Nothing Much Archive

Black Friday

Posted November 27, 2015 By Ruth

I’m lucky enough, this year, to be working for one of the retailers who has decided to not open on Thanksgiving.  So I had a fairly peaceful and enjoyable day yesterday.

Today I get to go deal with the masses.  Thankfully I didn’t have to work the opening shift today.  But that won’t save me much from much.

As you’re shopping this weekend please remember that “quantities are limited” is the mantra today, even if it’s something normally carried in stock no problem.

Please remember that if it’s on the front page of the ad it’s probably already sold out by the time this post hits the internet.  Being that asshole won’t get you any closer to owning one of whatever it is.

Please remember that retail employees are people too, and if they’ve made it this far into their day today without loosing it at some customer they deserve extra respect, not some asshole screaming in their face cause you weren’t fast enough to catch this sale or that product.

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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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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!

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Last garden update of the Summer

Posted September 24, 2015 By Ruth

If you’re curious, THIS is the link to look back at my garden costs tracking for the summer.

Based on my lackadaisical method of record keeping I spent $90.15 on the garden.  Round it up to $100 since I’m sure I forgot to record SOMETHING.

And “made” $184 (plus whatever all the melons, carrots, radishes, lettuce, pumpkins, etc would have been which I never did manage to check prices on)

So, definitely a profit, especially since I’d have likely never bought half as much if I’d had to actually buy it all.  But not really thousands and thousands either.  Course, I’m not being massively OCD about keeping up with the garden, nor do I have a full 1/4-1/2 acre in garden, but it’s still a good sized garden for a home garden.  I’ll take it.

The compost tomato plant succumbed to Late Blight, but I managed to salvage a few ripe tomatoes off of it that didn’t appear to get touched by the blight, so I’ll be planting those seeds again next year.

Here’s what mature Long Pie Pumpkins look like:


The biggest is 13.5″ long, and weighs 5.5 pounds.  The other two are closer to the 12″ mark, and weigh about a pound less.

Anyone want Rattail Radish seeds?  I massively over planted, and since you eat the seed pod on these, instead of the bulb like normal radishes, I have a million seed pods drying now too.  Ok, not literally a million, but since I packed a gallon ziplock (and I do mean packed, I smushed them in) of the largest seed pods that were dry enough to empty out as I get time, and still barely made a dent in the seed pods, I have plenty of seeds for the next few years!  Seriously, if someone wants some email me at ruthcatrin (at) scaryyankeechick (dot) com with “rattail radish” in the subject line (otherwise your email might get filtered as junk).  But unless you have a HUGE radish loving family 4 or 5 plants is plenty!

I planted three tires with Purple Early Sprouting Broccoli and some more normal radishes for fall/winter gardening.  The Early Sprouting Broccoli is designed for the winter garden, and infact HAS TO experience a winter in order to produce heads.  Its supposed to be hardy down to 10 degrees (F).  I’m making plans on how I want to cover it for the winter since our chances of dipping below 10 are pretty good.  I’ll try to remember to keep updating on that.

On the deck side of things, the worst of the bad electrical is fixed, but we’re going to have to have an electrician out at some point to basically re-wire the garage and carport.  Now that we now to look for it, there doesn’t appear to be a single junction box in the entire garage, and in several places they wired in “additional” stuff using lamp cord wire instead of proper electrical wire.  And since the carport was added after the garage its safe to assume that its the same way.  The paperwork for the permit for the new front steps and landing is into the town, they agreed to waive the requirement for footers since this is a “temporary” set of stairs.

My Summer/Fall project

Posted September 11, 2015 By Ruth

Well, lets start by saying that this wasn’t the project I’d PLANNED to do for the end of summer/fall.  I’d PLANNED to be putting in all sorts of ice dam preventatives, including proper vents in that attic space where the wood burning stove chimney is.  I’ll still be putting in vents, but I won’t be doing any of the rest of it.

On the evening of August 15th our front deck collapsed, with me, my husband, and both dogs standing on it.  Thankfully it was less than 3 feet off the ground and we’re all fine (though Arty is now terrified of the front door).

A look at it in daylight and we assumed that the ledger board must have rotted out.  But we could also see that it had been attached to the house with nails (3″ nails).

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Since it was safe to assume that the entire length of it was attached to the house with nails (vs screws or bolts) we made the decision to just pull the entire deck down, salvage what we could of the wood, and toss up a set of stairs.  We’ll figure out a replacement deck at a later date.

That wall where the front door is, is the living room addition done by previous home owners.  Not sure if it was done by the folks we bought from, or from before them (I suspect the folks we bought from though).  When they built the outer walls, the wall sits on a heavy timber that sits on the concrete block wall, then outside of that they put a (NOT pressure treated) chipboard before wrapping the addition with house wrap and putting on the siding.

The deck ledger board was NAILED through the house wrap into that chipboard.

It wasn’t the ledger board that rotted out.  The ledger board was fine, a very nice 2×12 piece of pressure treated lumber.  It was the chipboard that rotted out.  Right up under the housewrap and siding.  The ONLY thing that was holding up the deck in that corner was the small portion of the nails that made it into the heavy base timber.  I have no clue how it didn’t collapse under the snow-load last winter.

We’re going to have to pull down the siding and housewrap, remove the rotted chipboard, make sure the rot didn’t damage anything else, replace it all, and redo the housewrap and siding.

But thats not the worst of it.  We found a few more things when we pulled down the deck.

1: the guy who installed our Direct TV really was as big of an idiot as we took him for:


Yes, we knew he’d run the cable under and then up through the deck, but we didn’t realize till we were pulling it all down that he’d drilled through the ledger board.


2: The former homeowner who installed the security lighting likely did it himself:


That is the wire up to the indoor switch for the outdoor security lighting, with the wires running from it to the fixtures.  Just hanging like that in the crawlspace.  No tape.  No box.  No support.  And I’m pretty sure those are the ground wires just sticking out random.  That all by itself caused some profanity to be said.


3: The fact that the whole house was crooked last winter wasn’t a fluke and we should have checked ALL of the house supports under the original structure as soon as things thawed (we checked the rest of the house, but this corner is hard to get to so we assumed that since the rest of the house looked ok……)

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A bit more profanity was let go as we all looked at that.

We called our homeowners insurance, and they informed (this past Tuesday, cause the local guy is a massive PIA to deal with) us that its “wear and tear” and therefor not covered.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to argue the point.  I have to dig through the policy and look at the exact wording of whats covered…..

Yesterday (Thursday) we had the whole house re-leveled and new supports put in.  The sales guy for the company we hired about drove me batty, but the guys who actually did the work were great.  It was done quickly, with minimal fussing.




I’m still waiting for the town to get back to me on whether I need footers for a small landing and 3 steps up to the front door.  If we do then we’ll need to breakup the 6″ deep slab that was poured under the deck since there was no permits done on it and I can’t prove there’s footers under it.  I’m really hoping I don’t have to.

And now I need to dig through the electrical code paperwork to figure out if its legal to have a junction box in the crawl space or not (I suspect not, at least technically, though its certainly accessible since that portion is still skirted).  And get those wires supported and taped, and……we still have the side of the house to deal with.

Oh, and its looking like there were no permits on the living room addition either…….