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energy efficiency

To Do List: Caulk. Now.

I know there are people who are going to argue with me on this, but if you have a limited budget in terms of improving the energy efficiency in your living unit, your Aunt Toby is going to advise using it to buy caulk. And a caulking gun if you can’t borrow one from someone.

Why not insulation? I just checked the price on that – one roll of R19, 15” wide, is $15.67.

We just did a little project as a final little ‘zip up’ for winter, and it hit me when I went to the ‘large chain building supply place because we don’t have a local hardware any more’ how cheap caulk was in terms of what we were getting versus how much insulation was going to cost if someone were going to try to insulate an attic, for example. (more…)

DIY: Sometimes Saving $$ Means Doing What You Are Good At – Not Trying to Do What You Are NOT Good At

I truly, madly deeply love the DH. But I am not delusional. All marriages have their flash points; for some people it’s money. For other people it is sex. For still others it’s politics. For us…it’s 30 odd years of unfinished DIY house projects.

I finally came to the conclusion that no matter how much the DH truly WANTED to do rehab in the house (which needed it desperately – actually more desperately than even WE appreciated), he had ‘fear of screwing up’. So, he was great at starting…and abysmal at…continuing. Finishing was about as within his grasp as performing cold fusion on the kitchen table. The amount of money wasted on started projects was really bad. (more…)

Introduction to Canning

So, you want to get started with canning. When the DH and I were first married, we lived in a house that did not have a freezer and the freezer in the fridge was teeny. How could we put food by? We got a book, bought some equipment and got into the ‘pick yer own/ can yer own’ thing. Someplace in the house is a photograph of our kitchen table, so overburdened with jars of canned stuff that it was bowed down in the middle. We didn’t have a lot of cupboard space, either so we used to store all the boxes of the canned goods under the bed. There is truly no feeling so secure as lying in bed while there is a blizzard going on outside and you know that you have at least enough food to probably last you until spring.

So, what can you put into a jar and process vs. what doesn’t work really well processed in a jar? (more…)

Too Darned Hot.

This little guy has the correct idea – when it’s hot, sinking yourself into a tub of cool water is one way to “weather” the heat.

For the past few days, as anyone on the East Coast knows, it has been hot. Really hot. Hot like you wrote the word ‘hot’ on every grain of sand in Death Valley. And it’s April, so as per usual, a lot of people are just not prepared to deal with it.

And Aunt Toby is here to say, “Go with that feeling…” (more…)

Urban Gardening, or, How to Survive When You Aren’t a Homeowner and Don’t Have a Lawn to Rip Up

lightbulblokywoky in a thread asked: What I would like to know is what all of us lowly apartment and other rental unit dwellers who don’t have yards for gardens and no control over the kind of heating/cooling equipment etc are supposed to do. Info is all over the place for stuff for home OWNERS but there doesn’t seem to be much for those of us who don’t own a home.

First, as is said in The Hitchhikers Guide: Don’t Panic. Don’t feel that there is nothing you can do because you have a landlord or are occupying a unit that is 60 feet up over the asphalt. The trick in your situation is to think: not permanent — movable. Let’s look at people’s costs of living one at a time in terms of what we can do to lower those costs. (more…)

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