“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Going to town today.


I have to go to town this morning. I don't much feel like making that trip but I need to get in there and get a few things .  I have enough to do there, at different places, to justify the use of the fuel and time.

  I have some work around the house that I need to do, and the lumber I keep for emergency repairs isn't the right size or type for what I plan. I need some pressure treated 4X4,  and some pressure treated 2X6.  Of course, there are no more pressure treated boards to be had, thanks to the EPA. Instead, you get a new type of treatment that lasts half as long. Not much I can do about that, but it is frustrating. Seems like our technology is moving backwards in a lot of cases. No one can tell me what was wrong with the old pressure treatment, just that EPA banned it. Kind of like the idiotcracy in California is trying to ban lead bullets now.


I need about 12 bales of hay to make the annual winter house for the dogs, but that will have to wait til this weekend. Getting the lumber will be all I feel like handling today.  Each fall I construct a "block house" out of hay bales for the dogs, with just a tiny entrance on the protected side. They can squeeze in there and be warm even when the temperature gets below zero.
Miscellaneous cats sleep in there as well, so everybody stays warm and I don't have to worry about them.



 It's also time to put up sheets of plywood over the windows. The winds here are very fierce in winter. I have double paned glass windows but I've found that sealing them all off with plastic sheeting and then covering that with plywood helps keep the house warm in winter. I admit, it looks like the Joad's live here when this stuff is up. But I've always been a lot more concerned about the practical aspects rather than aesthetics. No one sees the place but me and my family and the propane truck driver anyway. What matters is staying warm.



I have enough firewood.  I still need to take my kerosene jugs and fill them up. That gives me 50 gallons of kerosene for my backup heaters. If the power goes out, I have to keep heat on in the outbuildings or the pipes will freeze and burst.

In the main house it doesn't matter, because my propane heaters have no electric controls. In the apartment there is a propane heater, also equipped with analog controls. But the shop and the barn enclosed spaces have to be heated with kerosene if the electricity fails.


So that's the plan for today.   Get into town, get what I need, and then get a start on some of the things that need to be done.

21 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are getting ready for winter as most folks should, but you and I know they are not. I am working on getting my wife used to the idea of limiting our driving to days we are in town for Dr. appointments etc.

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    1. It's too far to just breeze into town here. Especially if I have to take the truck, which gets 12 miles per gallon on a good day.

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  2. Harry, apologies for posting this as it's off subject, but it's a good video (actually audio only) with JWR giving some good general advice for a sudden grid down situation here as you have some readers here in the beginner stages.

    It's 40 minutes, but well worth everyone's time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELHBANfywYM&feature=player_embedded

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    1. That's ok. I don't worry about on topic or off topic. Lots of the things here are basics, in case someone is just getting started.

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  3. The looks of the plywood does not bother me. However, the idea of living without light from windows would drive me over the edge. Besides, I like to stand and look out or sit and be able to see trees, birds, whatever is happening. With the windows covered, I would just want to eat and sleep and never bathe or clean house...lol. How do you handle no connection to the outdoors or lack of light. Puny light from bulbs in lamps would never be enough for me. Huge lights and lots of them would solve the light problem. But, the claustrophobic effect of covered windows and no contact would really bother me.

    Does this not bother you or your wife?

    I wonder if sheets of Plexiglas used like storm windows and screwed over the windows would be adequate to keep warm. I do agree with you that staying warm is the most important thing.

    Nice pictures!

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    1. No, no worries about that. We get terrific wind here during a big ice or snow storm. The wind cuts right into every chink and cranny. Since we keep the house around 70 degrees even when it's close to zero outside, every bit of insulation helps. I put the wood up over the windows in late Fall, take it off again in early spring. Plexiglass might work, but it would be very expensive. Plywood is very cheap. I've lived here so long, that I have kind of quit worrying about what looks nice and what doesn't. I keep the place tidy and neat, but my primary concerns are purely utilitarian. However, I can understand why living in a log house with no outer windows might feel claustrophobic if you are unaccustomed to it.

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  4. About nine or ten years ago I hired a contractor to be a large deck on the back of our home. I remember he said we were lucky as the wood he used was the last of the old pressure treated lumber. It's still sturdy and I'm sure if when I re-stain will look like new. Termites love this new stuff. Have a good day in town.

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    1. I had to redo the deck last year. It was treated wood and was even stained when done. I can already see the deterioration one year later.

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    2. Was it this new 'yellow' wood. Mine was the old creosote.

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    3. The new wood is about as worthless as untreated wood. I put in some new deck boards three years ago and I am already replacing them. The old pressure treated stuff would last ten years if you put down some water repellent every other year or so.

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  5. I didn't know that wood had been banned. Bummer.

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    1. Alas, like so many others things, it ran afoul of the bureaucracy in Washington. The new wood doesn't last a fraction as long as the old.

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  6. I'd be interested in seeing a post on your straw bale house for the dogs. I just saw them make a big one on a TV documentary about WWII British farms. I need some for the cats

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    1. I am sure I have some pictures, let me dig some up and I'll do that. We tried a lot of different ideas for making warm quarters for the dogs when we moved to the mountains. Nothing really served though, since it can get down below zero here and many of my dogs are short hairs. My wife had the idea of making straw houses for them after we watched a show on "earth houses" being built out by Sadona, Arizona many years ago. Straw is a good insulator, the wind can't get through it, and it comes in square blocks perfect for building. Then after the winter is over, you can take the bales and pull them apart, put them out on the meadow and they decay and add to the fertility of the soil.

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  7. I use untreated and spray with terpintine and linseed oil mixed seems to help.

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    1. Doesn't turpentine make the wood really sticky?

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  8. All the treated wood around here weighs a TON because of all the moisture in it. Stuff warps like crazy as it dries out. Aggrevating.

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    1. I have that problem. In winter, the humidity is low and the plywood stays intact. But when spring comes, the humidity goes up and it warps. I usually only get two years out of a sheet of plywood before I have to cut it up for small repairs because the sheet is warped.

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  9. I'd love to be able to put plyboard up over our windows, but I don't think the landlord would wear it :) Like you we get exposed to awful winds as we are totally exposed on all four sides in open farmland. We lose a lot of heat through the large windows here. I'm going to make some quilts to put up on the inside of the windows this winter to try and help with heat loss.

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    1. Plywood doesn't look very nice, but it's what most people use up here. I tried sheets of Styrofoam insulation once but the wind just tore it pieces. We have heavy curtains on the inside of the windows, then on the outside I put up sheet plastic and the wood panels over that. Upstairs, in my study, I have a massive glass window that takes up most of one wall. It's way too high up to work on with wood panels, so I have a big quilt hung over it to help with keeping the heat in. It works just fine so your plan should be successful. It also looks warm and snug, and the colors are warm colors.

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