Compost pile is working, pudding snacks and the chimney is clean

Added some kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to the compost pile and it was literally steaming inside.  The temperature gauge reads 140 degrees F. so it is hot enough to kill off weed seeds. I am surprised by how quickly the pile generated heat now that I have mixed it and got the ratios of browns and greens correct.  I’m not sure how much help adding the burlap to the pallets and to cover the top is doing but, I can water and test the temp of the pile without removing the cover and it sort of  keeps the flies down.  It was a lot of work for me (approx. 3 hours)  getting compost mixed, adding the proper ratios and watered down but it was worth the effort.

My pudding and jello packs in the mini-van got used already and it was something I never considered in my Bug out/patient support ideas.  A very nice guy works one of the kiosks in the mall where Mom and I walk and he’s been getting some dental work done and had a “dry socket” so eating and drinking was a painful challenge. Jamie to the rescue with a little cup of jello and pudding to get him through until he could get something easy for him to eat.  It got me to thinking about dental work if you don’t have a dentist or even sore throat or an upset stomach that require soft food and these little cups are perfect for that and require no refrigeration or even boiling water to make.  So I stopped by Big Lots and grabbed a couple more packages for the sickroom shelf.  I know these “snack paks” are not the best thing nutritionally, but for someone fighting an illness that makes it hard to eat.  Getting calories and keeping up morale in a patient is very critical for healing. How can you make jello if you don’t have refrigeration?  For a dollar you get 4 little snack paks and the best used by date is over a 12 months out, you can’t really beat that cost for your BOB/BOV or your sickroom.

The chimney is clean and inspected and Dr. Soot I used here in the valley did all the things a good sweep does  like spreading out tarps, having a vacuum and doing a very thorough cleaning. She also answered all my questions as well as giving me advice for keeping the wood stove working. I have to say I’m very pleased with the work done and $85.00 was very reasonable for my straight shot chimney. She also said the installation was very well done and other than the spark arrestor screen and cap I had no creosote build up. Heck she said wanted to send people my way for all the basic safety equipment and tools to have on hand. Another nice thing to learn is the Pacific Energy stoves don’t build up creosote except around the Chimney cap and are very safe compared to many stoves for chimney fires. The chimney and stove needed cleaning but it’s soot in the pipe that brushes out easily unlike creosote that is a tar like substance and must be scraped out.  Another thing I liked  is she answered my questions about my parent’s fireplace insert and what should be done to clean it out properly.  One other thing that helped the sweep was having the installation and parts breakdown so she could work with the “baffle” that Pacific Energy stoves use to make sure everything was re-installed correctly after cleaning.

I loved to see people that take pride in their work and really care about the customer. When I get it a good price it is even better and I’m happy to give them some props as well as some word of mouth advertising/recommendations.  I maybe frugal or even cheap but all to often I see people that will step over a dollar to pick up a dime when it comes to having work done or getting stuff.  There is a case made for being cheap if those Hanes t-shirts cost $50.00 at Macy’s or under $10.00 at K-mart.  Quality can cost but you can’t afford to buy the name and not investigate if you can get a better price or service. Always remember the cost/benefit ratio and be prepared to get burned even if you do your research. Always prop up those folks that give good value for your money.  One thing I have found is starting off cheap and then adding to any of my projects always make me  better at recognizing a bargains and I’m not “panic buying” for any situation because I have some of the basic on hand to get by in any situation.

I spent a lot of money to have that wood stove installed rather than having it be a DIY project. So far it seems to be worth the initial cost and in another year the stove will be paid off and everything after that is me banking my savings. If the PTBs don’t screw up the economy and we can get by with no major blow ups.  I will take the money from the stove payment and start working solar power big time and rain water storage.  It’s possible we have a couple of years to add to our preps. I am terrible about calling the time frame of the collapse as I thought 2011 was the year.  Thankfully my gift of prophesy sucks! Don’t panic but keep working your plan to take advantage of what is happening around your area. Once you get your basics in place and know how to use them it does get easier to plan and not panic via any  minor disaster. I am getting better at some simple plumbing jobs as it is less expensive to buy tools and parts compared to calling a plumber. Plus I am learning some basic home repair skills.

Don’t get me wrong on DIY projcts. They are great  if want  to do the work and have tools/knowledge for the job. With my disability and lack of knowledge and tools, installing a stove myself was not doable for me. If you can do the work and be safe as a DIYer, have at it. But don’t be stupid and not admit you just don’t know. The beginning of all knowledge is to say “I don’t know”.  Screwing up just to save money can be very expensive so take your time and make sure it is done right!


4 Responses to Compost pile is working, pudding snacks and the chimney is clean

  1. leeann says:

    You are so right about spending upfront to have things done properly. It is painful to spend money and then have to spend twice as much to undo the wrong and make it right. Watching how its done can sometimes enable you to learn how to do it yourself!

    • Jamie says:

      leeann: One thing I really liked about the chimney sweep is she explained what she was doing. I think I could get some help from the neighbors and clean my chimney if I had no other choice but for $85.00 and the sweep does the all the work cleanly I will have her back next year.

  2. TOR says:

    DIY, So many thoughts from the last year. First being realistic can you safely complete the specific task in question? Example, I can do a lot of construction type stuff. Personally I could do anything short of removing load bearing walls in an established structure. However when I needed the plug for the washer changed after looking up how to do it online I called an electrician. Cost me a C note but I did not get electrocuted and the place did not burn down.

    Next can you (and the spouse) tolerate a DIY job? Expecting a genuine professional job at laying tile from a teacher/ bus driver/ etc is not realistic. It could very well look good but will almost certainly not be perfect.

    Considering your time and it;’s value is another factor. Maybe it makes more sense to work a few extra hours at $40 a pop to pay somebody else $12 an hour to do Sheetrock. Even if your job does not lend itself to overtime we have to consider what Saturday is worth to us.

    A hard part in figuring whether DIY or getting it done is that amateurs can not generally do a good job in estimating what a job is going to cost.You simply do not know what you do not know. A 50% overage since you do not know how to estimate a jobs cost can be the difference between it making sense to do something yourself or get it done.

    Along with that the cost of tools you need but do not have are a consideration. I purchased a $300 saw that made since because I had a few jobs to do with it. If I had just 1 job it would not have made sense. I would have needed to rent one or find an alternative.

    Lastly what is the alternative? If it’s DIY or the job is not getting done the other factors are different than doing the numbers on working overtime vs doing the work on Saturday.

    All facts to consider.

    • Jamie says:

      TOR: Figuring up the risk if you screw up a DIY job was my biggest factor having the stove installed. Poorly laid tile probably won’t burn down/destroy the house! Bad plumbing, wiring or wood stove can do that.

      One of the things I was most proud of is hitting the estimated cost of the wood installation. I missed by only $6.00.

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