Monday, November 21, 2011

Oy, what a morning...

Into each day off-grid some shite must fall. This morning that was literal, though the "off-grid" part wasn't really to blame.

Having stayed up fairly late by my standards, I expected to sleep in somewhat. Instead I heard a dog whining piteously around 3 am. That's never a good thing, for unless Ghost is cold and wants under the covers they never do that without good reason.

Then I smelled the shite.

Now, Little Bear is a good boy about these things, really he is. He knows he isn't to go inside the house, but he can't use the toilet or work a doorknob and Daddy can be hard to wake up. LB was mortified and showed it, but it's really my fault. Since right now there's still no Gitmo analog at the Lair, I have to be more careful about letting him outdoors and yesterday I didn't give it enough thought. He did go out for a pee, but he's not used to rushing that other thing.

Anyway, he really dumped a load. The worst and gooiest part was the second strike different animals have made on that old quilt I covered their bed with. Normally this doesn't happen.

Then, after maybe three completely uneventful days and while I was trying to deal with all that, Click suddenly decided that she absolutely had to go outside right now and started guarding the door. I haven't let her out because I don't have a cat door and she needs to be able to get in and out on her own. Guess I need to work on a cat door. Anyway, that also turned out to be shite-related, for she has higher standards for cleaning a cat box than I do. I stand admonished, and the box is now cleaned out.

Around that time I decided I wouldn't be going back to bed after all, and tried to make a cup of coffee. To find I had no propane pressure at the stove. Went outside and checked the bottle, which was indeed empty. Yike! I guess those pilot lights are using more gas than I gave them credit for. Anybody know the best way to disable a stove's pilot light? I know I have to live with the one on the oven, but matches are cheaper than propane and easier to get.

So I swapped out the bottle. Since I was up, I booted up the 'pooter to write the High Desert Barbecue review below. Finished that and was just puttering around in the kitchen when my inverter started beeping at me. Low voltage? We had a great sunny day yesterday! Yeah, but the day before was shite, and anyway these batteries only have so much capacity. I noticed before: The inverter lets me use my coffee grinder in the afternoon or evening, but prefers I not do so in the morning (when it's needed.) Got a feeling I'm going to be using those kerosene lamps from time to time until I can replace the batteries. Well, that's what they're for. Anyway, I shut down the laptop and it stopped with the beeping. Doesn't seem to mind CFLs at all.

Oh, and did I mention it's raining? Just because piling on is fun when you're Uncle Murphy.

On the good news front, I learned from my weekender neighbor S that he wants to swap me a new 240-watt solar panel for some day labor. That's more generating power than from all my six panels I salvaged from that old cattle watering station, and I'm gonna go for it. But I'm pretty sure my real problem won't be the panels, but the batteries. Expensive, but probably unavoidable.


Plug Nickel Outfit said...

On my stove the pilot has a ball valve about a foot from the pilot orifice - just tilt up the stove top and all the works underneath are exposed. Some newer stoves are designed to shut down all the gas if the pilot's out - so the option may not be available to you.

Using the pilot I was going through a 20# propane tank every couple months. Without the pilot I got 7 months out of the same size tank and am 5 months into the current tank.

Another minor benefit is that all those wooden match ends are used as kindling for the wood stove.

Joe in Reno said...

I think a of of older RV type gas stoves have a manual pilot shut off valve. I had a gas house furnace from the early 60'd that had one. Worked well during the summer as the pilot put out a surprising amount of heat. All you would need is a brass or stainless steel ball valve (or stopcock)for the size of your pilot valve and enough room under your stove top to install it.

wrm said...

Pilot? As in a little flame that burns so that when you turn the knob the plate comes on?

Never seen those. Strikes me as a waste of gas.

They have piezo ignitors these days -- my stove's runs off mains, but you get them in handraulic as well. Or just use a match.

A pilot flame on a stove? /me walks away shaking his head.