Category Archives: House

Everything pertaining to my house and yard projects.

Garden Hose Quick Disconnects

In the last post I mentioned getting a pressure washer but it didn’t take long to realize how much I hated getting it out to use.

The reason? The garden hose. Well more specifically attaching the hose to the pressure washer. To get a good connection you need to use pliers and it was a royal pain attaching and disconnecting the hose like this. Also the hassle of putting the hose back on the sprayer nozzle when I was finished with the pressure washer. Between the swapping, finding pliers to do the job and having to put everything back up I was finding myself doing jobs the pressure washer would be ideal for but finding myself not willing to put the effort forth to get the pressure washer out and connected to use it.

But I found a solution 🙂

Camco Garden Hose Quick Disconnects.


As you can see in the video above it makes the whole swap over process go from minutes to mere seconds. I now use the pressure washer all the time since it takes no effort or time to make the swap over on the hose. Not to mention once you get the hang of it you don’t get soaked in the process either. HIGHLY recommend them.

I bought them here :

Camco Quick Disconnects

But I imagine they are sold all over the place.



A trip up my driveway on a good day

I mention how bad my driveway is from time to time so I figured a video of what we deal with daily on good days (when it hasn’t rained in awhile) would help explain things better.

I need to shoot some of the worse ones eventually for comparison.


Amazing what shows up in the yard.

You never know what will show up in the yard around here. I have walked outside to emus, donkeys, coyotes, pigs and all other kinds of animals.

This alligator snapping turtle was just another of the wild things I run into. Check out the size of this thing.

I was very careful to avoid giving him something to nibble on 🙂

I was also amazed how fast he was.


Mower drama or the epic quest to just cut the grass :(

Well its that time of year again. That first grass cutting attempt of the year.

I use the term attempt since its what usually happens to most people since the mower usually isn’t very happy about being woke up after being put aside for the winter.

Some of the time I get lucky and can just start back cutting. I charge my mowers with the solar charging system so I never have dead batteries to deal with and that is probably the biggest problem most people run into. Well that and bad gas. But I use non ethanol gas in my mowers so I don’t usually have that problem either.

What turned this seasons first crank into a nightmare was all of the things I had been putting off.

I have a cub cadet LT 1024 mower.


Love the thing. Powerful, reliable, has drink holders and even cruise control 🙂

But it had started to have issues and I had ignored them. So now as this seasons first cut was about to commence I was about to pay the price for that neglect.

I don’t neglect the really serious things like checking the oil and such and I wash it after each grass cutting.

But I had neglected a problem that had been creeping up with the carburetor. I had to keep the choke pulled a bit to get it to run right. This of course meant it was starving for gas. This could be a clogged jet, filter or even float issues. So a carb was ordered.

Also the blades were leaving gaps that I had to go back over. So they were dull and were even the wrong blades from the previous owners. My step dad uses gator blades which he likes allot so I decided I would try those and ordered some.

Well the blades came in first. So I go to crank the mower to back it out to change the blades. It runs for about 10 seconds then quits and wont start back. I checked the plugs and one looked a bit wet while the other was fine. So I ordered plugs. While I was waiting on the plugs I went ahead and poured a bit of gas into the carb and it started up and ran fine but again it was 10 seconds or so and it quit. Well the carb was on its way so no biggy.

When the carb arrived I installed it. That was not fun since I had to take a ton of stuff off to get to it and the linkages are always a pain on small engines but once installed I went to crank it and it wouldn’t ever start. I poured gas in again and it ran till that ran out then nothing. At this point I figured something was wrong with the fuel shutoff solenoid system. Seeing as I need to cut the grass already I bypassed it for now. Still would only run with gas poured into the carb.

But I kept doing this over and over pouring in about a caps worth (used the gas cans cap) each time and let it run till it quit on its own. After about 5 times it stayed running and ran fine. I guess it needed to get the fuel thru the system.

So now I have it running but the tires are so bad now I can’t even move it around to put the blades on it.

They had been leaking down after each grass cutting and I would simple air them up and head out to cut the yard without thinking much about it. Well they were cracking it seems all around the sidewalls of the tires. So now they wont hold air but about 3 minutes tops. So I am waiting on new tires to get here before I can cut the grass.

I may go ahead and do the blades via raising the mower up on jack stands with a jack vs waiting on the tires and using the ramps.

This is why I referred to this as “attempting” to cut the grass 🙂


More on this whenever the tires get here.


Yet another solar update kind of….

I haven’t posted much about my solar setup which in a way is a huge kudos to the system. The reason I haven’t posted about it is because I FORGOT about it. That’s the ultimate compliment to something I can think of. When it works so flawlessly that you take it for granted and don’t even remember its there its doing a GREAT job.

I did make a few changes over the last few months since the last time I posted about it. I added another large 24 volt panel thinking I needed a bit more power. Heck you always need “more power” so that wasn’t something I could get wrong. But it didn’t fix the issue I thought I had.

What was actually happening had more to do with bad connections (rust) and poor design on how I had the batteries connected to the system.

Like most people I had used diagrams found on the net showing how to run the battery cables in all kinds of complicated ways to get the most power out of the batteries. But what I found was that all I needed was to have a common bus bar and have each paired 12 volt battery (they are wired in series to produce 24 volts for each pair of 12 volt batteries) connected directly to the bus bars.

This change DOUBLE the how much power I got from the batteries each night. That’s not a factual math thing as much as what I saw the next morning before the sun came up.

Again part of the problem was corroded connections but even after cleaning those I was almost running out of power before the night was out. Also of note when I say running out of power I actually mean down to 1/2 power since I wont let my battery bank get below 50%.

After moving the cables to a common bus bar I now only show to be using 15% of my battery power each night tops and that’s after adding more load too.

So I highly recommend using bus bars for your batteries with solar power.

A friend is making a battery box for me and I plan on setting up a shutter system to protect my panels in the event of hail. When these get done I will post more pictures of the system.


Carport solution against hail damage

A few weeks ago Jacksonville Alabama and several other areas were hit with very bad hail storms and tornadoes.

I know you can’t do much to protect your cars and such from tornadoes but hail is another story. Knowing those people had to just sit there and watch mother nature destroy their cars and trucks and not being able to do anything to stop it had to be horrible. I was worried the storms would make it to where I live but luckily we didn’t get any of the hail.

After seeing how much damage the hail did I decided to try to do something to protect the cars and trucks I have. I ordered 18 x 20 foot carports for the house. I am having 5 of them delivered in total with the first one due anytime now. I will try to get some pics of them being built and definitely will take some pictures of them when they are done.

Four of them will be for the cars and trucks and I may add more for that later but that will give us 8 covered parking spots at least and will help a good bit. The last one will be assembled over my well pump. With the well pump in the rear corner of the carport that should leave me a ton of space to build a workshop out of that one.

I plan on enclosing the well pump covering carport into a shop with large doors I can bring a car in to work on it and also to park my 4 wheeler and lawn mower inside of. The entire time I have lived here (20 years or so) I have never had a shop. This will be sooooo nice to have. Just being able to get out of the weather for car work is nice enough but to have a place for a work bench with a vise on it will be icing on the cake.


Snow continued..

So what does snow look like in Alabama?

The above pic is from my front door. I think you can see where Molly went out to do her business.


We lost power on Friday night at about 10pm and didn’t get it back until Sunday night about 11pm. That was one loooong weekend considering we heat with electricity. Luckily we had the solar power setup I had installed and the gas generator. We managed to stay warm.

I will be increasing the size of my power system over the next few weeks to handle more loads better. As it was the heat pumps plus the other heaters put a load on the system pretty bad but it handled it.


Snow… and more snow !

We had snow. This in most parts of the world isn’t big news. But in Alabama its huge. Usually if we ever get snow its either flurries that don’t stick or maybe 2 inches tops and that’s considered heavy.

This time? A foot and a 1/2. That’s serious snow cover for here. Cars and trucks were getting stuck all over the place but my X5 handled it like it wasn’t even there. I didn’t even have the new tires at the point but the old Cooper CS3 tires did fine.

I now have my CS5’s on there and it drives even better now.

On the first outings down my driveway I was dealing with the normal drooped over frozen trees and it wasn’t any problem till I was almost at the end of the driveway. Each time I went through a tree’s branches it dumped snow on the windshield cutting visibility to zero. On the last tree something was different.

It turns out it wasn’t drooped across the driveway like all the others. It was a large pine tree that had fell over from the weight of the ice and snow. So it was pointed up the driveway like a spear. I drove right into it.

The tree nailed my windshield dead center and cracked it in a U shaped pattern.

This I the tree that nailed the windshield after the snow melted and after I went ballistic on it with the saw 🙂

I was coming from the other direction that morning and I think you can see what speared the X5.

Here is a shot of the windshield after the tree.

I think it held up pretty good all things considered. Just a huge semi U shaped break.

Also the X5 seems to handle hauling pretty good too space wise. This was actually 6 tires in all inside at the time. The 4 new CS5’s for the X5 and two new tires for my daughters 528i.

And last but not least before some snow pics. They call the mountain I live on lizard scrap mountain. I found out later why.

Check out my co-pilot that hitched a ride with me to town one morning.

He was wandering around back and forth on my hood that morning.

I think I’m going to continue this into another post to keep this from being so long so the next “snow” post will have snow pics 🙂


More Solar updates and car shopping

This entire month has been a mad house work wise so I haven’t had time to do much on my various projects. I did get a free day one day to install two 255 watt 24 volt panels to my system bringing to primary bank to 1 kilowatt or 1000 watts. I’m running multiple controllers so I’m way above that total but its nice to start switching over to the 24 volt panels vs the 12 volt panels for the house.

The 24 volt panels are more efficient since its a single panel at 24 volts and not two 12 volt panels in series. Also 255 watts is better than 200 watts of two 100 watt panels in series.

The only drawback if there is one is the size of the 24 volt panels. These suckers are HUGE. Almost the size of 4 of the 12 volt panels combined.

I still have a bunch of new parts to add to the system just no time to install them right now.

Hopefully I will be adding two more vehicles to the stable soon. I have my wife’s BMW 528i and a BMW 318i up for sale and both are supposedly spoken for. If they both sell shortly I will be picking up a BMW X5 for myself and a Corvette C5 for the wife.

The X5 will handle the driveway far better than my 323i does and my wife wanted a civilized corvette for her to drive. The C4 is a bit much the way its built for normal driving.

I also managed to get the 24 volt to 12 volt step down converter installed on the house solar setup. With that installed I was able to wire up the in wall usb plugs to power phones and such to do away with all those wall-wart power supplies running up the power bill.

Even went with a 12 volt car cigarette type plug on a few on them and bought a 12 volt version of the power supply for my wife’s notebook computer so its charging and running off the solar setup now.

One annoying thing is I increased the size of the solar setup charging wise but I can’t buy anymore batteries for the system. It seems walmart is having a battery shortage or something. All of their marine batteries are out of stock across the entire country from what I can tell. I checked all over Alabama and surrounding states and then randomly across the country. All out of stock. Since you basically have to use the exact same batteries across your entire battery bank to work right I’m stuck till walmart gets more in.

I searched for news stories or even anyone else commenting on the shortage but couldn’t find any information anywhere. Oh well I will just have to wait it out.

Well that’s it for now.

Catcha laterz !