Author Topic: Lessons learned  (Read 500 times)

Offline Hoofer

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Lessons learned
« on: July 01, 2017, 09:33:36 AM »
Time to change out battery strings.   Yep, I got some vintage 2003, 12v, 100ah batteries, that have served us well, keeping the incubators running while the power company is busy trying to navigate cow pastures & creeks to fix downed power lines.  Probably lasted this long, "Made in USA".  Everything I come across is "Made in China" - shipping lead acid batteries from China probably amounts for most of the cost.

Since these were "free" and "used, but still good", I had no problem running them near FLAT several times of extended outages.
They always came back, with a little less capacity, but who cares, I was still hatching chicks instead of tossing trays of dead eggs.

What I learned was more important.

Lesson one:  AGM batteries beat Gell Cells in performance.  They might not have the capacity as a fully "flooded" cell.   AGM are maintenance free, and can suffer abuse like no other, BUT, if you manage to evaporate too much electrolyte from a "starved electrolyte" cell (AGM), recharging is a disaster.  That cell heats up, shorts, and the whole string is toast before you've realized what happened.  Once one cell goes bad, the rest of the good cells heat & warp, single battery or a string of batteries, they're all junk.

Lesson two:  Never mix batteries of different capacities or manufacture.   Never needed to do this myself, having witnessed an entire 24 string of batteries FAIL during an outage - the guy was just scratching his head, 'what went wrong?  it was fully charged?'   Well, he had 16 of the 2 volt cells of one type/manufacture, 1400ah, and to fill out the missing cells (for 48v), he added whatever he could find, some in parallel.   So ya gots a 1400ah, and a 900ah, a couple of 600ah in parallel, and what looked like 6 or 8 golf cart batteries in parallel - the voltage added up to 48v, but never really was beyond the capacity of that 900ah, or 600ah if one of those two failed.
I can't call the guy stupid, he's really, really, really smart in the IT world & very successful too!  He figured the batteries only needed to hold his servers and routers for a couple of minutes while his backup generator was firing up.

How did it fail?  Yup, the diesel generator was too cold to start, and they didn't think "weekly exercising" was really necessary.
The battery string didn't last long... I heard it smelt like "rotten eggs" when they got the alert from customers, "Our service is down", and walked into the office.

Lesson three:  Backup systems are untrustworthy - test them at least once a month.  Generators need to completely heat up, both to burn off the condensation in the exhaust, & oil pan, prove they don't have radiator leaks, fuel issues (like partially clogged fuel filters), diesel needs biocide, and if possible, put it under the full load.  We found out our propane generator wasn't starting ... during an outage caused by a somewhat distant hurricane.  Yeah, go fix that in an endless downpour, right!   Lucky we have oil lamps, they were all the light we had when the batteries flatlined.

Lesson four:  Loss of communications is dangerous.   Power is out for 3 days.  Battery bank & inverters have flatlined.  Generator didn't start.  HAM radio batteries are limited to "listen only" (not enough power to transmit).   Portable radios still working, but like alot of radio stations, when the local stuff is shut down, they play music and repeat broadcasts, occasionally interrupted by useless weather reports - "expect torrential downpours, lightning and flooding"   We live on a hill, lightning scares the hell out of us - all the radios are disconnected from the big antennas... we're nearly cut off from weather warnings.   Guess what has no batteries?  The weather radio.   We wouldn't hear of a tornado unless it was right on top of us.  So one passes south of us about 2 miles, another to our east, about 3 miles - "Ok, they're ranged us, next SOB is coming through the house!"   Now we have 2 weather radios, with lithium batteries, and 2 battery banks for HAM radios.  Main Generator is still "out" but we have a couple of tiny 2-cycle units and gas with stabil ... which we also use in the chain saw, so it's constantly being turned over & refreshed.

Lesson five:  Light is much more important than we realize.   When it's dark, and you've got no working flashlight, you don't start getting empathetic with blind people, you curse the darkness!   Oil lamps are wonderful, romantic, pretty and oh-what-a-blessing during an extended outage.  We can create really dangerous situations in the dark, sometimes life changing - like pregnancies.  "Pregnant?  I thought you ... what?  you mistook shaving cream for your foam...?"  (didn't happen to us)  "Darn it!!!   Next time put the seat down!!!  and the lid if we can't flush it, I nearly fell in!"  (did happen).  Yep, for the single guy, you might be OK, married... er... you quickly realize the first place to get a candle, flashlight or lantern - the bathroom.   You can never have too many flashlights, and batteries for them.

Lesson six:  Redundancy in everything.  Not as in 2 freezers, 2 generators, etc., but diversity in redundancy.  A freezer and canned and dried food.   A well, backup water source, and bottled water.  Flashlights, lanterns and candles.  Diesel, gasoline and propane powered devices.  Heat from Propane, wood and passive solar.  Cooking from electric, propane tanks, wood/charcoal grill, etc.  Electric can opener, hand crank can opener too.   Shotgun, rifle and pistol.  Main first aid kit, vehicle first aid kit, personal pack first aid kit.   Put all your eggs in one basket, and what happens - a single failure, you're out-of-commission.   Sure it takes up more space, is a bigger investment, but think of the alternative.   My kid asked me, "Why don't you just stop taking all those pills?"  Simple, because the alternative is death.  "Oh...  keep taking them."
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Solar

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2017, 09:47:44 AM »
I love AGM chloride batteries, the only problem with them in my case was charging, the don't like to go above 13.7 Vdc, any higher and that single tablespoon of liquid quickly evaporates, though you can force feed some back into the battery, though much of the damage has already occurred.
They are horrible for solar off grid, but excellent standby batteries for long life.
Oh, and when depleted, charge like a dry brick. :glare:

Quote
Lesson two:  Never mix batteries of different capacities or manufacture.   Never needed to do this myself, having witnessed an entire 24 string of batteries FAIL during an outage - the guy was just scratching his head, 'what went wrong?  it was fully charged?'   Well, he had 16 of the 2 volt cells of one type/manufacture, 1400ah, and to fill out the missing cells (for 48v), he added whatever he could find, some in parallel.   So ya gots a 1400ah, and a 900ah, a couple of 600ah in parallel, and what looked like 6 or 8 golf cart batteries in parallel - the voltage added up to 48v, but never really was beyond the capacity of that 900ah, or 600ah if one of those two failed.
I can't call the guy stupid, he's really, really, really smart in the IT world & very successful too!  He figured the batteries only needed to hold his servers and routers for a couple of minutes while his backup generator was firing up.

You can actually mix, but not the way he did, lower capacities tend to gas early and overcharge, they also drain first, causing undue stress on the rest of the bank.
Like putting a AAA in and amongst a bunch of D cell alkaline batteries, the AAA will quickly drain first and start heating, causing friction and loss of power across the entire bank.
But you can mix, as long as you match, AH capacity, age and specific gravity all must match, but lead acid is lead acid, manufacturer shouldn't really matter.

Quote
How did it fail?  Yup, the diesel generator was too cold to start, and they didn't think "weekly exercising" was really necessary.
The battery string didn't last long... I heard it smelt like "rotten eggs" when they got the alert from customers, "Our service is down", and walked into the office.
Sounds like they cooked out the bank.

Quote
Lesson three:  Backup systems are untrustworthy - test them at least once a month.  Generators need to completely heat up, both to burn off the condensation in the exhaust, & oil pan, prove they don't have radiator leaks, fuel issues (like partially clogged fuel filters), diesel needs biocide, and if possible, put it under the full load.  We found out our propane generator wasn't starting ... during an outage caused by a somewhat distant hurricane.  Yeah, go fix that in an endless downpour, right!   Lucky we have oil lamps, they were all the light we had when the batteries flatlined.
Used to get calls all the time to troubleshoot backup systems and the majority had one thing in common, tripped breakers, reset failure or failed chargers, but all were giant bricks to be replaced after sitting too long without a charge.

Quote
Lesson four:  Loss of communications is dangerous.   Power is out for 3 days.  Battery bank & inverters have flatlined.  Generator didn't start.  HAM radio batteries are limited to "listen only" (not enough power to transmit).   Portable radios still working, but like alot of radio stations, when the local stuff is shut down, they play music and repeat broadcasts, occasionally interrupted by useless weather reports - "expect torrential downpours, lightning and flooding"   We live on a hill, lightning scares the hell out of us - all the radios are disconnected from the big antennas... we're nearly cut off from weather warnings.   Guess what has no batteries?  The weather radio.   We wouldn't hear of a tornado unless it was right on top of us.  So one passes south of us about 2 miles, another to our east, about 3 miles - "Ok, they're ranged us, next SOB is coming through the house!"   Now we have 2 weather radios, with lithium batteries, and 2 battery banks for HAM radios.  Main Generator is still "out" but we have a couple of tiny 2-cycle units and gas with stabil ... which we also use in the chain saw, so it's constantly being turned over & refreshed.

Lesson five:  Light is much more important than we realize.   When it's dark, and you've got no working flashlight, you don't start getting empathetic with blind people, you curse the darkness!   Oil lamps are wonderful, romantic, pretty and oh-what-a-blessing during an extended outage.  We can create really dangerous situations in the dark, sometimes life changing - like pregnancies.  "Pregnant?  I thought you ... what?  you mistook shaving cream for your foam...?"  (didn't happen to us)  "Darn it!!!   Next time put the seat down!!!  and the lid if we can't flush it, I nearly fell in!"  (did happen).  Yep, for the single guy, you might be OK, married... er... you quickly realize the first place to get a candle, flashlight or lantern - the bathroom.   You can never have too many flashlights and batteries for them.

Sooo true, I'm a flashlight junkie and my wife enables my addiction by bringing the latest and greatest LED on the market, so you'd think I have flashlights all over the place?
Yeah, but she has a really, really bad habit of putting away wall chargers so the lights are essentially useless in no time and wind up trashed.

Quote
Lesson six:  Redundancy in everything.  Not as in 2 freezers, 2 generators, etc., but diversity in redundancy.  A freezer and canned and dried food.   A well, backup water source, and bottled water.  Flashlights, lanterns and candles.  Diesel, gasoline and propane powered devices.  Heat from Propane, wood and passive solar.  Cooking from electric, propane tanks, wood/charcoal grill, etc.  Electric can opener, hand crank can opener too.   Shotgun, rifle and pistol.  Main first aid kit, vehicle first aid kit, personal pack first aid kit.   Put all your eggs in one basket, and what happens - a single failure, you're out-of-commission.   Sure it takes up more space, is a bigger investment, but think of the alternative.   My kid asked me, "Why don't you just stop taking all those pills?"  Simple, because the alternative is death.  "Oh...  keep taking them."

Good advice for anyone considering off grid living. I've found off grid living to be about 4 times the cost of grid tie life, if not more.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 10:15:20 AM by Solar »
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Offline Hoofer

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2017, 05:25:30 PM »
Don't you just HATE it when bad things REPEAT ... at inconvenient times?

Deep well submersible pumps always fail on weekends, like holiday weekends.

Oven heating elements fail Thanksgiving morning.

Water Heaters spring leaks on the coldest day of the year, sub-zero, almost a guarantee.

Basements flood the day before you're going on vacation, especially to someplace like Hawaii, Iceland - places with limited flights that are 100% booked, months in advance.

Trees fall down, collapsing fence in pastures full of cows about 9pm, while the cows are pining for greener pastures.
....

So we *just* ordered 2 deep well pumps, a 1hp, and a solar pump, delivery is expected Monday.... I got some "coin" tied up in them.  :sad:
Our 1/2hp deep well pump must have heard the news, "You're gonna be replaced, soon!" and QUIT... naturally to cause maximum ill will.
Of course we're not going to run out to a big box store, yank a deep well pump and replace it twice!   We'll just suffer a few days, and use the 1/2hp for target practice after we pull it.   :angry:

Living on a farmette, is like living on a farm, except, a REAL farm has multiple water sources, maybe 2-3 wells, natural springs, a creek, pond.  I see the need for a really cheap pump to drop in this tiny little creek in the back of the property, for the livestock, bury a shallow line up to the top of the hill and have it ready-to-go for redundancy.  It ain't the cleanest water, but compared to the greenish sludge in the duck pond...  Which reminds me, did you know, duck-enhanced-pond-water grows grass & veggies like nothing else!  How do you know it's ready to pump?  The frogs start exiting.
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Solar

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2017, 06:20:00 PM »
Don't you just HATE it when bad things REPEAT ... at inconvenient times?

Deep well submersible pumps always fail on weekends, like holiday weekends.

Oven heating elements fail Thanksgiving morning.

Water Heaters spring leaks on the coldest day of the year, sub-zero, almost a guarantee.

Basements flood the day before you're going on vacation, especially to someplace like Hawaii, Iceland - places with limited flights that are 100% booked, months in advance.

Trees fall down, collapsing fence in pastures full of cows about 9pm, while the cows are pining for greener pastures.
....
My favorite was to get a call from the sheriff or highway patrol at 3:00 AM telling us our cows are all over I-5 or Highway 99 or hwy 50, sometimes both at the same time and miles apart, Hell, counties apart.
Yes, always a Friday or Saturday night after the bars close, some drunk invariably never sees the cross street and drives a quarter mile out in the pasture and sinks it in a bog or a creek.


Quote
So we *just* ordered 2 deep well pumps, a 1hp, and a solar pump, delivery is expected Monday.... I got some "coin" tied up in them.  :sad:
Our 1/2hp deep well pump must have heard the news, "You're gonna be replaced, soon!" and QUIT... naturally to cause maximum ill will.
Of course we're not going to run out to a big box store, yank a deep well pump and replace it twice!   We'll just suffer a few days, and use the 1/2hp for target practice after we pull it.   :angry:

Living on a farmette, is like living on a farm, except, a REAL farm has multiple water sources, maybe 2-3 wells, natural springs, a creek, pond.  I see the need for a really cheap pump to drop in this tiny little creek in the back of the property, for the livestock, bury a shallow line up to the top of the hill and have it ready-to-go for redundancy.  It ain't the cleanest water, but compared to the greenish sludge in the duck pond...  Which reminds me, did you know, duck-enhanced-pond-water grows grass & veggies like nothing else!  How do you know it's ready to pump?  The frogs start exiting.
Just happened to me a couple of days ago, new solar pump quit out of the blue, highly unusual, almost always get a warning of some sort, so I pulled it, was about to order another, when I remembered one of my customers still had the same pump I sold him 25 years ago, because we had just been talking about the fact that he still has the Trace modified sine inverter and panels he bought as well, so I saved a bunch because he sold it back to me what he paid for it.
But, and yes, there's always a but, I plug in the new pump and nothing, dead, so now I'm puzzled, I yank the jumper I have used for decades and plug directly to the pump, and it fired off perfectly.
So yeah, I have two new pumps and 4 old ones that still need to be rebuilt. Yeah, Murphy's law... :sneaky:
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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 12:37:45 PM »
So yeah, I have two new pumps and 4 old ones that still need to be rebuilt. Yeah, Murphy's law... :sneaky:

I was talking to a buddy who owns a motor repair shop (he rewinds, rebuilds), asked him if a 3/4hp Hallmark was worth the rebuilding.  "Nope"  Special insulation on the wire and pretty tight quarters, he knows I could handle just about anything, but still said, "you wouldn't want to get into it... not worth the trouble."
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 04:59:27 PM »
Lesson #8:  There is more safety in numbers, when everyone shares the same values.   Otherwise, plan to go it alone... at your own risk.
I like dogs, Dobermans make great family pets, great with kids, and quick to sound off at anything out-of-place.  If someone wanders into the yard, mailman comes up the driveway, cow gets through the fence into the front yard, or half a herd of piggies make a break for the front pond - they sound off, hair up from nose to tail, and sound terrifying.   ... they are not.   It's the Bloodhound that'll rip you apart - yep, they might howl a little, look slow and relaxed - they are lightning fast!  If I am ever alone, Wifey dies first, or she is alone, there will be several dogs around the house.

Neighbors are ... iffy.  We get along with everyone fine, they get along with us fine, but ... can't seem to get along with each other.  It only takes one major gossipy jerk to drive wedges between everyone, and of course, he lives closest to -us-.  We don't get much opportunity to "visit" with him, I hate hearing nothing but bad news about everyone else.   We also make a point to "cut him off" with a "I don't want to hear it, sorry, they're friends of ours".   We live where we live, because they managed to drive off the original owners who tried to retire here.  We really want everyone to be hospitable - so, when the weather is bad, power is out, we call around, "You guys doing OK over there?" - let them know we're thinking of them... build up a little rapour & trust.  In a SHTF scenario, I'd doubt the area would become a free-for-all-riot, but we'd all share some of the same goals, staying safe.  Where I grew up, everyone got along with everyone.

Lesson #9:  practice hunter safety, always - never take for granted a gun is really unloaded - open the breach and check.   
I walked into a gun store, ask to see a handgun, they hand it to me, without opening the action - assuming, there's no magazine, it must be safe.  I cycle the action - a live round comes flying out onto the counter.   They had handed it to me "cocked" with the safety "on" - and said, "Well, at least the safety was on!  Someone could have got shot otherwise!"   Treat every gun as if it were loaded.... don't take anyone else's word for it, open the breech before you hand it to someone, make them open the breech as well.   If there is a magazine in the gun, cycling it might have just loaded and cocked it, when they cycle it - you'll both know, next time, remove the magazine before anything else!
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Solar

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 06:18:49 PM »
Lesson #8:  There is more safety in numbers, when everyone shares the same values.   Otherwise, plan to go it alone... at your own risk.
I like dogs, Dobermans make great family pets, great with kids, and quick to sound off at anything out-of-place.  If someone wanders into the yard, mailman comes up the driveway, cow gets through the fence into the front yard, or half a herd of piggies make a break for the front pond - they sound off, hair up from nose to tail, and sound terrifying.   ... they are not.   It's the Bloodhound that'll rip you apart - yep, they might howl a little, look slow and relaxed - they are lightning fast!  If I am ever alone, Wifey dies first, or she is alone, there will be several dogs around the house.

Neighbors are ... iffy.  We get along with everyone fine, they get along with us fine, but ... can't seem to get along with each other.  It only takes one major gossipy jerk to drive wedges between everyone, and of course, he lives closest to -us-.  We don't get much opportunity to "visit" with him, I hate hearing nothing but bad news about everyone else.   We also make a point to "cut him off" with a "I don't want to hear it, sorry, they're friends of ours".   We live where we live, because they managed to drive off the original owners who tried to retire here.  We really want everyone to be hospitable - so, when the weather is bad, power is out, we call around, "You guys doing OK over there?" - let them know we're thinking of them... build up a little rapour & trust.  In a SHTF scenario, I'd doubt the area would become a free-for-all-riot, but we'd all share some of the same goals, staying safe.  Where I grew up, everyone got along with everyone.

Lesson #9:  practice hunter safety, always - never take for granted a gun is really unloaded - open the breach and check.   
I walked into a gun store, ask to see a handgun, they hand it to me, without opening the action - assuming, there's no magazine, it must be safe.  I cycle the action - a live round comes flying out onto the counter.   They had handed it to me "cocked" with the safety "on" - and said, "Well, at least the safety was on!  Someone could have got shot otherwise!"   Treat every gun as if it were loaded.... don't take anyone else's word for it, open the breech before you hand it to someone, make them open the breech as well.   If there is a magazine in the gun, cycling it might have just loaded and cocked it, when they cycle it - you'll both know, next time, remove the magazine before anything else!
All true.
I live with the idea that there is no such thing as an empty gun, ever, even when you yourself triple checked it, it should always be handled as if it were loaded.
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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 06:20:10 AM »
Lesson #10:  (sort of repeating myself)  The longer the trip, distance from home, supplies, the greater the need for redundancy, alternative trip plans.    Don't travel "light" with the things you're carrying, if losing one of them would ruin the entire excursion.   A friend picked me up for a weekend of fishing at the Outer Banks, NC.  My Surf rods were "too long" to comfortably fit into the cab of the truck, I put them in the back.  The first big semi-truck that passed up, "blew" both rods out onto the roadway, where oncoming traffic destroyed them.  Fortunately, the baitcaster reels survived - but, I was carrying only a light amount of CASH.  a real disaster for a weekend trip.   Another time, my credit cards were suspended because of unusual activity in a place I had not been in awhile (which was the same place, OBX).  That can really suck when trying to pay for a meal, and your card is rejected.  For one of our friends, who had zero cash - and arguing with the waitstaff, I pulled out a couple of $20 bills, paid for 4 of us - just to get the heck out of there, before a couple of locals caused trouble.  Now I always make a point of carrying enough cash for gasoline to make it home, and a couple of credit cards.  I've been in those situations, too many times.

And... I take 4-5 fishing rods, a couple of each type, loaded with reels and extra line, rigging, weight, etc.  Turns out, my tackle box is actually the smallest, because I have one for freshwater & another for saltwater fishing.  (...and I have taken the wrong box, just once, now they are labeled, yeah... nothing like opening the box and seeing Jitterbugs & Mepps instead of Flounder & Blues rigs).

A real thanks to the Salvation Army in Denver, CO., I'll never forget.  Newlyweds, almost out of cash, we ended up somewhere we shouldn't have, and some guy looked at us, "You look like you need help."  He gave us a Gospel tract, $20 and we got out of there -pronto-.   I've been paying that guy back for almost 4 decades, he took a crazy, armed, hitch hiker off our hands while we 'escaped'.  To this day, I don't pickup rebels who resemble "Willie Nelson".   But, my thanks to a big Angel who understood something was wrong, and stepped in to rescue us.

Lesson #11:  When you *must* travel a long distance alone, it is imperative you carry with you everything you could possibly need for changing weather conditions.   Ever been ushered off the interstate during a heavy snowstorm by the state patrol?  I've wound up <150mi from home, in a truck stop parking lot for 3 days.  Another time in a gas station parking lot for 2 days, 600mi from home.   In both cases, I was close enough to drive home that same day - didn't have enough food, almost out of cash, but fortunately had a sleeping bag... and used it.  I also carried a small 2-man tent, out of habit (mummy bag & tent stayed together).   As an experienced winter camper, at least I wasn't so stupid as to head out across the country in a teeshirt & shorts, relying 100% on the car for warmth & shelter... but I've bumped into a few that have.

Lesson #12:  Prepare for the worst, not as you're packing, but ahead of time.  My dad said carry a couple of bags of dog food in the back, for traction ... and, if you need to, you can eat it.   The thought of that - I carry snacks of the high-carb types, salted nut rolls being my favorite, and a case of bottled water, as a minimum.   We also carry 1st aid kits in the vehicles.  While "temporarily fixing" the car/truck, I tend to get cut, or scraped, or burned, or ???   One time I rolled into a gas station, with blood soaked, paper towel wrapped around my hand, a minor cut that wouldn't bleeding because it was my steering hand (left, right is the shifting hand).   Just a small 3/4" bandaid, pulled the gash together, and it stopped bleeding - the box of assorted bandaids cost about $12, a tank of gas back then, which I sorely needed.  It was pretty pathetic, but little things tend to get exaggerated in the worst ways... of course it got infected.   The 1st aid kit is in the vehicles, always, we don't forget it that way.

Lesson #13:  Electronics you rely on out of convenience, utterly fail for the simplest reasons, leaving you almost helpless.   Starting with GPS devices, and believe me, I've had them for a l-o-n-g time for navigating on foot, in vehicles & open water - my favorite Garmin with all the TOPO & Lake/Ocean maps has failed.   Batteries ran out, lighter socket fuse blows, antenna port/cable fails - anything that disrupts the accuracy of that thing - yep, a return back to port with the boat, almost steered me into a bouy at 35Knots, the antenna connection came loose.  I was following my "track" back to the Ocracoke inlet, but without that high accuracy antenna, we were easily 100yards off.   
The same GPS was completely useless in heavy tree cover, a *real* magnetic compass was all we needed.  Nothing like marching off into the woods EAST, and because of cloud cover, heavy tree canopy, there you are, Woodland Warrior, Wifey, tired, little kids, lost in our own backyard.  All I really need was a compass.  Paper maps would have helped, TOPO map & compass, on the water, in the rain, about all I could do was head to where I thought the shore was.   Paper Maps don't lie, Magnetic Compass seldom is wrong, and an Iphone is simply not meant for navigation.

Navigating in the car we use GPS tied to small laptops - which MS Streets is great, have the phone GPS as a backup, and a couple of state maps, Va, WV, NC, SC.  the inverters which power the laptops have failed multiple times... I have a stack of them.   Cell phone charging cables, have failed, lighter sockets fuses have blown - and usually when it's 4am, dark and we need to be at an event by 7am... a place we've never been before.  The other reason to carry street maps - detours.   Call it, "Da tour of the countryside".   OK, so I'm looking at MS Streets, it shows a couple of side roads around the accident, I take off, a bunch of cars ahead of me... follow-the-leader thing.   But, I turn off on a side road, they keep going...?   I look at MS Streets, they're probably assuming the guy in front is going around the detour - not me.   I'm back on the road, around the traffic jam, almost completely by myself - a couple of cars behind me.
Checking the Iphone GPS - ah-ha!  That side road I took isn't there.  Make use of as many navigation resources as you can, stay alert to where you are, and don't forget the simple tools like a cheap magnetic compass.

... which reminds me, I need to add a compass to the 1st aid kits!
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Lessons learned
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2017, 02:14:08 PM »
Lesson #14  Food storage is a total crap shoot & you probably ought to check on your stash annually.  Right after a storm that floods your basement is a fine idea, how about a month later, after all those broken canning seals have begun to bulge and pop?  Mouse crap & piss can rust out the lid on any can.   We wash the lids off before we try to open, but, it's kinda gross.  Before we had sealed, locking storage lockers, mice would eat a small hole into our 50lb bags of popcorn - oh, this is the the expensive WHITE stuff, not the cheap (tastes like chalky-sponge) Yellow stuff.  So, I lift out a bag, and guess what tumbles out, 3 live mice with debris, followed by a wave of popcorn.

Last week, one of the kids found a snake skin... we knew there was a little black snake down there, years ago... now he's a BIG black snake, living off the mice we've been feeding.  From this skin, he/she's in the +4' in length.   Well, we ain't bothering it, or vice versa, but the thought of reaching up to a shelf, or to the back of one and getting bit...  Geeze.... how do you get these guys to vacate a house???

Back to food storage...  We recently picked up a sort of Commercial vacuum food saver.  Had one of those little white Daisy-seal-a-meal-over-and-over-and-pray-it-doesn't-leak for a few decades.  For less than $100 more, we got this Weston unit.   Night and Day difference, wish we hadn't struggled with that cheap plastic unit, we might have made better use of our freezer.   My brothers have those plastic units, one of them offered their's to us - "no thanks", said they used it quite a bit for a couple of years, now it's collecting dust.

Lesson #15  Cats as Kittens, are entertaining, but, they do grow up, go into heat, or spray and become a hassle, unless spayed or neutered.   We didn't have a cat for decades, until we moved back to a farm - I knew we needed one, noticing the mice & rats frolicking in the fields.  I think one of them noticing me, gave me the finger.   When I found a turd on my desk, and remains of piss near my keyboard - that was it.  We're looking for a mouser-cat.   

Not just any old house cat, not even a barn cat - I want a Maine Coon Cat.   Their reputation for taking small game is legendary.   OMG!!!  Wait, a sec., they'll clean the bunnies out of your garden!   And they like to be outside more than inside, just be aware, they like to leave recent "kills" on the door step, early in the morning.  Sometimes headless, sometimes half eaten, and sometimes, alive... barely.
So... you're barely awake, staggering out the door for work and "OPPSIE!!!!   Honey, the cat got another confirmed kill...!"   
I think she comes in the house for a drink of fresh water, and then heads back out.   This cat has been actively holding down the rodent and small game population for 8 years, and each year, she's getting stronger as a hunter.

If you plan to live in the country, a good mouser is a must.  Just gotta train the dogs that kitties are not squeak toys, once you get past that, they're like self-deployed, automatic rodent traps.  All you need to empty is a litter box.  Oh, one other thing about Maine Coons - they are all-weather cats, with double coats.  I've seen ours stalking in cold weather, snow, rain, sleet & summer heat.
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

 

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