May 3, 2013 by Last Star blog
Now life on the Last Star is not all rum punches and sea-bean hunting. Oh no, on occasion there is work to do. Now in general that work is put off as long as possible in keeping with the nomadic life of cruising and living aboard but some tasks need attention and can’t be put off. One of those tasks is the care and feeding of the refrigeration system.
Food here costs quite a bit and the prospect of the fridge failing and losing all that valuable food would be a disaster. In addition, what would happen to our ice cubes for happy hour? Now our system runs off of 12 vold DC boat current. That electricity comes mostly from the sun and the solar panels and is stored in the bank of batteries under the floorboards. Now the fridge probably draws the most power of anything on board in a 24 hour period and keeping it running efficiently makes good sense. To do that it must be defrosted. I suspect no one who lives on land, currently defrosts a refrigerator. They are all “frost free” and for a good reason, defrosting a freezer is total ass pain. Oh maybe one or two of you had a college “dorm” fridge that required defrosting but as you were a college student you never bothered with that and the extra power drain was no big deal as the dorm provided 120v AC on a continuous basis. Oh and when the frosts gets a hold of the freezer it gets smaller and smaller too until you can’t fit the little ice tray in there….remember that?
SO here is our freezer/fridge needing attention; about 3 weeks since last accomplished and humidity has been very high so the frost “beard” was on it right away last time.
The lower left corner must have a bit of air that seeps in by the +20 year old foam strip so that is always the worst of it. The process begins by turning off the switch when we get up, it starts to warm up during breakfast. After breakfast Patricia must knock out the dishes first as we need the space in the sink for some cold stuff as well as some water and soap to clean. We put the “freezer” section in one of those bags from the grocery store to keep things hot or cold–you’ve seen ’em. Works great for the ice trays and keeping the frozen stuff cold for when we start back up. Next the sliding tray and all the items come out. This section generally holds few surprises as it is cold drinks and sandwich fixings mostly. Then the bottom comes out, here it can be quite a mixed bag of treats. Some good, some not so good. The not so good would be the veg or other item that “disappeared” in there for a bit too long. Just like you fridge at home. Except yours opens from the front, not the top. Yours has a light….ours does not. Ours Patricia has to lean into to reach the bottom. Oh and don’t touch that little spring on the side holding up the 15 lb door or it will slam down like a guillotine. Seen that a couple of times.
So once everything is out I go after the ice with a plastic spatula. To hasten the process of melting we put our fan on high blowing right on top of the ice. It melts the ice in about 15 minutes.
This is our opportunity to do a new inventory on what’s for dinner the next few nights, how much lunch meat do we have on hand, block cheese etc. We wipe it down with soap and water, dry it best we can and here’s the finished product until next time…..
So that’s our old school refrigerator system in need of the defrosting demon. High humidity hastens the need for next time. Patricia suggested that I do a quick “defrost” daily (like your freezer at home) so I turn it off for about 20 minutes each morning with the top open and it seems to be working at keeping all the frost off with none accumulating
The whole process takes about 30 minutes once we start unloading. It is only hastened by the Sentinel-from-Hell who MUST post himself at this location EVERY time someone goes in the “kitchen” in hopes of getting food.
He leaves little room to get by and the day I clip my toe again on the ladder trying to get by him he is going over the side. I know Grunt will want photos of that!! Oh and that’s the “daily photo of the cat” as required by the blog’s Art Director.