February 28, 2015
Foundation Snow - Insulation or Not?
In some of my pictures of snow at the house, Cop Car suggested that the insulation value of the snow against the foundation must be very helpful in keeping the house warmer. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. I have a roof that is made for a more southern home; not only is it fairly flat, it has wide eves at 3 feet. This really works well to keep out the summer sun while allowing plenty of winter sun in, protect the ramp from snow, and protecting the foundation from rain. I really like the wide eves for that reason. However, the snow pack is away from the house, except for where I have either snow blown in that direction or shoveled - and both those spots are near the garage, which is not very helpful for insulation.
This is the side of the garage. Sure, if the garage was fairly air tight at the door, and in back, the snow might be helpful - but neither of those cases are true. The snow is blown in that direction while snow blowing the path to the oil tank - just for the little help it might provide.
The front of the house is mostly barren, except the part closest to the garage, from my shoveling the snow from the roof dumping (I don't blow snow that way because I don't want high-velocity projectiles aimed at the bay window. Oh, and if you look in the lower left corner, you will see a mound of snow on the steps. I took the pictures about 25 minutes after I was done snow blowing - which was about 5 minutes after the roof dumped and I had to put my boots back on to go shovel.
On the side that the pellet stoves are on, it is mostly clear for about a foot before the snow pack starts - mostly of that is from the roof dumping. And, what little snow is there, has slid down the berm from the roof snow. I did have to shovel out some of the berm closest to the lower pipe (the Harman in the basement), to make sure there was no impedance to the exhaust.
Of course the back side of the house does not have snow around the foundation because of the ramp.
I'm sure the snow does provide wind relief for the sill of the house, and some insulation value to the garage, just not as much as Cop Car imagined from looking at pictures taken from a distance.
February 21, 2015
Couple of Wild Bird Pics
Taken by my cheap, old digital camera on Sunday during the bird counts
Purple Finch - distinction from house finch is the bars on the chest of females and the red on the back of males with the notched tail.
Male Downey Woodpecker
Some sort of Sparrow - I want to say it is a chipping sparrow, but there is not enough info for me to say it definitely so (had a bunch of these)
February 16, 2015
Snow, Yeah We Got That
Cop Car asked if we were getting any of the blizzards that have hit the area. Technically we haven't, although we have had plenty of snow and wind. We've had major storms in each of the last 4 weeks, along with minor storms in between.
A few pictures from Sunday when there was 14-15" of snow on the railing of the ramp:
I was actually somewhat happy about the high wind on Sunday as it helped throw the snow over the banks. We have been lucky, parts of MA and the seacoast of NH have gotten hammered worse than this area so far this season.
February 07, 2015
Back in January, the day of the Garage Party, we had a light snowfall. Nothing major, with fluffy snow and no winds. Apparently all the heavy snows and freezing rain storms from earlier in the year had taken their toll. Sometime either while I was at the party, or later that night, the willow tree lost a large limb.
I saw it the next day when I went out to get the Sunday paper. In these pictures, it doesn't look overly large, but that is because it is beside a very large tree. One picture is from the road, the other from the house (obviously I was inside).
I texted the EX that I had a limb down and if he wanted it for firewood to come get it. He did about 10 days later, just before a fairly large snow storm.
He wasn't prepared for the size, thinking it was a small limb, but he got about ten 5-6 foot logs, of good diameter off of it, plus several smaller pieces. The small stuff that he didn't take I piled up in the backyard, making a nice brush pile for the birds and other wildlife (no pics, sorry). The logs were fairly light for their size, which means that the branch was pretty much dead; willows are very thirsty trees and grow very well in wet or boggy areas (hence, it grows well about 10 feet from the swamp next door).
The willow continuously sheds limbs, although not nearly so large, but it is very messy and obviously in distress since at least one large branch was dead so I will need to see about having it taken down next summer - or at least checked by an arborist to see if any other limbs need to come off.
I was very happy that the limb fell toward the fence, and not on the house.
January 24, 2015
Plenty of Heat
After picking up 15 more bags of pellets yesterday, I rearranged the pellet pallets. Each row of pellets is 5 bags.
All the black bags on the right are FSU's (not that you care, just so you can tell what I'm talking about further in the post) and those are what I burn in the upstairs stove. All the bags on the left are different kinds that I use in the downstairs stove.
Each bag is 40 pounds. In picking up just the 15 bags of FSU's yesterday, I had to handle them 3 times; load them onto cart at store, transfer from cart to car, transfer from car to house. So in effect, just those 15 bags was a total of moving 1800 pounds yesterday.
But wait, that isn't the whole story. See, that stack on the left used to be split between the two pallets and 20 bags of FSU's that I already had were on top of the left side pallet. Last night I unloaded the approximately 1/2 ton of mixed pellets off the right side pallet onto the floor. I then started filling it with FSU's, starting with those from my car, then topping it of with the FSUs that were on the left side pallet. Then I stacked the 1/2 ton of mixed pellets on the left side.
So, I moved 1000 pounds twice, 600 pounds 3 times, and 800 pounds once. Lets see, that translates to 2000 + 1800 + 800 = 4600 pounds of pellets that I moved yesterday.
Nope, didn't need any workout with weights yesterday.
January 11, 2015
Low Temp of the Season
The lowest temperature yet this season was at 4 AM on January 8th:
Right now it is -10F.
Still nice and warm inside from the pellet stoves!
January 03, 2015
Let There be Light
Shortly before Christmas, Cop Car sent me a small box. Within that box was an LED Flashlight - Cool!
I installed the batteries, and . . . nothing. Then I realized that the polarity on one of them must be installed differenctly. It wasn't obvious unless you looked really closely, but I figured it out
December 30, 2014
Not Another CL Find
Friday before last (about 10 days ago), I was at a big box hardware store during lunch (the one closest to work, not my favorite one), and I happened to go thru the kitchen cabinet section. There were a couple of unfinished cabinets on the floor, and the tags on them had me doing a double-take. One of them was too big for my needs in the craft room, but the other one was looking just right (don't ask me why the picture comes out sideways - I'm using my laptop and apparently the Win 8 apps I have that touch up pictures don't talk well with Typepad - even removing properties didn't help). [EDIT - I fixed the pictures - bogie]
Needless to say, the drawers found their way into the Jeep. Friday night I stained them, then Saturday they got two coats of polyurathane. During the 2nd coat, tragedy inconvenience struck.
I managed to drop the open can of polyurathane. Fortunately I was doing all the work in the basement so at least no wood floors or carpets were harmed. Not the best way to seal up a concrete floor though - and truly doesn't seal it, it just soaks in. After cleaning up the mess, I decided it was time to stop working for the day (it was 7:54 pm when the picture was taken), and I waited to complete the 3rd and 4th coats of polyurathane until Sunday. Monday when I got home from work, I took everything upstairs.
Now I just need to find a countertop to go between the drawers and spice rack.
December 13, 2014
Last weekend I was doing something, I don't recall what, which evidently made noises that Fuzzy didn't like. I only realized that when I walked into the kitchen and saw Fuzzy staring out the office door. How did that tip me off? Fuzzy never goes into the office as that is Tory's hang out.
Tory was a little disgruntled that Fuzzy was in there, but he was more upset with what I was doing. I can tell becasue otherwise he would have either moved to the couch or confronted Fuzzy.
After I finished my actions - ah yes, I remember now, I was cleaning the upstairs stove and using an ash vac that I had just gotten and it sounds much different than my tiny shop vac that I had been using.
The ash vac is the green one, the shop vac is the red one. I received the shop vac as my Christmas gift in 2012 when I worked for SG; There were a bunch of boxes and envelopes that everyone got to chose from, and that is what I managed to pick. Little did I know how handy it would turn out to be later! It has been cleaning sheetrock dust, saw dust, pellet stoves and goodness knows what else. It has been great, just it is very small and I would have to empty it as much as 3 times a day.
Anyway, once I finished with the pellet stove cleaning, Fuzzy came out into the living room (his usual haunt) and life for the kitties returned to normal.
December 06, 2014
Let me just get this out there in front: I Love Craig's List!
I have gotten many good deals for items that I couldn't afford to buy new off the service. My livingroom couch (wood Futon), the livingroom chair (smaller wood futon), hanging cabinets for the office and kitchen, filing cabinet (for EX as I took the one from the house), upstairs pellet stove etc.
A couple of weeks ago I borrowed EX's leaf blower for cleaning out the pellet stove pipes (this is a video off of You Tube that shows the concept)
Yes, EX volunteered the leaf blower when I told him that I was looking for a used blower and why.
So, after cleaning the stove out, I hooked up the leaf blower and got the rest of the crud out. I then used the blower to get the leaves out from under the ramp and to chase leaves away from paths that I snow blow.
A couple days later, I was perusing Craig's List, and lo and behold the exact same leaf blower that I had used that weekend was on there for a great price. It was almost new, only being used for a couple of times. It had been on CL for 7-10 days so emailed to find out if it was still available. It was, I offered $10 less than the asking price, and the next day I picked up my new leaf blower.
Of course the next day it snowed, and has been snowing on and off since, so it won't wee any leaves before it sees a pellet stove vent pipe, but that's okay.
This past Wednesday, I was perusing CL, with a vague idea of getting wall cabinets for the craft room. Although I didn't find any, I did see an intriguing add for a "Spice cabinet", brand new, in box, for $20. I was actually unsure if it was for the cabinet insert, or for the cabinet, but either way I could make it work for that price.
I contacted the seller. Thursday I went and picked it up. Sure enough, brand new, in a box addressed to the seller and to the address I picked it up at (I had been suspicious about it being a stolen item from the low price), and the transaction was made.
I now have a cabinet that normally sells for $200, and will be great for holding my essential oils and other bottled items that reside in the craft room. Those items are currently taking up a lot of room on a bookshelf, so now that can be cleared for actual books.
Now all I need is another floor unit (maybe with drawers) so that I can either make, or buy, a countertop. Of course I will be using CL to find what I need.