Daily Archives: October 6, 2011

Independence from Dead Batteries

So, call me a hypocrite.  These are made in China.   The top flashlight and radio were purchased in 2006 and the light’s been used frequently since then, including last night.

The crank side


Here’s how those came into my life:
Friday, September 22, 2006 Placitas, New Mexico
Today I was finishing up battening down the hatches on the old adobe for winter. The last week or so it’s been into the low 40s a couple of times, nights, so I’ve been pecking away at putting up plastic over the insides of most of the windows to cut down on the amount of wind blowing through the house. I came across some car-covers free a while back when the lady was wrapping up at the flea market and was going to haul them to the dump because they didn’t sell.
I’m cutting up those to staple over the plastic in hopes it will provide insulation. Last year it got cold enough in here to impress me with my pansyish non-pioneer spirit, even with Mexican blankets hung over all the windows and the front door on the inside.
Anyway, I ran spang out of staples and plastic, mid-job, so I toodled down to Rio Rancho Home Depot to buy more. The clerk asked me in passing, “Does it look like snow out there to you?”
I’d been asking myself the same question almost from daybreak onward. “Pretty early for it. Almost never get snow before the first of October. But it’s happened.”
Clerk laughed, handed me my bag, and I headed back through Bernalillo toward the mountains.
As I passed the Dollar General I was reminded I was running short of tortillas and a couple of other incidentals, so I swung in. I always take a look at their half-price clearance items, which are dirt-cheap and sometimes something a man could use.
There on the half-price clearance table was a plastic package with a hand-crank flashlight and a handcrank AM/FM Weather radio. $12 regular price. Hmmm.
Some little voice in my mind says, “Jules, old man, batteries are dead on your flashlight, and likely are dead on your radio. You need to buy that $6 package of flashlight and battery just in case the power goes out for a few days.”
So I put it in the plastic box hanging off my arm, picked up a few extra cans of canned fruit and fruit c*cktail, and headed for the checkout. Clerk knows me by sight and we’re amiable.
“You think it looks like snow out there?”
“You been talking to the guy down at Home Depot?”
Blank look.
“Guy down there just said the same thing. I think you might be right. That’s the reason I’ve picked that half-price radio and flashlight off your clearance table.”
Another blank look, then he squints at the plastic thingie with all that in it. “Was this on the clearance table?”
He calls the manager over. “Is this half price?”
“No. The half-price stuff was all the summer stock… barbeque things and that.”
I scowl. “Okay. I’m not paying $12 for it. Don’t ring it up.”
“You’ll buy it for $6?” She grins at me. We clown around some when I’m in there.
“Five and a half.”
“Sold. Ring it up.”
Sooooo. I ended up with a hand-crank charging flashlight and radio.
The hosses are getting thick coats of hair. I’m thinking it’s going to be an early, bull-goose of a winter.
Mainly the radio and flashlight thing. I confess I haven’t gotten a good look at what the hosses are doing, hair-wise.
Edited in:
As I re-read this entry I noticed the censor had edited out the nasty part of the word c*cktail. So here I was claiming I’d bought some fruit tail, which I might if I ever come across any, but this wasn’t the day for it. That old censor’s always catching me out when I try to use that nasty word, full-c*cked pistol, c*ck fights, and now fruit c*cktail. Lucky thing for me that old censor’s on the job. Otherwise I’d be saying just awful stuff.

2011 observation regarding automatic censoring out of nasty language: Me, I’m sorry that’s gone away.  Having a computer perform the job of straight-man instead of having to wait for some commenting reader to do the job’s a lot more 21st Centuryish.  I’m old fashioned that way.

Turned out I was so impressed with that flashlight I included it here:   SECTION 10: SURVIVAL AND EMERGENCY SUPPLIES and if I were writing the book again I’d say a lot more about it, including what’s in this post.  I have a lot more experience with these now than I did when I wrote the book.

2011, I still use the flashlight frequently and it still does a good job at what it’s supposed to do.  The radio was up on a shelf until I began writing this, hadn’t been turned on in a couple of years, dust covering it.  I cleaned it up, cranked it for a minute, turned it on and picked up several stations immediately.  These things are ‘way too good to be made in China.


Here are some others I’ve picked up over the years.  They’re good too.

Old Jules

The Home-Built Bedini Monopole Energizer

A number of you readers are experimenting with alternative energy sources.  I don’t have one of these assembled yet, though I’m gradually accumulating the pieces. 


The group is composed of a lot of back-yard experimenters who are putting them together and testing, altering, testing, etc.  The group site has hundreds of helpful pictures of the work members are doing and how they’re doing it, what results they’re getting.

I’m not saying it will work, but the people working on them are continuing with it and expending a lot of energy communicating what they’re doing.  Evidently they’re devoted because what they’re seeing is sufficient to convince them it’s worth the effort.

I’m thinking a couple of you I’m aware of who read here might be interested in going over there for a looksee.