I love winter in Florida

This time of year in Florida is great for getting things done outside or, at least, in the garage. It also has been comfortable, finally, for driving to work in a car without air conditioning. I find it ironic that I should have the new bumper welded up for the AC condensor soon and the whole air conditioning system working by somewhere in February. Just when I need it. At least when I flip the on switch for that first hot day in May, it should get good and frosty. I’ve gotten quite a bit done in the past month and a half. There were a few maintenence tasks around the house. The bumper took a bit of my time, I am growing to like the Mad Max style. It will soon be painted black so as to look at least a little bit less out of place. Sparky is not in bad shape for a vehicle that has 113k miles on the chassis, but I did have to replace the front rotors, calipers and brake pads this month. It stops a lot better now! I was also driving around without power brakes for a while because of a leak in the vacuum pump system. I pulled out the reservoir today and apparently that’s where the leak was. It stops even better now! The cool thing was that I drove to my brother-in-law’s house today. 41 miles one way. I had gone 58 miles on one charge before, but not in one trip and not mostly on the highway. I checked the charge of several cells and even the weakest were doing just fine. That is the longest trip I will have to make around here and I have no fear that I can make it without a problem. It also means that I should have no difficulty making the 50 mile roundtrip from work even if I am unable to plug in there. There has also been talk between one of the physical plant managers and the administration at work about placing an official charging station in the parking lot. They realize that there will only be more EV and PHEV drivers with time and that the issue of us all vying to plug in to a single standard 110 outlet is only going to get more complicated as time goes on. I’ve offered to submit a list of vendors and make a proposal for dealing with financial issues ie. cost of the charger, cost of electricity, access etc. I and one of my colleagues have even offered to pay for the ititial outlay. Hopefully we will hear back soon. A level II charger would be much nicer that a 110 outlet.
For now the emphasis is on upgrades to Sparky, but when that is done, real work on the garden and greenhouse will begin. Also on the subject of food production, the grapefruit trees are producing poorly this year, about a third of last year. Hard to say why. I think there is just a rhythm to it and this is a down year. The lemon tree however, continues to produce more each year.
Otherwise, things are maintaining. The last electric bill was $43. Not bad, including some air conditioning and car charging. Still hoping for net zero sometime in the coming months. We’re coming into the dry season now, so we’ll see how the rain catchment system really works. I’m still working at accumulating parts for the Lotus. An unrelated project nearing completion is a DNA shaped welded stainless chain-link mailbox post. There is nothing sustainable about it other than it should last a LONG time. It is just a neat looking piece of fabrication. Geek note: it will have structurally accurate welded stick figure base pairs in it.
One last note, I have been watching Doomsday Preppers lately. Like many people, I think that most of them are a little crazy. Unlike most people I don’t believe that they are ridiculously paranoid, I just think that their logic is a bit off. There will not be swarms of killer F5 tornadoes that destroy the entire country. It is a bad idea to try to escape from a tsunami by driving to an intracoastal waterway and putting everything you have into inflatable rafts and trying to row to safety at 1.2 mph. There is no small ammount of irony in trying to teach your kids how to handle a gun by blowing off a chunk of your thumb. The reason that I like the show is that there are some nuggets of useful information in amoungst the wackos fondling their assault rifle collections for the camera. There are people doing intensive agriculture growing large ammounts of food in small areas, people building structures out of recycled materials and finding creative ways to use and reuse water. There are people establishing seed banks. These things, I am all for. It is important to remember once again, that knowledge and good ideas can come from anywhere, even “reality” TV.
Happy and healthy new year to all,

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