Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Listen To Animal Warnings

The day before I killed that thirty foot rattler in the backyard I was actually warned that it was there but failed to listen.

I was standing in the kitchen making some rice when I heard this chipmunk chirping in distress. It is a very distinct sound and one I have heard many times as it is the same chirp they make when they fall in the hot tub and can’t get out. We have lost many chipmunks in the hot tub.

I could see the distressed animal it was in an old cedar tree about twenty five feet from the back door on the other side of the dog fence. The chipmunk was standing on a branch about seven feet off the ground looking straight down chirping with a vengeance. With every chirp the tail moves up and down.

There was quite a bit of sage and dead brush under the cedar so I couldn’t see what the chipmunk was noisily looking at. I walked out back to the fence and told the small critter to shut up maybe eight feet from the thing. It didn’t even look at me just kept right on chirping.

I then pitched a couple of rocks into the brush thinking it might be a stray cat and after nothing ran out told the animal to shut up again and went back inside. The chipmunk continued to bark at the invader for a couple hours then mysteriously stopped.

The next day I found out what that poor chipmunk was so scared of.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cheap Solar Lantern

I am up and down several times a night dealing with the dogs and my own small bladder. There is nothing that irritates me more than stepping on a half eaten dog bone or worse kicking a dog in the middle of the night. I wanted a night light that would give plenty of illumination and not draw from the battery bank.

I picked up a bunch of cheap LED rechargeable garden lights at walmart for four dollars each. Then took a water jug, cut the top out and filled it about halfway up with dirt. Stick seven of the lights down into the dirt and poof you have a cheap rechargeable solar lantern.

A solid day worth of charging will give a few nights worth of light just remember to set it out in the sun every day or so. When I get up to make coffee I put the lanterns on the deck to charge for the day. One of Axel's chores is to monitor the charging process. He does the job well.

In the winter just set the buckets in a south facing window. One of the kitchen windows and the sun room are both south facing. You will get plenty of sunshine to keep the lights charged without worrying about moving the buckets outside during the day.

This lantern actually puts out enough light to read by. The handle in the water jug makes the lantern easy to move and you can break the lights apart and place them where needed. Unlike fancy store bought solar lanterns which will only work for six or so hours this lantern will stay lite for at least two full nights on one charge.