Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reality Is Sinking In

Meet Reggie, the wood burner.
He has a very warm personality.
As is often the case, the title of this post may be a bit misleading, but we will get to that in a little bit. First I will list some of the items we worked on this week. I have been jotting them down on a list because there have been a lot of 'odds and ends'.

1. The wood burning stove is installed in the living room and has already been put to use. We had a few gloomy rainy days this week and the evenings got downright chilly. We made a trip to a fireplace store to pick up the lengths of stovepipe needed to connect the stove to the existing chimney pipe that only came a couple feet down from the ceiling. The pipe that passes through the ceiling and roof is called 'double-wall', it is a pipe inside a pipe, so that the part that touches the ceiling and roof don't get hot and start a fire. The part we had to install is called 'single-wall', and does get hot, which is what you want to help heat the room.

Smoke from our first fire.
Our first attempt was using the less expensive sheet style of chimney pieces that you wrap into a tube and 'snap' together. This was the only type available at Home Depot and Lowe's. We quickly learned that the 'tubes' created were more heart shaped than circular and thus, impossible to work with. The pre-made welded-seam chimney pieces were much easier to work with and created a much more airtight fit. The day we finished the project, the temperatures had again risen back up into the low 80's, and while it seems counter-intuitive, we just had to light a small fire to test out the stove, rather than waiting for the next chilly night. Since then, we have had several evenings and one morning where we have put in a small fire to take the chill off.

2. With the new wood burner, we now needed a supply of wood. Realize, our 20 acres is solid forest, but with all our other projects this first year, we did not want to take on sawing and splitting wood to stock up for winter. I started checking Craig's List for firewood for sale in the area, and then Alan came up with an idea that I was a bit dubious of. In a town not 'too' far away there is a company that makes very nice wooden storage sheds and cabins. Alan suggested we stop there to see if they ever have scrap lumber. The owner said they tend to always have scraps and he had some that were not 'spoken for', so we told him we would be back the next day with our truck to load some up.  I asked Alan how much they were charging to compare it to the firewood prices I had seen and he said it was FREE!
Our first load of FREE wood!

The next day we drove around the back of one of their buildings and one of the workers gave us each a cardboard box and pointed to a pile of wood scraps laying around four table saws. We filled the 8 foot bed of the pick-up truck and only took about half the wood that was there. They said we could come back in a week or so to get another load. We asked how large the work crew is because we plan to bring donuts next time.

Two triangles make a rectangle
for 'easy' stacking.
The wood is all from 2x4s. About 75 percent is triangles that when you put two together they are back into the shape of a 2x4. Most of these are about 8 inches long, but some are longer. The other 25 percent are ends of 2x4s that are between 4 and 10 inches long with one end cut at an angle. Once we got the wood home, Alan unloaded it while I stacked it. I became fairly fast at fitting together triangles to make rectangles  for neater stacking as well as matching up various sizes of the end cuts for even stacking. Alan said it reminded him of some type of challenge they would have on 'The Amazing Race' reality TV show.

Knobs of the Ozarks
3. The kitchen cabinet knobs are completed. After my last post, several people told me they wanted to see the finished project. I want to thank them because that gave me the incentive to get all the knobs attached. I realized I could not really show all the knobs with any detail by posting pictures of the cabinets 'as is'. I told Alan I was going to take photos of all the knobs and then crop them and create a collage of them all and he said 'Oh, like the Doors of Ireland posters you see in Irish gift stores.' I agreed but said this poster would be The Knobs of the Ozarks, which is really quite appropriate  because the conical hills found in the Ozarks are geological formations that are called 'knobs'. Rather than Walton's Mountain, in the Ozarks it would more likely be called Walton's Knob.

Well, there are a few more items from this week, but I need to cut this short due to the activity that is the reason behind the title of this post. I have a confession to make - we have bought a TV. Now I could say we bought it to keep up with world events, but in actuality Alan realized that Survivor starts the new seasons this week, and Amazing Race starts at the end of the month. Yes, we were looking for a 'reality TV fix' out in the middle of nowhere. However, we are still being 'primitive' about it. It is a very small TV (7 inch) which we can run off of our solar system (still get a kick out of saying we have a solar system (and we still believe Pluto is a planet)) and it uses old fashioned 'rabbit ears'. We can pick up some stations inside the house, but we discovered we can only get the channel that carries  'Survivor' by sitting outside on the deck and one of us has to hold the TV just the right way to improve the signal. Let go, and you loose signal strength. So, with the evening turning chilly, and the premier episode of Survivor starting in a few minutes, I need to go bundle up so I can enjoy a bit of TV time. It better be a good season this year if I have to sit out on the deck in December to see who wins!
Hope the weather holds out for TV season!


  1. Here is where an outdoor antennae would be useful. Not expensive. Just set it up in an area where you can easily access it to change direction and not climb the roof. We have a powered one that gives us about 20 local channels. It doesn't draw that much energy. A standard antennae can do the same and also might work with off grid communication like ham radio or cb.

    1. Great minds think alike :-) We just bought a powered outdoor antenna yesterday. Haven't tried it out yet.