Wondering about wild grapes

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sirens and Diesels

Today I want to get back to the "Wonderings".

First one, I got an Email wondering what a siren was. I had posted about my swamp that, "It is full of life. Everything from large bass, turtles, snakes, frogs of all kinds, and sirens to nutria, coons, possums, wading birds, ducks, Ferrel hogs, deer, and all kinds of thirsty animals."

Before I get a line of guys wanting to see all those naked winged mythical women in my swamp, I want to explain what they are. No they are not the noise that fire engines make. It is a very large two legged salamander. The ones we have in our swamp are the Greater Siren and they get up to 3 feet long. They only have two small legs just below the head. I gave a one to my daughter-in-law when my grandson was little and she raised it in a large aquarium for a few years. Don't know what happened to it. She did tell me that they like cheese.

Google "greater siren" and see what you get. There is also a Lesser Siren and a Midget Siren. They are all in the Salamander family. Here is one link to try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV8bdOH_m5E It shows one in an aquarium.

Second, I was wondering about diesel engines. This is a two part "wondering". The first part is about "runaway diesel engines". One of the reasons I am wondering about it is that a survivor of the BP Off-Shore Rig explosion heard a diesel generator motor speeding up before it happened. This was on the local news.

The news show went on to show past events of runaway diesel engines. One was a diesel pick up truck that had pulled into an open door of a factory. It caused an explosion and fire. You see, a diesel does not need spark plugs to fire and, therefore, can not be turned off by shutting off the ignition. The fuel system has to be turned off.

In the case of the pick-up truck at the factory, the engine sucked in gas from a source in the building and that mixed with the diesel fuel accelerated the engine to explosive speeds. So, what I am wondering, did some methane escape from the well and get into that diesel generator on the drilling rig and cause a runaway engine and the explosion and the leak, or was the leak first causing the excess methane gas that caused the runaway engine. Maybe we will never know.

The second diesel wondering is whether they are better for motorhomes than a gasoline engine. I have heard so much negative things about the diesel (upkeep, maintenance,cost), that it over-shadows the longevity of the engine. I am beginning to think that the gasoline engine is the best choice, unless you are going to put hundreds of thousands of miles on it every year. What do you think?

Advice of the day. To you cooks out there. Avoid cutting yourself when you are slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop. . .

And remember that everyone seems normal until you get to know them. . .


  1. About hose Diesels engines,My self personally? My only experience with them has been driving the big ole trucks with them. But , from what I read, they have more power than the gas ones, BUT IF I were buying a new RV,I'd still go with Gasoline personally.
    When I worked for Grumman Houston Corp, we were building oil field exploration systems for Schlumberger, and they had diesel engines.One guy on the way from the manufacture plant to out plant put gas in this truck,.We couldn't kill it at the plant.. Finally we stopped up the exhaust pipe and smothered it.

  2. Never had the chance o drive or use a diesel, but it would be interesting to know just the same!

    No such thing as too much knowledge!

  3. Hi Dick,
    I was wondering what a siren was, thanks for explaining. Always thought living near a swamp would make you close to nature, now I don't know if I want to be that close.:-)
    As far as diesel goes, have never owned a vehicle that didn't take gasoline. But, like Ben I think if I were in the market for a big motor home, I'd stay with a gas engine, sounds safer to me all the way around.

  4. I drove a diesel Rabbit for several years. I loved that thing. I had little to no problem with the engine. The car fell apart around it, but the engine was still going strong. I would get another diesel in a heartbeat if I was getting something big. I liked the better fuel mileage, and I like that I could run biodiesel and replace at least some of the petroleum. I do admit that I probably wouldn't risk putting straight grease into a new RV diesel engine although it would run on it with some minor modifications in the starting. The gas vs. diesel debate is one of the great conversations going, and pretty much comes down to personal preference from what I can tell.

  5. DD after towing with gas and diesel, I will not willingly put up with the lower performance of a gas engine while towing again. So do they pay out for my style of towing, no not in dollars. My little rig tows in overdrive up hills passing the gassers that are in first or second screaming--MORE GAS MORE GAS. I think the motor home marketers charge way more for the diesel upgrades than the actual cost warrents.