Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter / Emergency Preps, Lighting

I thought it would be fitting to have "Lighting" as the first topic since it's usually the first thing one notices when the power goes off.  Well, at least at night. 
We have one Aladdin table lamp (Genie II), one Kosmo table lamp, two older “garage-sale” finds, and several of the cheapie glass table lamps, most manufactured by Lamplight Farms.  Since Rhiannon is in her “search & destroy” mode most of the time, it’s a chore to keep an eye on her & the lamps.  Technically I haven’t used the Aladdin lamp for years; the mantel has burned out. Aladdin has had a problem with producing the mantels for at least two YEARS now (maybe longer).  This and the fact that the mantels are very delicate (and expensive) makes me want to find another alternative.  Although I will admit that the light output from it is pretty amazing. 
My Kosmo lamp is my favorite right now.  The round wick puts out more light than the flat-wick types.  I use the smaller lamps in the bathrooms as a nightlight. It won’t light the entire room for you, but they are bright enough to keep you from cracking your noggin on the edge of the door if you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Ask me how I know this.  My two garage-sale finds stay in the kitchen / living area & are used if we’re working on supper or want to light a larger area.  There is also a cheapie wall-mounted lamp on the wall between the dining area & kitchen.  I’m hoping to get a couple better wall-mounted lamps with reflectors because I figure Rhiannon can’t get to those (at least not as easily as the table lamps).  Hidden somewhere in storage are several other Lamplight Farms flat-wick lamps and chimneys and another Kosmo ceiling hung lamp that I have yet to refurbish (I had a weak E-bay moment a few years ago & just had to have it).
We also have boxes of candles, but I like the lamps better.  I suppose it would be more dangerous for a lamp to fall, break & spill fuel oil all over the place than to have a candle fall over.  You just have to remember to never leave a flame unattended, even for a minute.
Our stash of lamp oil is pretty well set; probably have enough to last us a month or more even if we had to use them every night, but I have lamp oil on my list of things to buy next shopping trip to town.  As far as I know it doesn’t go bad. 
So, we’ve got our lamps & oil, but do we have matches?  Lots of them. But, uhm, exactly where they were I couldn’t remember.  So I had to do some hunting & finally found a stash.  I put a small box of matches and a lighter next to or very close to the different lamps – out of Rhiannon’s reach of course.  Nothing worse than having a lamp but no spark.
I couldn’t talk lighting without bringing up by far the easiest alternative to flipping on a wall switch; flashlights!  Paul recently purchased several LED flashlights online.  The first one was a Guard Dog (not sure of the mfg., but it was from China).  It seemed like a durable flashlight, and we liked the fact that it was rechargeable (batteries get expensive you know!), but it wasn’t all we had hoped.  It fit in your hand nicely, but we’ve found that we really like the on/off button to be on the end of the flashlight.  We like the end button because it makes it easier to hold / point it at something & be able to turn it on and off with your thumb without moving the beam of light.  It also wasn’t as bright as we would have liked.  And it had an annoying “feature”.  Click the button once & it’s on, click it again & it’s a strobe & click it again & it goes off.  But you can’t go from “On” to “Off” without going through the strobe feature.  Not a biggie, but we just didn’t like it so it was returned & got our money back.
The second light is a Dorcy and I really liked it.  It was a bit larger than the Guard Dog, but the light output was really amazing; it was almost like a mini-spotlight.  This also had the on/off switch on the side, but I overlooked it because of the amount of light it put out.  Unfortunately we had a problem with it.  It came with batteries (cheap, no-name ones) and we noticed they leaked a bit when we changed them.  We carefully cleaned out the inside of the flashlight & put new batteries in it, but it didn’t work correctly after that.  It has a one-year warranty on it so I’m going to send it back sometime this week (hopefully) and get another one.  As long as the replacement one works like the first one, we’ll be happy with it.
Paul got both of us Streamlight Microstream pocket LED lights & we’re happy with these.  They are really bright for their size & also have the on/off button on the butt end.  The only thing I would have liked better is if it had a key fob as I like to keep mine on my keychain as opposed to in my pocket.  Yes, I know I could keep in my pocket, but I already have a pocket knife there & it’s getting kind’a crowded there. 
I’d really like to find one of those flashlights that you recharge by shaking them back & forth.  A good one, that is.  We bought two several years ago & they didn’t put out much light, especially for their size.  But I think we only paid like $10 for them; you get what you pay for.  I usually bring one of the bigger flashlights with me when I milk early in the morning, but I'd also like to get one of those Coleman type hanging lanterns that run on batteries & I'd just keep it in the milk parlor. 
Just another thing to add to "The List".
Tomorrow's post........"Heating"

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