Journal: October 1st, 2010

I just had a delicious meal of turkey burgers with a side of corn on the cob fresh off the garden. The burger, a turkey cheese burger to be precise, was quite epic. I used smoked gouda cheese, and for fixin’s, had cucumber fresh off the vine, onions, and avocado. Mmmm.

A few years ago, I stopped eating beef (save for the occasional lapses) for environmental reasons, and started making turkey burgers whenever I felt like having a burger. Rather than buy pre-made burger patties, I make them from scratch, since it’s so easy (and much cheaper). The basic “recipe” I use is as follows:

  • 1 ~ 1.5lb ground turkey
  • 1 ~ 2 slices of bread
  • a bit of milk (dairy, or soy/almond/donkey milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • seasoning to taste
  • a bit of oil

I first tear up the bread in a little bowl, and pour in just enough milk to soak the bread and make it soft. The bread-milk mush then gets mixed into the ground turkey and all the other ingredients in a bowl. Make patties, then cook in a pan or grill. When grilling, it helps to make the patties before hand and freeze them. The frozen patties will retain their shape longer, while raw patties might ooze through the grills before they’ve had a chance to cook and harden. Ground turkey by itself tends to be leaner than ground beef, so you need binding to keep it from falling apart, hence the bread, egg and onion. I’m sure there are other bindings that could be used, and if you could find fatty ground turkey, that might not be necessary either.


In other news, I’ve resumed work on Hut 2.0 after a 3 week hiatus which was spent mostly in San Francisco. Now, I’m back, and the weather’s cleared up nicely, so I’m making slow but steady progress again. I’m still working on the roof, and over the last couple of days, got some OSB sheets up. Before I could get to the roof, I had to put up some scaffolding, which consists of four 2x4x16s nailed onto my 4×4 posts about 3 feet below the eaves, with a 2x6x16 laid across the 2x4s parallel to the eaves about 2 ft off the wall. The hardest part of it all is getting the OSB up there. Each sheet weighs probably 40lb, is 4 feet wide and is longer than I am tall, so it’s a bit unwieldy to say the least. I got one sheet up by brute forcing it up the ladder and tossing it onto the rafters. But that required me to go up the ladder without my hands, the board resting partially on my head and shoulder, then heave it with all my might over the eaves onto the rafters (I’d attached stoppers to the ends of a couple of rafters to keep the sheet from sliding off, once I got it up there). I did it once, but didn’t think I could do that again, much less 7 more times. Fortunately, once I had the scaffolding up, I found that I could toss the boards onto the scaffolding, and avoid the part where I climb a ladder practically blind and handless. Unfortunately, due to the size of the boards and the height of the scaffolding (over 8ft from the ground), I can’t exactly see the scaffolding when I’m behind the board and trying to lift it up. So I just have to toss it up with a heavy oompf, then step away in case the board fails to land on the scaffolding and decides to come back to earth.

Yup. I’m having fun.

In related news, I decided to change the location of my door, based on something I read in an architecture book. According to my original plan, my hut was supposed to look something like this (looking down from above):

  \                 |    \ = door
  |                +|    + = ladder to loft
  |                 |

The problem with this layout is that, if I wanted to keep a clear path between the door and the ladder (so that I could get down from the loft and out the door in a hurry, if I had to), that path would traverse the length of the hut and kill a lot of space.

Instead, I decided to do something like this:

  |                 |    \ = door
  |                +|    + = ladder to loft
  |                 |
  ---------------- \

The door is now right next to the ladder, which solves the oh-shit-get-out-quick problem, and also leaves the rest of the space completely open.

Speaking of emergency egress, the loft is actually open on both ends. While the ladder will only be on one end, I could in theory also climb off the loft on the other end, and go out a window, if, for instance, a big bad wolf was blocking the door.


I’ve run into power issues. Again.

My 100W solar panel, mounted on the solar tracker, is generating enough power to more than cover my needs. But, this time, it’s not that I don’t have enough power, but rather, I don’t have enough AC power to recharge the 18V batteries that run my circular saw. I’ve been plugging the 18V wall charger into a 200W inverter, which in turn was plugged into one of my 12V batteries (which in turn were charged from solar panels). But my 200W inverter inexplicably stopped working recently, leaving me only with a 150W inverter. The 150W inverter will run the 18V wall charger if it’s plugged into my car with the engine running (probably because my 40 Amp alternator provides more than enough 13 Volt power), but not off my 12V battery even when it’s full AND my solar panel is pumping in an additional 5 Amps at 13 Volts (seeing how the charger is rated at 2 Amps @ 120 Volts, or 240 Watts, I guess that’s not surprising). So, basically, I can’t recharge my saw batteries unless I run my car engine for the hour or so it takes, and that’s not an acceptable solution.

My 18V batteries should be good for another day or two, but after that, I’m going to have to go to town and buy either a car charger, or another inverter. Last time I checked, a car charger for the DeWalt 18V batteries cost over $100, so an inverter would actually be cheaper, and in some ways, more versatile. The car charger would be more efficient, since it would eliminate any inefficiencies incurred by the inverter, but then, I have a surplus of power right now (and a shortage of money), so I think I’ll just get a cheap inverter.