new years day

I remember 2023 like it was yesterday.


It’s cold today, with a high in the 40s. I’m inside writing this and Muffin, as always when it is not dark, freezing, or raining, is outside in the sun. She should enjoy it because this is the last day of full sun I’ll likely see while I’m here.


I tried looking for my long johns (no luck) but did find the USB electric vest I had squirreled away in the off-season clothes storage. I put it on under a fleece pullover and it did a great job warming the core. I was running it on a 2.4Ah USB bank I’d found which lasted until about noon.

infrared propane heater

I ran across a used infrared propane heater like this one and have been trying it out. It’s very light and I figure I could hang it somewhere high when stored.

My understanding is a small flame heats an IR emitter housed inside a little wire cage and the resulting IR waves are reflected out by the parabolic dish. It works quite well, with very little heat detectable behind or above the dish. For this reason it would better for spot heating than space heating. It has LO / MED / HI settings but LO is too low to run cleanly. I’ve been running on the detent between LO and MED to good effect.
The reflector was dusty so I took off the exterior wire guard and wiped it down.

Spot heating is so effective I have run it only in 5-10min blasts in the morning or before bed. The amazon listing said 2.2 hours in one place and 1.9 hours in another, so let’s say ~2 hours per 1lb bottle.

Since this one is supposed to be 10k BTU on LO and my Coleman single-burner is 10k BTU on HI I think the latter can be turned down much further for longer burntimes. When doing that I put a flame tamer on the burner to diffuse the heat.

BDU jacket

cut off patches unauthorized cordon

When I was in town visiting my sister she mentioned she had my 2nd, unused, BDU field jacket. I only wore the one in the Army so the other is mint. I’ve worn the original regularly since I ETSed in 1988 and it’s quite ragged. Not surprising, it was issued to me in 1984, 40 years ago.

At first I was hesitant to make the change but I cut off the patches and moved to the new field jacket.

The fourragère (braided cord) is a unit award, the Belgian croix de guerre (2nd award) given to an earlier incarnation of the unit.1 It was worn on the Class A uniform but I have put it on the field jacket because:

  1. the muted red/green looks neat against the camo pattern
  2. I am a civilian now and don’t have to follow military uniform discipline any longer


One of the post-holiday clearance items I found was $1.50 for a 1lb “sweet potato souffle”, whatever that is. I’m going to give it 20 mins of pressure today at 4pm, which should give me enough time to recharge the bank before sundown.

solar after winter solstice

Winter solstice was Dec 22nd. Solar should improve steadily until June 20th, 2024. In the dead of winter I’m maxxing in the low 30s MPPT harvest while in summer is common to bounce off the 45A max around solar noon.

  1. I seem to remember it was from WW1 but I can’t find info on it and I’m not invested enough to dig into it.