Friday, July 16 2010
This morning I found that Nigel had completely emptied his bladder against one of the dining room table's legs, creating a large puddle of urine. I'd hoped I could gather his errant urinations with a box containing a towel over a bag of styrofoam popcorn (a sort of piss lightning rod), but it hadn't worked. Dispirited, I put Nigel back in the laundry room and closed it up so that he can no longer leave. I also cleared it of any objects he might be tempted to piss on. I felt terrible to do this, but I can't live with him pissing randomly throughout the house. The pungency of his urine effects me on a subconscious level, particularly when the weather is uncomfortably hot, making it seem even hotter and more oppressive. Meanwhile Gretchen did some research to figure out what might be done about a cat that is pissing everywhere. Possible explanations include a urinary tract infection (which causes cats to associate the litterbox with painful experiences) or stress. Though he'd seemed to adjust quickly to his new digs, its possible that he actually is experiencing a lot of stress a neurological overload.
In the full sun of afternoon, my solar panel started overheating and boiling over again today, possibly a consequence of bubbles introduced into the system when I was testing my antifreeze pump system the other day. The easiest cure for bubbles in the pipes is to add antifreeze from the top. I have a draincock fitting very near the highest part of the system, and for it I've made a custom funnel from a hose fitting and a piece of a two litre gin bottle. Today, though, as I was adding fluid, some of the superheated fluid from the panel belched up into my custom funnel and briefly melted some of the polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) of the gin bottle. The custom funnel was leaking and a bit smaller than what I needed, so I ended up making a replacement that used an entire half gallon gin bottle as a funnel. Unfortunately, there are no bottles (plastic or glass) onto which a standard hose fitting can be attached, so to fix the gin bottle to the copper fittings leading to the hose fitting, I had to heat them and then insert the neck of the bottle, where it melted and then adhered. This connection proved fairly mechanically sound, but I couldn't rely on it to be water tight. So I slathered it in tar and then wrapped electrician's tape around the joint. (The old funnel had depended on some sort of glue for its seal, but that hadn't worked very well; it's hard to find a glue that attaches well to PETE.)
At some point I want to make an antifreeze feed system that attaches permanently to the top of the highest solar panel. Such a system will have to use a valve similar to a toilet flapper to prevent air from entering the system should the reservoir run out. It will also have to have some sort of lid to keep out rain and debris. But other than that, it will be little more than a glorified version of the half gallon hose-attachable funnel I built today.
This evening Gretchen went on a massive vegetable-harvesting jihad, steaming huge amounts of broccoli and kale harvested from our garden, some of which she then froze.
My latest funnel for adding antifreeze to the top of the solar hydronic system.
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