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Monday, January 18, 2010


I have blown through a lot of firewood this winter just learning the difference between heating up the house and keeping it that way on rainy days and on sunny days.  We also didn't commit to buying enough Bear firewood bricks until late in the game, so I burned a lot of cord wood that I didn't need to- the Bear bricks are much less expensive, make good use of waste wood, and burn pretty hot.  If I'd known more about how the stove works with the house and the weather, and known how to utilize the Bear Bricks sooner, we'd have a lot more cord wood right now. We're now down to about an eighth of a cord, not counting what we have stashed for power failures.   So now I'm wiser, but my intention with the wood stove was to try to keep our heating costs as low as possible, and not be beholden to The Man.   Well, the gas man, that is.

To that end, I mentioned to Steve recently that we should be on the look out for cut up trees lying around, and be ready to grab what we find when we find it.  It seems that in our neck of the woods, there are always cut up trees lying around.  Today on the way home from a spate of shopping, I espied a stack of fresh cut logs, two turns from the house, and about 100 yards away.  We'd been hearing the chainsaw pretty much all morning, and there they were.  "Firewood!" I chirped, "we should get that!"  So we parked the car in the garage and before we put anything away or did anything else, we grabbed work gloves and the wheelbarrow, and three quick trips later, we now have roughly an eighth of a cord of wood on the empty end of the stack.  It won't be ready until next spring (although it might be ready next winter, given that our garage gets pretty darn hot and will act something like a kiln).   If we can make a few more scores like that, we may not have to buy cord wood this summer.  I think we'll still order a pallet of the Bear bricks from Coastal Farm and Ranch Supply, because with delivery, it was only $260, and they are pretty useful, even if they are a bit messy.

Speaking of scoring, our Canon digital camera has been giving us a lot of grief lately.  It evidently has a common problem with it, which is that the shutter gets stuck, and according to the research that Steve did, it will cost about $160, including shipping, to get it fixed.  Well, it cost around $300 new, and I'm not in love with this camera, so I said, why don't we buy a cheaper point and shoot and unload this one as-is on eBay?  Steve thought that was a pretty good idea, given that our Canon, which is on the low-end of digital SLRs was pretty heavy to lug around all the time. It also burns through four AA batteries like a baby burns through diapers.  It almost feels like you're changing them hourly.  He was all ready to buy a refurb'd Sony, when I said, what's the warranty on that?  Good question; he hadn't thought to look.  Hmmm, only three months.  Why don't we look for a new one with at least a year's warranty?  See what you can find on ANTonline.  He found an Olympus, 12MP, 5X optical zoom, image stabilization (a must for me- you'd think I was palsied, given some of the pictures I've taken) and it takes only two AA batteries.  Steve also mentioned that the last Olympus that he had lasted him twenty years, and when he was done with it, he got $70 for it on eBay.  And my dad's trusty, haul-it-all-over- the globe camera was an Olympus).  The Olympus FE-46 was around $87 on ANTonline, but Steve found it for around $79 with free shipping on Amazon.  He ordered the white pearl today, and I can't wait for it to show up, because I really want to throw the Canon across the room, and then we wouldn't get anything for it.  And this Olympus has a three year warranty.  Score!

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