Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brass Monkey Cold

Today was the second day of warmer temperatures here on the urban homestead - it was 33 degrees and drab today. Tonight the real cold comes back to torment us.  
NP I'll take it sure beats our all time record setting low of -9 last week.
Snapped this pic of our freak'n Winter wonderland  while I was listening to my Christmas gift from Woodsrunner. It's an eton brand solar/hand cranked/battery powered radio/flash light/cell phone charger. Also will charge ipods. Great to get a quick weather update from NOAA.
Lite weight and very compact. Good since my car is a bicycle with baskets.

All that's left of our wood pile is 2 to 2 1/3 cords of wood. The 1/3 being hard Maple which gives more heat than what we have been calling Bass wood. Don't ask me what Bass wood is. It's a term that husband uses. All I know is that it is wood best burned in early Autumn or late Spring or during warm January days such as today when I'm wearing thermal underwear under my thick sweatpants.
It was free so that has to count for something. And we were by no means freezing.
When it was bitterly sub zero cold we also burned Oak pallets along with the Maple. Still it was diffacult to keep the house any warmer than 56 even with the stove blazing at those low temps. No wonder that this ballon framed built house orginally had 3 coal stoves.
So far to date the furnace has only been on for about 40 hours this heating season. The majority of that was durning those below zero nights to keep the cellar warm enough so the water pipes didn't freeze. As of now our natural gas bill has been $92 but that's without a proper meter read.
Electric bill was impressive in that we only used a bit over $12 worth of current for last month. However we paid out over $34 in service charges, taxes, tariffs, line charges, blah blah blah ...
Having the furnace running for those few nights reminded me that I so much prefer wood heat to forced air. It's true what they say, the flame warms you to the bones.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pharmacist sells flour

and eggs.
And olive oil.

Good score over the last month @ my neighborhood CVS drugstore - 5 pound bags of all purpose Gold Medal Flour for a $1 each. Bought 24 bags = 120 lbs. Called my bbgf, she scored 30 bags. This was a manager's special a.k.a. unadvertised clean out the back room deal.
Each bag is sitting cold in the freezer until I have O2 absorbers & Mylar bags to prep them for long term storage. I won't be using this flour until my other 8 bags (holiday baking sales) are depleted.
Unfortunately I didn't have any corresponding coupons nor could I find any online but it was a sweet deal never the less.
Eggs were an advertised special cheaper than Aldi.
Filippo Berio Olive Oil Extra Virgin was $8.49 for 16.9 fl. oz. I had two $1 off coupons & a 25% off purchase CVS store coupon. Olive Oil worked out to be $5.62 each or 33 cents per once. Can never have enough olive oil.

I also picked up two knee adjustable braces that were on a bogo 50% off sale. Had a couple of $3 off coupons so the price worked out to $8.24 each. Having spare braces is priceless when we have daughters who play sports. Not to mention Woodsrunner & myself.
I have always kept an extensive medical kit with emergency supplies that covered lacerations & gi issues but have recently in the past few years worked on extending our kit to include other health concerns such as sprains.
Our health insurance doctor office co pays have gone up from $35 to $50. ER visits were $300, now $500 (mortgage payment & a half). So it isn't just a matter of not being able to go to an ER because of a disaster it more of being able to afford that trip to the ER.
Speaking of medical supplies - last Summer I picked up a pair of barely used adjustable metal crutches @ Aunt Sally's (Salvation Army) for $1.99.

Here's a link to the free download in PDF of the book Where There is No Doctor

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Solo Gardening

I was giving some serious thought to not putting in a garden this coming Spring. I felt very over whelmed last gardening season with family commitments and the lack of child labor not to mention our strange & wacky Summer weather. Lack of Sunlight ...
Came up with the idea of solo gardening, having just one very well established plant of each vegetable that I could grow into a mega plant. Concentrate my efforts & resources on just one. Unfortunately the tomato plant featured in this post bit the dust. Of the two pictured above only the pepper plant seems to be thriving. It's about 4' tall and has blooms. Named it Seymour. Both are from last year's garden.
BTW since our house has warmth issues these potted veggies are @ my Mom's apt. were she keeps the heat at a luxurious 68 degrees. Mom moves the pots around her living room so they are always in the Sun.
Thank you Mom for chasing the Sun.

~~ pelenaka ~~