Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Project This Afternoon: Envi Blocks

Since Pete is off today, we figured we'd get some house projects done.  One of them is to move our third ton (yes, a ton) of Envi Blocks from the bulkhead area of our basement to the area where the other two tons are stacked.  We've got to move them for a couple of reasons: 1. They're in the way and 2. They're not on a pallet or anything so if water comes in through the bulkhead it will be bad news.  What is an Envi Block?  Why do we have them?  Well, Pete and I burn wood (about 6 - 7 cords) to heat our house in the winter.  My parents have 55 acres and the wood is free.  Burning wood is also carbon neutral (the amount of carbon dioxide a tree takes in during it's lifetime is released when burned).  We're not cleaning the air but we're certainly not adding pollutants to it either.  Anyway, we love burning wood but now that Pete is working 5 days a week instead of his 3 days, we're going to be gone from the house more.  I am gone for 9 hours a day during the school year and, without one of us home to feed the stove, it would be pretty chilly in here at 4:00 when I got in.  We have our furnace set to come on at 60 and we absolutely hate to hear it come on. The Envi Blocks are going to help us with that. They are made from compressed sawdust and wood pieces that are left over from sawmills. When 3 blocks are burned at the same time, they last for about 9 hours.  After we tested a few of them out this past spring, we decided to purchase a pallet (a ton) of them.  Each pallet holds 300 Envi Blocks.  We have since purchased two more pallets. Although we are paying for the Blocks ($260 per pallet) we are still saving money as our furnace hopefully won't have to fire up. Home heating oil is $4 something and we have a 250 gallon tank. Our first winter in the house we had to fill that baby up 4 times! So, once Pete gets up from his little cat nap, it's down to the basement with some gloves and our dolly!

Out and About

While reading the Hartford Courant this morning, I noticed two full page ads for Macy's.  Normally, I just flip the page without a second look but today my eyes stopped for a second.  Pete is in desperate need of new dress shirts and ties for work as well as a suit for that fancy wedding we're going to this October.  The ad claimed that the whole store is on sale today (yeah, right).  I did notice however that dress shirts and ties are discounted to a whopping total of $12.79.  You can't beat that!  Even Kohl's on sale doesn't come close.  So, needless to say, we're heading over there shortly.  Of course we'll be stopping by the Apple Store (Pete wouldn't have it any other way!).  While at Macy's, I'm going to keep an eye out for a fancy tank that will match my shawl and the skirt I am making.  Perhaps too we can go over to Windsor to the L.L. Bean store.  I saw a very cute and comfy looking pair of shoes in the catalog.  I'm leery about buying shoes from a catalog or on-line; I've got to try them on first.  We'll see if we make it over there......

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Today is one of those "get all the little things done" day.  I've been meaning to clean out my fridge for some time now.  Much of which I throw out is either composted, put out for the animals, or recycled.  Pete and I create very little trash.

Composting: I have a cookie jar on the kitchen counter for our compost pile. We put all of our organic waste in there: coffee grinds and unbleached filters, banana peels, vegetable cuttings, egg shells, etc.  When the jar is full, its contents are added to our outdoor compost pile (which also contains grass clippings).  Once in a while, we need to churn up the pile with a hoe or metal rake.


Meet the newest addition to our family!  George is a 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe. He's made by Mercedes and gets 46 - 50 miles per gallon! Pete's other car, his 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix had transmission trouble, needed new tires, ball joints, and struts.  We figured that since he was getting in the high teens for gas milage (due to his tranny troubles: he had no overdrive), it was time to look for a new car.  Of course, we wanted one that would get over 30 miles per gallon.  We looked at Hondas (yuck) and at the new Chevy Malibu (kinda pricey) and then at the Smart Cars.  Of course, we fell in love with those little buggers and wanted one.  We were shocked to find out that there was (and still is) a year-and-a-half waiting list.  After we put in our $99 deposit, we just figured we would limp the Grand Prix along until the summer of '09.  Lo and behold, in mid-June (we put our reservation in in early March), we got a call from the dealership saying that an "orphan" car came in.  The person that ordered it could not get the financing and it was now unclaimed.  Being that we had wanted a black Smart to begin with, we jumped on the opportunity.  We picked George up two days later. Pete and I absolutely love it!  We are able to fit the cats in the back along with an over night bag.  We recently took George to NH and were glad to know that along with our full-size suitcase, we still had plenty of room!

Of course, we kept our original reservation for a the car.  My brother will be purchasing it when it comes in sometime next summer.

George has a 3-cylinder engine.  He tops out at 90 mph.  He has a pretty good crash rating (better than the Grand Prix did!), gets fantastic gas milage, has heated seats, rain sensing wipers, all sorts of stuff.  We think of George as the Swiss Army Knife of cars.

The picture of George is on the Mt. Washington Auto Road.  We took him up there on July 19, 2008. You can visit if you'd like more information on Smart cars.

Laundry and an Escapee

Laundry, laundry, laundry.  One can never escape it!  Yesterday, my pal Roxy and I went shopping at the outlets in Lee, MA.  It was my once a year clothing trip for school clothes.  Since today is a warm, sunny day, I figured it would be a perfect time to hang outside.  It took me a while to hang up my clothes today as many of them are on the delicate and stretchy side.  I had to pin several of them up with multiple clothespins as to not stretch the bottom bands out too much.  That's one thing that I don't like about drying outside -- I can always tell if I was in a rush when I put on one of my nicer shirts: A too stretched out bottom band! I do love spending the time outside and knowing that I am using much less electricity by doing it this way.

While making my way outside for the umpteenth time, Chloe, my resident escapee, made a break for it.  She's strictly an indoor cat but loves fresh grass.  The little box of pet grass I bought for her at Petco last week looks yellow and is mighty wilted.  I know she was just lookin' for a bit of the green stuff. (Notice my lawn: it's quite yellow also.  She went right for that patch of green crab grass!)   My little lady was scooped up and brought back into the porch shortly after this picture.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A New Day, A New Blog

It was time to make a break; a move from the old to the new. My previous blog was stale and unmoving.  I have since gone in a different direction with my thinking, being, and living. 

This blog will remain anonymous (hopefully) and will highlight all that is going on with me at home. I will not bring work into this blog as it is a different part of me and not one that I want to blog about.  Embedded in this blog will be the things that I enjoy and the things I do on a daily basis.  You may recognize yourself here or, you might glance into someone else's life; someone who is very much like you and very different. Enjoy.