is an immediate restart is working against pressure built up in the compressor.   If I wait 10 minutes for the pressure to bleed off, it will restart with a surge of 5-7amps and I can handle that .  But the best part, the very best part is normal operation only draws 1.1 -1.2amps!  Now some of y’all are most likely thinking what the fuss is about a few amps here or a few watts there.  I hope you never have to find out;  I really do.  I like to keep The Danby between 0 and 20 degrees — remember it does not run around the clock.  This goal was problematic when I was using Little Blue to feed it because I just could not afford to run the generator that many hours a day.  I solved the problem by feeding The Danby off the inverter and battery bank exclusively.   I plugged a timer into the outlet and programmed it to shut off the power to the freezer between 3am and 9am daily.  It is working well so far and maybe if I can ever get some good Trojan T-105RE batteries to replace the wore out Interstates I can be a little more liberal with my power usage.

I am working on a website project ( used to make a good living at that back in the day) that most likely will be my last big project.  That takes several hours each morning and then there is the laundry, cleaning and straightening and looking after Tuco the Dog.  Lunch is usually a sandwich or cold leftovers.  No microwave and no stove to heat stuff up.  Save that for the evening meal.  Along about 2-3pm, it gets too hot in the Palace to bear and I move outside to get my piddling done.  Working on the bowling equipment, helping My Bro, launching a few bowling balls down that long alley we have here or maintenance on the Palace or Big Ass Suburban. I stay busy-always.  I may not move as fast as i used to but there is always forward motion.  Think paint drying or molasses in the winter…….. yeah, just bout like that.

Processing the Zaycon chicken breasts

Processing the Zaycon chicken breasts

The pantries and freezer were getting pretty bare  before my trip to the Huntsville HEB and even then something more had to be done.   Y’all might remember I have talked about Zaycon Foods several times in the past.  I picked up a 40lb order of chicken breasts Thursday in College Station I had ordered a few weeks back.  The price was $1.69 a lb.  Here is the deal on these chicken breasts because somebody is going to come back and say ‘Heck, I bought chicken breasts at Kroger for $1.29 a lb last week.’   All I can say to that is you did good and let me tell you about the Zaycon Goods. I have been buying their products for over a year now and I can honestly recommend them without reservation.   All the glowing reviews on their website are not hype and this chicken is what put Zaycon on the map.  The chicken breasts are

  • 100% natural chicken, minimally processed, with no additives or artificial ingredients
  • Boneless and skinless –  processed by hand
  • Comes directly from the farm
  • Never frozen
  • ‘Events’ all over the country

Mine were fresh, plump and HUGE.  Most all of them are butterflyed and I separate the two halves and trim a little fat and skin here and there.  I rinse them off and place 2 or 3 in Foodsaver bags and then run them through the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System and put them in The Danby.  Did the same thing with the 95% lean ground beef last year.   I still have ground beef and chicken breasts frozen in the vacuum sealed bags from February and March of last year and it is still good to go!   No freezer burn, deterioration or off taste I can detect.   My friends David and Debbie are Zaycon fans as well and they can their chicken and put it on the shelf – no refrigeration.  So for $70 something bucks my little freezer is about full again.  I think it was money well spent!

Here it is almost 2pm on a Sunday afternoon in the Polish Country of Central Texas and the temp inside the Palace just crept up to 85.  Thank goodness for the little Westpointe Personal Fan sitting on the dinette blowing in my face. This little all metal, built like a tank fan was purchased 2 years ago and I could not even begin to tell you how many hours it has run.  I have it running off the inverter and it draws a measly 0.1amp.  I can live with that.

I think when the heat runs me and Tuco the Dog out of the Palace  this afternoon we will go do some mowing.  Tuco the Dog likes to lay on the cool concrete under the shed roof and occasionally raise her head up as I go back and forth on the mower.  All this rain has turned the grounds here at the Secret Hideout into an almost-jungle.  I best be getting after it or the grass will get away from me for sure!

 

End Note: Screw you, We’re from Texas by Ray Wylie Hubbard form the Growl album.  Fits my mood this day.  Nothing personal.

Great youtube BTW , RWH solo acoustic, finger pickin’ and sing-talkin’

 

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8 comments to Stocking up

  • Mickey Holder

    Andy when u r ready to go t work my nephew owns sand trucks and needs drivers in Grandbury. Leave msg on facebook if interested.

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    • Andy

      I appreciate that Mickey. My hearing loss is so profound I cannot pass the CDL physical. It is what it is.

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  • Ray Wylie always was a fav… Irony hell!

    Clips his mustache close, don’t he? Never noticed before. The unshaven scraggly look ain’t all him, obviously.

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    • Andy

      I am going to change your syntax to reflect my opinion

      Ray Wylie always was IS a fav…

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  • Patt

    Andy….have you had any experience operating equipment or driving with a harvest operation? Might can get around that DOT physical issue.

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    • Andy

      Thank you for the idea Patt.

      I have operated combines, grain trucks, corn pickers and silage cutters back in the day in addition to the heavy equipment.

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  • Patt

    Was that with traveling operation, Andy? I had lined up to do that last summer but got delayed by issues so figured this summer. Delayed again with eye surgery but might make part of it. Not sure.

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    • Andy

      Patt,

      That was my life back in the late 70’s

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