Wood burning stove fans–pictures and video added

Posted November 19, 2015 By Ruth

The Adaptive Curmudgeon has been working on installing a wood burning (cook) stove in his workspace.  The discussion reminded me of a set of fans that we bought for our woodburning stove, and a quick check of my blog shows that I don’t appear to have ever posted about them.

THIS* is an itsy bitsy thermoelectric powered stove top fan.  It doesn’t require an electrical outlet.  All it needs is for the surface its sitting on to reach a minimum temperature.  And then it pushes air, almost completely silently.  Quite well I might add.  We have two, one is a two blade fan, the other is a 3 blade fan.  The three blade requires a bit more heat to really get going, but pushes noticeably more air.

Now don’t get me wrong, our woodburning stove has an attached electrical powered blower.  Which pushes alot of air all by itself.  But what happens when the power goes out?  Our first winter in this house the power went out several times, almost all of them for a span of several hours.  Though certainly the stove itself works fine, without the blower to move the air the spaces further away from the stove chilled quickly.  By themselves our two little fans can’t completely replace the electricity powered blower, but they move alot of air and can keep the house warmer than without them.  And when we combine them with the powered blower the combination warms up the house very nicely.

If you go to buy one or more of these fans I do highly recommend shopping around.  Prices vary ALOT depending on who’s doing the selling.

In addition we also have THIS* steamer, cause we couldn’t resist!

Update: pictures and short video clips

The top of one of the fans with the data for it:


The two blade fan:



And the three blade fan:


At the time that these were taken I had only just started a fire not long before, and the cheap little magnetic temp gauge that we put on the top of the stove was still reading less than 200 degrees (F).

I will try to get a video later today of what they look like spinning at full speed.

Here’s the 3 blade fan at full speed.  The stove top thermometer says 400+.  The noise you’re hearing is not the fan, but other stuff running in the background (promise).


*Links to Amazon in this post will take you to Amazon via my Amazon Associates account, which means that if you buy something from Amazon after clicking through one of these links I might earn a few cents.  Also, this is not the exact fan we bought, but it was one of the less expensive links when I did a quick search for one to link to for this post.  In addition all products mentioned in this post were purchased by me for my own use and I was not paid for this post in any form.

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2016 Honda Pilot

Posted November 15, 2015 By Ruth

We test drove the 2016 Honda Pilot EX-L, and loved it.

Bought it.

Picked it up Thursday.

Friday we loaded 5 adult humans, 4 collapsible lawn chairs, and Apollo into it and headed off to the dog show for the morning.  Apollo still had room to lay down.  Yup, this’ll do exactly what we wanted and more!  I was sitting in the smaller of the 3rd row seats.  There was enough room, though a longer drive would have left me a bit cramped.

We really wanted one in one of the blue shades they’re offering.  The one that Husband looked at briefly on Saturday was blue and he loved the color.  But when we came back Tuesday for the test drive the blue was gone, and all they had was a black and a couple white ones.  We didn’t want white.  They did a quick search for us but none of the dealerships in the surrounding areas had any blue ones either, and we didn’t want to wait for one to come off the line, so we bought the black one with the black interior.  More than we wanted to spend, especially once taxes etc had been added on.  But not as bad as it could have been.  Plus they gave us more for Husband’s old Nissan than we’d been afraid they would.


My Caliber is a bit closer to the camera, screwing with the perspective, but you can still see the size of the Pilot there.  We put a good 200 miles on it this week, between all the back and forth, and the dog show, and then running Arty up to a Barn Hunt practice.  Averaging 24mpg for those 200, considering that a good portion of that was on city streets I’ll take it.

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Buying a new car….

Posted November 8, 2015 By Ruth

Husband’s current car is a 10yr old Nissan Sentra.  He got it because prior to this car he and several of his family members had owned Nissan’s and liked them quite a bit.

This car broke that record.  Its been nothing but a massive PIA.  There’s a screwed up sensor that apparently Nissan either can’t or won’t fix.  Every year in order to get his car inspected he has to have them re-set the sensor.  He used to replace the sensor every year, but there was no point.  It would still fail within the year.  And to top it off he’s had to replace bearings on it 5 times.  Now its doing this random, start-never mind not going to start, thing that appears to be related to the sensor again.  Its left him stranded a couple times with a car that won’t start, and replacing the sensor only temporarily fixes it (battery, alternator, fuel pump have all been checked, repeatedly).

In addition the Sentra just isn’t big enough.  Its not big enough to haul Apollo around (he doesn’t fit on the rear bench seat).  Its not big enough to haul materials for projects around the house.  Its just not big enough.

My car is a Dodge Caliber.  Like it quite a bit, though I’d not go so far as to say I love it.  It has some issues.  But in general its almost big enough for what we need.  I can haul Apollo, and even Apollo AND Arty in it as long as I fold down the entire back seat.  I can fit 8′ lengths of lumber in it (though not while the dogs are in it).  I can fit 2 other adults in the back seat comfortably (though not while Apollo is in it).

We made the decision that if we were going to replace the Sentra we wanted something just a bit bigger than the Caliber.  Something we could haul Apollo in, AND at the same time haul a 3rd adult or a small amount of cargo.  In addition we want AWD or 4WD as there have been multiple occasions where Husband has been nearly blown off the road on his way home from work in the winter.

And thats where we got stuck.  We don’t want to go for a full-sized SUV, but Apollo is such a big boy…..he’s 27+” at the shoulder, and if he’s sitting the top of his head hits 36″.  So either there has to be room enough for him to stretch out, with no more than half the rear seat folded down, or the roof has to be high enough to reasonably accommodate him while he’s sitting.

Since Husband is going to be the one doing 90% of the driving of this new car I let him do the initial narrow down of choices without my input.  And then we went down to the big name multi brand dealership in Syracuse to test drive as many as possible.

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 was an awesome car, I’d have bought it in a heartbeat if we were looking for something comparable to the Caliber, but it just wasn’t big enough for what we wanted.  Not enough room for Apollo to sit in the cargo space, and when we folded down the larger half of the back seat the remaining seat was very cramped even for me.

The 2016 Jeep Cherokee was even shorter on space than the CX-5.

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee (V6) didn’t quite have the gas mileage rating we’d been hoping for and was pushing the upper end of what we were willing to spend, but omg the space!  Husband fell in love on the test drive.

2016 GMC Traverse was borderline on space, and we both disliked it on the test drive.

2016 Kia Sorento had the space, and we took the V4 on a test drive.  Not bad.  Didn’t love it the way we both loved the Grand Cherokee, but not bad.  We might have to go back and test drive the V6.  It’s also quite a bit cheaper than the Grand Cherokee for similar options.

2016 Honda Pilot (the CRV not having enough space) had plenty of space, but we ran out of time to do a test drive.  We’ll be going back to do a test drive this week though.  Pushing back onto the upper end of the budget again.  Especially with the options we’d probably pick.

Choices choices……we have to go back for a test drive on the Honda.  Jeep has a rep for needing constant work.  My SIL is a perfect example of several Jeep owners I’ve talked to who said that they LOVED their Cherokee, but wouldn’t recommend them due to constantly needing work.  I’ve never been a huge Kia fan, though supposedly they’ve been improving over the last 10yrs or so.  Honda of course has an awesome rep, and I’m partial to Hondas having grown up with them.  But the 2016 Pilot is the first year of the new re-design, which means that its more likely to have problems.


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Posted November 7, 2015 By Ruth


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Your local cops have taken to breaking into cars to steal your stuff to teach you a lesson.

But if your door happens to be unlocked, and they can’t get you, they will confiscate your stuff, enter it into property at police headquarters and leave you a note ….. to come down to 1 Union Ave. to pick it up.

Sharp said the search warrant exception that he’s using is known as the “caretaker” exception. The exception allows an officer who sees something of value—in plain view and at risk for being stolen—to confiscate that property for safekeeping.


If your belongings do end up in police hands, you will have 60 days to claim them. And Sharp said he is working with the police property room to help connect people with their things if they are confiscated.


Sharp pitched his plan to the East Rock Community Management Team last week, where he said he received a mostly positive reaction. He argued that a little inconvenience now, will avoid the bigger inconvenience of an actual crime.

But if you don’t come get your belongings, they will become the property of NHPD.


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Posted October 27, 2015 By Ruth



Actually taken a few days ago.  It was the last tree in the yard to change color, and is now shedding its leaves.  If you look close you can see the tree line behind it is mostly bare.

This morning I got up and thought for a minute we’d gotten snow overnight.  After grabbing my glasses I realized it was “just” a heavy frost that hadn’t melted off yet.  Close enough.  Guess winter really is coming!

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Posted October 26, 2015 By Ruth

Ok, this particular incident actually happened a couple weeks ago, but it still has me shaking my head, so I’m sharing it so that the rest of you can admire the sort of public that are out there.

This older gentleman is a regular customer.  He’s also the sort of customer who goes to a home improvement store to buy dirt and plants and then gets upset about putting said dirt and plants into his pristine car.  I swear we need to start selling sheets of plastic at the registers for the folks like this, $1 each.  I certainly don’t understand the mentality that the store is responsible for keeping your car clean.  If you’re going to buy stuff that sheds dirt and you don’t want that to shed in your car plan ahead with a tarp or the like and stop trying to blame the cashiers for not having anything to put down to protect your precious car.

Anyway, so I remembered watching him leave, fussing all the way about the fact that the bag of potting soil was dripping water.  I found out later that he even made a point of asking the cashier if the dirt “was ok” if it’s wet?

A couple hours later I answer a phone call.

“I bought a bag of soil earlier today, and it was dripping when I bought it, and it’s still dripping!  Is it ok?!”

*deep breath to hold in the variety of sarcastic answers that occur to me* “Yes sir, it’s normal.  They sit outside where they get rained on and it’s been raining this week.”

“But, all the important stuff in the bag isn’t going to wash away with the water is it??”

It took me several minutes to convince him that his bag of dirt was going to be just fine.  And I’m still not sure he believed me.  I half expected to see him back in the store with it later, returning it……

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General update

Posted October 17, 2015 By Ruth

Our firewood for the season was delivered Friday.  There is now a pile of 10 face cord of firewood dumped in front of the carport for stacking.  Guess I know where my free time will be spent for the next little bit!

I spent a large portion of today running the table for the local buffalo farm at the local farmers market.  They paid me in meat, so its hard to complain, but of course today was the day that the weather decided to show us that WINTER IS COMING.  Complete with snow.  I managed to avoid freezing to death, but only thanks to prior planning.  Course, Tuesday its going to be back in the 60’s again.

Our new front steps are taking shape.  The platform is up, as are the stairs themselves.  Still needs guards and railings and some odds and ends, but I’m happy.  We even got the platform level first try!

KIMG0426 KIMG0429



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Dear Microsoft……

Posted October 14, 2015 By Ruth

Are you TRYING to force people to switch away from your products??

I’m sitting here reading about Linux Mint and how to run the Windows Emulator so I can have my Windows based software on a Linux install…..

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Solar panel-tax return-audit update

Posted October 12, 2015 By Ruth

It occurred to me last night that I’d never updated on this.  We got notice a couple weeks ago that “the audit is complete and the file closed”.  Which appears to be legalese for “ok, you passed, this time, don’t screw up again”.

For anyone reading this consider this your warning.  If you install solar panels (or other tax rebated forms of energy production) remember to keep all your files for it in the same place!

Don’t get me wrong, we mostly had saved the paperwork, repeated in multiple spots.  Part of the problem was that what the audit paperwork called a couple things and what the title on the actual forms said wasn’t quite the same, and I ended up having to call into to the auditor to make sure I had the right stuff.

The other problem was that we couldn’t find proof of how much we actually paid.  I know we got receipts, but god be dammed if I could find them!  So that meant tracking down the checks with the bank.  SHOULD have been fairly simple.  But the one bank account that we’d used, we ended up closing a year later.  So we no longer had access to the account online to just go back and pull up the checks.  It necessitated a trip to an actual branch for Husband, which is difficult on his schedule, to actually talk to someone who could check his ID and do a search.  Then we hit computer problems.  Not our computers, the bank computers.  The third and final check was paid out at the end of Sept of that year, and for some reason the bank’s system was refusing to access that month’s info.  It took several weeks, and several trips, and several phone calls, to finally get a copy of that check.

So here’s your warning!  When you pay for the panels, SAVE the RECEIPT with the rest of the paperwork.  And while you’re at it, get a copy of the canceled check(s), and/or your credit card statement showing the charge, and save that WITH the receipts.  Trust me, it’ll come in handy!

As for us, we made EXTRA copies of everything, including all the checks, and tucked those copies in with everything else.  Cause if I’m reading the tax paperwork right, the Fed’s have another 4years in which to decide to audit us too…..

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