Sunday, April 01, 2007


Skipped the "Winter" post.

With our new snazzy programmable thermostat, and the warm January, and us being out of the house more, we haven't used up all of our wood yet. Got about 1/2 cord left and I don't know if we'll use it before it gets too warm to make it useful any more. But that's not a really horrible problem, since we still don't have a very concrete plan for that part of the garden.

Been busy with a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with the house, so it's kind of just been sitting there, keeping the weather out and the light in. We're making some fits and starts to actual improvement again; Scand put all the handles and latches on the kitchen cabinets a couple of weeks ago, which is nice for sure. She also went ahead and bought the paint for the dining room and living room (at least), so come warmer weather and slightly saner schedules I imagine we'll get that taken care of over a weekend or two.

The kitchen wiring is still holding up the backsplash, which is holding up getting it fully finished. My job to take care of that; decided to go ahead and hire an electrician about two months ago, but still haven't done it (soon!). Annoying because I have it all planned out, just takes some stuff they didn't have at Home Depot, and we haven't had the time+gumption to make it to an appropriate electric supply place, and then it would take another day or two to actually do it. Not much for sure, but just haven't had it recently.

Snowdrops were up a week ago, now almost gone. Crocuses and daffodils are out, and a lot more of our flower beds are poking green through the leaves. A pleasant time of year to be outside, for sure.

I realize this post is a bit rambling; hopefully with a slightly more regular update schedule here sometime we'll get back to making posts that are about a particular subject.


Blogger gina said...

sanity is desirable, yes. perry has decided that we need crocuses and daffodils at our house - last fall he was too cranky with other planting to consider bulbs :) perhaps you should send/post some photos so he can drool.

good luck with the house stuff! we want to get going on some decorating... but i'm glad we have no fixing really to do.

4:05 PM  

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Almost Winter

Even though we've had highs in the sixties for about the past week, it is pretty much the end of fall. Our monthly gas bill reminded us of this– a bit over $100 even though it's been "relatively" warm. I think because of the relative warmth we haven't been using the wood stove as much as we should, and haven't been setting the thermostat as low as we should.
At any rate, today I made a trip to the store and picked up a couple of things. First, the same Frost King indoor window-plasticing kits we got last year, along with the same crappy caulk rope that's too small to use easily. These items made a big difference last year. Then, a programmable thermostat to replace our old mechanical mercury one.
The new thermostat is a Honeywell, like the old one, but unlike it is 5-1-1 programmable, which means you can have different programs for weekdays, saturdays and sundays. For starters I've got it set to turn the setpoint down to 55 when we sleep and 50 when we're away during the day. Last year during the cold times of winter we had the old thermostat set to about 55 all the time, and heated up with the wood stove. With this newfangled thing we should be able to use even less gas, but have the luxury of waking up to a relatively warm house (currently set to a balmy 67 for the morning!). The programming is pretty easy, and I imagine we'll be tweaking times and temps once we get used to how it works. It cost us 80 bucks; most likely it'll pay for itself this year. For folks using gas heat only, it's expected to pay for itself in as little as a couple of months during the winter around here.
We did have our furnace inspected for the first time since we bought the place. Had a pretty good contractor come in and check/clean the various parts, while explaining to me what he was doing. Turned down the gas pressure a little, it was set somewhat high. Other than that, the basic synopsis was that it looks very good, but we should be aware that it's at about the end of its expected life, since it was installed in 1988.
We almost managed to schedule a chimney sweep to clean and inspect the chimney our wood stove is using, but haven't actually managed to do so yet. I did clean out the blower on the stove, which was operating at about 50% due to two years of lint, dust, and cat hair collecting in the squirrel cage blowers. We've been very happy with the stove recently, probably due to this and our dry wood.

Also in the "almost winter" category, we finally got the third cord of wood stacked out back on Friday, and S. did some lawn cleanup while I was finishing the tail end of that. We do have some carrots out in our garden which we should probably dig up during this warm spell.


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Saturday, October 07, 2006


As some of you may remember, a couple of years ago we installed a wood stove fireplace insert with the hopes of saving on heating bills. Last year we burned three cords of wood, and I think we did indeed save money. Having a place to warm up allows us to keep the thermostat pretty low; 55 I think is what we had it set at for much of the winter, with our living space usually more in the 60s and 70s due to the fire.

We've got the first two cords in the back yard, about 1/5 of it is stacked. For the first time we're getting two cords from the same supplier: MMI Firewood. We got a cord from them last year which was not exorbitant for around here ($225) and relatively dry and not crappy. This year it's $215/cord, and maybe a little crappier than I remember but probably still a good buy for moderately seasoned hardwood around here. Really good wood is about $285/cord here. Still might be worth it, but since the batch we got last year needed some extra drying, we just couldn't quite stomach that cost.

Perhaps when we've got it stacked I'll be able to post a picture of the supply, under the blue tarp which S. despises so much. Why not brown, she asks? Well, I guess in my mind tarps are blue. Ah well.


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Not Dead Yet!

Though it certainly has seemed like it over the past year(!), this blog is not, in my mind anyway, dead yet. There are plenty of things to write about, but we just haven't done so. For instance, our sorry excuse for a garden, which has been causing Sandra to lose hope of making the outside pretty, is rated by the neighborhood kids as the best garden on the street, because of the number of things in it you could eat! I've been doing my best to get the electrical work in the kitchen done, which hasn't been very good, but at least I've got a plan now. And we've got some of this winter's wood stacked, and will be getting the lawn treated a bit by an organic lawn service- we did some things to it which the weeds liked better than the grass.

All this and more we can cover, and hopefully we will do a bit of that. But anyway, all appearances and bets to the contrary, I'm not dead yet!

For those of you with RSS viewers, I'll recommend putting this on your RSS list. Though not dead, the posting is likely to still be pretty sporadic, as both S. and I are about as swamped as Pennsylvania in the Carboniferous Age, as are some family members who need our help.


Blogger Carl said...

Glad to see you back posting! Your readership appreciates anything and everything you have time to jot down.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Hubby said...

Carl! Glad you're reading, man. I was a bit worried about the fact that "not dead" doesn't mean "not forgotten". We'll try to keep it up a bit.

8:11 PM  

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

No news

I guess that's good news, though, yes?

I've been working full time at my new job. I enjoy it, and it's going really well. So far, I've been working by myself in the woods for 8 hours a day, taking detailed measurements on young sugar maples and tagging all of their branches for future monitoring. At some point, I'll have to build small fences around each of the trees (90 trees in all), and I'll also have to build twenty 11m x 11m deer fences around some other plots that are being used for another experiment.

I know that this sounds like an absolutely terrible, boring job to a lot of people, and maybe at some point in the future I'll come to hate it. It is totally the opposite extreme from nursing, and maybe that is it's appeal to me now. Incidentally, I happened to work my first nursing shift in over 6 months last Wednesday. The surprising part of it wasn't how strange it felt to be there again, but rather how completely normal it felt. It was like I'd never left. In fact, I said hello a nurse practitioner whom I haven't seen in all these months, and it took her until the opposite end of the corridor before she stopped, turned around, and shouted down the hallway, "Hey, you're back!" Other welcomes back to nursing: I had to stay 2 hours longer than scheduled; one of my patients was a "frequent flier" whom I'd known before my trip, who was back for more narcotics after having left AMA (against medical advice) under 1 month ago, and who had been kicked out of the hospital last fall (during yet another hospital stay) for smoking crack in her hospital room with her husband; and I started my shift running around like a banshee trying to get 2 patients ready for procedures that the previous nurse had failed to prepare for or tell me about. Welcome back!

B is in between trips hither and yon, but he's been working hard on his research and is making progress. He has plans now for a 1-week solo trip to Germany in the fall.

Needless to say, in the midst of all of this activity little has been done in the way of home renovations. I haven't even begun thinking about a backsplash in the kitchen. I've painted the drawers and put them back in place, though, which beats the pants off keeping all of our cooking utensils in a cardboard box that sat on the floor in the dining room. I had hoped to paint some cabinet doors today, but I ended up having to put in some extra hours at work instead. So far, my plan to work four 10-hour days per week hasn't exactly been successful.


Blogger perrence said...

that's the problem with being a smart, efficient, and enthusiastic worker. you make yourself indespensible, and they need you all the time! good thing you got so much done when you were unemployed! glad the trees are so enjoyable. hope it gets even better.

8:17 AM  

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