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55: Keep Your Eyes on the Thermometer

I know for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s still summer (for my readers fro the Southern Hemi- file this away) and it’s rather difficult, especially given the temperatures experienced this summer, to think about winter, but it’s out there. And for those of us for whom winter has, ahem, a ‘special meaning’ (as in it can get so cold that you’ll freeze the insides of your nose), soaking up the warmth is really nice.

But it is coming – get over it. (more…)

Curtain(s) Up!

There are probably as many ways to install shades and curtains on a deck or pergola as people can dream up. The basic making directions are here : I’m going to go over some ideas that I got AFTER I made the decisions that I did:

Adjustable shower curtain rods. You can find these to fit spaces between about 40” and 72”. So what I could have done would have been to have either put grommets into the top of the shades and then used shower curtain rings (and goodness knows there are a zillion different types of those; I could have found some to match the pergola, even). OR, I could have gotten those humongous curtain grommets (JoAnne Fabrics has them, as do other curtain supply houses), put those into the top of the shades and strung the adjustable shower curtain rod through those. The upside of that would have been that the shades would have been like curtains and could be opened or closed at will. Neato. (more…)

More Shady Doings at Chez Siberia

I did not describe the process by which Aunt Toby came to the conclusion that making shades for the pergola was the way to go. Actually, I did not describe the process by which the decision to put a pergola on the deck was made either. But, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

There are numerous ways to gain shade: (more…)

Kitchen Counter Chemistry or, If You Can Mix Salad Dressing, You Can Make Moisturizer

Many times, Aunt Toby is off-season for a lot of people. It’s geography, you see. Chez Siberia is in Upstate New York and usually for the rest of the US below the Mason Dixon Line, my comments about gardening, the weather, dressing warmly, etc. etc. don’t really line up with their calendars.

This year, as we are reminded by our favorite weather prognosticators winter has come to the entire country. So, today I’ve got something for everyone.

Aunt Toby figures that by this point, most of the people in the US have got whatever form of heat they use cranked up about as far as it can go (or, everyone has unearthed their sweaters, hats, mitties, and long johns and are wearing them 24/7). And it has been that way for a while (for those of us who have had the heat turned on since November, this is not news; for those folks in the South, we feel your pain, truly). The air inside your house is dry and your eyes and your lips might be feeling dry too. (more…)

Personal Warmth Systems

bxtai0284aIt never ceases to amaze your dear Aunty that there are people in the world who believe that cotton is an appropriate fiber to put into a long sleeved sweater. And if you are in the business of doing so…and your entire market resides between Southern California and Florida (and points between), then I suppose this makes some sort of sense. But if it’s cold enough to require long sleeves, it’s cold enough to require something that will actually keep you warm, even in a place such as Southern California.

I recall once doing a trade show in January in Anaheim, California. It rained for several days and hovered in the high 30s. We were all extremely miserable (and I thanked myself numerous times for hauling around my wool-lined raincoat). A cotton sweater at that time and in that place would have been useless. (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…)

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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