My new hurricane guide is up as a permeant fixture of the blog. Hopefully we don’t need any of the advice that is contained within it for years to come, but eventually we will. Thanks to the friends and family that offered advice and feedback on the guide.
Irma came and went and we are alive and well. The battery box performed admirably, but didn’t provide enough cooling. 80+ degree days and nights with very high humidity meant we lost the fridge faster than I had hoped, and sleeping was very dreadful at best. In the end we broke down and now own a generator and window shaker.
As always you learn a lot from these experiences. I am no hurricane expert, but have gathered enough knowledge that I think a guide is in order. For the leathered 3rd generation native Floridian, and the newcomer to our wondrous state. Expect a guide to be posted in the coming weeks.
Until then my only projects this month have involved getting myself and others ready for the hurricane, and cleaning up afterwards. Here is the pile of yard debris I have collected from the storm. I still need to trim the palm tree on the left, and there is a lot of oak trimming that could go on near my shed.
We had quite a storm pass through here recently. Matthew was the highest wind hurricane I had ever dealt with, though not the biggest or most destructive. Still, I am a home owner this time, so I have a lot of skin in the game. The shutters went up, the yard was cleared, the bees were hunkered down, and we got out of dodge.
The base is quite heavy due to the paver and amount of wood. I threw another paver on top and strapped around everything so the total pile was tied together was over 100 pounds.
We evacuated to stay with friends, and came back to a yard that was a mess, but happy looking bees, and an in tact house.
My fence repair from a few weeks back was perfectly timed. No pickets were lost and the fence is still standing. There is a new lean though. Posts near the ones I repaired appear to be broken now.
Instead of removing any of the posts like I did last time, I just put new ones in next to the old ones. It doesn’t looks as good and is a bit lazy, but was a ton less work.
I might be able to work those old posts off at some point, but for now they were too well connected to the horizontal portions of the fence. While I was at it I replaced some of the gate hardware that was in bad shape, added more connecting straps, and some anti-sag cables. The cables were past due, the two doors have rhombused a bit and rub at the tops when trying to close. Oh well, it ought to buy me another few years.
Living in the land of sunshine can have its downsides. One is the summers here. It is still super hot here, though I think we are done with the 90+ degree days for the year. The other issue is hurricanes. I had a loose setup of batteries on an ups to provide 12V power for charging phones and whatnot. It was kind of a mess and the batteries were pretty well shot. Our most recent hurricane scare pushed me into action.
I wanted something more compact and organized with greater capability than my first setup had. I am making two boxes to use as general sturdy hurricane supply storage. A third box will house a deep cycle battery and have some tricks up its sleeve. Everything is made out of either 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood. These all got assembled and painted at the same time I was building my bee cabinet.
Once the painting was complete I started assembling the battery box. First I used cleats to kind of clamp in the battery a bit. It can still move vertically, but I don’t ever plan on flipping the box over. The charger goes in the back, with its cord coming out the side of the box. A divider keeps most things away from the battery and allows for some storage space. Next came a terminal block screwed to the roof, and a switchable panel voltage meter. This will let me monitor the voltage during charging and operation. Next came some 12V car power sockets so I can plug in all my accessories when I need them. Finally I stuck some black plastic HDPE over the terminal block to keep anything from accidentally shorting.
Once I had that all wired up and tested out I put in a front divider to make the lower right area a storage bin of sorts. It holds a 12V fan, inverter, USB phone charger, and a special LED light box.
Speaking of light box, here it is. I found some bright LED car lights that run directly from 12V. They got installed in a custom box with switches and a 12V car plug. Now I can plug these in and use either 2 or 4 lights to help light up a room during a power outage.
With all the innards assembled I put hinged doors on all the boxes and some beefy folding handles. The battery box got a locking mechanism to keep the doors closed. The battery box is really heavy. To help with hauling around the house I screwed it to a small fold up hand truck. This means that just about anyone can move it around the house without causing a hernia.
The two storage boxes are about 14 per side on the inside. The size worked out pretty well. One holds a pile of expandable 5 gallon water containers. I figure instead of trying to buy water ahead of each storm or season, I can just bottle it myself right before a storm hits.
The other box carries a wide variety of odds and ends including solar cells and a charging circuit to charge the deep cycle up, candles, matches, other fire starters, soap and disposable bowls/utensils, playing cards, a weather radio, lantern, and other odds and ends worth keeping around.
Now that I have gone to all this trouble and expense to be really prepared, we probably wont have the power go out for many years. Wouldn’t that be nice!