Nothing Much Archive

Wasp Spray

Posted January 29, 2015 By Ruth

Brigid has a post up about self defense in the home (go read, its got some great thought points).  And points out that the common advice to carry wasp spray instead of pepper spray might not be such a good idea.

Reminded me of an online conversation I had recently with the wife of a gentleman who taught at my high-school.  She got quite mad at me for pointing out the possible legal ramifications of such use.  But when I insisted that its also not nearly as debilitating as everyone insists she did the online equivalent of storm off in a huff.

No, I’ve never gotten a full face spray directly from the can of wasp spray.  But we use it quite a bit here at our property.  And I have, on more than one occasion, been spraying down a nest only to have the wind gust back at me and result in me catching a full face of spray.  And sure, I drop everything and run inside to wash it off…..but I don’t do it because its painful or the like.  I do it because its potentially long term dangerous.  Infact, its not painful at all.  No worse than catching a faceful of water spray infact.  Turning a can of wasp spray on an attacker might slow him down, just from the surprise of catching a faceful of liquid.  But you might as well just carry a water gun and avoid the possible legal problems that go with wasp spray use.

I also have to note that the supposed length of spray is utter BS on those cans.  Sure, somewhere out at 20-30feet there’s a fine mist of wasp spray…..but if you actually want a concentrated stream to hit something you’ve got to be a HECK of alot closer to your target.  Like, in the 10-15ft range…..

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My new spice cabinet!

Posted January 11, 2015 By Ruth

So, back at the end of Dec I ran across THIS link.  And although my spice cabinet isn’t THAT  bad, its not good, and after looking at my kitchen I realized I had a perfect spot to put it.

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This is the cabinet end that is at my back when I’m standing facing the stove.  Perfect!

Course, then the “how to make it work for me” started…..

That cabinet you see is CHEAP.  Those sides aren’t solid, what you’re looking at is a very thin (not more than 1/8″) piece of laminate attached to the solid piece corners and a 1/2″ or so gap between it and the INSIDE decorative piece of laminate.  So mounting anything to it is an issue.  My spice cabinet had to be wide enough to mount to the solid corners.  About 11 1 /2″.

That cabinet is 32″ tall, but thats out of my reach, I’d not be able to reach the top shelf most likely.  So, I made mine 30″.

Also, that cabinet isn’t square to the wall, or else the doorway right there is wonky.  There’s just over 3″ of protruding wall at the bottom of the cabinet, and a solid 4″ at the top.  Since I don’t want to be banging my shoulder on the bottom corner the spice cabinet can’t be more than 3″ deep.

Color….I really don’t care for that fake medium oak color that my cabinets are.  Dammed if I’m going to stain this spice cabinet to match.  But staining it to match the wood in the living room (a medium cherry-ish color) would look odd in the kitchen.  I’d about decided I’d just paint it black like in the link when my Husband suggested a dark stain instead.  It looks very nice despite not matching.

Which way to swing the door….I really wanted it with the hinges on my right (facing the cabinet), but if I did that, and made the door the same width as the base cabinet, the door would bang into the wall before opening all the way.  Thats not going to work….After some discussion with an acquaintance who does woodworking professionally (and has built kitchen cabinets) I considered an inset door, that sits inside the cabinet frame, but that takes a degree of accuracy that I wasn’t sure my woodworking skills were up to.  After playing around with the idea I came up with a solution I’ll detail in a bit.

I had a few issues getting going, basically I was having a bad day and shouldn’t have been allowed to touch power tools since I couldn’t even manage basic subtraction correctly.  But we got that straightened out.

Here it is while I figure out the shelf spacing.  No, the picture’s not upside down, the spice jars are.  

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No comment on my wonky shelves…I have a level around here somewhere….

And the door after its first, fresh, coat of stain.

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Yup, we went with a solid door.  Mostly because I couldn’t find a metal grating that I liked that wouldn’t double or even triple the cost of the whole thing.  But also, because even though it would have looked cool to have a glass or grated door, spices aren’t supposed to be exposed to light all the time.  So, solid door it was.

 

Here’s how I mounted the door:

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Basically the body of the cabinet is 2.5″ deep, but the one side is 3″ deep, and the door is 1/2″ to match.

And finished and hung:

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 And I discovered that I don’t need to buy cinnamon any time soon….ooops lol

 

Costs:

Wood:

Birch 2’x4′ plywood for door $17.95 (but I used less than half of it, so really, less than $9 for this and I still have most of it to do other things with)

Poplar 1×3 (actually 3/4″ x 2 1/2″) $13.10 ( I didn’t use it all, but I did use most of it, close enough)

Poplar 1×6 (actually 3/4″ x 5.5″) $7.14 (again, I didn’t use it all, but most of it)

Hinges: $2.58

Handle: $1.28

Magnetic Catch: $0.98

1qt of stain: $7.77 (but I barely used any of it, I’d have bought a smaller can of it if they’d had it)

Birch edgeband for the door: $6.35 (but I used less than half of it for this so really $3.15)

1lb nails: $3.29 (but there’s most of them left….)

So, less than $40 if you don’t count the stain and nails (and considering how much is left I don’t).  I can live with that!

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Time to sharpen the kitchen knives….

Posted December 30, 2014 By Ruth

Thats not actually a lead in to a rant.  Its my own stupidity.

I knew that the large majority of my kitchen knives were duller than ideal….but I hadn’t realized how bad they’d gotten.

My inlaws gave us a new Cutco knife for Christmas.  And its sharp.

I forgot.  And handled it like I would have my usual knives.

Thankfully the cut isn’t any worse than a bad papercut, so I’m fine…..hopefully its a lesson learned!  And time to get my knives sharpened…..

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The Impromptu Bathroom Remodel

Posted December 12, 2014 By Ruth

This is the only  picture I have of the master bathroom before we pulled it apart:

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Taken shortly after we moved in if I recall right.

The bathroom is only 54″ wide.  Its very long, at least for whats in it, but 54″ wide is tiny.  At some point the previous owners had pulled out the original tub and surround and replaced it with a corner shower.  To be fair, any tub that would fit in that space would be tiny, so I’d not have put in a new tub either.  Under the shower base we could just see the corners of two boards, we assumed that they’d been put there to help angle the base correctly for draining.

Back at the end of Oct my husband came out of the bathroom to tell me that the bit of one board was soaking wet.  When I checked it I confirmed that not only was it soaking wet, it had been for a while, it was black with collected mold.

We’ve got a water leak somewhere.  Oh fun.  Although we could access the shower water shut offs without pulling down the shower we had no idea where the leak was, or how much water damage had been done, so we made the decision to just pull down the shower (which wasn’t exactly a high end unit), fix whatever needed to be fixed, and replace it.  Since we have a 2nd full bathroom, complete with the original tub/shower combo the lack of shower wasn’t going to be an issue and we could take our time getting it done once the leak and damage was fixed.

Pulling up and out the shower we discovered that there wasn’t a leaking pipe after all.  The shower base itself had cracked just a bit at that corner allowing water to dribble right onto that supporting board.  The drywall that the board had been right up against showed a little water damage, but after cutting that out I was able to confirm no real water damage due to the leak.  Yay!  Right?

Like all projects in a not new house it wasn’t that simple….

The shower walls had been supported by a series of 2×4’s screwed into the wall.  Counting every single screw (of which there were over 20), 3 actually hit studs.  The rest just went into drywall.  With no drywall anchers.  In two cases the only thing holding the boards on was the fact that they’d also used silicone.  I have no clue how the whole mess stayed on the wall.  We were able to literally just pull most of the boards straight out from the wall without removing the screws first.

Then there was what we found under the shower base:

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I’m not sure what the hole on the left was, but I’m guessing old water damage that they “patched” when they replaced the tub.  See the plumbing on the right?  They had to redo the drain when they put in the shower.  The pipe itself sticks up above the floor level by almost half an inch.  The boards under the shower base weren’t to help tilt it for drainage.  They were to support it so that it didn’t crush the plumbing.  Cause that makes lots of sense……

See the kinda groady patch of vinyl between the two holes?  It flexed in a very nasty way when we started to step on it in the process of pulling down the whole mess.  When I pulled up the vinyl and very carefully put a foot on the spot it collapsed under a very small portion of my weight.  Old water damage that was never fixed.  Thankfully there didn’t appear to be any mold, just dry rot.

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See those little black specs?  Mouse turds.  The visible insulation was full of them.  SO MUCH FUN!!!  Arg.

So I pulled up the “patch” on the left hole, confirmed the presence of mouse turds in the insulation under it.  Pulled and threw away all the insulation in both holes, and then cut out the old water damaged spot and made the whole hole mostly square so it would be easier to patch:

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The spot under the old water damage had basically no insulation (and more signs of mice).  My cut opened up the next cavity that extends back under the floor of the rest of the bathroom.  You’ll notice there’s not much insulation there too.  At least there wasn’t any mouse turds in it.  But a flashlight and an awkward angle to peer into the cavity confirmed what we’d suspected about the whole house.  There was barely an inch of insulation under the rest of the floor.

We’d been pretty sure that the whole house needed to be re-insulated, but I wasn’t thrilled to get conformation of that fact.

I stuffed every nook and cranny I could reach full of insulation and made a quick patch till we could decide what we wanted to do.

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(actually I took the picture prior to insulation, but you get the idea)

We’d hoped to put off any bathroom renovations till a few years down the road when we’d planned to spend several grand doing it right.  We’re going to need to reinsulate obviously, the bathroom is the coldest room in the house.  We want to put in heated floors.  And a custom, 54″ wide, shower stall.  So we weren’t interested in spending a fortune getting this done.

In the end we picked an inexpensive corner shower, made out of better quality plastic than the old one.  Which of course meant we had to move the drain.  But my Father-In-Law was able to do that for us, and while he was at it he fixed the too high plumbing.

And we put up the shower walls.  And discovered that the corners of the room aren’t square.  Not sure why I expected them to be, but you know how that goes….

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There’s a piece of cement board under the shower now, to help with water control.  And we’re in the process of putting down 1/2″ thick rubber matting on the floor to help with the cold floor problem……but otherwise the bathroom is done.  Well.  For now……

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Christmas Music

Posted December 11, 2014 By Ruth

I’m not a fan of most Christmas music.  Working retail for extended periods will do that to you.

When I do listen to Christmas music it tends to be fairly non-standard.  Like Twisted Sister’s Christmas Album.

I found another one to add to my list today though.

 

 

And then when you’re on Itunes buying the album go listen to the teaser for their Christmas Can Can too…..

 

H/T to Greg @ Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

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Home projects

Posted December 6, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been watching Bogie’s home improvement projects with interest, as alot of what she’s done is stuff that we’re going to eventually need to do.  Her latest acquisition is a spice cabinet for her craft supplies.  And it reminded me of a project I REALLY want to do here….

First, I have to explain the house.  The original structure is a 20+yr old double-wide (which is still skirted *sigh* another project….).  At some point someone added onto the living room, doubling the size of that space.  And someone ran an enclosed breezeway from the garage to the 3rd bedroom, turning said bedroom into a mud room.  The washer and dryer are in an alcove right inside the back door, which happens to be directly off the kitchen.

I SO want to move the washer and dryer into the closet space of the mudroom, they’ll fit with a little room to spare.  And then turn that alcove into a proper pantry space, with spice cabinet, and put a built in dishwasher into the washer hookups (we’re currently using a portable-roll-away dishwasher, and it works fine, but it takes up space in the already small kitchen).  Unfortunately there is zero plumbing and electrical already in the space I want to put the washer and dryer, so putting in the needed plumbing and wires is going to be a major job.  So its not happening any time soon……there are to many other projects that NEED to be done to spend the money on something we don’t NEED *sigh*.

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Unusual coloring

Posted December 4, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been delighted by the “gummy” vitamin phase since I first saw them.  I HATE taking big huge pills, I’m capable, but I hate it, and so the gummies were a wonderful invention as far as I’m concerned.  They cost more than regular vitamins, but I don’t dread taking them either.

I’d recently noticed that they were coming out with the “mens” and “women’s” formulas, and this last time I picked up the women’s formula, though there’s not much of a difference from the regular formula.  Last night I stopped to read the ingredients.  The gummies are, of course, colored, and I’d assumed they used the standard food dyes.  I was wrong.  The colorings are blueberry juice concentrate, carrot juice concentrate, and purple carrot juice concentrate!  A quick check of the other formulas showed the same.  Not what I’d expected to see.  But kinda cool!

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I’m dreaming of a white…..

Posted November 27, 2014 By Ruth

…..Thanksgiving??

 

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Somewhere in the 3-5″ range, its that nasty wet “heart-attack” snow, but it sure looks pretty!

Snow

Posted November 14, 2014 By Ruth

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I didn’t think the ground was cold enough for it to accumulate that way, but obviously I was wrong!  On the other hand we finally got our killing cold last night……

 

Smoked Turkey Breast and Hot Wings

Posted November 7, 2014 By Ruth

So on a whim I picked up a boneless turkey breast to smoke, and, after poking around a couple places, I picked up some chicken wings to try too.

Turkey breast was brined for 6hrs in an impromptu brine of water, salt, raw sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, powdered mustard, pepper, a bay leaf, and allspice.  Smoked (with hickory) for 2.5hrs, with the smoker running about 200-225.  It weight 1.8lbs raw.  Internal temp was 155 when I pulled it off the smoker, I wrapped it in foil and carryover brought it to 160.

Wings were brined in water, salt, sugar, and garlic.  Smoked for 2hrs 15minutes.  Hot sauce was butter (1stick), 1/4cup of Red Hot, 1/2tsp of garlic, 1/4tsp salt, and one chopped habenaro.  It was brushed on the wings before smoking, and every 45minutes during smoking.

Oh yah, we’ll be doing that again!