Creighton Samuels

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since Apr 14, 2013
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Recent posts by Creighton Samuels

r ranson wrote:I've noticed that a lot of people who wear cloaks regularly, after a few years, they start wearing the closure to one side so that the front slit is about at the armpit of their dominant arm.

Yes, that's exactly how we'd wear the "watch cloak" mentioned prior; with the button to the right so you could hold onto your weapon well enough to at least look like you were doing your job.  Your right arm would be cold to the shoulder, but that's better than all of you being cold.
1 week ago

r ranson wrote:Are Cloaks, and their baby cousins, capes, practical on the homestead?  Are they fashionable enough yet to wear in town?  

What's your experience wearing a cloak (or cape)?    (both good and bad)

I actually have quite a bit of experience with variations on "cloaks", both for myself and for my children.

When I was in the US Marine Corps, there was a thing that some of us would do with our woolen blankets (in cold deployments, not in the deserts; I was in a 'cold weather' unit) that we called a "Watch Cloak" wherein we'd take the basic wool blanket and add one of those huge spare buttons found on the trenchcoat.  We'd just sew it on and button it around the neck, so we'd have an extra layer during "firewatch".  It definitely wasn't part of the uniform, but it looked the part and worked well enough that no one really screwed with us.  And a year or so ago, I bought a pair of surplus wool blankets and made them into watch-cloaks for my sons.

And that's exactly how a cloak works best, as a extra outer layer while traveling with your blanket.  If you don't need to carry around your blanket, because you're going to be sleeping in the same bed, a cloak does not make a better coat than one with sleeves; but a cloak sure makes for a better blanket than a coat does.  On the other hand, a wool blanket and a large button does make a cheap outer layer, since you don't have to pay for the material or labor to make sleeves.  So if you only have a light jacket, adding a cloak as an over-layer works well for colder weather.  But if you live in a climate that demands a proper winter coat, a cloak isn't really going to cut it anyway.

And some years ago I commissioned a winter cloak, in pink, for my youngest daughter; and I made sure that it included a layer of thinsulate.  It was every bit as effective as a winter coat for a toddler, and even with the hood, made a pretty good blanket for naps away from the house.  And it grew with her pretty well; since it didn't have sleeves, it moved from being a knee high cloak at 4 to a waist high cloak at 7 before she was truly too big for it.  Then she gave it away.  The downside for a child has to do with strapping into a car seat while wearing it, as the cloak must come off.  They're not great with regular seatbelts with a shoulder strap either.  
1 week ago
The timing of this offer is perfect, I opened up my last box in order to give away another book yesterday. I realized that I had 3 books remaining but the one on top had been damaged by rodents.  So after giving away a good copy yesterday, I only have one good copy left (excluding my signed copy, which I haven't seen in a long while anyway)
1 month ago

Jt Lamb wrote:

While aware of the intra-coastal, and numerous sites dedicated to traveling this thing from TX to the Great Lakes, I was not aware of the "marine highway" ... Thanks!

You should look up the Great Loop, it's on my bucket list...
1 month ago

Jt Lamb wrote:but am working on finding a spot of land near a beach or a canal, with the hope of building/launching a sea-faring boat one day.

Onward to Q 2.0 ...

Don't limit yourself to these locations, as they are both very expensive choices, and not the only forms of waterfront property with greater water access.  Take a look at a marine highway map...

Practically anywhere along that network, plus the smaller rivers and bays that connect to it (for shoal draft boats especially, less than 2 feet to the bottom, as Quidnon was supposed to be) are much more affordable properties. I'm actually looking at valley-bottom (flood plain) land in Kentucky directly on the Kentucky River, north of Lexington; because the locks on this river are still in operation (up to lock #4) and a boat the size of Quidnon could travel from Lock #4 in Lexington, north to the Ohio River, east to the Mississippi River, and south to the Gulf of Mexico; without any special infrastructure.

In short, it's neither landlocked (too big to put on a trailer) nor waterlocked.
1 month ago
This post made me smile....

Jt Lamb wrote:Ahh ... a Tiny Home on ... Hulls (THoH)!

Sorry to dredge up this thread, but after seeing this oldie, got to wondering what it would take (cost & effort) to up and move to some place like Árainn Mhór, Ireland. I'd do it if the kids were grown, the wife gone (having left me after reading this post), and I just wanted to get even more mobile (living on a boat).

Living on a boat is one of the classic lifestyle hacks, but it works better the more time you can spend *away* from a marina or dock.  I was very interested in an open source-ish boat project by Dmitri Orlov called "Quidnon", but he fled to Russia about 3 years ago and doesn't need the boat project anymore.

Which is a pity that the project wasn't taken over by anyone else, because it would have been ideal for the salt-life lifestyle.  The legacy website is still very useful for the detailed discussions on the particular needs of living on the water long term and all-seasons.

The one in the picture seems available, and I've worked with worse piles of rust.

I think you'd be better off starting over.

Overall, it seems that one would need to:

1. learn Irish (Gaeilge, or Irish Gaelic ... any others?), lest I can't gain entrance to pubs ...

I'm pretty sure that you'd get along fine with English.

2. investigate some form of dual-citizenship ... some effort, possibly money, to sort this out ... in case they kick me back out
3. buy/build a boat (house boat, or THoH) of some kind ... no immediate land, building code issues ... have to get used to the "tilt" of the boat in the pic
4. off-grid stuff (solar, etc.), coal-burner, solar distiller

Um, a coal burner? On a boat? Why?  If it's for cabin heat, a small woodstove would be better, because you can pick up more fuel in many places.  Yes, they do make tiny woodstove for boats.

5. fish off the boat for food, greenhouse (window) for the rest ...

The bilge area just calls out for use of all that wasted space ... separate worm bins for various composting.

Interesting idea, but you'd have to be certain saltwater can't get into the bins.  Also, the bilge isn't usually unused space in a live-in boat.  It's often storage space for canned goods.

The deck area calls out for permaculture ... garden boxes, keyhole shapes at the bow ...

The masts would support nice tarp roofing and nifty shapes ...

Excellent for catching sky-water too.

1 month ago

Mike Haasl wrote:I did hear of somebody who ran a Lister 24/7.  Then it stays warm for the veggie oil, generates heat for any cogen needs nearby and is pretty fuel efficient when idling.  Not great efficiency but good.  Not sure about the emissions but if it's veggie emissions, they're probably a bit healthier for the neighborhood.

The veggie oil might need an electric heating band around the fuel line, or just a heat trace cable intended for water lines under a mobile home; but probably not even that once it's up to running temps if you keep it in an otherwise heated space.  The Lister CS 6/1 was, explicitly, designed as a ranch "lightplant" to be run off of practically whatever oil could be sourced in the early years of last century.  If you were trying to start it on straight veggie oil in the summertime, with ambient temps above 80 degrees F, starting wouldn't be particularly difficult.  The hard part is starting when everything from the engine steel to the fuel is close to freezing, but even then there are backup methods.*  The advantage that the Lister CS has is that it runs *very* slowly as compared to any modern engine, which gives the burning oil more time to burn completely before the piston is yanked away.  It's typically governed to run at 650 rpm; but as low as 450 and as high as 800rpm.  (remember, mechanical wear is an exponential function, so the slower you go the longer it runs without problems)

And I can say with personal experience that running a diesel engine off of used veggie oil will make you hungry, because the exhaust smells exactly like fresh french fries.

*Use a propane torch to pre-heat the fuel line and top of the engine block (this works better if your engine has a "heat bulb", a part for which is intended to be preheated with just such a propane torch) - or (if using an open water hopper as a cooling system) pour a pot of boiling water into the cooling hopper just before starting.
3 months ago

Mike Haasl wrote:

Jim Webb wrote:Batteries: I'd avoid lithium batteries, not least because of fire risks.

Jim, this is a bit surprising to me.  I know phones or small batteries sometimes burst into flames but I thought the bigger packs, especially ones that aren't DIY, were safe.

When it comes to high-energy technologies, "safe" is always a relative notion.  Lithium is both toxic and highly flammable, but so is gasoline.  Everything has it's downside.
3 months ago
About 10 or 12 years ago, I was still living in a typical urban house with a garage, and was interested in going "off-grid" within the city.  I didn't have the resources then that I do now, but I stumbed upon the website which led me down a rabbit hole ending in me ordering a set of parts to build an Indian made Lister CS 6/1 diesel engine.  I built a base for it using 1/2" thick steel plate on 4"x4" lumber, then proceeded to build the engine per the instructions.  Entirely from parts.

It took me all summer, and was great fun.  In the end, I finished it, started it up to a running idle for about 10 minutes, and shut it off.  I never did order the generator head to complete that project, and ended up selling it on Craigslist to a guy from Indiana.  Along with a full tote of filtered veggie fry oil I was collecting from a couple local bars for a while.

I made a small profit off the sale of the engine, but I sold it mostly because my wife wanted it out of the garage.  I've recently been thinking about redoing that project, this time to completion, as a co=gen project at my house on 14 acres.  The not-small 6 horsepower (max) engine is water cooled, and can be used with a few water lines under the floors for additional winter heat.  

This time, I might use a Raspberry Pi Zero as a smart-governor; have it idle at 450 rpms when there's not much demand for AC power.  Maybe use an efficient DC alternator (from an RV, perhaps) instead of an AC generator head, so that I can integrate a solar array some day.

Hmmm.  My wife's going to be mad....
3 months ago

Anne Miller wrote:It seems so far I can talk to whoever I call.

The free phone was given to me only because of the 5G and is a Singular Flip IV.

It is comparable to the $39.99 phones that I can buy at Radio Shack.

Okay, yeah; that's a crap phone.
3 months ago