“Little Oil” is back in business.

Ambient temps in the Seattle area have raised over 40ºF in the last week… the rains are back with a vengeance. My home WVO filtering setup is moving once again… those cold temps wedged it pretty solid for most of December. Gravity was not doing the job and I had to use the hand pump to get it through the filters. Talk about an upper-body workout! I think I managed to squeeze about 7 gallons out after working at it for 3 weeks. I’d go out to the barn at night and slowly turn the crank on the pump and watch a very thin stream come out of the spout. It was slow, hard work. An hour’s crank-turning would produce maybe a half-liter or so of usable oil. I brought my powerbook out and watched bittorrent downloaded copies of the BBC’s “Top Gear” show to occupy my mind while I worked. Once, as I was changing the pump from one barrel to another I dumped about 100ml of oil onto the laptop(!) I freaked out and imagined the damage should it move from where it landed (on the area that is blank below the keyboard, and also on the trackpad and “mouse button” of my 15″ aluminum powerbook) but thankfully it remained in its honey-like consistency and barely spread. I was able to mop it up. No damage at all.

Saturday, with temps in the low 60ºs F (yes, low sixties on Christmas eve!) the stuff was free flowing once again. I pulled 10 gallons out with ease, and moved about 30 gallons through the filters and into the storage barrel. Today it is in the high 40s. If the temps stay this warm I’ll be able to work through my big backlog.

Christopher, who is now taller than me (he has now assumed, I believe the title of “The Tallest Goolsbee Ever”… Austan if you are out there let me know if any folks on your branch of the Goolsbee family exceed 6′) has been a big help in keeping the whole process moving. To help alleviate my back injury getting worse, he is able to assist in doing the heavy lifting. Oil buckets for the initial dump into my “get the big chunks of french fry bits out” filter… which is a polypropylene sock attached to the bottom of a funnel. Though like any 15yr old, he complains about having to do the work, once he gets moving he seems to enjoy himself. It gives us a chance to talk to each other as well.