Thursday, 28 May 2015


Up here in Alberta, we don't get much sunlight during the dead of winter. That's why I love spring so much. But there's another reason I love the lengthening days besides more light in the evenings.

Over the years, I've purchased a number of radios with solar panels. Being able to charge them up in the sunlit windows of my home lets me make use of all that solar energy streaming down from our nearest star.

I also bought two solar-powered battery chargers, though one broke. I can now charge up my MP3 player's cells and enjoy hours of music as I work in the yard or walk to the post office. It also decreases the number of single-use cells I need to throw out or take to a recycling depot.

I recently used a solar panel to charge up my cell phone's battery. In the event that I need to charge it and the mains power is out, I can use the sun to get it up and running.

I also bought a radio in January which has a jack for charging cell phones. It doesn't recharge the battery all the way but it does give the phone enough juice for an emergency call. As power outages are a common event here in this rural hamlet, that will be a useful asset in the event that the phone line also doesn't work.

Solar panels aren't the only power-producing devices I have. The radio I just mentioned has a dynamo crank. It's tiring but I can at least get enough of a charge into my cell phone from cranking the radio to call 9-1-1 if I need to do so.

I have four other radios with dynamo cranks and LED flashlights as well. Those are most useful in severe weather since two of them have the weather band channels.

In addition, I have two dynamo lanterns and a number of wind-up flashlights. Those are most handy at night during thunder storms and power outages. I also have an adapter which connects up to my large solar panel so I can charge the lanterns with it.

When severe weather or power outages happen, I'm ready. I hope you are too. Instead of scrambling to find candles and matches, you'll be good to go. As a precaution, keep batteries in cell phones and lanterns charged up during stormy months. A water-purifying jug is also handy in case all you have is rain water to drink.

I mention my love of gadgetry in all three of my memoirs. Check out the Bruce Atchison's books page, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books for information about my paperbacks.