Murphy strikes the Jeep – again!

Northstar Ultra High Performance AGM batteryWell, I’m just about to pull the trigger and buy a new bumper for the Jeep, and this past Friday I go out into the torrential downpour only to find the Jeep is dead. Completely dead. No dash lights, no odometer, nothing.

Over the weekend, I pulled the battery (a Northstar ultra high performance one that I purchased a year or so ago from Battery World – read -”not cheap!”) and hooked it up to a charger, and after a few hours, the charger displayed “bad”.  Tested with a multimeter and something discharged the battery down to nothing – but no idea what.

Hopefully can get the battery replaced and all will be good in the world again!  If that doesn’t fix it – then I’m afraid my bumper budget will get swallowed up in troubleshooting and fixing an electrical problem!

Update:
Things are looking promising I think – Battery World has the battery now and are testing it, and recharging it.  In the meantime, they gave me an Optima Red Top to throw in the Jeep and see how things go.  With the Optima, the Jeep fired up – which is encouraging.  I ran the Jeep a little while – checked the voltage while running – which came out to 13.8 volts – which I think is in the right neighbourhood.  Tried this morning, and the Jeep fired up again as well.  Fingers crossed – hopefully Battery World calls back soon!

New closet

Moved back up to our bedroom now that Tracey’s foot has healed up and gotten much better – we’re not sure that we’re thrilled about the upstairs/downstairs routine again, but the space is definitely nice!

One thing we decided to fix right away was the lack of closet space – so I made up a couple cabinets that I mounted along the length of the bedroom, added some 1.5″ dowelling between them, and we now have about 15 feet of closet!  Everyone’s happy!

A new favourite?

A couple months back, I picked up my first bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh.  This is a single cask single malt that is unbelievably tasty and smooth – even without knocking it back with a bit of water.  Received my fourth bottle – (I’m not drinking any of this by myself , I have been sharing :^) – this past Father’s Day, and I’m enjoying it as much as ever.

Last night, myself and a few friends visited The Bothy, and each tried a couple new whisky’s that we haven’t had before.  None of us have been a fan of peaty whisky’s since we tried a bottle of Laphraig Quarter Cask. Hideous stuff, and just too funky of a taste.  Feeling adventurous, I thought I’d give the peat & smoke a second chance, and ordered glass of Highland Park 18 y.o, and another of Jura Prophecy.  The Highland Park was a sweet glass – a touch of smoke and peat.  The sweetness was almost a shock.  The Jura Prophecy was most impressive.

Improving the factory sound

jk sound barI read about this trick a while last summer or fall, and just now finally got around to trying it out.

Materials required:  a cheap fibre fill pillow (i bought one from Walmart – cost $4.97.

Tools required:  a small torx driver, sorry I don’t recall which #

Removed the 3 screws from each speaker in the top sound bar just behind the front seats, and let the speakers hang by the wires.  I then ripped open the pillow, and pulled out chunks of fibre fill, and stuffed it into the holes – not too loose, but not too packed either.  Mounted the speakers and grills bak in place.  Did the same with the rear sub woofer.

Amazing the improvement in sound without spending a small fortune in new electronics!

I didn’t do the front lower dash speakers – but I think I’ll take a look another day and see if the fill would be contained – otherwise, I might just see about some foam cones to mount in behind them.

 

 

Is this the bumper?

JCR Offroad Mauler
JCR Offroad Mauler

I do need to get a bumper for the Jeep.  It’s a tough call as to which to go with.  I like the Poison Spyder, and then I came across this offering from JCR Offroad.  Neither bumper includes the disco skid – which I would also add.

Poison Spyder BFH
Poison Spyder BFH

New additions to the aquarium

Siamese Algae EaterPicked up 3 Siamese Algae Eaters for the aquarium this evening.   Also picked up some plants, some sort of Hygrophila, I think.  Getting more algae growth, so I figured I should try controlling it with some algae eaters, and also add a little more nutrient competition by adding more plants.

hygrophila

Winch line weight

winch weightReceived a new winch line weight from my friend Rob over at BuiltforOffRoad.ca.

His new design allows you to easily wrap the weight around the winch line so that it stays in place.  If you use a winch at all, this is a MUST HAVE accessory!

Need more jars!

still have more to go!
still have more to go!

Bought 3 dozen 125ml canning jars – but still have some more spices to get into the new jars – so I think I’ll get a dozen more. The can of chalkboard paint would probably do 100 dozen!

My daughter and I had a challenging time getting some of the spice names to fit – but it was fun.  We’ll have to be careful not to rub the names off too!

One thing I’ll have to remember is to burnish the painters tape down along the label edge. I’m also going to see if I can’t source a better quality chalk – one that might allow for a little better control, and maybe add some colour! 

After painting the 4 coats of chalkboard paint on the 36 jars, I came across these DIY Chalkboard stickers at Thinkgeek.com.  These might be an even better approach!

Spice storage

The array of spices that we’ve acquired over the past while seems crazy – especially with my interest in all the different Asian dishes (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, etc).  Last count, I think I had around 60 bottles (!!!) of different herbs & spices, and various blends.  I’ve been trying to come up with a better, more accessible means of storing them – and thought that small mason jars might be a good choice.  So, off to Google, and came back with this great idea!  Blackboard paint and mason jars – perfect!

Mason jars - perfect for storing spices

On another blog, the recommendation is to use a brushable blackboard paint – for better control, and less mess.  I like this – as I can do it in the house then!

I’ll have to practice my chalk writing so the jars look as good as these!

Think I might use shelves to hold all the mason jars – I think the color of the spices would be great out in the open, as well as make sure they are readily accessible.

New Aquarium

IMG_0424Last year my son decided he wanted an aquarium, so we bought a 30 gallon setup on Kijiji. I helped him set it up – and unfortunately, he insisted on having it in his room – and after a couple months it became neglected, half full of water, and dark green with algae.

So one evening a month or so ago, we moved it downstairs and into the living room – where it gets a bit more attention, and the fish get fed. :)  A few more dollars have been spent on better lighting, and a better substrate for plants.

He had 6 catfish already – 4 different kinds of Cory’s (2 panda’s, 2 peppered, 1 albino, and 1 leopard), and we added 9 fancy guppies (3 male red metal delta tails, and 6 females – not sure what kind they all are) to the mix.  There are now 5 or 6 additional guppies as well. We’ll probably add a school of neon or cardinal tetras – I’ve read that they like softer water, so I think they would do well.

guppies2

Albino, Panda, Peppered and Leopard Corydoras

Trying to get some really good plant growth happening in the tank – but I’m not sure that our softened water is all that conducive to lush plant growth.  I’ll just keep trying different plants until we get a combination that works!

The tank is currently filtered using an in tank model – but I think that will get replaced in the near future with an external canister model – something that will get a little more flow.