Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proof !!

SciFi writer Larry Niven, in his younger days, proliferated "Finagle's Law", which is basically Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong, will.) re-written for geeks.

My recollection is "The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum."

I can now add a corollary (that is, in addition to the one I've already added; Greenpa's Law: "Everything can go wrong. Just wait.")

Right now I'm spending a lot of time mowing grass. This is in preparation for our harvest- it's really hard to pick stuff off of bushes when the quackgrass and thistles are taller than the bushes; and it's also great cover for rodents down there. You gotta get rid of the grass. So I mow.

The guineas, you understand, are part of our long-term plan for the grass. A) they eat some. and B) they are phenomenal "watch" animals. If we wind up with sheep, or calves- the guineas should be all over, and will alert the dogs to any intruders. Theoretically.

Anyway. Partly I mow up on the John Deere, using a following flail. And, I mow using the Grillo walking tractor, with the Ferrari sickle bar; 7.5 hp Yanmar diesel, and the best sickle bar ever made. I'm in love. But you still gotta walk; for miles, holding on to a jerking, vibrating noisemaker.

So, it's, like- THIRSTY work. For reasons probably connected with Finagles Law, my JD 70 hp 4WD utility tractor (open, no cab) has NOWHERE to put or hang a water container. Apart from improvised places, which always result in tearing off a signal light on a tree branch, or the metal water container being dropped into the mower. So- no water. Likewise, the Grillo is a water-free zone; you just don't want to be carrying a canteen; it'll beat you to death, and a "camel" pack is a hilarious idea- you'll sweat out twice the water you can carry because it cuts off air circulation on your back, completely.


Having done this a time or two, of course you can plan for work loops that end up somewhere where you can get water. Obviously.

One of them is our 80 year old Aermotor windmill, which pumps all the water for the Little House. When the wind is blowing, of course. But I do usually try to avoid mowing on windless days (which we have plenty of in summer) - because I'll sweat and die.

So- today the wind is blowing, VERY steady; 12 mph from the NNW. A good clear direction; pumps water great.

I get off the tractor, cool it down, turn it off; pull out my earplugs; and walk to the windmill, which is pumping just as steady as can be.

I bend down, pick up the hose from it- and...

The wind dies.

This is ABSOLUTELY reliable. I've been keeping track; for 25 years (we didn't have the windmill for the first 5).

No kidding. In 25 years, here are the data.

No. of times I've taken a drink directly from the pumping mill (or tried to): 264.
No. of times the wind has died when I picked up the hose: 248.
No. of times the wind quit completely, and I gave up: 197.

Fool that I am; today the wind was so steady, I thought I could sneak in a drink.

Nope. Gave up.

Here is the new corollary to Finagle's Law:

The Aermotor Corollary:

If you really need a drink from your windmill, the wind WILL die immediately, and water pumping will cease for as long as you wait for it to restart.

Those are hard data folks.

Somebody IS out to get us.


knutty knitter said...

Nothing like a bit of Murphy's Law :) We always said that the amount of cloud cover was dependent on the importance of the event (astronomer at one time) and the distance covered to get to the site.

There was a really good annular eclipse some time back and all that happened was that the gloom got a little gloomier and then a little less gloomy except at our meeting point where gloom turned into a desire to hit the nearest bar :)

viv in nz

Hoping you don't shrivel up and blow away.

TDP said...

Maybe you should get a camelback - one of those water delivery systems that you strap on your back like a backpack. It has a one or two quart water container and a long hose/straw that extends out, up over your shoulder and to your mouth. Hikers here use them. Makes their backs wet from the condensation, but they sure like being hands free and having lots of liquid at their disposal. Keeps their THIRST controlled. ; )

Lynette said...

Would leave a comment but I can't stop laughing, thanks!

Anonymous said...

We have a micro-backpack suitable for carrying a camelback-type straw canteen, but that is built in a cantilevered fashion to keep the pack away from the body. The portion that sits against the back is a breathable mesh, including the straps, and the pack is held a couple inches away from the body with struts. I think it was originally designed for mountain biking (we got it at REI). On days with some breeze, it makes a huge difference in how hot the pack feels against the body. My spouse has used it for mowing our yard, as well as hiking, scything, and lots of other hot outdoor activities.

Hank Roberts said...

When I was hand-weeding a geneticist's cornfield for my summer job, I always took two big water bottles with me and left one at each end of the field. Weed a row, take a drink, move the bottle over, start the next row.

That's where the current super-sweet corn varieties came from -- we'd take home corn, each ear with a string-and-cardboard label attached, eat'em and rate'em and report back on various criteria, as would all the other biology faculty families and neighbors.

Recommend: 2 big bottles in thick canvas/cotton covers; soak the covers so you get some evaporative cooling. Get off the tractor each time and stretch your legs ....

bradley said...

Have you written a post about your windmill? I'm curious. I'm dependent upon the grid to power my pumps. I'd sure like something else that was simple and reliable.

I've looked at the aermotor website, but I'd sure appreciate your comments.

Thanks for your time.

Hombre said...

Greenpa -

Your 30 year experience is an inspiration to some of us who are taking small steps in that direction. I grew up in circumstances much more like yours are now, but of course "progressed" into a more leisurely world with time.

I wonder about your latitude, soil type, and average rainfall.

Appreciate your comments on TAE, etc.

WILDBLUESbysus said...

And yet you didn't just sweat and die...

RC said...

Can't make a little reservoir or something near the mill hose on days you are trying to sneak up on it? Oh,
I forgot, unless you are actually about to drink, the rest of the time there is some other emergency or distraction that makes you attend to that and thus you never think of the catchment attachment. These things happen to me all the time too. Now, where was I?

Jami said...

And up till now I was convinced there was NO purpose for those goofy beer can hats you see at ball games! You'll just have to set two very large bottles of water in the holders and try to balance about 3 pounds of water on your head while whacking all the weeds.
I've said it before and it bears saying again - dang, I'm good! Green Pa's thirst problem solved... next stop, world peace!

Unknown said...

I have a bit of an off topic question.

Do you know of any definitive studies concerning the safety of dry cured pork products? Specifically, can or cannot encysted parasites survive a good, suitably salty cure?


Greenpa said...

Bradly; I know I've written about the windmill some here; try the search function; not a coherent post, though.

Garth: you got me wondering; didn't know the answer right off, though the huge popularity of prosciutto and jamon Iberico makes me think it's probably not a problem..

Googled; "trichinosis & dry curing"; got this:

Susan Och said...

I drove behind a contraption on a truck trailer yesterday, got close enough to see that it was an old Aeromoter in two pieces. I followed until it turned down a short dead end road near here. Thanks for reminding me to keep an eye out for the erection.

Greenpa said...

Susan- ummm. What was that again??



I've always called it "Robyn's law" (named after me, of course). Some days nothing can go wrong, I am on cloud nine. But on the days where "Robyn's law" is in effect, nothing can go right. It seems like I even stub my toe on the way to the bathroom. It is maddening. I don't know if it is real or if it is just a case of me having a bad day and *looking* for things to go wrong. I believe that the energy we put out can definitely have an affect on things.

Anonymous said...

another blog with guineas:

Eric the Red said...

Totally off-topic, but interesting nonetheless:

Weaseldog said...

I have 'Weaseldog Law' that I came to develop by watching relatives.

"Nothing is ever so bad, that it can't get worse."

Brad K. said...

I like RC's idea - in summer, run all water from the windmill through a 1 gallon reservoir - small, simple, adequate to tap for a good, long drink.