That is some pretty slick styling on the greenhouse heater, huh?
And I am happy to report that is a working greenhouse heater at that! This one required a bit of fiddling with the wires to bypass the thermostat, but it’s alive! I did also get to do some excellent reading about cad cell relays and oil fired heating controls – you know, just some light bedtime reading.
This greenhouse is much smaller than the original one, probably about half the size. It heats up incredibly quickly.
But this excellently working heater is uncontrollable because the old thermostat was busted, the one I pulled out of a different greenhouse was also mostly busted, and the one I bought from Home Depot was apparently a bunch of random bits of busted thermostats all shoved in a box (we definitely should have listened to the cashier and grabbed a new, non-opened one).
So tomorrow I will get thermostat number four and try to tame the Utica International wild beast of a heater which lives in the greenhouse. Wish me luck!
Things are still mostly hunkered down for the winter here at Jugtown. We had a bit of a weather rollercoaster the last week with one day in the 70s and then four inches of snow the next day. The snow is mostly melted, but I’m not holding my breath for warmth anytime soon – the last frost date in these parts is almost the end of May!
So we’ve been drinking our hot chocolate and building fires and making plans. Big plans!
Here is E’s big list of big plans:
and I have a lot of plans floating around in my head that I have yet to actually put into a concrete list, or at least one coherent list (though a concrete list sounds kind of funny). I do have tons of little lists and ideas and snippets of things I want to look up. E and I are trying to have phone free Saturdays so I have to make a list of all the things I want to look up later instead of immediately grabbing my phone and googling everything. My most recent list consists of everything from how record players work (more on that later) to thermostat wiring and things that are automatic but not electric (a lot more on this later).
Since my big plan list is not ready yet, I did make a list of things I have either learned or accomplished.
Wiring up the new bedroom! Yes this happened and was tested and is successful and no one died! I’m really proud of this.
The furnace in the other greenhouse is working (I guess this is kind of a spoiler…)
The truck has new hubs and a new battery which is properly held in place by a new battery strap and not the piece of crap I picked up at WalMart (yes, I know – but it’s the only place around here we can get prescriptions filled!)
In general I’ve learned a lot about electricity and wiring.
I almost have a fully functioning plow on the front of the tractor/glorified lawn mower.
We got a new stove! (The reason for this is not something that should ever be discussed). I guess it’s not really an accomplishment, but it is exciting!
E and I have done a really good job of not drinking alcohol the past month or so. This is more of a self care/mental health thing, but it’s worth mentioning.
And of course – staying cozy.
edited to add:
I made a pretty excellent list of all our tools and appliances around here. I also downloaded and organized all the manuals for various things (heaters, thermostats, tractors, leaf mulchers) that I have looked up in the past and assume I will need in the future.
I successfully sharpened the chainsaw chain and made a cool kindling splitter
After getting the truck stuck on Thanksgiving I decided to buy these. In a ’99 Ford Ranger the hubs are locked by vacuum tubes that are notoriously finicky and prone to rotting, so it was highly likely they were the source of my four wheel drive failure. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have manual locking hubs and if they didn’t solve the problem then at least that was one thing I could cross off the list of possible causes.
It was a balmy 40 degrees out this past Saturday so I decided to see about installing them. I called the mechanic and the super helpful man who answered the phone told me that I shouldn’t worry my dainty lady head about four wheel drive and that two wheel would be fine for any normal driving (ok maybe I added the thing about the dainty lady head). But anyway mansplainer – Challenge Accepted!
Honestly the videos on YouTube made it look pretty simple – take off the tire/wheel, take off original hub, put new hub on, put back on tire. And the first one went just like that – easy peasy.
And then I celebrated too early:
The second one went like this: take off tire/wheel, take off original hub, put on new hub, realize that it’s not locking correctly (i.e., I can still spin the rotor when it’s locked), take off new hub trying not to break off the 12 little tabs that all need to be pulled up simultaneously to get it off, fiddle with the new hub and realize it’s not broken, just misaligned, put on new hub, worry that it’s still not working, take off new hub (much faster this time), fiddle with it some more, put new hub back on, realize it’s fine, try to put back on wheel and realize that my jack is giving out and cinder blocks make terrible jack stands and that I need the truck about an inch higher in order to get the wheel back on, try to use any other jacks I can find, curse a lot, almost tip over the truck, curse more, run over to the neighbors and borrow a jack stand, take out the other jack and put bricks under it to get extra height, jack truck up to appropriate height, put wheel back on, and … success?
By then the sun had gone down and I realized I was sitting in snow, soaking wet and losing feeling in most of my extremities plus my butt. I left E to clean up the tools and return the jack stand and went inside to attempt warm up. After Advil, hot tea spiked with whiskey, a steaming hot shower, and a sensible dinner of Pizzatinos, I passed out at eight o’clock.
I’m exhausted just writing this….
And I still haven’t tested to see if the four wheel drive is actually working since I need a new battery strap first.
Staple guns are one of those things. Just don’t do it – you will spend over 45 minutes trying to get each tiny springy piece back in and still be frustrated and Home Depot is only 15 minutes away and there will be much less cursing.
There’s probably some metaphor or lesson to be learned here about broken things and things that can’t be fixed. In general I am very pro fixing things and enjoy trying to fix things, and sometimes this does end in frustration, but sometimes it ends up feeling very fancy and accomplished. I think I’ll take my chances on frustration.
We’ve had some snow lately and it is ridiculously pretty around here so I went on a snowshoe tromp around the property.
I love how everything wears little snow hats after a good snowfall
There also may have been some sledding with friends because the local school has the best sledding hill and we are all really good at adulting (which was especially obvious as we walked back with our sleds under our arms, waving to the neighbors out shoveling their driveways and walks as our own sidewalk and driveway sat still covered in snow)
It’s been a long time! The holidays saw a lot of visitors at Jugtown so I’ve been laying low and hunkering down to avoid the lack of sunshine and brutal cold. But it’s a new year and time to get back on the horse, or in my case, back in the truck.
And get it stuck in the mud again. Which is exactly what we did on Thanksgiving Day. Long story short – the four wheel drive is still not fixed and my brother-in-law is a bad influence (sorry Ben).
So I’m buying these and hoping they are the answer to all my problems. (every single one of them)
“Nature’s model is one of supreme, unbridled abundance. It seems ironic, then, to live in an economic system based on lack. When a single ear of corn can yield hundreds of grain-stuffed plants, how puzzling to find that our economy is based on a science of scarcity.”