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the silence . . . the silence

October 15, 2012

Yesterday the farm welcomed 2.5 inches of rain in an eight-hour span.  I was able to open

up our micro-hydro system after three months of malingering.  The Pelton Wheel humming

that I had missed so much didn’t sound quite right, but the PSI readings reassured me that

it was okay.


And it was certainly quieter and more comforting than the sound of the diesel generator

burning a precious and expensive fossil fuel.


Problem was, it ran for three hours before I realized that I hadn’t thrown the breaker on

the inverter panel to let it know the P. wheel was back on the block.  After I did that, I

checked the trimeter to see how much juice was being added to the system.  It showed

a negative amperage.  Something was amiss.


In my efforts to determine why, I pushed the wrong button on the panel.  The power went

out.  We couldn’t run anything.  Not the AAA battery charger, not the big screen TV.  Since

the Giants were playing the Cardinals in the first game of the NLCS, I did what any rational

baseball fan would do.  I panicked.


I couldn’t reach Ian, the fellow who installed our system, because the phone and computer

were down.  I drove to a neighbour who knows much of matters electrical, but he wasn’t

home.  I drove to a second knowledgeable neighbour, but his wife told me he had gone to

bed early.


I went home.  Jude was reading by candlelight, preparing for a work presentation.  We

would have to dark it out until daylight, severely limiting refrigerator use.  As Jude read,

I simply sat in the silence.  I was left to my thoughts.  That’s really daunting when you

don’t have your usual distractions.


I was beginning to feel like William Hurt in the isolation tank in Altered States (minus the

mushrooms) when the second neighbour drove in.


“You’re a godsend,” I told him, “and I say that as an agnostic.”


“You got a beer?”, he said.


I thought that was an unusual request from a godsend, but I got one anyway.  He did some

quick troubleshooting and quickly shot the trouble.  It was an embarrassingly simple

solution.  I’m glad that my blushing didn’t show in the concentrated beam of the flashlight.


Ian just called.  He said I likely burned out a part when I flipped the switch on the inverter.

He’ll be over soon to look at it.  Until then we’ll have to let all this alternative energy flow

past us.




Speaking of energy, I want to remind you that, now that the storms are back, I may not be

able to reach you on the days I normally blog.  Also, I’m cutting back to posting on Monday

and Friday for awhile because I’m way behind on some projects.  For one thing, I have a lot

of reading to do about our micro-hydro system.



  1. Gordon permalink
    October 15, 2012 10:09 am

    …And last week I became a San Franciso Giants fan.

    • October 16, 2012 9:28 am

      How ’bout that rout last night? That’ll teach ’em not to hurt our Scoot. Even his replacement got two RBI.

  2. October 15, 2012 12:21 pm

    I am not one to usually watch sports but me and my sisters were in the bar at Chilie’s haveing dinner and our Texas Longhorns were playing Oklahoma. It was UT weekend for us and the Longhorns were dying a very slow and embarrassing death….. I feel for all of you sport fans. I was just a bystander and my heart ached just watching.

    • October 16, 2012 9:32 am

      It was a smackdown, for sure. That’s the risk of being a real fan.

  3. October 16, 2012 7:03 am

    Power problems are the WORST – – – hope all gets fixed post-haste! Are you still heading to S’port for the small fall gathering?

    • October 16, 2012 9:36 am

      I’m off to the ferry terminal in a half hour to pick up the fellow who installed it. He thinks he knows what the problem is. The FPHS fish fry was last weekend but we didn’t go. It looks like it was well attended from the photo album Susie e-mailed.

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