ffj's early retirement

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:17 am

@henrik
Yes, all of that!

The photo is from one of the neighborhoods with single to two-story homes. Usually ground ladders suffice for those kind of heights. What isn't shown is the down-town district with several high-rise buildings, including a hospital and senior-living buildings. We have to have the ability to reach the upper floors of these buildings. Also, many times for large fires, the ladder is used as an elevated master stream, which is simply flowing water from height to reach large areas.

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There has been a shift from tandem axle trucks to single axle trucks to limit length and increase maneuverability. We tested several of those and weren't impressed to be honest, as tip load and some stability is sacrificed. Our town isn't as densely packed with multiple narrow streets as other towns, so we didn't need to go that route. A lot of your larger cities will go with a tiller as you can get them around sharp turns with small clearance:

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The problem with those is that you have to have two dedicated drivers which requires more manpower that a lot of departments can't afford. Remember, equipment is a one time cost while labor costs are constant.

Every decision you make is a trade-off, and you have to take your particular locale into consideration. We are firmly set on a tandem axle, 100 foot straight stick aerial device because it works for our town, and that is what we need versus what we want. I'm sure your town had to do exactly what we are doing before they purchased their smaller trucks.

We should start the bidding process in the next few months as it will take about 10 to 11 months to build the truck.

henrik
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:20 pm

Thanks for the explanation. Just to be clear, I definitely didn't mean to question your expertise or imply original insight on my part. Just curious about your selection process.

Truck types and specifications seem to be quite different in the US as far as I've seen. Another major difference is that the rescue service here is national and the specs for any equipment have to work for the entire country*, which brings some economies of scale, but obviously also serious trade-offs of the kind you discuss above.

I didn't know those kinds of trucks were called tillers. There is a video on youtube of one doing some impressive maneuvering at high speed in dense traffic on a divided roadway, but I couldn't find it despite having learned the word for it:)

Here are a few photos of the smaller trucks I mentioned before. Their operating height is 32m (105 ft) and the pump works at max 40l/s (634 gal/m).
http://f2.pmo.ee/f/2015/11/27/4742439t151h385b.jpg
http://f5.pmo.ee/f/2015/11/27/4742451t151h0495.jpg
http://f4.pmo.ee/f/2015/11/27/4742515t151hf250.jpg

* which would admittedly rank 5th by territory and about 26th by population if it was a US county...

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:27 pm

@henrik
Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G3zMf_yFuQ
I've never gotten to do it but it looks pretty fun.

Nice pictures. I love seeing how other people do things and yeah those are quite a bit smaller. I wonder what the weight ratings are for those ladders? It's normal to have a 500 pound safety rating at the tip for our trucks and our pumps are capable of much greater GPM's with 1,500 being the norm for a ladder. And we have red emergency lights instead of blue, that's for the cops around here! :D

Here is what one will normally see in the states. Keep in mind these are styles as there are tons of different variations.

This is what we call a platform aerial ladder, rear mount:

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This is a straight stick aerial ladder, rear mount: Note the single axle

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This is an articulating aerial platform ladder:

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This is a mid mount aerial platform:

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And we have a tractor drawn tiller:

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Lots of choices out there! We are able to customize a lot of what we want our trucks to look like. Which country were those photos taken?

henrik
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:52 pm

Thanks for the gallery - that's quite a choice of different types. The US trucks seem to be generally bigger and sturdier than the ones used in Europe. I guess that goes for all sorts of vehicles, not just fire trucks:)
Hope we get to see your final choice when it actually arrives!

The small ones I linked to were recently acquired by the Estonian rescue service specifically for bad maneuvering conditions (i.e. sacrifice height and power for maneuverability). They are built in Germany. I am not sure about the official weight rating, but they need to support at least 2 people + a possible victim (you can see on the photos there are trays attached). The weight and pressure of the water columns is no joke either, so ladder trucks are some pretty complex and impressive pieces of engineering.

This one is more typical around here (reaches 42 m / 138 ft or 54 m / 177 ft depending on the model), built in Finland and in use since around 1998.

Emergency lights are generally all blue, it's the red ones that are just for cops:) Blue lights signal "get out of the way", blue+red require you to pull over.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:51 am

Oh yeah, we're aware of Bronto here in the States. Here's the E-one collaboration with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dysN5rPyuw

Love the pics, thanks.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:32 pm

It's been over two years since I quit full-time employment and for the first time a couple of weeks ago I actually got bored. I think it had more to do with the weather as it was quite hot and muggy which I really hate and it tends to keep me indoors much more than usual. But now that the weather has gotten cooler I'm back to normal so I decided to go climb a tree. Now at my age people probably think that may be weird but it really relaxes me being out in nature high up in the air. I read somewhere that some rock star would scuba dive in his swimming pool in the deep end and just sit until his air was depleted. It was his way of meditating. To each his own.

Notice I am missing a shoe. It fell off about twenty feet up so I just dealt with it. :)

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Climbing trees also helps me get ready for rope training such as I taught today. Everybody really got into it which made it very satisfying. There is nothing worse than trying to teach someone who doesn't want to be there.

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The garden is about finished. I still have some tomatoes coming in, a few gourds, and my hops that I planted in early spring actually grew enough to produce some flowers. Next year is when they should start to put on a show.

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Viktor K
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Viktor K » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:40 pm

ffj wrote:Now at my age people probably think that may be weird but it really relaxes me being out in nature high up in the air.
That's awesome, that's not weird! I can definitely relate to that. It looks like you had an awesome day with the tree climbing and ropes training :)

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:18 am

If you weren't a firefighter nor a member of this forum, it would most certainly be weird. In the other cases....I would expect it at some point. :P

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:33 am

@Victor, Monkey

I've accepted that I'm different. That's why I like so many people on this forum, Birds of a feather.... ;)

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:09 pm

My in-laws own a small vineyard which really produced this year and I've spent the last two days picking grapes. A lot of grapes! Now I didn't pick all of the grapes but I did my fair share and to be honest if the vineyard were any larger we would either need a conveyor system or a lot more grape pickers. Picking is fairly easy; it's the carrying of the boxes to the large bins that create all of the work.

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This variety is called Vidal Blanc and it produces a small pretty grape cluster with some of the clusters fairly large. These vines were planted around 5 years ago.

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Since I've created beer and hard cider already and I had access to all of these grapes I couldn't resist trying to make some wine. I picked 5 gallons of grapes with the intention of making a gallon of wine. I simply crushed the grapes with my hands and strained the juice a couple of times to come up with a fairly clear gallon of grape juice. Since I didn't have Campden tablets to kill the wild yeast and bacteria, I decided to pasteurize the juice by heating it up to 145 degrees F for several minutes making sure not to get it too hot.

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Then I put the mixture in a gallon jug with a cloth cover which I will leave for about 6 days after I pitched my yeast. After six days I will rack the wine into another gallon jug and put an airstop on it and let that ferment for however long that process needs.

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Now my initial hydrometer reading was a little greater than 1.07 specific gravity which is about 10% alcohol content. I know that wine needs to be around 15/16 %. I'm assuming I can add sugar after the initial six days are up after I rack the wine and add the airlock. Does that sound right to those of you who have done this before?

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:40 am

I haven't made wine out of grapes, but I have rebooted slow fermentations. In that case, the must tastes sweet, so pitch some more yeast into the primary and wait a few more days.

On the other hand, if it doesn't taste sweet, I add more sugar so the yeast can process that too. The risk here is that the yeast won't do it and you end up with very sweet weak wine. Also, as far as I understand, you will no longer be able to compute your alcohol percent with the hydrometer because you no longer know what the "original" sugar content would have been. The other risk is that your hydrometer reading is wrong and you actually do have 15%. In that case adding sugar will result in a strong sweet wine because the yeast dies at high percentages.

You can also make a new #2 batch if you have more grapes. Then slowly start mixing #1 into #2.

I wouldn't put an airlock on it.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:38 pm

@Jacob
Here's the recipe I followed, or sort of followed as it answered my question once I read through it again. :x I should have built the solution up to 22 Brix before I added the yeast. Oh well, I think it will be o.k.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:28 pm

Racked the wine today as the SG reached .998 or so. The clarity has gotten much better but when compared to last years wine from the same vineyard it has a long way to go.

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I took a taste test of the unfinished wine and it smelled and tasted pleasant. The plan now is to rack it again after ten days and then leave it be for a few months as per the recipe above. I'm hoping the clarity is close to the finished wine above at that point.

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Fall is the favorite time of year for me and I try to get out and hike as much as I can. It rained today and I actually enjoy being out when it is drizzly or a small rainfall. I thought the colors today were really nice with the overcast sky.

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Demosthenes
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Demosthenes » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:45 pm

Wow, crushing the grapes with your own hand. That's pretty metal. I wonder what kind of efficiency you get out of the grapes that way in comparison to more mechanical techniques. I've heard that any attempts to coax the juice out of apples without heavy machinery is fruitless (harhar). Good job!

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jennypenny
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jennypenny » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:12 am

ffj wrote:Fall is the favorite time of year for me and I try to get out and hike as much as I can. It rained today and I actually enjoy being out when it is drizzly or a small rainfall. I thought the colors today were really nice with the overcast sky.
I love rainy fall weather too, which is strange since I hate winter -- you'd think I'd hate fall knowing it meant winter was coming. I had a nice long walk around a lake last night, and I enjoyed the dark skies and the wind stirring up the lake.

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jennypenny » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:25 am

Lionel Nation has been really funny this week.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:11 pm

@Demosthemes
You just pick more grapes than you need. ;) I tried the using a potato masher but it was just easier to use my hands. I think I could have gotten a lot more juice if I had a press but I only needed a gallon.

@jenny
I think he rambles more than Trump :lol: but I still find him interesting. He's pretty good about putting things in context and he has a legal mind which prevents him from being too illogical. Plus he calls bullshit out having been a prosecutor. You just have to be patient while he gets to the point.

Continued hiking again today. This is Cumberland Falls Kentucky. One of only two moon bows in the world.

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Eagle Falls
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steveo73
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by steveo73 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:28 am

That all looks awesome.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:22 pm

@steveo
Yeah, it's pretty neat. I wish I could convey the size of these rocks around the river as they are huge.

This is my time of year for hiking so I thought I would share some more photos. Kentucky is a really good state for this type of activity as we have some beautiful scenery. Here's is a little area around Berea, Kentucky that I go to when I get the chance.

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And here is where I went today. It's a Shaker Village that once housed thousands of people that died out around the early twentieth century, mainly because they believed in a life of celibacy. The entire village has been maintained with historical tours with really interesting buildings and furniture. Perhaps some of you have heard of the Shakers.

Here is the well house that houses a spring inside.

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And I made a friend; all it takes is a peppermint candy. ;) If you'll notice there is a rock wall beside the horse, and if you like this kind of stuff this place has miles of it around the property, all of it built over a hundred years ago.

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_JT
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by _JT » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:52 pm

Really enjoyed reading your journal, especially all the builds. My kinda stuff.

I wanted to mention a few things, though:

Re: the treehouse

You didn't install cripple studs over the headers of your doors and windows. Or at least I didn't see them in any pictures. I only saw them where you needed a nailer for the sheathing. They're not only required by code but they serve an important structural purpose (carrying roof loads down to the header). You also used a ridgeboard as opposed to a ridgebeam in an open gable roof (cathedral ceiling). Unless there are rafter ties I didn't see (looked like there was maybe one double tie, but I didn't see a great photo of that part of the framing) there's an excellent chance the long walls will spread over the years as the roof weight bears on them.

As a person who does high quality work (but has no background in design or engineering) I wanted to point those things out to you. I wouldn't be surprised if you get asked to do more stuff like that and I'd hate for there to be any injuries or premature failures.

Re: the DIY "generator"

One thing you want to be aware of is that your inverter does NOT put out a nice clean sine wave. The whys and wherefores are probably not of general interest, but the end result is that if you use it a lot you can expect your tools to die sooner. Current spikes from square waves produced by cheap inverters exceed the insulation rating of motors on your standard power tools, so if you're using them a lot you're going to experience insulation failure. Hard to say when, because of the number of variables, but you could easily get 2 years of life out of a quality saw as opposed to 10+.

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Dragline
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Dragline » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:31 pm

Nice pictures.

The Shaker experience is interesting history. Past may be prologue for a number of developed societies. But none of us will be around that long.

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:47 pm

@JT

Thanks for the interest. Keep in mind the width of the cabin was only 10 feet with a lightweight metal roof, plus I put in two double ties. A ridge beam would have been way overkill. Trust me, I overbuild everything. :) The cripple studs don't concern me either as the roof is so lightweight and even though they are a bit offset for the paneling, each window got one anyway. Appreciate the feedback though.

Also, I don't plan on using my non-sine wave inverter for extended jobs, it's basically a handy set-up for emergencies. I don't know if you noticed but my inverter for the house is sine wave for the electronics in my home. My basement has a sump pump that has to work year round or I get a flooded basement, and the kit I put together will perform that function quite well should the power go out. Which reminds me that I should probably recharge my battery. ;)

@Dragline
Yeah, they were interesting as they welcomed new technologies and innovations, but lived segregated lives with the opposite sex with no intimate relations between the two, with adoption as a main way to propagate their faith. I want to say the last of them faded away in the early 20th century, if I recall correctly. The village they created is beautiful by the way.

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by _JT » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:06 pm

ffj wrote:@JT

Thanks for the interest. Keep in mind the width of the cabin was only 10 feet with a lightweight metal roof, plus I put in two double ties. A ridge beam would have been way overkill. Trust me, I overbuild everything. :) The cripple studs don't concern me either as the roof is so lightweight and even though they are a bit offset for the paneling, each window got one anyway. Appreciate the feedback though.
The ridgebeam isn't to support the weight of the roof alone -- it's for the loads on top of it. Kentucky gets a heavy snow and that thing very well could collapse, is the scenario the building codes are designed to prevent. 10 psf dead load and 20 psf live, minimum, if memory serves (same in TN, where I am). Although if you put it two double rafter ties, one at each end, I imagine you're probably in good shape*. I just wanted to pass along the information in case you didn't have it. I personally don't have a problem with a DIY builder cutting corners, provided they're doing it on purpose. I do it myself. Though, to be fair, you really take on a lot of liability when you do it for pay on someone else's property. Might be worth exploring an umbrella liability policy or something along those lines for work you do. They're generally not real expensive.

As for your inverter, I'm sure you made sure you got a pure sine wave model and not a modified sine wave model, right? The modified sine waves are marketed very carefully to try and fool people into thinking they're just as good as pure sine but cheaper, yet that's not the case. Not for electronics and motors anyway.

*I lifted/carried/hauled/levered my ridgebeam into position for my cabin all on my own about 10 months ago. 20' long doug fir double 2x12s, and it was installed 20' above the ground without any help or mechanical advantage (nothing overhead I could tie off to, and remote enough that no equipment can get in really). The thing outweighed me, and I'm 220lbs. Believe me when I tell you I looked long and hard for ways I could get away with rafter ties and a ridgeboard. I'm jealous of how easy that went for you.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:07 pm

I decided to bottle my wine today with some repurposed bottles a friend had given me. I had to purchase a wine bottle corker with corks obviously which set me back about $20, which wasn't too bad. It was kind of neat to produce my own bottles of wine, however simple.

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I managed to produce four and a half bottles, with the half bottle to be drunk tonight either in happiness or sorrow. Can't lose, right?

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I also toured Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery recently and was impressed with their warehouse, among other things. I don't know that I will ever attempt producing bourbon after noting all of the specialized steps they utilize, but it was still a visually impressive tour. Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible for most of the pictures I took so I will leave you with one I thought turned out well.

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Still doing a lot of hiking and I've been fortunate to get some pictures of wildlife while upon my walks. This little guy thought he was hiding from me.

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This guy couldn't figure me out at all as I was sitting at a dead still. I'm surprised simply moving to take his picture didn't frighten him off, but he eventually smelled me and was gone. He's still impressive to look at even with the potato quality photo.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:54 pm

A small project today. A neighbor wanted a workbench for his garage which ended up becoming an easy build. Beautiful day for working outside.

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