Sunday, November 27, 2011

The great Well Debacle of 2011 - SOLVED!

The pressure that our naturally occurring artesian well has maintained for the 13 years since its inception changed about a month ago. The result was that despite the mighty draw of the existing Gould J-Plus 5s pump, the water volume that it was able to lift from the wellhead into the garage where it and the pressure tank sit was insufficient for it to drive the pressure of the water system in the house up above 50 psi, the cutoff on the pressure switch.
It took a week of FREAKING OUT for me to eliminate several possible causes, and two (TWO!) previously unknown pressure leaks in the system before concluding that the pump was worn and needed to be rebuilt/replaced. This turned out not to be the cause, BUT, in a fortuitous twist, ended up aiding in the solution. A replacement J-Plus 5s was acquired, and while being installed, a number of oddities in the plumbing system were also resolved.
Here is the bad boy in all his glory. Too bad that despite being brand new, the pump was still running right at the limit of its pulling/pushing capacity - 22lbs of vacuum. I was able to determine this after installing a vacuum gauge on the 1/4" fill hole on the top of the pump. These can be bought from Granger for ~$10 and are complete life savers, as they tell you what is going on inside your pump.
After installing it in the garage, I was forced to call no joy on the fix, as the new pump was also unable to pull the weight of water that it required from the well head at the bottom of the lot. Jet pumps are cool in what they do, but they are limited to 25' of vertical lift, and I am sure that the vertical between  the wellhead to the pump location is right on that line. To solve the issue, I took the old pump (which apparently was not too worn) and installed it at the wellhead. I wired it in to the pressure switch on the pump at the top of the hill so that they turn on/off simultaneously. The result was fantastic. Instead of pulling 22lbs of vacuum, the pump up top barely registers any vacuum on the gauge.

Back to brewing!

After weekends filled with wood and the "well debacle", I took the opportunity on Thanksgiving Day to brew up a batch of Scotch Ale. The goal was 5gal of 1.090. We had to head up to the neighbors for dinner, so I ended up with 6gal at 1.072. I think it'll be OK.
The Boil in full effect.

Happy doodle brew-buddy in the sunshine!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Car traded for Ska Beer!!

Despite the coolant blowing everywhere when I rolled in to the parking lot at Ska, the buyer was still game, and agreed to the sale. The terms are below. Believe me when I say that the signed document will be framed and hung with honor in the garage.

Got Wood, pt 4 - the Finale.

Firewood came in late this year. Things to deal with prevented me from getting after it, then my saw broke. It's still broke after two weeks because the guys at Ted's Grand Rental Station apparently can't fix a 2-cycle engine. Take my advice and have your Husquavarna serviced elsewhere. Their repair tech works bankers hours and they never call to update. Not real keen on Ted's right now.
I was able to borrow Corbet's saw and took care of the slicing and dicing last Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, I was lucky to have the help of the Schmig, and a 28-ton splitter that I picked up from Southwest Ag out in Gem Village. They service Husky's and had I known that I might never see my saw again after bringing it to Ted's, I would have brought it there.

It took most of the day, but were all set for winter now.

The final pieces. We celebrated by watching the Vikes game. Erica cooked up a feast, and the hapless Vikes got schooled by the Pack on Monday night football. Stupid Vikes.

Doodle gets a haircut and a fancy new coat!

Our newly trimmed doodle was lucky to have Erica make a fine coat to keep him warm until his fur grows out. He seems to like it, and was able to take it off once when it got too warm in the afternoon. What a lucky doodle.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ford Focus - Will trade for Ska Beer!

I have had it with the car. I should have been strong and cut the ties to it years ago, but I relented. When the car stopped on the side of the road again a couple of weeks ago, (on the same day the well pump broke and just after I gave away all our money to pay an old bill), I was done. Rather than pay to have the thing hauled away, I listed it on Craigslist and offered to trade it for Ska Beer. The posting is copied below. At this point, it looks like I have a potential deal to trade it straight up for three 1/2 Bbl's!

--Begin Craigslist Post --

2001 Ford Focus Wagon - $1000 (Durango)

Date: 2011-11-10, 10:42AM MST

2001 Ford Focus Wagon for sale - $1000 as is OR TRADE FOR SKA BEER!!

150k miles. PS/PW/Auto, FM/CD, Tint.

New Tranny, Fuel Pump, Tires, Battery - needs alternator. Had alternator replaced recently, but it doesn't seem to be charging. Work was done locally at McNeal's and part may be under warranty. I don't want to deal with it and would like to get car out of my driveway to make room for my other vehicles. I would help by calling the mechanic to determine if part can be replaced cheap/free. Car is in decent shape inside and out.

Please email if interested, or if you want to trade for Ska beer.

**UPDATE 11.11.2011** Ok - I have an offer in to trade the car for three 15.5gal kegs of Ska Beer. I am meeting the prospective buyer Saturday morning to work the deal. If he backs out, I'll update here***

Location: Durango

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Proof: Good tech is timeless

Check this out - apparently this "Drug Trebuchet" was seized across the border from Douglas, AZ. It had been used to launch bundles of weed over the fence into the USA. The seizure of a modern implementation of a device that dates back at least a thousand years made me laugh. I take it as proof that sound design and good engineering are timeless.