Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who's gonna go in harm's way?
       Just a question from a former recruiter. This question is as simple as who is going to take the place of the murdered people in Libya? Like who would volunteer?  Like to maybe die?
            I have yet to even hear this question in the media.
            Now the quick answer is simple in my mind. In the recent decades past, the State Department of the USA and Department of Agriculture of the USA have passed many of their quotas on to the Department of Defense of the USA, which filled the quotas in their own way, usually with Reserves, good Americans all.
            Nobody will knowingly die, or think they may.  Just ask their Families, too.
Another home electricity generation report
As of October 1st of 2012 this sitrep will keep you up to date of what is setup at the Hemlocks in regards the local electric generation. I feel fortunate that there has been a bit of a drought right here (during this tune up time), like it is raining in a lot of places, but locally we are having less than our fair share of rain at the Hemlocks. Practically that means right now the electric plant is set to send up around 1/2 amp of electricity while still keeping the pond full just from the sandstone springs. Best case it has sent 0.89 amps, but not during a drought time. The distance is around 600 feet from the water turbine plant to the main house. This line is very “thick” to minimize electric losses from transmission.
There remains plenty of water for all the usual purposes, too, like drinking, cooking, washing, flushing, etc.
At this summer drought rate, I can keep the 7.2 cuft freezer working for 2 or 3 days, followed by 1 day on the solar setup (which allows the water turbine plant to recharge up the 4 big gel batteries). The solar plant has 2 12-volt deep cycle sealed batteries completely independent of the water turbine batteries. Plus I can keep the eneloop rechargeable batteries charged. Now to do all this I do have to manually do some unplugging/plugging of the solar plant when it is recharging its own batteries. And fortunately, again just for this tune up phase, the Hemlocks has had enough cloudy and foggy weather to make the test of the solar plant more valid. Clouds mean less electricity, and night time means no electricity generation when using solar.
All these batteries should be good to go until 2020. And the primary source of electricity remains TVA, and all is well there. And the purpose of the 7.2 cuft freezer is to extend the shelf life of food and seeds. And the water turbine plant has a fancy inverter that has a “search” mode that only turns on the inverter when the freezer compressor cuts on. The solar plant has its own inverter, and it is on all the time. When any inverter is on, it does use some electricity of its own.
Last, the solar panel is on a 25 foot cable, so I can chase the sun a little, but right now have chosen not to do so. Chasing the sun should make more electricity. And in the end, with this combination of water turbine and solar charge set up, I will probably stick with it just to keep the freezer working, and the rechargeable batteries charged. That will save some on my TVA electric bill, too, which is still the best deal, economically speaking.
PS I can provide a more geeky type report, but have chosen not to do so for this email.
Here's the geeky type attachement:

                1)  To measure the electricity amps, one must use the local VOM (volt ohm meter) and follow the turbine manual directions on how to do it.
            2)  The present setup (9/30/2012) has the 4 gel batteries in series, or said another way, in a 48 volt setup. Now that is the recommended setup based on the transmission distance, just under 600 feet. Now we could move to a 24 volt setup to get more electricity, but that will necessitate a serious rewiring on all the other wiring in the storage closet and under the house, plus depending on the transmission wire being heavy enough to minimize transmission power losses. So for now we are using the 48 volt setup.
            3)  There are three ways to change the setup at the water turbine plant right now (and hence the electric plant output, too.)  One is to follow the directions on rotating the turbine head. Second is to change the diameter of the nozzle in input one to the turbine. Third is to change the diameter of the nozzle size in input two to the turbine. The two nozzle diameters do not have to be the same. And as of today (9/30/2012) the second nozzle is shut off due to the drought and maintaining  pond level, which is normally spring fed.
            4)  The present setup, call it the drought setup, has all the water from the bottom three springs going to the RAM, and then the excess (like 92% estimated)  going to the pond to make electricity.  The highest  (vertically) 4th spring has gone dry as the water table has normally dropped. It should start up next April 2013 or later, building up to a pretty good flow by June. One can manually adjust the pipe hookup by hand as so desired. Best case, this upper spring plus the second spring has a pipe setup (if manually setup) to provide a higher water head to feed the second nozzle to the water turbine, and keep up. In this setup, the bottom two springs should keep the RAM running, and they have in the past.
            5)  The 7.2 cuft freezer is still in the kitchen, and full of frozen food and seeds for if we go to "times get hard" situations.  During solar day uses/setups, the Hemlocks uses a long extension cord to connect the solar plant with the freezer, which probably has its own electric losses.
            6)  The rechargeable batteries for day to day use are eneloop AA and AAA batteries.  The Hemlocks also has some adapters to use them in D cell and C cell situations.
            7)  Entertainment is a big deal at both the group and personal levels. Some of the electronic stuff is in an EMP protected setup in the main house closet.
            8)  The terms gel battery and sealed battery are code words for low or none  gas producing batteries that could generate gases that could explode in confined spaces.  The third kind of battery is a flooded battery, and they are not used in the Hemlocks electric plant installations because they do make gases that could explode in confined spaces.
            Now all batteries have lives, like humans, and these batteries are so new they should last until 2020 or so, when they will have to be replaced. That is an expense that should be planned for. The present setup has 4 gel 12-volt batteries (at 125 pounds each) and 2 deep cycle 12-volt batteries at an unknown weight, thought they are very heavy.
            9)  Inverters have been chosen so the Hemlocks does not have to convert  basic things, like freezers, to DC electricity or gas. Now if we drill a successful natural gas well (there is a good probable successful site here), then that idea needs to be reviewed as to what makes sense in the long term.
            10)  The present solar setup has a high tech 100 watt solar panel on a 25 foot cable to connect to an MPPT solar controller which connects to the batteries.  The present max length solar cable I could buy is 50 feet, or so I think ( I have not done so so far). Hence chasing the sun is somewhat restricted by the "tether" in the present setup. A shorter tether usually means less power loss.  And right now the present solar setup is to connect the 1100 watt inverter directly to the batteries (two  deep cycle 12-volt batteries in parallel)  using the inverter alligator clips provided. The alternative is to use the load function on the MPPT controller, but I have tried that using 8 AWG wiring, and since moved back to using the alligator clips  directly wired to the battery setup. By the way, the two batteries are hooked in parallel using 4 AWG cables.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

       Please consider this post both a story, and an amateur report.
            Now I am one of those who can both tolerate garlic, and really enjoy it, too... like now for decades. Some can't tolerate it, or even enjoy it, and that's fine, too. I think most can.
            As to the uses, the vast old stories give it both medicinal and culinary qualities. You can do your own homework to make up your own mind, too, to include your own favorite ways to use it, if you so choose. Others have done the same.
            As for me, I am even ordering my own bulbs to grow my own, mostly because I really enjoy it, and if things turn sour, I still prefer to get it, like even grow my own. And it is easy to grow, and it is from the onion family, if that helps you in your analysis. And I can even plant it in October, inside most often, and depending on where you live.
            Now for a favorite story from my Marine Corps' time. It was at Ft. Sill and I went to a school with a lot a Middle Eastern fellow military types from all over the Middle East (circa the late 1970's). One of their habits, really cultural traits, was to get right in my face when communicating, and very often I could smell the distinct aroma of garlic as we were that close. Well, I did not like it, but am sure they too had to tolerate some of our American culture ideas, like "happy hour" at the Club, or other dirty habits, I am confident of, or at least suspect. I always thought the common bond was the pursuit of American women, but I will never really know. But I do know about the common enjoyment of garlic we two cultures enjoyed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The value of testing

This is just a story.
Admittedly this is low tech and maybe redneck testing, but that is just what I do these days.
In this case, I am testing my solar backup to my water turbine powered backup to my main source of electricity these days...TVA, which is pretty good these days through the local VEC (Volunteer Electric Cooperative).
Anyway, in my testing, I started out with an inverter that should have handled my test load, and it failed. I suspect in the test it could not handle the surge startup, which by my design it should have, plus it was advertised to be able to do so. But it failed in this test. Bummer.
So I got a new bigger inverter, and it is working OK, so far, to including the surge startup. My only rub is that the manual calls for 30 amp fuses, but when I pulled them today, they were 40 amp fuses, so I just ordered some more 40 amp fuses, since I get paranoid about replacements for many reasons. Like try find them in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia.
Last, mostly I am trying to power my made in America 7.2 cuft freezer to extend the shelf life of my food and seeds. That is my main load.
What surprised me, in this test during a drought time, is that I may choose to use a combination of both water turbine and solar as a backup.
Hence the value of testing.

      There's few poor "being led" people, just poor leaders.
            So up front congratulations are due to so many parents who are doing their job as a Mom or Dad to raise their kids as best they can. They know both the highs and lows of such a long term task, and keep at it.  Good on 'em. Most of their kids won't say thank you until these kids get older, too. These parents with children are generally good leaders, and there are so many examples of their success.
            Yet in the same vein, it sure seems like we have government programs, well intended at their conception I am confident, that seem to support breaking up Families into single parent homes, usually falling on the single Mom. Such programs are all too often conceived and implemented by poor leaders. Now some of these programs go back over half a century, beginning primarily with the War on Poverty, at least to me.
            Now the implications are appearing all over. And they were forecasted by many, to include now deceased Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was a Democratic Senator for 24 years, among his many positions held. As to implications look at the outbreak of gangs all over, riots and unprovoked attacks by young people on about anyone, and poor academic results in public schools. To me the common theme is poor leadership, all too often influenced by government programs that help break up the two parent home.  And for those that see the problem as primarily African-American, I see the problem as one of leadership.  As bad luck would have it I live in a poor Appalachian area where there are a lot of poor white people, and the problems are similar with poverty and broken homes being a common theme.
            So what are we to do?
            I would suggest voting for new leaders, at all levels, like from school board to federal President,  who will promote laws and programs that promote the two parent home. Now that is an electorate (voter) problem, but at least the voters have a good alternative to what is going on today.
            And again, all is not doom and gloom. But for the areas where there is a lot of gloom, then the voters and future leaders have work to do. And if it took us as an American culture five decades to get into this mess, then it will probably take five more decades to get to a better situation that will benefit all. Good on 'em I would say!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
       To me it is fake meat, usually made from soybeans, sometimes from cotton seed, wheat, and oats. The food value is pretty good, I think.
            Obviously one should read the label on any food you get as to food content, and our governments pretty much makes that easy to do for those so inclined...
            Finally I found a soy product I like, since I mix it with others things I also like; like chicken broth, beef broth, onions, green peppers, etc. And I am no vegan; rather I am just trying to be thrifty. I also do enjoy pork products, a lot.
            Others may mix it with things like chili, spaghetti, burritos, etc., I read.      
            Now I think TVG stuff has been around a while...I just didn't know it. I think fake bacon bits are made from it; I suspect things like the "helper" products may have some in it; and I see many products now being sold as having or not having TVP in it. And campers are often big in to using it, since it is usually sold dry, and can be rehydrated later.
            And I have a daughter with four girls who eat it, and that they like it was reported to me, though it can be tough initially on some stomachs was also reported.
            As for me, I am pretty much gassy most of the time, so I have not seen any obvious effect on my gullet.
            Anyway, when I "learn" something "new" to me, I always enjoy sharing it with others.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The king and his court
       There has been enough information getting out over the last few years to alarm me. Now I freely admit, it is conjecture, but I think well reasoned conjecture by a connect the dots method.
            So I'm stockpiling even more things, just in case.
            Now what are you going to do, like if some unique American form of civil war breaks in the USA, or in China for that matter. Or if some wild card event like a volcano or a pandemic or down range nuclear contamination affects us, or others we care about.
            I think we have a not so smart, aloof, egotistical, and somewhat lazy person as the President, who has surrounded himself with others like him.  And his wife is not too swift, either, but that is another story. In this conjecture, many of his court are also not too swift (to include their own experience), and also exposed to the usual infighting which the king will sort out, if they can even get to him, like get the time to appear in front of him with their pitch. That's just characteristic of this method of ruling.
            Back when I was in some nuclear programs (both the shooting side and command and control side), we used the connect the dots method both for temporary decertification and permanent decertification. Some may call it the classical trust and faith idea. I think the present federal President  would be decertified by those standards. Of course, he is the President, and can do whatever he wants, to include bypassing Congress with Executive Orders. And his hired minions (his court if you will) will help him.
            So I'm stockpiling even more things, just in case.
            Now I have chosen to use a dual use strategy of stockpiling food, so eat it later I say to myself, or even now, but for sure eat it. Now, worse case, nobody will like it in my Family, but we will survive in a minimal healthy manner, or so I hope. Now most medicines do have shelf lives, but most can be extended by wise storage methods.
            Now I have lived in kingdoms, but really have no applicable experience with this method of ruling.  But it is one thing to be the king of Nepal, for example, and king or president for life of the USA.  Obviously, the USA is a lot bigger, and less homogeneous, and more difficult to rule by that method, probably impossible to rule by that method. But like my conjecture suggests, the present federal president is not all that smart, or experienced, to boot.
            So I'm stockpiling more, just in case. 
            Now I am old enough to remember something similar, called the bomb shelter craze, back in the late 50's. This idea even made the cover of Life Magazine, as I recall.  And nothing came of that, and I keep that in mind, too. I also remember my father, who then served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Cuban Missile Crisis having to tell me I and my brother we were on our own, as he was being evacuated to the bomb shelters in the mountains; and my mother was back in Tennessee taking care of her sick father.
            Now I used to call my father cheap, but now that I am older I call him thrifty. But I still wonder why he couldn't give me or my brother $5 each to live on the streets as best we could. By the way we lived about a mile from the Pentagon so he could walk to work.  He's dead from old age now, so I can't ask him any questions I wish I could ask.
            So I'm stockpiling more, just in case.
            And I will just have wait and see how things sort out. There are just too many unknowns. But I do sense here in the new world USA that a third party is arising, which will probably have an effect as early as 2016, but more likely 2020. This Party (at all political levels) will probably be made of today's Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, Americans all.  And I do have to sense it, maybe filter it, since you and I are subject to propaganda and poor reporting as far as domestic reporting goes. Who knows what to believe these days? And thank goodness I have to time to read foreign news sources about foreign events, and these reports are often quite different from USA reports of the same events.
            So I'm stockpiling more, just in case.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notes from a weather news junkie
       Now I do get up around 0300 local, and the first thing I check is the weather forecast.  Good, bad, or indifferent, that is me.
            And lo and behold, yesterday AM there was a gap in weather coverage in the  eastern USA and Atlantic, though the forecasters did OK for me locally, anyway.
            Now today I read a geosynchronous weather satellite went down, and that explains to me yesterday's observations, and a quick thought to myself.
            Now I use NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) as my source, so good on them for doing the best they could to adjust, which they did, and are doing.  And good on me and others, too.  Like looking out the window is also a good method to forecast today's local weather.
            Last, as a weather news junkie, I think the job of weather forecaster is pretty good.  After all, nobody expects a forecaster to be right most of the time.
            And to put things in perspective, it wasn't too many decades ago when all this weather forecasting was simply not available in any trustworthy way. So I do appreciate it, that is the good effort to get the weather word out.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just another interim report about pressure canning local stuff 

Well, I am in-between as of this report. The pressure canner is cooling down right now.
Now I am cheating as best I can, mostly using the idea of making sure the bacteria contagion is down.

To help that effort, I am even using canned already skinned and treated tomatoes (again from a can) to help my experiment, plus they like acid stuff, like kills bacteria.

By the way, if I fail, then one only has to do common sense things like look at it and smell it to see if you even want to eat it.

The shelf life might be as long as one year in a cool place, but I’ll start with one month in the refer, right now.

Now I still wonder why we call it canning, since most of the containers are made from glass.

Aren't we humans "funny"?
       After all we have so much in common, like the need for food, shelter, and clothing, no matter where we live. And there seems to be a universal drive for Families, like sex and reproduction works at a minimum to provide a future for where we live, plus boys and girls generally like each other. There is something about being committed to another that also appeals to all humans, pretty much. We all know there are exceptions, but the amount of Families says it all, at least to me.
            And most humans, I think, do believe in government at all levels, especially if it helps them in their perception of the benefits. When that doesn't happen then things like revolts and revolutions do happen.
            Of course some governments are better than others. The difference is often do to the types of governments, which vary anywhere from republics and democracies to dictatorships, with every method in between like tribal, feudal,  and even nation-states.
            Now as a Marine, I did generally liked the various types of foods that other cultures had come up with. Now some did take a dose of alcohol to get falsely brave (speaking for myself), like eating Balut in the Philippines,  or even sashimi in Japan, cold chopped lamb intestines in Turkey, even chitlins in Tennessee, or even most variations of borscht in eastern Europe and Russia (which I did sober) ; and of course I did not die from eating any of it. In fact, it was often quite good. I also even liked eating unleavened bread as a wrap with my fingers to eat other things.  My point, or idea, is that all humans like eating, and the variations are pretty neat. My other idea is that we humans tend to like the food from our own culture, which is fine with me. And lord knows, what we eat and like to eat does vary all over the place.
            This idea even applies to the grains we eat, like wheat, soybeans, and corn in the USA, rice in a lot of the world, and even grains like barley and oats also in a lot of the world, too. And sorry, I should not leave out other grain products, like from taro (which I have never had). Even the grain "hops" is grown to soften the taste of beer in many cultures. Actually (in my mind), it is getting more difficult to assign a grain preference to any one culture...we humans like it all, pretty much. That includes the benefits, to incude the available spices we also use.

            So with so much in common, why we are we different, too; to include fighting and dying.
            The quick answer is that I do not know why, other than it does happen. Now I do have my opinions.
            The classical thoughts still apply. Usually it some simple combination of cultural differences and ways of thinking; or simply leaders simply misjudging others;  and all too often the ego of some regional dictator(s) starting it all; and it just expands to more than a region.
            And we all know it does happen, like or not. Or at least it has so far in human history.
            Even where I live in east Tennessee these days, any foreign invader would be a cause for fighting, including protecting our females, who may or may not want to go along. That is another story.
            Now what are we to do, since all this does affect us, too.
            Well, I have my own thoughts and beliefs, and I am confident you do, too.
            The sooner we can get to eating common food (usually grains), probably the better, I think.  I suspect in the interim, there will be much human caused friction, which I am both having to accept, and also disgusted with, especially if it means war and fighting and dying, which may happen. After all I even ate chopped cold fish in Sweden, presented Smörgåsbord style.  

At least that's my vote today, though the process result is probably a couple of centuries away.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marine stories from my past
       What set me off was a story about the proposed high tolls to cross a bridge into NYC.
            Well, during my second time in Okinawa, Japan (mid-1980's), a new super highway was constructed, and it was a toll road. The tolls were so high, that we poor Americans generally chose to use the free older and curvier old roads on this rugged terrain island. This idea applied to me at another time in mainland Japan, too. What got my attention, too, was that the speed limit on this super highway was 80 KPH (50 mph), later raised to 85 KPH (roughly 55 mph).
            I also remember the average speed limit was 40 KPH (25 mph). Well most Americans didn't like the slow speed at first, but generally liked it as they got used to it. And I co-owned a car with another guy, at the time.  Well, I swore to myself I would maintain this slowed down speed when I returned to the USA, but reverted within a short time.  I particularly remember later driving on the "wrong" side of the road in an Atlanta post office parking lot, and scaring myself as well as others.
            I was in Okinawa when political control reverted back to the Japanese (circa 1972). Part of that included switching from driving on one side of the road one day, and the other side of the road the next day.  Well it all went pretty well, but then I could not afford a car then, so my USMC driver in a jeep did pretty well when I drove with him.
            From my time in Desert Storm, I figured out I did not want to be a woman in Saudi Arabia. Also the idea that desert is always hot was a misnomer in January. There was ice in my canteen in the morning when I woke up.
            From my time in Turkey, I was taught that one did not get divorced, since the women had few other options than marriage and kids.  Also the draft for Kurds always had them deployed away from their native areas.
            I was there for the liberation of Kuwait City, and liked the experience, except for one time being diverted into a Palestinian neighborhood. I took my pistol out and laid it on my lap, just in case. There were a lot of AK-47s being shot into the air, and what goes up, does come down, and that idea disturbed me, too. I kept my helmet on my head.
            From my time in Jutland, Denmark, I learned that Americans are not always the "ugly American";  there are plenty others from other countries, too. Now I had images of nubile topless girls in the Tivoli in Copenhagen when I learned I was to be deployed to Karup, Denmark.  Well what I found was corn fed farm girls, a GaTech term, by the way, referring to Penn State girls when we played Penn State in football (circa 1966).
            I learned in the Mohave Desert in California how cold it got when the sun went down; even though it was hot under the daylight sun.
            I remember where I lived at Camp Hauge in Okinawa  (circa 1972) I understood we were giving it back to the Japanese, so basic maintenance was not really done.  One obvious impact I remember was poop popping up out of the shower drain, and that was when we scrounged pallets and used shower shoes to shower above the water line. And along that line, the first typhoon I went through was there, and the cables holding down my Quonset hut I sure hoped would hold. In the meantime, the gecko lizards shaking and chirping and falling on my rack would usually keep me awake.
            I remember a Marine who was guilty as heck (he had killed a Korean woman) got hard time credit for living in tent better than what I lived in. I am still peeved about that.
            And last in this post, I remember seeing a kid steal a watch off some American's wrist, and the local constabulary in the Philippines just shot him down, and I was a shaken witness. Well nobody cared, and business and life returned to normal pretty quickly.
            Now I could go on with more personal stories, but choose to stop right now.  And all in all, we have a good deal in the new world USA, or at least I think so, to include learning so. Said another way, we have something worth fighting for, if it comes to that.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The plight of refugees
            One can argue we in the new world USA have little experience with political refugees.  One can also argue we have little experience with refugees fleeing (like crossing national borders) to get away from human misery in their lands. Often it is for their Families as much as themselves.
            By the way, I have often lived in hovels not as good as some of them, so I can be a hard ass, too.
            The recent cross border fights between Jordan and Syria come to mind.  The misery in Zimbabwe is another good example.
            And these people need to eat, too, plus pee and poop, too. Said another way, it is probably of benefit to the receiving area to host these refugees as best they can. Nobody wants criminality or diseases spreading into their neighborhoods.  Hence the dilemma, and maybe even a dose of personal and government aloofness helps, too.
            Now I do think we new world USA types have experience with both nice people, and criminals;  who both cross boundaries to provide their Families hope and a better life than they left behind; or more dastardly things back home for the criminals, like death or incarceration.
            This group is popularly clumped together and called "illegal aliens" in the new world USA, or other more politically correct things these days.
            And here locally in east Tennessee, we have a good share of these type of people, who get my respect for being hard working and Family oriented, and mostly Catholic, by the way. Now a lot of these men do screw around on their wives (not all by the way, but for those that do, it also takes a complicit female, too) , in my opinion. And the Mexicans do dislike the Guatemalans, and vice versa, so some things may have only transferred here from other lands.  And they also do have the scourge of drug addicted people, like almost everywhere in the new world USA, I imagine.
            Yet I remind the readers that we also have a lot of people in the new world USA, here legally, usually born here,  and also of need of help to get ahead for their Families and their sake. Yep, we also have a fair share of lazy people who also live off the government dole, which means to me they live off of the taxes we pay, which are vast.  That idea of helping others is probably what makes the new world USA so great, especially compared to the rest of the world; that is we let government get involved, too, and suffer the abuses, too. Now that is not a bitch against the rest of the world, but more a braggart idea about what the new world can and is doing for refugees.
            And in the same vein, there are many young people who make damn fine Marines, and I personally am proud of them, as well as all other damn fine Marines from all places in this vast country.  Good on the Moms and Dads who made and raised them.
            Yep, we can be a busy place in the new world USA, too. That includes thanking goodness for all we do have, plus maybe even helping others as best we can. Especially if it is to our benefit.

Friday, September 21, 2012

One more story from an email

I am looking at getting a combo wood and coal stove for next door. I do think I know how to heat and cook with coal, if I have to.
For the coal option for this stove, it calls for bituminous/anthracite coal, which I can’t recognize.
The Hemlocks has a coal seam about 1/4 mile away, and it always appeared to be high quality coal to me, but I don’t really know. We also have a low quality coal seam here, locally called “chicken coal”, and the seam I mention is much better than that. Chicken coal is a mixture of coal and clay, at least to me.

There was even a still there at the good seam, which used the coal for fuel, and a nearby sandstone spring for water. The remnants have long since been carried away by others, whom I happen to know, or at least one of them.

Anyway, if interested, I’d be glad to either guide you over there, or even pick some coal to show you at my house.

If interested, please give me a heads up so I can plan ahead for your benefit and time while you are in the area.

Anyway, any guesses/opinions are appreciated.

Clay Williams at the Hemlocks

PS For Bill and Sue, you’re invited too if you know anything about coal.

PPS One of my rooms in the main house has a coal fireplace, which has not been used for decades, but Americans used to warm themselves with it ages ago. It shares the same chimney which has a Mennonite built wood stove (years ago) on the other side. The EPA has since shut the fellow down, I hear. Whether it is the Feds or the State, I do not know.

PPPS When I cleaned out under the main house many years ago, there was a lot of coal, I presume delivered, which I got rid of somewhere.

Wood and coal cooking stoves

Taken from emails to my relatives
Wood and coal cooking stoves
First blush report...good.
What I like (I watched the videos on the thing) is that I can burn coal if I choose. The Hemlocks has a nice coal seam about a quarter of a mile from here, so we already have a source of fuel.
Now I think it takes a oval to circle converter for the flue, and that is another $50 to $70. Also I think it would be smart to get it with the 7 gallon warm water attachment put on at the factory.
Also, I think it requires a 7” flue, and I already have an 8” flue, so that is OK, but I do have to figure out how to connect the two together.
Second blush report
1) Water reservoirs (from a wood cooking stove) need someway to get the hot water out other than a dipper or lifting 7 gallons of warm or hot water. The fancier wood cook stoves have spigots to empty the hot water into some other container. I had already planned on using an enormous turkey fryer aluminum bucket we already have for heating water on the existing wood stoves, or a new wood cook stove, like for baths and cooking and washing purposes. Plus the Hemlocks has two large (like 36 cup) coffee boilers. Presently I also use this large container when I defrost the old time freezer in the pantry (three or four times a year).
2) Most wood cooking wood stoves have a good room and house warming capability due to the fire box, which is good in the winter and not so good in the summer. The Hemlocks already has two thermocouple powered fans to help in that regards.
3) The Hemlocks already has two Coleman Camp Ovens (which I have used) and one Dutch Oven (made in Tennessee by the way), which I have also used. They make bread, too.
4) A better place to locate any wood cooking stove might be in the rec room, which was the original kitchen when the caretakers moved into the cottage after their own cabin burned down in the winter of 68/69. In this case, the home school room might better be in the room Charlotte has stayed in during earlier visits. We could shift furniture to make that happen.
5) The present wood stove insert in the fireplace in the main house should remain as is. It was locally built in Muddy Pond, TN by a Mennonite fellow. The EPA has since shut it down, I hear. Otherwise I should check to see if he builds wood cooking stoves.
6) There are presently two sets of already installed wood stove floor insulation and stove pipe chimneys (8”) in the second cottage.
7) The Hemlocks also already has a Zoom Versa high tech cooking stove, which works pretty good, but should be used outside since there is a traditional carbon monoxide problem when using it. There is already a better two stove version with an exhaust being made (La Mera Mera), but that is probably 6 to 12 months away. Mexico gets first dibs, I guess, even though Putnam County is also pretty primitive, too.
8) As long as the springs run good clean water, which they have for over a century that I know of, then we have plenty of water to heat.
9) Right now the wood stove chimneys are around 18” from the wall (and new within the last five years), which is insulated, but might need more, depending on the new cooking wood stove specifications, should the Hemlocks get one. The present distance has worked pretty well for the existing primitive wood stoves, also.
10) The second cottage has fiberglass insulation in the ceiling, put in decades ago. Keep in mind that cottage has 12 foot ceilings which is the old fashioned way to keep cooler during the warm season. The main house has 10 foot ceilings, and most modern houses have 8 foot ceilings. The house in Franklin had 14 foot ceilings, by the way.
11) Morale is a big deal. Hence being able to bake some kind of bread is a good expectation for many, even if we have to use acorn flour, and lord knows , we have plenty of local acorns and all the tools to make flour from it. I even made “coffee” from the local acorns, and it was pretty good, albeit caffeine free, I think. And a warm bath is also a good expectation that most Marines are not used to.
12) If the Hemlocks pulls one of the primitive wood stoves out to be replaced by a wood cooking stove, then there are some obvious places to deploy it. It won’t go to waste.
13) Also keep in mind any new cooking wood stove should be both wood and coal capable. The Hemlocks has a nifty coal seam about a quarter mile away, and it even heated an old time still many decades ago.
Of course Plan A is still to use TVA public electric power, which is also pretty good.
Third blush report
I am evolving back from a wood cooking stove to just a wood stove. Both make heat with the wood we cut and split and dry.
Fortunately, I can remember how hot it was in the Hemlocks main house kitchen with a wood cooking stove in the summer. It’s use was hot and miserable during the summer. Obviously, the heat is a big deal in the winter, but most Family visits then were in the summer. John Colton may have his memories, too, and I solicit them.
So what follows is just a third blush report, and any thoughts you may have are always of interest to me; plus they may affect you and your Family.
There are already three wood stoves installed at the Hemlocks, one locally Mennonite made wood stove insert in the main house, and two primitive wood stoves in the second cottage. The present primitive stoves usually take up to two get-up and restock the fire times during the night, though with some “tuning” , we might get that down to like one night restocking.
Baked goods are a big deal, like a morale booster, to boot. Plan B is to use the heat from the existing stoves to cook food and warm things otherwise, besides heating the room in the cool and cold seasons.
The Hemlocks already has one Dutch oven, and two Coleman fold out camping ovens, with temp gauges.
I prefer dual use as an objective, like whether things turn to crap or the status quo just goes on, whatever I get should do both. Presently one can cook and heat on all three wood stoves if one has to. Obviously, someone does have to collect, cut, split, and deliver the wood for use.
The Hemlocks does have a nice coal seam within a quarter mile, so dual use (like wood or coal) is of interest to me.
Whether the Hemlocks gets a wood cooking stove or just a wood stove, a better type stove that can burn for up to 12 hours unattended is of interest to me. Said another way, it is both more convenient, and also probably better for morale.
Whatever the Hemlocks may get, I expect to replace one primitive wood stove, which will be used elsewhere, like the barn or the Cliff Field shed.
Home school considerations are important to the Hemlocks if things turn to crap. Like students should be warm, including warmly dressed. Now even we can live like people in New England, and wear long johns when need be.
The present water turbine electric plant “tuning” is going pretty good, so far (like powering my 7.2 cu ft freezer to extend shelf life of foods and seeds). Now the Hemlocks does have a 3/16” water nozzle due in for me to install in the next few days. The present nozzle is 1/8”, and an earlier 1/4” nozzle drained the pond too much in this summer drought time. Bottom line, thank goodness for TVA power for the flexibility for me to “tune” things.
The testing for solar backup to the water plant is also going OK.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Fallacy of Redistribution
The Fallacy of Redistribution

By Thomas Sowell - September 20, 2012

The recently discovered tape on which Barack Obama said back in 1998 that he believes in redistribution is not really news. He said the same thing to Joe the Plumber four years ago. But the surfacing of this tape may serve a useful purpose if it gets people to thinking about what the consequences of redistribution are.
Those who talk glibly about redistribution often act as if people are just inert objects that can be placed here and there, like pieces on a chess board, to carry out some grand design. But if human beings have their own responses to government policies, then we cannot blithely assume that government policies will have the effect intended.
The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty. The communist nations were a classic example, but by no means the only example.
In theory, confiscating the wealth of the more successful people ought to make the rest of the society more prosperous. But when the Soviet Union confiscated the wealth of successful farmers, food became scarce. As many people died of starvation under Stalin in the 1930s as died in Hitler's Holocaust in the 1940s.
How can that be? It is not complicated. You can only confiscate the wealth that exists at a given moment. You cannot confiscate future wealth -- and that future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated. Farmers in the Soviet Union cut back on how much time and effort they invested in growing their crops, when they realized that the government was going to take a big part of the harvest. They slaughtered and ate young farm animals that they would normally keep tending and feeding while raising them to maturity.
People in industry are not inert objects either. Moreover, unlike farmers, industrialists are not tied to the land in a particular country.
Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky could take his expertise to America and produce his planes and helicopters thousands of miles away from his native land. Financiers are even less tied down, especially today, when vast sums of money can be dispatched electronically to any part of the world.
If confiscatory policies can produce counterproductive repercussions in a dictatorship, they are even harder to carry out in a democracy. A dictatorship can suddenly swoop down and grab whatever it wants. But a democracy must first have public discussions and debates. Those who are targeted for confiscation can see the handwriting on the wall, and act accordingly.
Among the most valuable assets in any nation are the knowledge, skills and productive experience that economists call "human capital." When successful people with much human capital leave the country, either voluntarily or because of hostile governments or hostile mobs whipped up by demagogues exploiting envy, lasting damage can be done to the economy they leave behind.
Fidel Castro's confiscatory policies drove successful Cubans to flee to Florida, often leaving much of their physical wealth behind. But poverty-stricken refugees rose to prosperity again in Florida, while the wealth they left behind in Cuba did not prevent the people there from being poverty stricken under Castro. The lasting wealth the refugees took with them was their human capital.
We have all heard the old saying that giving a man a fish feeds him only for a day, while teaching him to fish feeds him for a lifetime. Redistributionists give him a fish and leave him dependent on the government for more fish in the future.
If the redistributionists were serious, what they would want to distribute is the ability to fish, or to be productive in other ways. Knowledge is one of the few things that can be distributed to people without reducing the amount held by others.
That would better serve the interests of the poor, but it would not serve the interests of politicians who want to exercise power, and to get the votes of people who are dependent on them.
Barack Obama can endlessly proclaim his slogan of "Forward," but what he is proposing is going backwards to policies that have failed repeatedly in countries around the world.
Yet, to many people who cannot be bothered to stop and think, redistribution sounds good.

Copyright 2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.