Saturday 17 February 2024

It's been a rough few days, but otherwise fine.

 

It snowed on the 10th? and dropped a good foot of snow overnight. We tried to back the truck up to see if we could just drive out of it and the answer was a definite no. 

Normally we would just wait 2-3 days for the snow to melt but this time it's staying under zero for at least a week and we had to get more chicken feed and we wanted to go out for Hugslut's birthday on Saturday so it needed to be plowed. 

On Thursday I checked with the neighbours and one gave me the number of a plow guy and he said he'd send over one of his guys. The guy showed up, plowed, got paid, and left.

Near the house was fine... But two hours later when we went out to pickup chicken feed we found the driveway was not only missing all it's snow.... it was also missing most of it's gravel! 

Our driveway is going to be SO muddy this spring until we can get it regraveled.

How our driveway used to beThe bare sandy earth it is now

I texted the main guy and (politely) told him his boy is shit when it comes to gravel driveways. He seemed concerned and asked for some photos, then . Probably nothing going to come of this because we're not likely to sue for damages but Hugslut said he's lucky we aren't more american. The next day, the wind blew the snow around enough to hide the mud, but not for long.

Friday I noticed out heat pump was flashing strangely. I realized I had no clue when that started and got out the owner's manual. 


Turns out this particular frantic flashing means "turn it off at the breaker and call a certified technician", so I did just that. I went downstairs, turned off the breaker, came back up..... and the heat pump was still on!

I turned it off with the remote and called our solar guys while freaking out. The reason I called them instead of a general electrician was because they were the last ones to touch the breakers. They had an electrician at our house on the 8th to connect the solar panels to the breaker box and install a little "sub-panel" of breakers because our main box was completely full.


After an hour on hold, a few emails back and forth including sending photos and the video as proof of "why I think the heat pump is still getting electricity" totalling to HOURS of stressing out that our house was gonna burn down or something.... Until I got a call at 6pm and it turns out the guy shuffled the breakers harder than I expected and turning off the correct breaker for the heat pump does actually turn it off.

The upstairs heat pump used to be in the lower right of the main panel. The electrician used that location as the breaker for the sub panel and didn't explain what got shuffled so I just assumed the label that says "heat" in the sub panel was that displaced heat pump.

Nope. He moved the heat pump up a couple spots and moved a baseboard heater to the sub panel because he heat pump didn't have enough wire to stretch that far or something. If you zoom in, he DID change the label on 22/24 by adding the word "pump" and he accurately labelled the breaker in the sub-panel as just "heat" like it was previously labelled.... but OMG was that a lot of panic over him just not telling me while he was telling me everything else.

So yeah, I'll call a HVAC compaany Tuesday to come look at the heat pump, but we do have the baseboard and space heaters so we're not going to freeze. It'll just cost more to heat the place for now. 

Oh! and on the 8th I also had a general contractor by to give us some quotes on insulation/renovation projects for the basement. Not sure exactly when the parts will be in for that, but we'll have a much less leaky basement soon. The garage door is just pitiful at keeping in the heat.

The solar project is on track and the next step is for the local power company to come out and install a net-meter and confirm everything else is installed correctly before finally flipping the switch. 

The chickens have been completely uninterested in leaving the shed since the snow came. It seems they're trying to wait it out as well. I am getting an average of 4 eggs a day from the 5 hens and it's only February. :-) There's been so many eggs that we are actually having problems keeping up, but that's perfect. I always wanted to have too much so I can share.

It's still hovering around zero but the snow is starting to melt in some places thanks to the sun... which is hiding today. 



 


Sunday 28 January 2024

Bumpy Start to the Year

A few weeks ago the new light bulbs arrived and I got to work converting our basement lights from fluorescent lights to LEDs. This meant removing the ballasts and rewiring the fixtures to allow the new bulbs. (The ballast is that black box in the middle.)


Fluorescent ballast during removal
 

It took a whole day but now the basement is so very much brighter, the lights come on the first time you flick the switch, and we're using so much less electricity to do it. Unfortunately the very same day, My brain was busy with the lights and I misplaced a jar lid in the dishwasher. It was on the top rack, but near the edge and it got knocked off to melt when the drying cycle came on.


The cap that fell into the dishwater heater
 

That was pretty stinky but it paled in comparison to the next bit of rotten luck. The brakes were acting up on the truck and it wouldn't hold brake fluid so we had to get a neighbour to pick up Meg at the repair shop, and then drive us back there a few days later. It was just a rusted pipe/hose thing so the bill wasn't too bad, but I'm pretty sure that somewhere in that back and forth is when we caught COVID.


 

That swab up the nose test has got to be one of the most uncomfortable things, that didn't cause pain, that I have ever done. SO ticklish/scratchy/weird.

Of course we notified everyone and also filled out the government notification thing. I also made us a big pot of turkey/egg-drop/spinach/bone-broth/etc soup so we had something to reheat & eat for a few days.


Thankfully COVID didn't hit us too hard. Hugslut was notified by the gov that she could pickup some antivirals at the pharmacy (which she got) and I was notified that if needed I could pick up an inhaler to ease breathing (but I didn't need it). The medical system here is surprisingly good considering how much the folks who grew up here complain.

At one point I realized that I was super sick and not doing much of anything except making sure we both took our meds and got enough fluids/food... and I realized that I was still making it out to the chickens every day and didn't have to call anyone to chicken-sit for me. I did need to have a sit down after and only made it out once a day during the worst (the chickens could technically be fine for a few days at a time), but that fact alone kinda made me laugh at the concern I had a few years ago.

At one point I had worried that being the main caretaker of several animals would mean that I couldn't really "have the luxury" of getting sick. Turns out that although I WANT to check on the chickens two or three times a day, there's no reason to think I have to be more than human.


The chickens are finally one flock

Everyone's laying except Isabella

Now that we're feeling better and only have a bit of lingering cough and fatigue, I've started getting back to the housework (which is understandably behind) and some baking.

My appetite has returned with a vengeance so in addition to normal food, we've been enjoying banana bread and lemon pound cake.


Hopefully soon I can get back on track and if the weather co-operates I may even get back to putting soil in the greenhouse and removing some trees. Until next time, stay safe. :-)


 

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Happy New Year!

After a week off where I actually lazed about for a few days, I am ready to get back at it.

We kind of had a white x-mas in that it was foggy, but only in the last day or so has it reached freezing temps, even over night. I baked some banana bread but it is gone already. It really can't last in this house. Far too delicious.

Isabella has her fluffy feathers back but is still working on regrowing all those guard feathers so she spends a lot of time in the shed to be out of the wind. The hens have been arguing over nest box space, I think partially because Isabella keeps sleeping in there; so, I've set up a second nest box in a dark corner and hopefully that will let them all do their business in peace. Lilly is laying now but was hiding her eggs under the table so I cleared that out and put the new nest box nearby with some fake eggs in. Hopefully she'll get the hint.


With the help of a multi-sensor thermometer and hygrometer system I can now keep an eye on the greenhouse(2) and shed(3). The display doubles as a sensor for indoors(IN), and for now I have the extra sensor in the basement(1). Once we get the basement sealed up properly I'll have it outside for an accurate outdoors temp. (The weather app seems off sometimes.)

Other than the nesting thing, the chickens seem to be getting along and they certainly enjoy scratching around the yard between the shed and the bushes. Hopefully by next winter I'll have some rabbits in the shed to worry about as well. :-)