March 19, 2016
Maybe I'm a Prepper :)
Since receiving pellets a couple of weeks ago, L*wes has halved the price of pellets. Fortunately, I am active on a pellet burner forum and members alerted me not only to the bigger sale, but also the fact that they will price-match previous buys within the last 30 days. The last two tons I received were bought on 2/27; within the 30 days. I made a trip to the store this morning with receipt in hand. I ended up getting half my money back. With the "found" money, I am getting even more pellets delivered. They won't be delivered until the first weekend of April, which is fine by me. At that time I will have pretty much two more year's worth of heat on hand - and spent only a little above what I would normally pay for a heating season.
Not bad, even using the average price, and paying for delivery, I averaged $155/ton. At the beginning of the season I was happy to get "early season saving" prices of $259/ton (and that is for middling pellets - really good pellets were much more). People on the forums can't remember when the prices were this low. Of course no one is making money - just moving the stock out and taking the loss and getting some cash flow. It will be interesting to see what shakes out for pellet prices over the next couple of years.
So, once the pellets are delivered, I will have 8 tons outside plus 3 in the garage. Then I have 2.3 tons or so in the basement.
If prices stay low next season, I will top off my supply as money and availability allow. If prices are volatile, then I can ride it out on what I have stashed. Does put a crimp in my plans for what I was going to do to the house, but it only affects me, the cats, and Birdie so is not a big deal. Not like the house will fall down or anything, just spend more time looking at framing instead of proper walls :)
January 23, 2016
2016 Heritage Storage Party
Yes, I'm still alive, just haven't done anything either inside or outside the house, so haven't had anything to post about.
Today the place that I store my motorcycle, Heritage Harley Davidson, had their winter storage party. This is an invitation only event, for those who store their bike. Sure, the public can still come to the store, and they get an extra treat in being able to go into the wrenching area, but they don't get drink or food chits, nor do they get tickets for door prizes.
So I got to visit my bike (middle one in picture) and talk to a couple of LOH and HOG members that I usually only see during meetings.
Didn't win anything this year, but I have won some pretty good prizes in the past, so still had fun watching those who did win. they also have a chili cook off competition for the guys in the service department. The attendees are the judges and the winner of the most votes gets a vacation day.
Was happy that we aren't getting out of the Nor'Easter as it would have hit about when the party got out. Did some shopping while I was in Concord, and now back home with a cat on my lap as I type.
Don't see anything happening for the next several weeks, so may be a while before I post again. Don't worry, I'm not just neglecting my blog - I'm also not posting on FB except to Like people's postings. Just be happy that I'm not posting what is "happening" in my life so you don't have to try to cheer-lead something like, "I got up, I went to work, I got home, I watched TV, went to bed, I got up, I went to work" etc. etc.
November 13, 2015
What is Old is New
Over the last several weeks, the Jeep has not been doing so well. I believed it to be a transmission issue so I asked my local mechanic to check into getting a re-manufactured tranny for it. Seems that it is super special and there are none to be found (combination between it being fairly new - 2010, manual instead of automatic, and a 4WD instead of AWD). In fact, one of the mechanic's distributors said that he had been searching for the exact same tranny, for someone else, for 2 months.
On 11/3, as I was driving it to the mechanic for him to check out, it got way worse. After he took it for a test drive, he told me he wouldn't even try to drive it home if he were me.
So, I drove to the local Ford dealer and started looking at the used vehicles they had. I ended up test driving a 2004 Explorer that had just been traded in with 130,000 miles. Not having time to search other venues (and not having other venues within walking distance to check out), I decided that the price was something I could live with. We agreed upon a price, with the stipulation that they would do all work needed to pass inspection (I already knew that the steering rack needed replaced), and they set up the work order.
I rode my bike to work the rest of the week, used it to get groceries over the weekend, and rode to work on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Those last two days were a chilly 24 and 26 degrees in the morning - which was a fine time to find out my heated gear controller no longer worked (hadn't used it but a couple of times since I got it last year). Oh well, I didn't freeze to death so I can't complain too much.
Tuesday night the Explorer was ready for me to pick up so I walked part way to meet up with the salesman, who drove me the rest of the way to the dealership.
It rained the rest of this week (or most of it), so I was glad to have the truck. Tomorrow I should actually see what it looks like in daylight - I've only seen it in the dark of morning or evening.
I'll have my mechanic continue looking for a tranny for the Jeep. It would be nice to get it fixed since it gets twice the gas mileage as the Explorer and is more suitable for everyday driving. However, the Explorer will be good for hauling a trailer, should I ever get one, and can haul a bunch more pellets both volume and weight wise even without a trailer, so will be handy to have regardless if I can ever get the Jeep fixed.
May 16, 2015
April is the time of year that I have to get my car inspected (yes, I realize it is May, but I am working on old stuff off my camera and phone). Unfortunately, my car needed a lot of work to pass inspection. I had originally taken the car to a place close by where I work, so I could catch a ride from a coworker. However, I found that they were not as honest, or as reasonably priced as I would like, so I ended up taking my car to my local maechanic that I have don't business with for 20+ years (actually did business with his dad before he passed the business to his son Glenn).
Local is in relative terms; it is in Antrim, and is 5.8 miles from my house (yes, I know exactly the disatance). Now, the issue was that the work would take several hours and probably be over the course of a couple of days. Sure, I had my bike to get to/from work, but getting home after dropping the car off (and getting there to pick it up) was problematic since I have nobody around to ask for help (not asking EX).
So, I dropped the car off on a Thursday after work, and walked home. The shortest way back is about 2.5 miles along a main road, then split off onto back roads, some of which are dirt. If there were more ways to cross the Contoocook River, I could have shaved off some distance, but there isn't, so I couldn't. However, I was able to eventually utilize a snowmobile trail that runs alongside the longest stretch of the walk. Gave my shins a much needed rest from pounding the concrete and also ran straighter and flatter than the road it paralleled. Although cloudy and cool, it was still a nice walk and I got to see some parts of the river that I normally don't see, and go right by the local gun range (Deering Fish and Game - last picture).
Glenn kept the car until Tuesday as his tire supplier misunderstood and thought he didn't need the tires until then. Worked out fine as Monday was very hot and sunny, but Tuesday was cool and cloudy - I was comfortable and not sweating my but off on the walk to the shop.
I was pleasantly surprised while passing a house that is shortly before I hit the main road - it had lots of tulips and daffodils blooming. If I had known, I would have taken a picture when I went by on Thursday to show the difference 5 days makes.
It all turned out well; I had a great excuse to get more exercise than I would normally do on my own, got in some awesome scenery, and had pleasant weather. Hey, and I know it consistently takes me 1 hour and 20 minutes to walk 5.8 miles at a decent pace (not hurrying, but not quite strolling either).
May 03, 2015
The Harley dealer that I store my bike at also hosts a HOG (Harley Owner's Group) and the associated LOH (ladies of Harley) chapter. The LOH members were given the opportunity to model some of the new clothing that had come into the store lately. This was to take place prior to a ladies ride yesterday (5/2/15), organized in recognition of International Female Ride day. Unfortunately I had a major crick in my neck, so couldn't participate in the ride. But, I had committed to taking a Lady in to pick up her bike that day, so got to model using someone else's bike.
This is my one shot at fame and fortune - LOL.
April 11, 2015
Birthday Vacation on the Island
The Outlaws (they aren't really true in-laws anymore - LOL), that used to live in the next town over, moved to Rhode Island last fall. More precisely, they moved to an island, off of Rhode Island, to manage a timeshare resort. They kept telling me I should go out for a visit. Since I get my birthday off work as a holiday, and my BD fell on a Friday this year, it was a great time to take a 3-day weekend to go visit.
The tourist / vacation destination of Block Island, has not yet gotten underway so most "attractions" were not open, but that was okay, I wasn't going for ice cream, specialty chocolates or any of that stuff - just get away, see BIL & SIL, and generally recharge.
I left Friday morning to make the 1PM ferry (ferry only runs 3 times/day at this point, so timing is everything). As usually happens when I take vacation, I left in 40 degree weather and it was raining. It was the same when I got to the docks, and was supposed to stay that way for most of the weekend. Oh well, I expect nothing less! The view from the ferry was less than spectacular
So, I ended up taking a nap. Don't get to do that often, and obviously I needed it because I woke up just as we were approaching the breakwater of the island 55 minutes later. I texted SIL when I landed, and she came to get me; the timeshare community was only a couple of blocks away so I didn't have to wait long.
The rest of Friday afternoon I spent talking with SIL as she was finishing up ordering of linens and dishes needed for the units before prime season began. They had given me a room (thank you so much guys!) since they weren't full up yet. I also accompanied BIL to the dump, where I helped unload cardboard from kitchen cabinets that he had installed in some of the units. We also stopped at the local hardware store for plumbing supplies to finish installing kitchen sinks. With that, I got some idea of the lay of that part of the island, and BIL gave me histories of some of the features we passes (like "New" port - which used to be a lake and was opened up to the ocean for more portage).
That evening we walked to one of the few restaurants that was open for fish fry - walking is the main transport as everything is right there at the port, so it doesn't make sense to drive. At that point the rain had turned to intermittent drizzle, so we didn't get too wet. The fish was fabulous and we all returned to the resort gorged. I broke out the kindle and got in some reading before calling it a night.
Saturday I awoke to 40's, gray skies and massive wind. After making some tea, I curled up with the Kindle and read a bunch more. The outlaws expected several parties to arrive from the 1PM ferry, and they were doing last minute preparations, so I was left to my own devices. I walked the street along the beach and found the water was very pretty.
When I returned, it was shortly before the ferry was expected. SIL needed a couple of things done, so I was happy to help out. Then some of the guests started to arrive, so I retired to my room for more reading.
After the commotion died down, I decided to go walking a different direction. Even though it was still mighty windy, the sun had come out and it was warming up some. I found one trail, which I followed until it appeared to be getting close to town, then turned around to find more outlying area. I found the airport and the local air taxi. I was fascinated with the tail emblem and then suddenly realized it was the shape of the island.
After detouring for the pictures, I kept heading out, where I found another trail that went past this driveway.
Above the steps, I found that I was behind and above the airport
I was debating whether to go along the trail further (I was off the trail for the above pics, when I received a text from SIL asking where I was. I replied "I'm on some trail behind the airport." She replied that she wanted to make sure I wasn't bored. Ohh, no way! I decided to head back the way I had come as I wasn't sure how long the trail would continue before it found another road. When I got to the bench, I got another text from SIL saying she had ordered pizza and it would be ready in about 30 minutes.
I got back shortly before the pizza and we stuffed ourselves (obviously, this was not a wheat-free weekend for me). While we were eating, more guests arrived and SIL had to go check everyone in. I cleaned up (we had been eating at the picnic table). I then headed to the office, where SIL was checking in the last guest to arrive for the day. It was a youngish couple (anyone who appears under 45 is youngish to me now - LOL), who was asking about hiking. SIL hadn't yet gotten to any of the trails, so I was happy to give them some direction to the two trails I had found.
While the young woman took their baby to their unit, the young man asked if they should drive, or if it was safe to walk there. I told him that most people gave wide berth to walker (as wide as they could, some roads were barely two cars wide), and as long as they walked facing traffic they would be good. I also told him that most of the people would wave to them - the islanders are truly friendly, even In the off-season.
After a few minutes of paperwork, SIL decided she wanted to show me the "Cliffs". Since it was late in the day (6-ish), she drove us there.
Island Birthday - Part 2
The Cliffs were truly grand - giving a great view of the ocean, with a very nice staircase down to about 100 feet above the sands.
We then went to another viewing area further down the road, before we headed back to the Resort.
When we got back, I broke out some wine that I had brought to celebrate their first opening (for them, not the resort). We had some good conversation while I played with their kitty. Eventually kitty got tired and decided my jacket was a really nice place to snooze.
Sunday morning, SIL wanted to go to the Easter Sunrise Service at 6:15AM. So, we started walking about 6. The horizon was starting to show color when we got there, The service was beautiful, and short. The sun broke thru the clouds on the horizon shortly after the service started.
When we turned to head to the church for breakfast, I saw that there was a full moon too.
The church put on a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, bacon (fresh, not store bought), potatoes and French toast made with cinnamon raisin bread - with real maple syrup. I put in donations for both of us since they had provided my room and two large meals while I was there (I took salads, sardines and bananas with me for my other meals). We walked the long way back to the resort to help all the food settle.
All too soon it was time to board the ferry for my trip back home. I had a great time, got to see and hike some new territory, had great food and even better conversation. I am so blessed that they invited me to come down (and meant it!). I hope to go again in the fall, when there is more color.
February 14, 2015
House of Warm Critters
Last night it was -7 or -8 at 8 pm. Looked to be getting a really cold night, so I put the upstairs pellet stove in T-stat mode. Now, that sounds like a thermostat turns it on and off, but that would be SmartStat mode (which it normally is in - by the way Cop Car, the digital thermostat works great - thanks!) T-Stat mode is slightly different; I set the highest heat output it is allowed to get to (I set at #3, but the rang is 1-5) then if there is a call for heat, the stove goes directly to #3 output. If there is no call for heat, it idles at #1 output. So, it never goes out.
Since the thermostat is in the office, closer to the stove, it stays warmer than the bedroom by 2-4 degrees on a normal day. However, with the frigid temps, the bedroom temperature was getting to the lowest it has been, 66, since I put the stove in. I figured it would get even lower thru the night as the cold from the garage infiltrated the floor. So, by putting it on T-stat, there would be steady heat for the fan to push into the bedroom (dang, I should go into a big explanation of how the heat gets to the other side of the house, but I won't). This worked well and the bedroom was 68 when I awoke this morning.
Anyway, to back up at 8 pm last night - I came into the living room after checking the outside thermometer to see that Fuzzy looked like he knew how cold it was outside and was getting prepared in case the house got cold
Tory and Birdie seemed to be more confident that no such thing would happen.
And yes, I am staying toasty warm with the pellet stoves going - at half the fuel cost of when I used propane.
Best Insulated Wall of the House
Last Saturday I had a CPR class, that took a good portion of the day (last time I trained for CPR was when I went to babysitting class when I was 10 or 12). They had a portable defibrillator as part of the course. The instructor asked if anyone had not seen one used before and I was the only one (everyone else was renewing their CPR card). So, he handed it to me and asked me to figure it out. Very easy - boy have things come a long way when you can do such a thing with a 5 pound machine that retails fro less than $1k.
Well, once I got home, I started working on the basement foundation wall. Although I had R7 rigid foam on the wall, I still needed to get the studs in (the frame was there - just no studs) and then add fiberglass insulation on top of the foam.
I had already gotten the lumber, which had been cut to 8' so that it would fit in my car. I then used the sliding miter saw to cut them to the actual length (63") and proceeded to install them every 16 inches.
You will notice in this picture, that I missed taping the seam between the bottom foam boards, I actually knocked the studs out (they weren't screwed in yet, taped up the seams, then reinstalled the studs.
Then I installed the fiberglass batting. I tore off the bottom portion of the paper in case water comes from the garage, it won't soak up thru the paper.
Now I am at a stand still in that room. I can't put up sheetrock until I tear out the wall next to the garage, but I won't do that until it gets a bit warmer outside. Plus, I need to get sheetrock, which I will have to arrange delivery of since my car can't handle anything that large.
As to the title of this post, this is the best insulated wall that I have; R7 rigid foam insulation and R13 fiberglass insulation on top. Kind of sad since it will be one of the least used rooms in the house (as far as time spent in it goes anyway).
November 22, 2014
Monday morning I got up and there was nothing exciting happening outside when I let Fuzzy out. 15 minutes later when I let him back in, it was snowing. That wasn't unexpected. Then by the time I left for work it had turned to sleet. That was not what I was hoping for.
Then, on the way to work I suddenly realized that my new auto insurance comapny had not yet sent me a bill. Two months ago I had called my agent informing her that the EX and I needed to split up our auto insurance. She did some research and found a company that would cost me $300 less per year than if I stuck with my old company. I don't know why they do that - the old company would rais my cost by nearly $300 becasue I was no longer insureing 2 vehicles with them. That is even though I insure my house with them. Stupid because they lost a customer. Anyway, the old insurance expired on 11/5 (or 15, I'm not sure). New insurance I hadn't gotten anything from. And seeing all the idiots on the roads that wanted to ride my bumper even though I was going the speed limit (and salt trucks were not out for the most part).
Called my insurance agent, who to her credit was in the office at 7:45 (I was planning on leaving her a message). She looked it up and the sign up was still "pending". However, she informed me that I did have insurance and sent me a temporary card by emial just in case I needed it. Great agent who I really appreciate. Finally got a bill yesterday, so I am feeling better about this small issue.
Then, I got home Monday evening and eagerly looked at the bathroom ceiling. The sleet had changed to rain, and we had gotten plenty of it thu the day, so it was a good test for the new boot the contractor put in place a couple of weeks ago. Hey, no wetness - Halalluha! I did catch wiffs of dampness, but didn't see anything amiss, so figured it was my imagination
At 9:15, I was getting ready for bed; brushing my teeth and washing my face. I turned off the sink water and realized I still heard running water - NOT GOOD. I then realized that water was pouring out of the door to the vanity - REALLY NOT GOOD.
I opened the door and started searching for a buste water pipe. Nope, no such thing. Then I saw this:
Okay, the paper towel wasn't there, but the drain pipes had separated. I moved everything out of the cabinet, including drawers, mopped up all the water, place the paper towel in the lower pipe to block off sewage smells, placed a mixing bowel in the sink in case I turned the water on in the morning, and went to bed.
During lunch on Tuesday I ran to the local Lowes (it is a mile away from work) and picked up a couple of flexible flanges as that is what broke. I had to study plumbing stuff for a while before I understood what I need since I have never done any type of plumbing work before. Put the flange on that evening, and it is holding fine. So although I had a bit of bad luck, I think it all turned out al right.