Linda was back on schedule this morning; up at 5:45 AM and off to the bakery at 6:15. I got up around 7:30 AM, ground beans for a small pot of coffee and made breakfast. Breakfast was oatmeal that I made myself from quick cook oats with raisins, dried cranberries, and pecans. I forgot to add cinnamon and brown sugar but I did add a small amount of vegan butter, sugar, and non-dairy coffee creamer. I like to cook my oatmeal until it is very thick and then loosen it up slightly with these additions.
After breakfast I checked the thermometers in the bus refrigerator and recorded the temperatures. They seem to be all over the place and I am really starting to question the accuracy, and thus the usefulness, of these relatively inexpensive “consumer” devices.
Around 10 AM I was getting ready to drive to Canton when I got a call from Chuck. The pair of motorized MCD duo shades had arrived the other day and he was having difficulty installing them. I offered to stop by his shop after my errand and he said he would be there.
I called Clyde to make sure he would be home and then headed to Canton to pick up the antique Sun automotive distributor tester. Clyde’s house was easy to find; an old residential area tucked away behind what is now a heavily developed commercial strip along Ford Road either side of I-275. He helped me load the tester into my car and then we chatted for a while. He had a very rare and beautifully restored (customized) 1948 two-door Pontiac boat tail sport coup; all black with two chrome strips, one down each side. I am not a “car guy” but I appreciate a work of art when I see one.
I drove to Chuck’s shop in Novi to see how the windshield shade installation was progressing. The pocket between the upper windshields and the cabinets was too narrow on the outside ends to allow the shades to tilt enough to engage the clip in that end and then swing up and latch on the other side. After struggling with it for a while we went to lunch at the Panera nearby.
Back at his shop we pondered the installation problem until I finally had an insight. The upper windshields slope away from the overhead cabinets, creating more horizontal space at lower heights. I suggested that using a 2″x2″ board as a spacer might lower the mounting bracket just enough to allow it to tilt into place and have enough space to lock it in and release it if needed. Chuck had a scrap piece of 2×2 that we used to see if my idea might work. Chuck thought it would work so he locked up the shop and I headed for home while headed to The Home Depot.
Back home I checked the thermometers in the bus fridge. The readings just did not make sense so I brought the LaCrosse base unit and remote into the house to get them away from the TempMinder components. I researched methods and equipment for measuring temperature in freezers and refrigerators looking for something that would be more accurate and precise than our current technology but I did not find much.
The more accurate temperature measurement instruments that are available for under $100 all use wired probes rather than wireless remote sensors. The best ones have the probes sealed in small glass bottles filled with a liquid such as alcohol, oil, or glycerin. These remain liquid at normal freezer and refrigerator temperatures and surround the temperature probe with enough thermal mass to prevent it from responding too quickly to changes in air temperature such as occurs when the door is opened or the fridge compressor and fans are running. In effect the probes more accurately reflect the temperature of things stored in the refrigerator rather than the instantaneous temperature of the air near the sensor. The wires for the probes are typically relatively fine and do not prevent the door seals from closing completely, at least in the short term. A permanent installation, however, seems ill-advised.
I was researching flash units and other accessories for our new Sony alpha 99 camera when Phil showed up mid-afternoon. I set my research aside and went out to chat with him and watch what he was doing. He had a full truck load of sand from another job that he dumped at the west end of the property and then moved it into some of the low spots, of which there are many. He used his front loader to finish removing topsoil from the new driveway area by the third culvert and load it into his truck. He filled the truck and dumped it at the west end of the property. He then used his bulldozer to grade out the area of the driveway where he had just removed all of the topsoil. Finally, he used the front loader to compact the sand driveway base.
Phil was going to come back on Saturday but he is at the point where he needs stone (21AA road gravel) that he will not be able to get it until Monday. He is also finishing up other jobs that involve inspections and won’t be back here until at least Tuesday. I need to trim the lower branches on some of the trees to get them out of his way, and out of Keith’s way when he mows the grass, so I will probably do that on Monday, leaving Saturday and Sunday to work on the bus while Linda is available to help.
Phil was still working when Linda got home so I left Phil to finish up and went inside. I was tired and took a short nap while Linda fixed dinner. She made a nice salad and risotto with celery and dandelion greens; a first for us, and very tasty. We also did a taste test of the California Olive Ranch EVOO versus the Philippe Berio EVOO that Linda normally uses. We used Italian bread that she brought home from the bakery. I was able to detect a very subtle difference in the taste but had to not use the crust of the bread as the poppy seeds provided their own distinct taste. The COR product was the top choice of a tasting panel at Cook’s Illustrated magazine and reasonably priced at just under $10 a bottle but I did not find the taste superior to the PB product.
After dinner I went to my office and checked e-mail. I took care of some things related to the November 2015 issue of BCM. We had confirmation e-mails from Molly Pinner for our 56th Escapade Volunteer assignments. I also had one from Kate with links to camera harnesses at B&H Photo and a second with links to a recent interview on AM1700 with the organizer of the Pop-X art exhibit in Liberty Plaza and photos she has taken of guests at the station and musical groups at SxSW and other venues.
I talked briefly with Mike (W8XH) via the South Lyon 2m repeater using the Yaesu FTM-400 radio. Our ham shack was working just fine so apparently there was no Info Net this past Sunday. I called Butch to let him know I had the distributor tester and chatted with him about the refrigerator temperature monitoring problems I am having. It was then off to bed, as we have to be up by 7 AM to get to our weekly ham radio breakfast in South Lyon.